Winter Wedding at Broadoaks Country House – Bethany and Nathon

Wooden swing engraved with memories are forever

The first of our weddings this year was Bethany and Nathon’s, and what a way to start the wedding season. The Lake District put on its best weather with blue skies, sunshine and a scattering of snow for their wedding at Broadoaks Country House set in beautiful Troutbeck.

After a trip to the hairdressers in Windermere the girls headed back to Broadoaks to continue getting ready and I popped out to see the guys who were staying at the famous Mortal Man Inn in Troutbeck. We enjoyed a little stroll down the lane taking in the superb Lake District scenery.

The guests made the most of the weather, milling on the terrace outside Broadoaks before heading in for an intimate candlelit wedding ceremony in the music room. Lulu -  Beth and Nathon’s greyhound was an honoured guest at this dog loving hotel and joined in most of the day. The weather continued to be kind to us all day and Beth and Nathon were able to take some time out in the grounds of Broadoaks and the nearby lanes, with the setting winter sun providing beautiful golden light for their couple shots.

It was a wonderfully relaxed and fun wedding day, with the bride and groom enjoying catching up with friends and family in the lovely surroundings of this luxury Lake District Country House Hotel. After a fish and chip supper the party started and I left the couple with their friends dancing the night away. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Raine – a wonderful day.

The Hair and Lounge hairdressers in WinderemereBridesmaid in Curlers drinking a cup of teaBride having her hair doneBridesmaid Hair being styledHairdresser finishing Bridal Hair styleBlack and white photograph of the Mortal Man near WindermereGroom and Best man walking outside a Cumbrian PubGroom and Ushers at the pubGroom and ushers enjoying lunch at the pubThe grounds of Broadoaks in the snowBride and Bridesmaid getting readyGreyhound sleeping in a room at BroadoaksBride and Bridemaids putting on their makeupBridemaid applying her make upGreyhound relaxing in Dog friendly hotelBridal Portrait black and whiteWhite and Green Bridal BouquetWedding guests milling in the grounds of BroadoaksWedding guests enjoying a drink in the grounds of BroadoaksLaughing wedding guests at BroadoaksGuests having a drink at Troutbeck WeddingWedding guests in the music room at BroadoaksBridemaids walking into the Music RoomBride and Groom getting married at BroadoaksBride and Groom getting married in TroutbeckWedding ceremony in the music room at BroadoaksBride and Groom in the Grounds of BroadoaksBride and Groom outside BroadoaksWedding Couple shot on a swingBride and Groom on swing in the grounds of BroadoaksBride and Groom walking down a Cumbrian Lane in TroutbeckBride and Groom photographed through the fountainBride and BridesmaidsWedding Guests enjoying a drink The staircase at Broadoaks Country HouseWedding guests in the Bar at BroadoaksYoung wedding guestWedding Guests milling inside BroadoaksBridemaid laughingWedding reception at BroadoaksWedding guests laughingGuests at candlelit wedding receptionWedding ToastFish and Chips wedding breakfastFun wedding reception - little boy laughingLooking through the window at wedding breakfastOrange bridesmaid bouquets and bridesmaidFather of the bride speech Bride's reaction during the speechesMum's reaction during wedding speechesGroom's speechGrooms son watches the speechesMum and dad reaction during wedding speechesBest man speechGroom's reaction to best man speechGuests reactions to speechesBride's sister watching wedding speechesBride and Groom cutting the wedding cakeBride and Groom first dance at BroadoaksWedding first danceGuests dancing at wedding discoDancing at wedding disco at Broadoaks

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Tea Party Wedding at Armathwaite Hall – Sophie and Chris

Bride and Groom standing on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria

Armathwaite Hall is a beautiful and popular wedding venue in the Lake District and I have had the pleasure of shooting a number of weddings there over the past couple of years.  Sophie and Chris’s tea party wedding was a first for me at Armathwaite, and it was the perfect location for it.

Chris is originally from South Africa and some of his family flew over to share in the special day.  The wedding ceremony took place in Wigton at St Mary’s Church with the groom and gentlemen looking dashing in top hat and tails. Chris’s niece as flower girl did a great job and came a close second to the bride as being the star of the show.

After the wedding ceremony we took Sophie and Chris down to the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake for some wedding portraits with the stunning backdrop of the Lake District Fells,  whilst their guests enjoyed a drinks reception. Sophie and Chris were then treated to a very enthusiastic indoor confetti storm as they entered the Broadwater Suite for their afternoon tea at Armathwaite Hall. The stunning wedding cake from Choccywoccydoodah completed the tea party theme.

