House

Aylin + Benedikt's Wedding in Perth

Watching Wuthering Heights the other day really reminded me of the moment I pulled up at the end of mile long drive way to arrive at Alexander House, Auchterader, for Aylin and Bene's wedding. I stopped my car when I was in view of the house to get a few shots before arriving and literally my car was rocking with the strength of the wind! It was so dramatic, with bruised skies and rolling hills with this house just perched at the top.

I love doing small weddings and this was one of the smallest. Only about 20 guests, all staying for most of the week at Alexander House with Aylin and Bene who only recently moved to Glasgow from Germany. In fact, when I met them in September they had only been there few weeks. After being together for many, many years Benedikt proposed and then drove Aylin all the way to Perth to show her where they were going to get married.

She looked stunning in an elegant white shift dress and jacket from Tiger of Sweden, shoes by Phillip Hardy and a cute key necklace from Tiffany's. In her hair she had a cute fascinator from Melle Cloche (thanks Lisa at MC for putting Aylin in touch with me!). Her flowers were by Glasgow's Roots, Fruits and Flowers.

A number of American wedding photographers have recently introduced the concept of a 'first look', where the bride and groom meet before the ceremony in order to take the couple shots then, therefore allowing the day to run more smoothly. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to do this. And in fact I loved the fact that Aylin and Bene were getting dressed in the same room and that he zipped up her dress and she turned to him with such a beautiful look.

As the day was closing in we took the group photos in front of the house before all getting on a bus to Perth for the registry office. Being early and it being a new city for almost all of the guests we took a little detour around the town and up to the rather majestic Scone Palace before arriving at the Old Council Chambers on the River Tay for the ceremony.

After the ceremony whisky was enjoyed before heading back to the comfort of Alexander House for champagne and canapes by Alison Kerr at which point I took my leave and left them to enjoy a week of great company and joy with their family and friends.

Scales Plantation

I'm very lucky to work with a fantastic boutique travel company called Canopy and Stars, an offshoot of Sawdays, who specialise in luxury camping.  I met Tom who runs C&S down in Bristol after shooting the Yurt at Inshriach House and have subsequently done a number of their sites to provide images for their websites and national media. In the summer I turned up on the train to meet Tabitha at Penrith Station who took me back, settled me in to my gorgeous shepherds hut, one of three they currently have dotted through their forest.  Each camp has handcrafted traditional shepherds hut with (a very effective) woodburner, a cosy wooden kitchen and bathroom block and compost loo and firepit.  My site had a wooden deck, complete with deck chairs perfect for sitting and gazing out over the spectacular North Lake Fells.

I luckily got to spend two nights there, slept extremely well under my feather down duvet and could happily have stayed a week in such amazing peace and tranquility.  I hope to get back there next summer although I intend to work my way through a few more C&S sites.  I've got my eye on the treehouse next...

Chris + Meghann's Wedding on Barra (Outer Hebrides)

During quieter times I like to make the most of my destination weddings and so a wedding in Barra, the Southern most island of the Outer Hebrides, became a week long road (and boat) trip for me and mum in early June.Chris and Meghann are Americans who somehow found my details and got in touch. As a MacNeil, Meghann wanted to celebrate her Scottish heritage by marrying on the Isle of Barra, at the seat of the MacNeils, Kisimul Castle; situated on a tiny island in the bay of Castlebay. Given the journey involved getting from Pasadena where Chris and Meghann and their families live to Barra it was close family only.You can fly to Barra (it is the only airport in the world that has scheduled beach landings!) but mum andI decided we had time to take the slow route which involved me collecting her from Inverness airport (she coming from Gatwick, me coming from Inshriach House’s folk festival Insider, a little worse for wear) and driving to Oban for the 7 hour ferry crossing to Barra’s Castlebay. With only about 1600 residents, island life is a little different to life on the mainland. Our B&B (Tigh Na Mara Guesthouse) host looked quizzically at us when we requested keys for our rooms, ‘you won’t need those here’, he assured us. How refreshing.I joined the family for the rehearsal on the tiny castle out on the bay and the wind and rain whipped around us. The next morning however, the sky was blue and the waters calm. I loved the intimacy of a wedding of only 11 people (including the bride and groom) and the setting couldn’t have been more picturesque. It was a joy to spend time with them and their lovely families and they invited me and mum to join them for the wedding meal at The Castlebay Hotel that evening after I had stolen them away for a half hour for some informal shots on the beach. After honeymooning in Italy they are now back in the US and have a summer of celebrations to share their marriage with wider friends and family.

Yvonne & Gordon's Wedding at Brigadoon

Brig O'doon House Hotel in Ayr is a perfect wedding venue.  The hotel itself is set on the banks of the River Doon in an outstandingly beautiful area within lovely manicured gardens. The Brig o' Doon is a late medieval bridge used as the setting for the final verse of the Robert Burns's poem Tam o' Shanter. In this scene Tam is on horseback and is being chased by Nannie the witch. He is just able to escape her by crossing the bridge (over a running stream) narrowly avoiding her attack as she is only able to grab the horse's tail which comes away in her hands (thanks Wikipedia - my literature degree didn't cover Burns comprehensively).

