Richard and Gemma were married in 2019 at the beautiful hotel and orangery at Barton Hall in Northamptonshire
When I first met these two, we hit it off immediately. They were both so friendly, easy-going and quite clearly in love. I was impressed with the story of their relationship, how they had built an amazing business together and how they wanted a Gatsby themed wedding. Even if we overlook the ridiculously beautiful human specimens they are, I already knew I was going to love shooting this wedding! real wedding
The Morning of the wedding
I arrived at Barton Hall in plenty of time, it is a venue I had only been to once before and I needed to ensure that I had some time to re-familiarise myself with the building and the layout of the grounds. I always try and do this at weddings, as I want to find the best light, wet weather alternatives and even those little secret nooks that every venue has to offer if you look hard enough. I wondered around the orangery and waited for my second shooter Owen to arrive, Owen was going to be busy with the guys, whilst I prioritised my shooting with the bride.
Bride and Groom Preparations
The atmosphere was immediate, music playing, giggling and a lot of people in a the room! The flower girls sat together on the bed comparing notes, the older bridesmaids were busy beautifying and the incredibly chilled bride was already looking stunning in the robe and curlers! Both the bride and groom had chosen to get ready at the venue and this does have some advantages, if a fancy wedding car is not your thing you can immediately save some money. It is one less thing to worry about on the day itself, the potential traffic and road issues being immediately alleviated. One of the other advantages are often big, naturally light rooms. High ceilings are a particular advantage, so if you are thinking of getting ready at your venue or a hotel be sure to ask them for the right kind of room. A second photographer does really help to cover both sides properly though.
R was cool enough to organise a quick trim from his professional nephews on the morning of the wedding, so literally not a hair out of place with these guys. Matching socks and cufflinks, and made to measure bespoke matching tux’s set the tone for a stylish wedding, with all of the groomsmen looking dapper as they made their way to the ceremony for the I-do’s.
Despite choosing a peak summer date, the weather was not completely on side. The day started out overcast with the threat of rain and by the time that the ceremony was due, it was beginning to shower. Although they had originally intended an outdoor ceremony, the venue worked quickly to prepare the stunning Orangery onsite for them, with so much daylight coming in and being in such a lovely building meant the rain had no affect whatsoever.
R&G had a traditional registrar service with some personal readings from friends and family. The Orangery was beautifully and tastefully decorated in-keeping with the rest of the venue and these two were not afraid to show their character throughout.
Drinks Reception and Groups
The rain was of-course around at the most difficult time, just as everyone would normally be spilling out onto the lawns. Again the Orangery provided a brilliant solution, drinks and canapés were served whilst myself and Owen stealthily captured natural moments and then onto some ‘vanity fair’ style group shots inside the Orangery (furniture moving appears to be a fairly regular part of our job!)
At the first sign of the rain was easing up, everyone began to work their way into the gardens for the opportunity to sample some more delicious canapés and check out the entertainment provided in the form of games, masks and other random things to make people smile! But of course, no wedding is complete without the obligatory confetti moment (always one of my favourite photo opportunities!)
A few of the couple
With an occasional drop of rain still falling from the sky, I didn’t want to keep R&G out for too long, but whilst the guests were seated for dinner, it did seem silly to waste the opportunity for a few special shots. I am delighted to say that R&G wanted some fabulous natural shots from their wedding, but they also wanted a few ‘wow’ directed shots which I cannot pretend that I do not love to do! We used the classic architecture of the Orangery as the backdrop for the first set of couple images before heading in for some grub.
Being the busy professionals that they are, R&G recognised that a venue dresser might be a wise investment. They chose to work with Emily from Sass Weddings, who they spoke through all their ideas with before the wedding date. Emily took all of the items that the couple had collected in the run up, as well as a few additional hired items and decorated the venue, making it look breathtaking. Tasteful and in-keeping with the Gatsby theme, and personal touches dotted the room, including masks of the bride and groom for the guests to wear!