One of the things I love about photographing weddings is the privilege it is to be involved in such a special personal and family occasion. I am always looking for the little moments to capture; the intimate looks, the laughs and the connection between people; and it was a real pleasure to document some of those moments for Sophie and Chris as I captured the story of their wedding day.

Wedding at St Mary's church in WigtonGuests arriving at the church for a weddingUsher helping Groom put on his buttonhole in churchGroom in top hat and tails taken in Black and white Wedding Guest speaks to the GroomCongregation gather in St Mary's church for wedding ceremonyFlower girl being lifted out of wedding car in WigtonBride climbs out of the car at St Mary's church WigtonBridesmaids and flower Girl wait for the BrideFather of the bride looks with pride at his daughter entering the churchBride and Groom stand at the altar in St Mary's ChurchMother of the Bride embraces the Groom during the signing of the registerBride and Groom signing the register shar a joke with the flower girlMother of the Groom during the signing of the registerBride and Groom prepare to process out of church after getting marriedOnlookers wait outside St Mary's Church for the Bride and GroomBride and Groom kiss outside churchGuests and bridesmaids laughing at weddingBride and Groom get into wedding car outside churchBride and Groom embrace standing under a treeBride and Groom walk along the shore at Bassenthwaite LakeRelaxed couple shot of bride and groom sitting under a treeFord Wedding Car drives up towards Armathwaite HallBride and Groom arrive at Armathwaite Hall in wedding carBridal portrait standing by the window at Armathwaite HallBride and Groom on the roof of Armathwaite Hall looking at the view across Bassenthwaite LakePianist entertains the Wedding Guests in the Lake Suite at Armathwaite HallBride and Groom lead the guests through the grounds of Armathwaite HallWedding guests enjoying walking through the grounds at Armathwaite HallWeding Cake with tea pot, tea cup made all out of chocolateGuest admiring the wedding cake made by ChoccywoccydoodahConfetti shot with Bride and Groom indoorsBroadwater Suite at Armathwaite Hall during Wedding reception with confetti on the dancefloorYoung wedding guest takes a picture of the top table at wedding receptionTea party wedding reception with cake standGuests enjoying tea party wedding receptionTea being poured during a wedding reception tea partyAfternon tea at Armathwaite HallYoung guests shower confetti over flower girlFater of the Bride Speech with daughter laughing and groom smilingFather of the Groom Wedding Speech Best man speech at Armathwaite HallBest man speech power point presentationTop table enjoying best man speechTop table laughing during wedding speechesBride and Groom cutting tea party wedding cake by choccywoccydoodahGuests help themselves to sweets from Candy CartYoung wedding guest enjoying a sweet from sweet cartBride chatting to guests during wedding receptionSpecial moment captured as mothers sit on a step with the flower girlWedding guest takes a picture of bride and friendsFlower girl standing in a doorway at Armathwaite HallBride and Groom enjoy their first danceBride's parents have an emotional moment watching their daughter during her first dance at her weddingMother of the Bride dances with the GroomWedding guests enjoying dancingWedding disco at Armathwaite Hall with guests dancing

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2012 Reflections

I know we’re already well into 2013 and this is a little late in writing,  but I really wanted to share a few of my favourite wedding photography images from 2012 to sum up what was a fantastic year. Being a wedding photographer in the Lake District, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph weddings in such amazing and diverse venues and locations, with some of the most beautiful scenery in the country as a backdrop. It has also been a real privilege to meet so many wonderful couples and to be a part of their day. This blog wouldn’t be complete without giving them a chance to have their say too – so I have asked them to share their favourite photograph from their wedding day and why they chose it. For me, each wedding is unique and I really try to reflect something of the couple, their personality and what is special about their wedding in my photos.

Winter Wedding at Armathwaite Hall  

Alyssa & Shane’s choice

Christmas Wedding at Armathwaite Hall“We chose this picture for a couple of reasons. You stayed longer on our wedding day and those extra photos you took, we shouldn’t have even got, but they are some of our favourite of the day, probably because we were more relaxed, which is another reason. But mainly because we love this moment you captured of us laughing together. Another reason we love that photo is that it matches us and a quote Shane used in his speech – ‘We are all a little weird, and life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutual weirdness and call it love – true love’ – Dr Seus.”

Dave’s choice

View from Armathwaite HallTo get to Alyssa and Shane’s wedding at Armathwaite Hall  in January last year we had to make an early start and enjoyed a frosty drive up through the Lakes. Although there wasn’t the snow Alyssa had hoped for, I knew she wanted a really wintery wedding, so we pulled over just before turning into the drive at Armathwaite to capture this shot. The morning light catching the frost on the grass and the view over to the Lake District Fells was stunning.

