A tale of two brides…
Do you remember the ‘Beast from the East’? that we endured, well some lucky couples planning pretty spring weddings were surprised to discover their wedding would likely be covered in blanket of snow, it was the beginning of March, so depending on how technically minded you are, I think we can get away with calling it a winter wedding. This was exactly the case for the wonderful S&D who were married that March at one of my favourite local venues; South Farm in Royston. South Farm is a pretty special venue, it is brimming with character and photo opportunities and is where I did one of my first bigger events way back in the earliest days of my photography.
The lovely ladies wanted to prioritise natural photography throughout the day, they wanted their guests to have a great time and for me to stealthily capture those smiles and laughter. I am delighted to say, that I definetly achieved this (well everyone was so lovely and smiley!).
The venue at South Farm, Royston is a little bit special. Its a family owned venue, which is rarer than many couples might imagine when starting their planning journey. It is a working farm and breeds (very cute) livestock in the courtyard next to the main barn, as well as letting couples use the fields, grounds and greenhouses in the summertime. It boasts a range of features, outdoor ceremonies, separate dance floor area, onsite accommodation and gypsy caravans that you can also sleep in if you want to. The barn itself is light, bright and airy barn, that also retains a very cozy feel in the colder months, it is hardly surprising quite how busy this venue can get!
The morning of the wedding
The bride and her bridesmaids utilised the brilliant on-site cottage to get ready in. It has been so well thought out by the venue and features a row of chairs and mirrors for everyone to get ready at once. Music was playing (always a good idea) and it was a complete hive of activity, with everyone already looking beautiful and lots of chatter. One of my favourite features, is that the room overlooks the courtyard, meaning that the bride and her wedding party can sneakily watch everyone as they arrive! S&B mainly wanted to focus on natural shots, this is generally the focus during preparation shots anyway, but we snuck in a few special ones of B at the end to celebrate her stunning one-of-a-kind cape that had been made for her.
The barn had been set up beautifully, with the material draping the ceiling giving it such a warm and cozy feeling. They made their entrances separately and both drew wow’s from their gathered guests. The ceremony was a traditional registrars service and they chose to personalise it with readings from special friends and relatives. The expressions between them say it all really! After the register, we headed out to celebrate and throw some confetti!
The farmhouse at South Farm makes a gorgeous backdrop and is just perfect for confetti shots, allowing the couple to stay warm whilst I get the guests ushered nicely into ready position to launch confetti at them! Always one of my favourite moments to capture!
The group shots were completed nice and quickly, something that is especially important in poor weather conditions. I always spend time before the wedding going through the group photo list with my couples, they often appreciate the guidance and the final decisions are always down to them. This way, I can take names, bracket or remove unnecessary combinations and it all helps the shots to run very smoothly – keep in minus temps in order to keep a smile on everyones faces.
The Couple Portraits
I always try to get a really nice balance of couple shots, natural ones as they happen through the day are a given, but you can achieve a lot more by taking them away for a few minutes. I love seeing them relax as it becomes just the two of them again, often grateful for a gulp of fresh air and some (almost) alone time, but I still need to work quickly as after 10 minutes or so, the couples sometimes find themselves feeling the effects of ‘missing out’ on what is happening back at the wedding. I usually shoot 2-3 portrait sessions with the couple, all short and this was especially important for D&S when the weather was firmly in the minus degrees. These ladies were absolute troopers, we did these super fast and soon had them back inside for a cuppa!
After a chance to warm up…
Inside to warm up with their delicious hot canapés whilst I busily snapped away capturing the natural moments and then back out with the new Mrs and Mrs. to make the most of the venue whilst the guests were seated for the wedding breakfast. No complaints from this amazing pair, who laughed and were perfect throughout, even dancing across the lawn with snow creeping in to their shoes! Back to barn for the meal and a deserved warm-up.
The Wedding Breakfast and Speeches
The couple booked me whilst they were travelling around the world, all via a sister, who helped with so much of their planning. These two had spent year adventuring and wanted to showcase this passion at their wedding, sprinkling a theme of travel and adventure throughout. Suitcases and trunks decorated the spaces and the top table, with pictures of them enjoying their travels together marking the table numbers on each table. They chose to have a naked cake, something I, personally utterly approve of (yum) and finished with fabulous speeches from the usual culprits, including their wonderful best ladies who didn’t hold back at all!
The barn is already generously spacious, but in the evening a door opens from the main barn to reveal South Farms new dance floor area; glass floor and fabulous lighting and sound options. It provides a separate space without the need to turn the room around, yet keeps everyone close enough together to keep the atmosphere high energy.