Sophie & Freddie

If you're Big in Japan (as these two are) you might baulk at the idea of organising the quintessential English country wedding at such a distance. But then you would have reckoned without a formidable team of mothers, sister and girlfriends aided and abetted by the wonders of modern communications technology.   Not for Sophie those long champagne-fuelled wedding shop visits and bridesmaid summits - in fact all of the unofficial bridesmaids had no prior knowledge of The Dress, and were surprised and amazed by its unexpected sleeveless style.   But if you've managed to pull off Michelle-Obama-style upper arms in the run-up to your wedding, why wouldn't you want to show them off?    

(The boys, meanwhile, had travelled to Spain for a little light bull-fighting.  Yes;  bull-fighting.  MoG not best pleased when younger brother George returned with an arm in plaster, but it could have been so much worse...)

This was a local (five minutes from home, might be a record) and largely home-grown affair - I arrived to shoot the preparations to find a team of bridesmaids sweeping, arranging, potting, weeding, decorating and gently perspiring.   Sophie's sister Victoria in particular takes the credit for the stunning marquee interior and table design - and all those table decorations came from the garden which was in fullest bloom.    The doves released after the service were borrowed from a friend next door so wouldn't have taken long to get home... Even the cake was made by Sophie's aunt - and was surrounded by (not quite sure how many) candles as they'd chosen Freddie's birthday as their wedding - that'll be useful in future.

I love this crowd - so happy to see Daisy & Willsy from their amazing tropical wedding last year returning Best Man honours, and a bunch of Bristol University folk I've gone on to see several times over the course of this wedding season.  And so glad to say that Sophie made a speech - you'd be amazed how rare it is.   I've been doing this job for over 15 years, and have only heard four brides speak at their own wedding.  One of them was me. 

Make up:   Charlotte Cowan

Dress:  Brides of Winchester

Florist: Heather Coulter

Marquee:  Pole to Pole  

DJ: Hey Mr Wilson

Film: James Hollingsworth at Digi-Scope

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Emma & Peter

Ah, this 21st century dating thing..  It feels like most of my couples have met at university, at school, at playgroup... but these two are different.   Having led very different lives, and with absolutely no likelihood of ever crossing paths, they idly logged on to Tinder one evening in London, and KERPOW that was it.   (I wonder how many Tinder marriages there now are?)   Peter even calls Emma his Tinderella - once there might have been some kind of stigma attached to internet dating - now that couldn't be further from the case.   These two are perfectly suited, and blissfully happy, and how lucky they are..   

But the RAIN, dammit.  Not just a short shower, but relentless, drenching, tedious, unforgiving rain - I think Alanis Morissette wrote a song about it.   The only people who got outside all day were the ushers, who enjoyed some of Tim's legendary hospitality at the Yew Tree - that was it.   I think I might invest in one of those headband umbrellas for moments like this:  one of my camera bodies even decided to pack up after it got too wet.  (Stressful? Nah - even the back up has back up).   But as Billy Connolly famously observed - there's no such thing as bad weather, just wrong clothing.  

And if you're wondering why the best man looks so familiar, you'd be right.   None other than TV funnyman Rob Brydon, whose speech caused several guests' faces to contort in helpless paralysed laughter - truly the funniest speech I've heard in many years.   As you'd expect.    Amazing food from my old favourite Georgie at Mange 2 and for me the highlight - Rob joining up with the brilliant Millie & Tim of Saloon Star for a few numbers to the surprise and delight of all the guests (and most of the waiting staff).   Work?  Not really...  x

Make up: Lucy Baker

Dress:  Stewart Parvin

Catering and event design:  Mange 2

Music: Saloon Star

Cake: Final Touch

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Milly & Tom

These two were best friends for 10 years having met at Oxford Brookes, but it took just a little while longer for Tom to propose to Milly on the Pont Marie in Paris after a boozy lunch. All good things come to those who wait…   Deluge and downpour the morning before - but their day in Wiltshire dawned bright and the light cloud only gave way to rain once the guests were having dinner and oblivious to outside weather conditions.  Weather report aside, I'd been struck from the very first meeting by the warmth of Milly and her family - parents Pippa and Alan, older brother Alex (whose wife H had recommended me - high praise, from a fellow photographer) and younger brother Jinx who will be marrying his lovely Illy next year. So welcoming, so natural, so close: it's easy to imagine the years ahead of small cousins galloping around the gardens of Partridge Farm (which had been made glorious by hours of Pippa's hard work), family holidays and general fun.. Lucky them.

I digress. The boys were lunching at the Bath Arms which is so close to Longleat safari park that it would have been rude not to have bagged posing rights;  happily they were all game (sorry) for a bit of posing with a T-Rex billboard.   I have to thank stellar bridesmaids Caroline and Sophie for keeping Milly calm as she was buttoned into her exquisite Caroline Castiglione dress, with hair and make up by Stephen and Charlotte. One of the adorable flower-girls was even wearing a replica of a dress Milly wore herself as a girl, a typically detailed and thoughtful touch to honour a special guest.