Fun and Games
Barton Hall is a great venue because it has sufficient space for guests to really relax at a wedding. The time between the meal and the evening reception can often feel … in all honesty… a bit long. Ideally, you can either try to keep the gap smaller, or you can ‘fill the gap’ with options for your friends and family. R&G had a couple of hours between, which worked great at their wedding, they had a lively, energetic group of guests and provided them with plenty to keep them occupied, a DIY photobooth, some outdoor games, a couple of footballs and various spontaneous push-up competitions.
As the day drew on, the sun finally made an appearance and thankfully stayed for the remainder. Ideal timing with the sunset not far away, the sun drenching the lawns in golden light and making long shadows stretch through the gardens. The guests basked in its warmth whilst enjoying evening cocktails from the bar and Owen and I saw the immediate photo opportunities. We collected the wedding party, mostly they were a drink or two further along and all were now nice and relaxed. So we captured some shots in the beautiful surroundings, their characters clearly on show, just how we like it!
Mr. and Mrs…
After a quick drink, the couple were ready for their last little round of images, the sun was still shining and the guests were enjoying the entertainment and refreshments. We wandered further through the grounds to find a secluded spot, I always find to get THE shots of the couple, it is far easier when they are away from the madding crowds. Instead, we can focus on composition and timing and they can focus on each other – no distractions. We embraced the flares and as always everyone laughed, joked (and in their case, kissed) our way through the session.
The First Dance
Another reason that the couple and I had breathed a collective sigh of relief when the sun had appeared earlier is because they had planned on an outside first dance. Something I will confess I would love to shoot and see more. It is a bit like the advantages of an outdoor ceremony, just way more good angles to shoot just the right moments from. They had live musicians and a heart confetti cannon and danced underneath the fading sun whilst everyone watched and took the earliest opportunity to join in.
An Evening Outside
The weather had become so pleasant throughout the afternoon, that the guests remained there for much of the evening. In groups drinking, enjoying the musicians or interacting with some of the entertainment, as well as making plenty of their own! Donuts do thankfully help to fuel photographers too and certainly needed it to keep up with all of the brilliant antics.
A Wedding Cigar?
Not for everybody, but if you are already partial to a fine cigar, then including them on your wedding day can not only create a nice memory, but also some great photo opportunities. I mean, personally, I think that they taste like wet newspaper, but dang these guys do look cool with a ‘peaky blinders’ twist.
Mostly, I finish shooting a wedding around the couples first dance, I always like to capture a bit of the atmosphere before I leave and this works great for most weddings. However, sometimes, I am asked to stay later, and we all know that later can get messy and that is what I love about it. R&G wanted us to stay to capture the evening merriment and we are delighted that they did! Such a wonderful group of guests and an atmosphere that was still going strong even when we did eventually leave.
A Shameless Plug
R&G were, if you hadn’t guessed yet, really rather lovely and as I mentioned earlier their brilliant wedding has already been featured on The English Wedding Blog and were written up by the lovely Claire who runs the blog, who asked them what they thought of their photographer…
“We met with Esmé and immediately we knew she was the photographer for us! Relaxed, humorous and also really professional, she answered every question and also came up with questions for us about the day that we hadn’t even thought about! Esmé listened carefully to the day we were imagining .. relaxed ‘captured’ photographs with a short list of the structured ‘must have’ photos (we weren’t keen on the traditional pictures but there were a few we knew we should get!) and told us how she would like to plan our photography to fit in with our day and wow did she do that.. and more!
People tell you that your wedding day is a stressful day but with Esmé around everything was a breeze! We literally couldn’t have done it without her .. cheesy I know.. but she really cares and is also so kind and passionate about people.
Esmé even helped me with my jewellery in the craziness of the last minute rush of getting ready and STILL captured every moment, crazy and calm, of those last few minutes before the registrar. She has a calm but authoritive voice to gather those important people for their photographs and even held drinks, got down on the ground multiple times that day to get awesome photos and subtly took us away at sunset to capture the most amazing photos! I could go on and on but the most comments we had at breakfast after our wedding were how amazing Esmé was!”
I’m not crying, thanks R&G!
If these images or the kind testimonial have helped you to realise that I might just be the wedding photographer for you, you can get more info on my wedding packages HERE