Winter wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge

February 7, 2019

Paul and Jennifer’s winter wedding was a treat for all the senses. Think delicious wafts of mulled wine filling the marquee, the refreshing scent of pine in the bouquets, the bride walking to church at sunset, a romantic candlelit ceremony, striking jewel coloured outfits, rustic pine cone placenames, elegant white table flowers… Swoon!

I photographed one of Jennifer’s sister’s weddings the year before so it was lovely to be back amongst familiar faces; the wet-nosed and furry faces of the family especially!

Jennifer grew up next door to the church so it felt really meaningful as she got ready with her sisters in her childhood home and then walked down the garden path to the church. With four bridesmaids, four flower maids, four flower girls and four page boys the entrance into church was spectacular! (Yes, group photos with all those littles ones were tricky!) And that was followed by a cosy marquee reception.

I’ll be honest though…

A mid-winter wedding with a ceremony at 3.30pm isn’t for the faint-hearted wedding photographer! But even though it’s harder work to shoot a winter wedding, it’s fun too. Both the cold and the challenge give me a buzz!

If you’re planning a winter wedding, especially one where most things will happen after-dark, read on! If not, scroll straight to the photos!

Spring, summer and autumn weddings are significantly easier to photograph than winter weddings. The quality and abundance of daylight allows me to work faster. The less gear I have to set up and keep track of, the quicker I can get on with actually taking photos. It’s discreet too – no bright flash going off and catching your eye every few minutes!

But for winter weddings, especially those happening later in the day, I need to add artificial light. As romantic as sunset skies and candlelight are, it isn’t sufficient for photography. When you come out of the church and run the confetti gauntlet in the pitch black it has to be lit somehow. Portraits in a location that’s illuminated only by festoon lights, as stylish and atmospheric as they are, need additional lighting.

I used natural light where I could for Paul and Jennifer’s wedding. There were some gorgeous little pockets of window light for some of the prep. It was just light enough outside as the guests arrived and the church’s own lighting was enough (in combination with extreme camera settings!) for the main part of the ceremony.

When it was much too dark, I added a couple of big daylight-esque LED panels to provide a constant source of light to work with.

For me, LED panels are ideal for balancing the need for extra light with being subtle and unobtrusive. They’re on constantly (as opposed to a flash which fires each time the camera shutter is pressed) so it becomes part of the background. With an assistant on hand to set them up, change the brightness and move them when required, I can work almost as freely as I can with natural light.

Paul and Jennifer wisely hired coloured uplighters for the trees and strung masses of festoon lights around the garden and marquee. These aren’t enough to light a photograph on their own but they look great in the backgrounds which would otherwise be a black hole.

So if you’re planning to get married in the depths of winter, I recommend asking potential photographers how they’ll deal with the lack of light. There’s no right or wrong answer. The above is just what I do. But it’s a very real challenge that needs to be handled by an experienced professional.

Mirror reflection of a wedding dress hanging on a wardrobe
Wedding shoes with swirls on a bedspread with swirls
Four winter wedding bridesmaid bouquets with fir cones & silk ribbons
Wedding buttonholes on a chequerboard tiled floor
Winter wedding buttonhole with fuschia ranunculus
Two cocker spaniel dogs waiting on a sofa while the bride gets ready
Bridesmaid playing aeroplanes with a young baby
Page boy eating a shortbread finger biscuit
Usher collecting buttonholes from the bride's house in Swavesey
Bride having her hair done in Swavesey
Mother of the bride putting her hat on in Swavesey
Bridesmaids helping the bride with her dress in Swavesey
Bride getting ready at home in Swavesey
Bride looking out of the window while bridesmaid puts her necklace on in Swavesey
Flower girls and page boys waiting for the bride to come down the stairs
Bride coming down the stairs at home in Swavesey
Bridal portraits on a staircase
St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Details at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Groomsmen putting buttonholes on at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Wedding guests arriving at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Wedding guests walking down the path at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Wedding guests walking into St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Ushers greeting wedding guests at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Guests waiting inside St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Groom waiting with his best man at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Guest taking a photo of a flower girl at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Wedding guests looking at their order of service at St Andrew's church in Swavesey
Bride walking to St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bridal party arriving at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
A wedding ceremony about to start at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride and her Dad about to walk down the aisle at St Andrew's church in Swavesey
Bridesmaids arranging the bride's train before she walks down the aisle
Bride walking down the aisle at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Father of the bride giving his daughter away at St Andrew's church in Swavesey
Bride and groom making their vows at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride and groom exchanging rings at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Vicar conducting a wedding ceremony at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride and groom pronounced husband and wife at St Andrew's church in Swavesey
Bride and groom's first kiss at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride and groom looking at their guests at St Andrew's church in Swavesey
Bride and groom singing hymns at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Flower girl standing on a pew at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride laughing during the signing of the register at St Andrew's church in Swavesey
Bride and groom walking down the aisle at St Andrew's church in Swavesey
Bride and groom coming out of St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Wedding guests leaving St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Confetti in the dark at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
Confetti in the dark at St Andrew's church in Swavesey, Cambridge
The bride and groom walking at home in Swavesey, Cambridge
A portrait of the bride and groom in a doorway at home Swavesey, Cambridge
A winter portrait of the bride and groom in Swavesey, Cambridge
A marquee wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
A winter wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
A wedding drinks reception in a marquee in Swavesey, Cambridge
Wedding guests enjoying a drinks reception in a marquee in Swavesey, Cambridge
A winter whites themed marquee for a wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
A winter themed wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
The groom making a speech in Swavesey, Cambridge
The groom toasting the bride in Swavesey, Cambridge
The best man's speech in Swavesey, Cambridge
Wedding guests laughing during the speeches in Swavesey, Cambridge
Guests throwing their heads back with laughter at the speeches in Swavesey, Cambridge
Wedding guests holding their glasses high for a toast at wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride and groom struggling to cut the cheese cake at their wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride and groom cutting a cake of cheese at their wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride and groom's first dance at their wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride and groom enjoying the first dance at their wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
Bride and groom kissing on the dancefloor at their wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
Wedding guests dancing at a marquee wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
The bride's family dancing at a marquee wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge
Guests with brilliant dancing skills at a marquee wedding in Swavesey, Cambridge

Are you planning a winter wedding?

I’m excited just thinking about it! What a cool time of year to get married ;) Got to love a pun!

If you’re looking for a calm and low key wedding photographer to capture your wedding naturally while you focus on the fun, we might be a good match!

Check out my portfolio and some reviews. And if you like what you see, we should talk photography! Get in touch to check availability or ask questions.

I’m excited to hear from you!

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