I've really never seen flowers like those that Miranda Fairhurst and her team produced at the church. Every pillar, every window frame - the pew ends were so garlanded that Milly & Tom needed to pick their way carefully through them as they came down the aisle, like wading through a summer meadow in the sunshine.  Hundreds upon hundreds of delicate sweet peas:  the fragrance was delicious.

How exhilarating it will be in years to come to look back at all your favourite people lined up in sunshine along a church wall cheering, laughing, throwing confetti. Max is perhaps not a career chauffeur (no peaked cap? really..). but as a best friend he did a decent job even if the first glass of champagne poured on the way home was his own.   Perfectly coordinated wisteria for the formal photos, more rivers of champagne, and although I'm generally a bit busy to take stock of the delicious things coming out of the kitchen I could see that Victoria's canapés were sensational, as was dinner later.

And this was some marquee. The phrase 'jaw dropping' is overused, but I can promise you mine did. Just take a look. Look at the flowers! Look at the view beyond! What an incredible setting. There were speeches, there was much laughter, there was a second Milly with new hair and a breathtaking belt (I've never seen a bride inhabit an exceptional dress like this - really - she look ravishing), there was more champagne, cocktails, fluorescent headgear, and oh, there was dancing.

Milly's father Alan reminded me, as the dance floor jumped behind us, that all his (many) professional achievements and milestones 'were as NOTHING' compared to his love for his children, as he gestured proudly to those three and their soul mates who were whirling around in joyful excitement.  Couldn't have put it better myself.

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Zoe & Bobby – married

I first met Zoe when she saw an album of mine at White House Brides and the first meeting involved coffee, cuddling her gorgeous baby daughter Phoebe and in-depth chat about a great deal other than her forthcoming wedding.   You just know, don't you, when you've met a kindred spirit.    The path to the wedding wasn't entirely plain sailing but I never met anyone who could handle life's vicissitudes with such calm and good humour.   She's a coper, a looker-after, and has the legs of a baby giraffe.   

Fast forward to January this year - a chilly day with a smattering of snow (sadly not the photogenic type, especially as their lovely house seems to sit in its own cosy ecosystem), a tipi in the garden and a banquet for intimate friends, family, and a scrumptious bunch of small flower girls.   The wedding came just a few weeks before a move to the US, so Zoe kept herself busy in between table plans with organising a container, packing boxes, making lists and a few other minor jobs.

She's lovely, and she's practical too:  this was definitely the first time I have been called upon to remove a bride's stockings before the ceremony because they were slipping down - far too distracting.  You can imagine how cold my hands were.  And when there was a momentary blackout it was she, rather than the many capable blokes around, who got stuck into the generator.    

Have a safe journey Zoe, Bobby & Phoebe - I'll miss you x

Marquee: The Stunning Tents Company

Catering: Caper & Berry

Bouquet, posies and buttonholes: The Blacksmiths daughter, Petersfield

Ring: Jeremy France, Winchester

Hair & make-up: Suzanne Dusek


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Sam & Evie

I love seeing the changes when I go back to photograph regular clients – these two feature here when they were two, and now they are nearly five.   Battersea Park is a favourite location – so many places to explore and extremely familiar to this family which lives close by.   So this walk is part of the fabric of their daily lives, and it was lovely to be able to capture that for them.   And yes, you could be forgiven for wondering why one twin has lost teeth and the other hasn’t – the first top one was lost in small collision, and the second one gave up the ghost almost the moment I arrived for the session.   I think it’s adorable – didn’t stop her grinning from ear to ear..

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Cleverly Wrapped

This amazing businesswoman, wife and mother has moved back to the UK after a long stint overseas and with all her children at school, is not the sort of person who can sit idle.   She’s also well versed in all things fashion and retail, having worked her way from the Gap shopfloor all the way up to the higher echelons of the White Company.   Highly organized, driven, and super-stylish, she’s set up a new online boutique selling designer scarves Whilst it’s important to view the product, she felt it was also important for people to see and get to know a little more about her story and motivation.   I know I’m more likely to buy from a small company like this (small for now only, she has ambitious plans) if there’s an approachable, intelligent person behind it.   She is especially keen to support local designers, and can be seen here discussing scarves with whose wonderful designs she stocks.

You can read more about Harriet’s story here and see what she thought of the experience here.


Fraser family

Baby toes.   Is there anything more delicious?  Another Hampshire shoot with a gorgeous family - the first image is one of my all-time favourites.  

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Turner family

I've known this lot for a while, and was not disappointed when I predicted that they would be completely up for it,  possibly even mad for it.   Very little direction needed and a great deal of laughter and silliness.   The exterior shots were taken at the wonderful Danebury Hill Fort, a spectacular and windy spot in Hampshire, where they got engaged..

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