S&B are both massive game vloggers, their actual career is spent being in front of the camera, no pressure there then for myself! When my kids found out about me doing this wedding, they were blown away (“but mum, they are internet royalty!”). I had no idea, because, well… I am not anywhere near cool enough to be in that world, I just thought they seemed lovely and full of fantastic ideas. Another one of our real barn weddings for you to look through.
Natural Photography and just having a blast were the priorities of this wonderful couple. They live in the US, so the entire booking process was completed online and via video calls, I was very much looking forward to properly meeting them on the wedding day.
Away from the glamour of their home city LA (although S is from the UK), they were after a slightly more quiet and quintessentially English wedding and to these guys, that meant a traditional barn style celebration. They looked for a long time to find the perfect venue, eventually landing on the beautiful Milling Barn near Royston. Another venue, I am delighted to report that we are a preferred supplier with.
The 17th century barn at Milling is a fantastic size, with high ceilings, natural light and a very useful mezzanine floor. The immediate grounds offer an amazing area for vips to get ready (a lovely cottage that has been renovated since this wedding!) as well as comfortable gardens surrounding the barn itself for the guests to enjoy. One extra special feature is the little woods over a field on the venue grounds, complete with tractor transport. Couples can choose to get married in an outdoor ceremony surrounded by the woods and their loved ones, that is what S&B chose to do and it made for an extra special ceremony.
Often with barn venues, some compromises do need to be made, sometimes the venue only has the one space or not a lot of natural light. Milling have cleverly worked around this, with a completely separate part of the building available for ceremonies, drinks receptions and especially useful if you are unlucky with the weather.
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.
I was on my own at this wedding, with no second shooter, so I spent most of the morning running across the courtyard between the bride and back to the barn again to capture S’s side and all of the comics and goings. They hired a double decker bus to transport their guests to the venue and this can work very well, it can save your guests money and save them getting lost, it helps to keep things running on time. It can also be a great opportunity for fabulous wedding shots! The guests stepped off the bus to welcome drinks and a rather brilliant Prosecco bar, lots of hugs and smiles to capture whilst I waited for a good time to steal the boys away.
Definite bunch of cheeky-chappies, these guys! I have said it before and will do so again, I much prefer having to wrangle a boisterous, over enthusiastic group into some kind of order that deal with too much enforced formality. The guys were in matching attire, with the best man opting for this formal military uniform and all looked great together as we explored the grounds to find a couple of great spots for their shots, the camaraderie and kinship was obvious between them.
The guests slowly made their way over the field to the little woods across the grounds, with transport provided (tractor & trailer style!) for those that would rather not walk. The set-up in the woods was beautiful, with guests seated around an attractive pergola/summer house. They chose to use a professional celebrant and you will find more info on the benefit of celebrant led weddings here, for S&B, it allowed them to create a more personal ceremony and it certainly had a relaxed feel. After the ceremony, everyone remained in the stunning surroundings of the woods, before throwing some confetti and heading back to the barn for obligatory drinks and canapés.
Greeted warmly by the lovely staff upon our return to the barn, with plenty of drinks and delicious canapés ready to go. I enjoy watching any cloak of formality disappear through the drinks reception, watching the excited hugs and greetings as everyone starts to relax and really get into the spirit. The venue has a lovely, huge tree just across the road from the barn and it always makes such a special place to get the group photos done, they were left in good hands with the Brilliant Sam Lewis entertaining them with his vocal talents. I would strongly recommend a live singer/performer at some point(s) of the day, really provides a focal point for the reception and always boosts the atmosphere, Sam was an ideal choice for these two, playing relaxed guitar to suit the ambience throughout the ceremony/reception and switching to his band persona for the evening reception, you can find more out about him at The Sam Lewis Band.
The Wedding Breakfast and Styling
The barn is already very authentically rustic, somethings S&B loved about it and were happy to go with. The used relaxed flowers throughout the wedding, adding gentle highlights of colour wherever they were based, the flowers were put together by the lovely, talented Lesley at Woburn Wedding Flowers who interpreted the couples brief so beautifully. The food at Milling Barn is always something to look forward to, I have been lucky enough to photograph their tasting evenings for them and know from experience that everything on offer is delicious. They even offer a wood fired pizza option for the evening!
The Wedding Party
My faves, let me set the scene, the sun is beginning to set, everyone has had just enough to drink that they are nicely jolly and it is my task to gather all eleven of them and usher them gently to the edge of the fields. Some still have drinks in hand, some cigars, I lay on the floor trying to instruct in-between laughing fits and it all culminates in some of my favourite wedding party pictures ever!
The Couple Shots
Sometimes when discussing what a wedding couple want from their pictures, it can emerge that they want different things! On the whole, they were agreed, they wanted natural images (see about our blog explaining the different styles here). However, when it came to the couple shots, they did have slightly different ideas. S wanted to keep it all natural, whilst B was a bit more comfortable with posing and wanted something special, cue a compromise.
There are always ways to work it in these situations, and we moved quickly, capturing some of B on her own doing some very dramatic images and utilising the last rays of sun to capture some special images of just the two of them in record time!
The barn transforms into a fabulous evening space, the bar is in the same room and the guests don’t have much reason to leave the main space. They may nip outside for some fresh air or to sample the amazing wood fired pizzas available at Milling, but mostly the layout of the venue keeps people close in one main social space. The brides brother J is already a well established singer and performed a beautiful personal piece on the keyboard to accompany the couples first dance.
After that, the Sam Lewis Band took over entertainment and everyone joined the dance floor! I was not in a hurry to leave, it had been such a great wedding and I had been made to feel so welcome. So I stuck around for a bit, chatting the guests and enjoying a bit of pizza whilst a snapped some bonus evening shots for S&B.