Skitby House Wedding

Jackie & Mike’s Choice

Fun Wedding“I have so many favourites this was really hard! I have chosen this one though. Whilst it isnt a traditional couple shot, for me it reminds me of how I felt on the day – happy, giddy, relaxed (maybe a bit dizzy). The sun shone, we got ready at home, chilled in the garden with family and friends and then the day carried on as it started. It reminds me that we had the day we wanted, not conforming to anyone else’s agenda and doing exactly what we wanted to do.”

Dave’s Choice

Flower GirlJackie and Mike were lucky to have one of the most sunny weddings of the year – and this was unexpected,  it only being March. When I arrived at their house to photograph the preparations I was greeted by a lot of very chilled out people, including the bride and groom, sitting out in the garden and in the conservatory, basking in the sun. This was exactly the sort of relaxed day Jackie and Mike had wanted – and that feeling continued right through the day.

Instead of bridesmaids, Jackie had chosen to call her friends ‘shoemaids’ – so shoes featured heavily in their wedding story. At the point I took this photo, I was crouching down in the conservatory looking to get a shot of Jackie’s sister’s very special shoes as she was milling around. Sometimes however, moments just unfold infront of you and as I looked up I was able to capture this great picture. I love the light in this image and the energy and fun it captures – which really sums up the feeling of Jackie and Mike’s day.

Eden Lodge Wedding

Lisa & Martin’s Choice

Bride and Groom at Bardsea“I love this photo as it is not only a beautiful wedding shot, but also really shows off the landscape around our wedding venue. Because of this my husband, who hates having his picture displayed around the house, has agreed to let me have this picture above all the others on our bedroom wall after surprisingly little argument.”

Dave’s Choice

Wedding Couple Bardsea BeachWhen I first met Lisa when she was searching for a wedding photographer, one of the first things she said to me was ‘Martin hates having his photo taken and I only have one good shot of him ever!’  No pressure then Lisa!! I must have said something at that meeting that convinced her that I would be able to put Martin at ease and capture some really natural shots of him, that he might even like – as Lisa went on to book me for their wedding day.

I loved all of Lisa and Martin’s couple shots – and would agree with Lisa’s choice of favourite – she must have a good photographic eye. When it comes to couple portraits, I am always looking for natural emotions and genuine interaction and in all of Lisa and Martin’s shots, that is what shines through.

Cartmel Priory Wedding

Rachel & Graham’s Choice

Wedding Group Shot“Mine and Graham’s favourite is the photo that you took “hanging out of the bedroom window in the barn” looking down on everyone,  because all our guests are on it and we’re all stood in our back garden in the sun with the evening ahead of us”

Dave’s choice

Cartmel Priory WeddingI love the natural mingling and emotion that happens immediately after the wedding ceremony when the couple comes out of church. I love to get in close with the action; this allows me to get shots which have energy and make you feel like you, the viewer, were there. But sometimes, you can also show the mood with a wide shot.  I feel this image sums up the emotion of that moment. It seemed that half the village of Cartmel came out to wave off Rachel and Graham as they left in their horse drawn carriage. With the way I’ve framed this shot I’ve been able to take a busy crowd scene and make it look simple and clean. There were so many beautiful shots from this wedding I could have chosen, with Cartmel Priory, Black Fresian Horses and a marquee in the garden of Rachel and Graham’s house – but there’s something about the mood this shot evokes that I love – and perhaps also because it isn’t the obvious choice.

Aldingham Church Wedding

Rose & Nick’s Choice

Aldingham Church Wedding“We found this very hard and could have chosen many! This is one of our favourite photographs that you took on 4th August 2012 as it depicts many different aspects to our wedding. This is the point that Nick has just seen our wedding car – this was a surprise for both Nick and I, as my Dad had arranged it for us. It was vibrant red Ford Mustang, which everyone thought was fantastic, Nick and I included. The sun is shining which was again another complete surprise for the day as the weather prior to the Saturday hadn’t been good at all and up until the Thursday the weather forecast was expected to be thunder and lightening for the Saturday. Finally, Nick and I are just walking out of the church after getting married – another reason to smile!”

Dave’s choice

Black and White wedding photographyI always try and be as discrete as possible when photographing during the wedding ceremony. At Rose and Nick’s wedding I was wedged in a tiny gap, crouched at the front of the church.  Knowing that couples generally choose a significant person to do the reading, I always try and get a shot of them if I can. Having done this, my attention was drawn back to the bride and groom. I could see that there was a real connection happening between Rose and Nick during the reading, but I was wedged at a really acute angle and I couldn’t really see either of their faces clearly despite being very close to them. But it’s amazing how often patience is rewarded; I framed up the shot and waited. I just needed Nick to turn his head slightly and bingo, I got the shot. What I love about this image is that even though you can’t see Rose’s face clearly, you can tell that’s she’s smiling.