Yvonne and Gordon had taken over Doonbrae House, a 19th century house opposite the house, to stay in before and that's where Yvonne and the girls were getting ready whilst the boys were in Rose Cottage next door.  Yvonne was very cheery and relaxed when I arrived, more concerned with helping everyone else in the party to get ready before herself, I found her on the floor tying up her dad's laces long after she should have been in her dress!  Gordon and the boys, on the other hand, were regretting getting into their woollen kilts so early as for October it was so, so hot and muggy.

The bridal party were piped over to the hotel and down the grand staircase into the main ballroom where the ceremony was taking place.  The flowers and bouquet were created by Elaine at Dream Flowers & Favours.  The celebrant for the ceremony was one of Gordon's tennis students.

Yvonne's niece, Emily, was like her little shadow the entire day...

Doonbrae House...

Tennis ball's as favours...

If you were a guest at Yvonne and Gordon's wedding, you can view the whole album and purchase images here.  The password is Gordon's surname.

Lucy + Simon's highland wedding at Inshriach House

When I met up with Lucy and simon in the summer in Super Pizza on Brick Lane I was delighted - here was a couple with strong creative ideas and lots of input as to the type of photography they wanted. Roll on a few months and I arrived up at Inshriach House, nr Aviemore to find full hands on deck for their homemade village fete style wedding. The marquee on the lawn of the main house was bedecked in the brightly coloured, many metres of bunting that Sophie had worked tirelessly on for the Insider Festival, long trestle tables ran the length, covered with linen and sackcloth and scattered with purple vetch. Wild flowers were in a mix of cut glass vases and jars and the crockery and cutlery were mismatched. Unique place names (the arrangement of which were still being decided on hours before the ceremony!) were handwritten seed mats which could be taken home and planted. As I captured the details in the morning both the bride and groom were wandering in and out seeing to last minute arrangements.

Lucy didnt emerge from the bathroom until about an hour before the ceremony and slipped effortlessly into a trailing vintage style lace dress and enormous platform shoes (Lucy is very petite and Simon well over six feet!) and then I dashed on ahead to meet Simon at the Old Bridge Inn opposite the church - St Aidan's.

The cars were supplied by Bygone Drives in Aviemore with the bride arriving in a beautiful 1954 convertible split screen Morris Minor and her three gorgeous sisters, who were the bridesmaids, in a Bentley.

Whilst the signing of the register took place Lucy's sisters sang and Lucy and Simon peeped out to watch, both very moved. This is a couple so deeply in love that it's expressed strongly in their every interaction, so much so that I was moved to tears just watching them (it's something of an occupational hazard).

I always knew the the couple photographs would have the most spectacular backdrops. I could have shot there all day and we didn't even make it to the farmyard (chickens, tractors, festival props etc) but we did stroll through the fields and past the squash court and bothys.

The owners of Inshriach, Lucy and Walter Micklethwait, perhaps inadvertently,  come as part of the venue fee and are untiring in their efforts to ensure that a wedding on the estate runs like clockwise with nothing being too much trouble (picking vetch at 7am on the wedding day, extra lighting for photobooths at 11pm at night etc) So much so that the grateful bride usual insist they join the guests for the party.  As this bride told me, unlike other venues who are quick to discuss costs and curfews during an enquiry call, Walter simply enthused that a wedding at inshriach is 'amazing!' - sales pitch enough for an openminded couple with imagination.  Where possible they encourage the use of local or connected suppliers (such as myself - I have been going to Inshriach for 10 years) which gives any event a homely and personal touch.

The food, which had a very Scottish flavour, including venison stew and cranachan was supplied by Taste of Moray.  The cake (made by Lucy's sister, layers of coffee and fruit and nut cakes trimmed with wild flowers) was cut and it was onto a waltz for the first dance, played in by Ali and Hazen et al of Ord Ban Music who followed up with a good old barn storming ceilidh (which yours truly couldn't resist joining for a very extended Dashing White Sergeant.

I ended the night with an hour in the teepee cum photobooth with guests scratching out messages for the couple on the blackboard.  It's the first time I've done a photobooth but I really think it brings out the exhibitionist in guests - well, that and a belly full of wine, love and happiness...

(If you were a guest at this wedding, you can view the full album here.  The password is the surname of the groom).

Faye + Hugo's London Wedding

This summer my friend and fellow photographer Lorna ended up with a foot in plaster.  Not a good situation for a wedding photographer - you kind of need to be super mobile and for hours on end.  I was more than happy to step in and help her out at the intimate London wedding for Dutch couple Faye and Hugo. Having been living in London for a few years and big fans they wanted to mark their wedding in true London style which meant red double decker buses, union jack bow ties and Chelsea Town Hall.  Their bigger wedding happened later back in Holland later in the summer.

