William & Jill’s marquee wedding at Boughton House

January 20, 2018

William & Jill got married at St Mary’s church in Weldon, Northamptonshire, and then had their reception at Boughton House, who recommended me to them. (Thanks, Team Boughton!)

I’ve photographed at both venues before. They’re super locations for photography and very much my jam with lots of stunning architecture to show off, so it was great to be back.

The house rules on photography at Weldon church have previously been very strict. ‘No photos at all’ kind of strict. But that’s all changed since the arrival of a new vicar and it was a pleasure to be able to capture the whole of William and Jill’s ceremony, in both photos and video.

The reception was very relaxed with drinks outside on The West Front terrace followed by dinner and dancing in a marquee. The views at Boughton House are stunning in every direction so the clear walls of the marquee made the most of the setting and I loved the elegant take on rustic styling. The bar (yes, the entire bar) and table plan were made by Jill’s Dad – what a hero!

This was one of those weddings where everything just came together: a happy and relaxed couple who did nothing but enjoy themselves, realistic timings, cooperative clergy, an incredibly photogenic reception venue, a stellar choice of suppliers and even good weather (except for that bit after dinner!). Very often there’s some sort of obstacle or challenge to overcome but William & Jill’s wedding had it all.

Here are some of my favourite photos and a bit about how they were created. Or skip that if you can’t be bothered to read and just see more photos at the bottom!

There’s only one thing more confusing than cravats…

… the pocket watch! Whilst it might not take long for the boys to get ready, it’s rarely a straightforward process! Cravats, pocket squares and button-holes stump most people but the pocket watch trumps them all.

My second photographer usually photographs the Groomsmen getting ready and I get to giggle at their confused expressions while working out how to fix them when I download the photos later in the day! It’s one of my best bits!

It generally takes a bit of time to figure out this pocket watch thing. (To be fair, it’s not something you do every day!) So that gives us the opportunity to observe and take a series of shots. Georgi had taken a few photos of Will trying to attach his pocket watch. But this one, where a bit of banter was injected by an Usher out of shot, is my fave. Not least because the Best Man is coming to the rescue with a YouTube video on his phone!

A moment that always happens…

The Groom will always check the time while waiting for the Bride to arrive. It’s the law. It’s just a case of watching (sorry not sorry) and waiting.

A photo of the Groom before the ceremony is a must-have. It’s important to show what that part of the day is like for the Groom.

It’s always different though because you can’t stand and stare for too long hoping to get the time check! No-one wants to be stalked and there are other things going on at the same time that can’t be missed. Laughing with the Best Man, warm hugs with Mum, greeting guests and trying to convince everyone he’s not nervous…

I love that a joke has obviously been made between Will, his Dad and Best Man in this shot. It makes me happy to think that this photo will remind them of a funny moment.

I love clients who make my jokes look funny

Stopping the natural flow of a wedding to take a posed photo isn’t normally my thing. But sometimes it feels like the right thing to do.

Having spent time getting to know my clients and understanding what’s important to them, come the wedding day I can rely on my intuition to know when to step forward and when to step back. It’s different for every couple.

On this occasion, Jill & her Dad had arrived at the church with plenty of time to spare. Sometimes nerves take over at this point but they were both in a light mood and chatty. There was no pressure from the Vicar because he was still inside. So whilst we hadn’t planned to take a ‘formal’ photo at this point it just ‘felt’ like an opportunity that should be taken.

It was a simple shot to take but a touch uncomfortable! Contorting oneself to sit backwards on the front seat of a vintage car that doesn’t have great ergonomics even when you sit the right way around isn’t my idea of comfort!

But it’s a great angle and hey, anything for the shot!

Jill and her Dad just needed a tiny bit of direction to move closer together and a bit of light humour to get them to relax and give me a natural expression. It wouldn’t win any posing awards but it wins my heart for being simple, classic and letting Jill & her Dad’s closeness shine.

The look that says “Let’s do this!”

This is another simple photo but one that I love hard. There are no twinkly lights or crazy angles. But for me that’s what so great about it; the simplicity allows the moment to shine for what it is: the start of the biggest walk that a Dad and daughter will ever take.

