Kate and James' Engagement at Dunorlan Park

Last weekend I jumped in the car and headed down to Royal Tunbridge Wells to meet Kate and James for the first time and to do their engagement session.  James had attended a wedding I shot for Amanda and John ages ago in Glasgow and so even before they had got engaged they had decided they wanted me to do their photography.  I'm looking forward to catching up Amanda and John at the wedding at Swallows Oast in April. Kate and James chose to have the shoot at Dunorlan Park in Tunbridge Wells - a now public park that was a privately landscaped gardens with a lake, grecian temple and fountain so loads of great spots for shooting.



Kate + Alex's Wedding at Great Fosters, Surrey

I have to confess; covering a wedding for a friend is quite possibly the most stressful assignment out there for a photographer.  I feel the pressure even more than usual to ensure that the photos are absolutely knock-out good (they know where I live), but this wedding actually turned out to be one of the most relaxed and calm I've been to all year.  The whole day from start to finish just flowed smoothly.  The team at Great Fosters were outstanding, with fabulous attention to detail and service.  And Kate and Alex simply radiated happiness and charm throughout. Kate got ready at her parents house, with make up by her friend Christina Panzini and then it was a short hop to the very lovely chapel upon a hill; St Edward the Confessor in Sutton Park.  It was pretty tight inside which meant I had to try and make myself even more discrete during the ceremony (at nearly 6 ft this is something I sometimes struggle with!).  Kate's composure dropped and her emotion came through as she entered the church on her dad's arm wearing a stunning gown designed for her by Forget Me Not Designs.  At the top of the aisle, Alex was tense in anticipation before he turned to see her walking down the aisle.  Oh, I'm welling up just writing about it! As everyone piled out of the church the sun broke through, accompanied by the pealing of church bells courtesy of one of the ushers, Mark, my brother (such wide ranging skills, who knew?!) and I pulled the couple away for a quick stroll up to the end of the church lawn and a few pictures. Back at Great Fosters we took a walk around the gardens where we had been a few weeks earlier for their engagement shoot.  Except for 30 seconds of rain (literally) it stayed bright and lovely.  I could have shot for hours with them, they are such a beautiful couple, but got them back to the Tythe Barn in good time for their grand entrance.   Usually at a wedding I will take a break during the meal (photos of people eating are never flattering), collapse in a corner, call my boyfriend and drink a LOT of water and when lucky be provided with the wedding meal.  Kate and Alex kindly squeezed me onto a table and I was sandwiched between newly weds Gemma (my brother's wife - wedding pics from Ibiza here) and Hayley.  Unfortunately for them I probably wasn't great company as I was hopping up and down every 5 minutes for shots but it was nice to grab snippets of conversation between mouthfuls.

The meal was delicious, salmon roulade, lamb and plum crumble and ice cream.  Cheese came in the form of a cheese 'cake' instead of the traditional wedding cake (made by The Lavender Hill Company who also did all the beautiful flowers).  After the first dance the awesome Ska band, Oomphf from Brighton kicked in, and parked outside was a photobooth taxi providing instant prints for guests.  Here is me and Dan the fantastic videographer from From the Hip trying it out:

If you were a guest at Kate and Alex's wedding you can view the full album here.  The password is their surname.

Tara + Folarin's Wedding at Wrest Park

This year I have photographed an American bride in the Outer Hebrides and an Irish bride on the Amalfi Coast and last weekend I got to photograph a Nigerian bride in the beautiful English Bedfordshire countryside. I don't know the area well but early on a bright Thursday morning I found myself driving along the Embankment of the River Ouse in the heart of Bedford to The Bedford Swan Hotel to find my Tara and her 7 (!) bridesmaids getting ready in a gorgeous exposed timber room.

After shooting the preparations for an hour or so I headed off 10 minutes down the road to Christ the King Church for the ceremony.

And then on to Wrest Park which I blogged about recently as we did their engagement shoot there.  It is staggeringly beautiful and only recently opened to the public after extensive renovations.  I could have spent hours shooting in the gardens but we kept it fairly quick so the couple could get back to their party.  Whilst we were shooting the rest of the party were able to go on a little tour of the grounds themselves.

For me the highlight was the entrance of the bridal party which was led by the two mothers dancing their way through the rest of the guests.  And the dancing and smiling didn't stop all night.  In fact I don't think Tara left the dancefloor all evening!

I was delighted to have Ioannis Crouch of Reel Emotion doing the video as he was a pleasure to work with and good company.

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