We caught up with them at Chelsea  Town Hall where the guests arrived on a London bus from The Hilton Hotel in Paddington.  The ceremony took place at the Chelsea Town Hall and the couple arrived together, Hugo walking Faye up the aisle in front of a small number of family and friends.

After champagne on the street the group headed back to Faye and Hugo's gorgeous flat in Notting Hill for cake and champagne.  Their friends had clubbed together to buy them a garden bench inscripted with their names and the date of the wedding.

A few hours later everyone regathered at the stunning private members club, Home House, for an evening meal and speeches.

A week in the highlands

I'm just back in Surrey after a wonderful few weeks in Scotland.  I like to combine work and pleasure where possible so I meandered up North after Tara and Folarin's wedding in Bedford for a couple of Glasgow weddings and finishing up in Aviemore at Inshriach House - one of my favourite places in the world.  I'll be blogging about the wonderful home-made wedding that Lucy and Simon had up there on Saturday night but I thought I would post a few pictures of the delightful Inshriach landscape taken for the Location Scotland website - taken in between hoovering the house ready for wedding guests, washing a smelly Monty-dog and cooking for Walter and Lucy to earn my stay in the 'Summer Palace' (see the last picture for my cosy home for the week).  I shot a fashion story up here last autumn and the place is just brimming with amazing locations including the Spey, numerous bothy's, a squash court, a victorian dog shed , vegetable garden and a mini loch - all within a stone's throw of the main house.  It's also home to the amazing Insider Festival in June.  Many thanks to Walter and Lucy for their hospitality, wine and for turning my electric blanket on full in anticipation of my late night arrival :) From top:  Cottages, loch, squash court

From top:  Caingorm Mountains, Loch, Inshriach House (with teepee and wedding marquee in background)

From top left: Squash court and bothy, river Spey, Victorian dog shed, 'Beer Moth'

Official residence:  Summer Palace

Before leaving I popped in to The Dell of Abernethy to take a few pictures for Ross and Polly of their new home which they have taken over running near Nethy Bridge. It has six stone cottages attached to the house which you can visit all year round and is an awesomely quiet and beautiful spot perfect for exploring the Caingorms.

Dodmoor House Winter Wedding Photography || Northampton Wedding Photography

Winter weddings can make me a little nervous (especially in Scotland) when the weather is unpredictable and light limited but when the elements come together in a beautiful harmony then the conditions can be stunning and a crisp, clear winter day is a wonderful backdrop. I had a day like this in November at Dodmoor House in Northamptonshire.

2011-08-25_020

After a rocky start to their engagement (Carol was knocked unconscious on the ski slopes moments after Stefan had proposed, thus forgetting that she had just agreed to marry him!) the planning went smoothly and the day itself was very memorable and relaxed.

Dodmoor is a fantastic venue - an old barn conversion with a romantic setting around a courtyard. Carol was amazing as we spent half an hour wandering around the grounds for the couple shots - it was absolutely freezing but she smiled on throughout. She looked so gorgeous in a delicate gown with a pink feathered boa and chunky jewellery.

The guests sat down to a traditional eight course chinese meal (as did I and it was delicious).

Inshriach House Wedding || Scotland Wedding Photography

One from the archives of last summer at my favourite wedding venue in the country, Inshriach House... I'd actually had supper at Cristina's parents with Cristina and MP about 5 years previously (and now remember some serious after-dinner wii-hoola-hooping action) but funnily enough had completely forgotten about this until I turned up at the house on the morning of the wedding to photograph the bridal party getting ready.

Cristina and her bridesmaids got ready at the Aviemore house which her parents have lived in for years and I got plenty of shots of them in the garden with the cows in the fields looking on.  They chose the pretty Loch Insh Church where Cristina's parents were married 23 years earlier.

Cristina wore a Caroline Castigliano dress with a black sash which was echoed in the bridesmaids dresses which they selected themselves, and teamed with some rather fabulous Christian Louboutin's.

I was reintroduced to them after their engagement by an old friend, Walter, who ownsInshriach; an Edwardian country house in the Cairngorms National Park where the reception was to be held.  Cristina and MP were looking for a relaxed, informal local venue which would allow them to bring the Spanish influence of Cristina's family into the meal (Spanish gambas and local Scottish beef) as well as having an incredibly relaxed atmosphere.  The groom's father was one of the designated carvers as joints of beef were served at table.

An (initially!) reluctant MP was pushed into performing the Spanish tradition of retrieving the bride's garter from her leg - with his teeth.  After first going for the wrong leg he emerged triumphant.

"I saw Cristina walk across the room with a feather in her hair and knew she was the one".  MP