Capturing the Bride walking down the church path is never easy though. It’s generally a fast walk so I have to run to stay ahead. And of course, to be able to take pictures as well as I have to go backwards. I feel like Lara Croft running backwards with cameras stapped across me and shooting wildly but I probably look more like Goofy on ice skates after too many drinks!

A photo of the register being signed is rare

I wholeheartedly wish it wasn’t but it’s usually the case that I have to wait until the register has been signed and then take a posed photo afterwards. There’s meaning in the actual moment of signing that is long gone by the time I’m allowed near. But that’s another blog post.

I always check the house-rules for photography when I arrive at the church. When I asked if I could photograph the signing of the register, the verger said she’d come over and advise what I could do when it was being done.

But when the time came she was busy with something else. Not wanting to interrupt or wait to find out, I took a punt, hid in a pew next to some guests and shot from a safe distance where no-one would be distracted by me and used a big zoom lens to get in close. Again, it comes down to intuition and experience to know how far you can push to get a shot. This was a time when I could definitely push a tiny bit!

A big wide photo is something I’m always looking for

It sets the scene and helps bring context to all the other photos from that part of the day which are typically much closer-up.

In this shot, William and Jill are in the car and driving off to their reception. I love the feeling of taking one last look back at the scene. The balance of three subjects; church, guests and wedding car; makes the creative in me smile too. There’s a lot of detail but it’s easy to take in.

I added ‘Lollipop Lady’ to my job description to get this shot! I started shooting from the pavement as the wedding car started to drive off but I could see a white van about to overtake. This van was not going to photo-bomb my shot! The only solution was to step out into the road to prevent it from getting past!

Children make great subjects for wedding photos

These little ones had discovered the joy of running down the slope and back up the steps. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…

They were enjoying themselves so much that I had a bit of time to explore different angles. And I needed several frames to get all three of them in view at the same time so that was lucky.

This one, where the older girl walked over to take a photo, is my fave. I love the feeling of speed, feet off the ground and the little boy’s kilt flying, contrasted with the serene setting.

If you do a google image search for ‘Boughton House’ you’ll see countless photos of the main front entrance

It’s the same for any wedding venue. It’s an important photo to take but one that a couple will effectively already have seen many times before they’re even married.

There’s no joy in that so I like to spend a bit of time walking the perimeter to see what the venue looks like from a distance. It’s a great way to really see and connect with the location. (I once walked over 5 miles at Boughton House trying to cover all the angles!) Taking the time and effort to go for a long walk can often yield more unusual photos.

Standing back away from the crowd gives this shot a sense of perspective. Even though you can only see one wing of the house, you can tell it’s grand by how small the guests are in comparison. It shows off the venue but in a more unexpected way.

A shot similar to this was one of William and Jill’s favourites from their pre-wedding shoot

So we decided to do it again for their wedding portraits!

I always fear that a copy is never going to be as good as the original though so I was keen to give them a new version of it. So we went with a different pose and of course, the change of season meant that the flowers and colours were different too, which was great.

And oh, Jill’s veil! I’d like to say I arranged that perfect sweep but it’s most likely serendipitously caught on a stone on the gravel path! I adore the way the sweep leads your eye towards William and Jill.

And finally, William and Jill added the love to bring it all together.

The moments just before & just after the planned photo for the win

This is another of Georgi’s shots. I’m on the other side of the lake getting ready to take a few portraits. William and Jill are sharing a moment to look at their wedding rings, completely oblivious to the fact that they’re being photographed from another angle.

Allowing a little time and slack in the schedule for a couple to relax and enjoy a bit of time together just ‘being’ is the only way to get shots like this. A staged ‘look down at your ring’ would have far less meaning.

Are you planning a wedding at Boughton House?

I’d love to hear from you if you are! I can’t wait to work there again!

In the meantime, you can see more of William & Jill’s photos below. And if you’d like a bigger dose of Boughton, feel free to read more about my wedding photography at Boughton House here.

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