Langdale Spa and Windermere Wedding

Louise & Stuart’s choice

Wedding Ceremony at Langdale Spa Hotel“Looking through our wedding photos each one holds a special moment and memory of our day that we can look back and treasure. But the reason behind choosing this photo above all the others, is that Dave captured everything about us as a couple that we value so much “Fun, Love and Laughter”. We both wanted this to be captured in our photos and Dave managed this perfectly and sneakily because half the time you didn’t even know he was there.”

Dave’s choice

Wedding at The Olde Mill, UlverstonLouise and Stuart had a unique and creative wedding day. Their day progressed from Langdale  to Bardsea, on various modes of transport, including boats, trains, buses and cars. By the end of the day I felt like one of the family. Other than Louise, this little flower girl was the star of the show. I love this shot as Louise and Stuart didn’t even see the moment happen. The flower girl was enjoying all the attention of the guests clapping, seemingly for her dancing; but was then quite put out when she realised it was for the bride and groom as they cut the cake. It’s capturing little moments like these that make my job so special.

Grange Hotel Wedding

Rebecca & Craig’s Choice

Bride and Groom at The Grange Hotel“This is our favourite photo from the day as it captures the fun we have and the laughs we share. It’s a moment that reminds us of those little inside jokes we have.”

Dave’s Choice

The Grange Hotel Wedding SuiteI have photographed several weddings at The Grange Hotel this year, but had never before been up to this particular room. I knew from the moment I walked in that photographically speaking, it had great potential. The light shining through the window and shaped by the curve of the ceiling looked like a painting. With a beautiful bride and beautiful light it was a gift. It would have been easy to stage this shot, but that’s not what I do. I knew if I waited that the elements would come together to make a great shot. The result was not just a beautiful image, but a beautiful image capturing a poignant moment.

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A Guide to Rock the Frock photography

Trash the Dress shoot in New ZealandA beautiful dress deserves to be let out

Every bride wants to look radiant on their wedding day and choosing your wedding dress is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. There’s something magical about a wedding dress; that transformation you make into a bride, the rush of emotion when you see yourself in the mirror for the first time. It’s a dress so many people have dreamed about wearing since they were a little girl. It’s a dress to celebrate, it’s the dress you get married in.

Yet your wedding day goes by so quickly. After all the planning and dreaming and organising it’s over in a flash,  and your wedding dress is resigned to living in a box under the bed or hanging somewhere in the depths of the wardrobe. When are you going to have the chance again to put on that beautiful dress you spent so long choosing?

Rock the Frock photography is about celebrating that dress and celebrating how it makes you feel.  It’s another chance to get excited about putting your dress on, another chance to enjoy the emotions of feeling fabulous in your dress and an opportunity to create some beautiful, emotive images to hang on your wall.

Rock the Frock photography in water

What’s the difference between a Rock the Frock and a Trash the Dress photoshoot?

For me, weddings and marriage are something to celebrate, and your Rock the Frock photos are an extension of that. It’s about you having a brilliant experience doing the shoot, it’s about you feeling beautiful wearing your wedding dress again and it’s about creating one or two outstanding images that you just wouldn’t have the opportunity or time to do on your wedding day. It’s not about trashing your dress, it’s about cherishing it. I don’t get you to throw buckets of paint on your dress or set fire to it. I don’t want to destroy it. Most dresses come out of the Rock the Frock experience completely unharmed. There’s a line that I definitely don’t want to cross, and that line is flexible for each bride. I work with you and your dress to create a set of images that you are going to love.

Urban Rock the Frock photography with light trails

What happens on a Rock the Frock Shoot, and what’s the difference with how I photograph on your wedding day?

On your wedding day I photograph in a documentary style, not interfering or interrupting your day, just capturing the natural moments which are happening. There are no second takes on a wedding day; your day unfolds and I document the story. I very rarely use flash, am very discrete and do very little directing. It’s all about you enjoying your day and your friends and family, it’s not about the photographer.

A Rock the Frock shoot is a completely different approach. It’s more like a fashion shoot. Collaborating with you, we’ll come up with one or two locations for your shoot and then on the day I will come with a real vision of what I am trying to produce.  It’s a really fun day; you in your wedding dress doing something or going somewhere you just couldn’t have done on your wedding day.  On the Rock the Frock Shoot I will use different photographic techniques, flash and reflectors and combined with lots of tenacity and enthusiasm we’ll end up with a stunning image. We’ll keep going til we get it; if something isn’t working, we’ll try something else. At the end of the day, it’s about making a beautiful shot, which is well composed and well thought out, but in which you’re still looking natural. It’s not about fake smiles or awkward poses.  I don’t just want to stick you in front of a beautiful landscape and take a nice shot. It’s about being artistic and creative and coming up with something unique for each person, something dynamic and fresh – it’s about creating a ‘WOW’ image.

Trash the dress with helicopter

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Joanne and Lee’s Christmas Wedding

The Grange Hotel Wedding

My last wedding of 2012 was Joanne and Lee’s, celebrated at St Peter’s Church, Ireleth and The Grange Hotel. Joanne just loves all things Christmas, which was perfect for her winter wedding celebrations. Unfortunately no dusting of snow to give that Winter wonderland effect, but plenty of Mulled Wine, Christmas Decorations, Mince Pies and Santa Hats.

Cumbria has some beautiful churches set in amazing locations, but few have as elevated a position and as good a vista as St Peter’s Church at Ireleth which sits on a hillside overlooking the Duddon Estuary. The family church of both Joanne and Lee, it was a special place for them to celebrate their marriage. Lee is an helicopter engineer in the army and certainly scrubbed up for the occasion in his full military dress, with plenty friends in uniforms in the congregation to add a bit of ceremonial splendour.

The Grange Hotel in Grange over Sands is always a favourite wedding venue of mine, with the staff so accommodating and friendly and it looked great in all its Christmas trimmings. I must say the father of the bride speech at the wedding breakfast has to be the most unique ever – never before have I seen a father invite his daughter to throw a pie in his face – and probably I never will again! I left Joanne and Lee dancing the night away with their friends and family – congratulations Mr and Mrs Storey.

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Winter Wedding at New House Farm

Crummock Water wedding photographyJen and Joby chose to celebrate their winter wedding in the beautiful Lorton Valley near Keswick. Joby was in fine form, despite his stag do having been just the night before, and he and his brother enjoyed a swift pint in The Wheatsheaf before heading to St Cuthberts’ Church, Lorton for the ceremony. Jen arrived at church, in fashionably late bridal style and was serenaded up the aisle by Joby’s brother playing the trumpet.

The landscape of the Lake District was a really important part of Jen and Joby’s day, so we made a fairly swift getaway after the ceremony to catch the last of the afternoon light for some couple shots by the Lake. Winter weddings can be a challenge for photography with the light being lost fairly early in the day, but we managed to get some beautiful shots with views across Crummock Water and the fells before it went totally dark – and before Jen went blue!

Jen and Joby chose a traditional barn at New House Farm, Lorton for their wedding reception. The refurbished old cow byre, dating from 1866 was a cosy place to warm up by the open fire with a glass of champagne, before heading upstairs to the barn for the rest of the evenings celebrations. Jen had done a wonderful job in dressing the barn with lots of details and personal touches. The exposed stone walls, soft lighting and natural country style gave a really warm feel on a cold November evening helped by the hearty wedding breakfast from Karen Rhodes catering. We left the happy couple celebrating in style on the dance floor with their friends and family.

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Louise and Stuart’s wedding – Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I love the fact that all weddings are different. It has been an absolute pleasure this year to photograph such a variety of weddings, each with its own unique and personal ideas and touches which makes it so individual to the couple and so interesting to photograph.

Windermere Lake Cruise wedding

Louise and Stuart’s wedding was no exception – indeed their wedding day travel extravaganza from the stunning setting of the Langdale Valley in the heart of the Lake District to the Cumbrian Coast at Bardsea was certainly different and very memorable.
Louise and Stuart both work for Windermere Lake Cruises so it was important to them that both the beautiful landscape of Lake Windermere and the boats and trains they have worked on were a part of their wedding day. Their day started at the Langdale Hotel and Spa with an intimate ceremony and wedding breakfast for family and friends. Then via car and minibus they made their way to Ambleside to enjoy a cruise down Lake Windermere aboard the Tern to Lakeside, where they hopped aboard the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Train for a gentle journey in elegant style to Haverthwaite Station. Then the last leg of the journey back in the minibus to join their evening guests at The Olde Mill at Bardsea
I had a great time sharing Louise and Stuart’s wedding extravaganza. They are such a fun couple and really embraced my approach to wedding photography. In fact they trusted me so much they even gave me a thank you card and bottle of wine before they had seen the photos. Thanks Lou and Stu  – look forward to giving you your album.

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