When it comes to beautiful settings in the height of Summer, a Sopley Mill wedding is pretty hard to beat. Frankie & Paul had quickly fallen for this gorgeous venue for their big day (easy discussion apparently: Paul loves fishing, Sopley Mill is well served on the river side of things…) and it all paid off as they and their guests enjoyed a sublimely sunny day for their celebrations.
Each year I usually photograph a few Sopley Mill weddings with either prep or the ceremony – or both – taking place elsewhere before the wedding party comes to the Mill for the reception, but Frankie & Paul were here for the full day. Hurrah! – that meant we got to make use of the lovely Avon Suite dressing room for prep photos too, while groom and groomsmen kept themselves occupied downstairs waiting for guests to arrive. (Pro tip: there’s a lovely little ground floor bar at Sopley Mill, down by the old cogs and wheels, as well as the evening one in the party room). A really gorgeous day on the weather front; warm and sunny but with a few little clouds scudding by just to throw a bit of interest into the sky. Guests as they arrived got straight out there to explore the grounds and gardens. It’s a really lovely place to just mill about, and I’ve just realised as I typed that what an absolutely terrible pun I’ve just made. Sorry. (I won’t edit it out though, as it does kind of work now I look at it again).
Upstairs next to that lovely ceremony room and that moment the Groom always loves the most when all eyes are on him as he waits for the arrival of the bride. Happily she didn’t keep him waiting long (in fact she was practically hammering at the door to come in and get started) – another little advantage of everything taking place at one venue; you know that everyone important is there for kick-off.
And such a sweet ceremony. Loads of laughter, smiles, hugs, kisses, tears (happy tears). It’s such a treat to get to see this as part of my job. What a wonderful way to earn a living. Especially as I also often get the best seat in the house for parts of the ceremony. And the, in what feels like the blink of an eye, rings were on, registers were signed and our bride and groom had skipped back down the aisle and out into the Summer sunshine to kick off the celebrations.
Having been able to photograph a Sopley Mill wedding at pretty much every time of year, and in pretty much every kind of weather, I can confidently say that it really is wonderful as a venue whatever you can throw at it. That said though, it really is something else when you get the full out-on-the-terrace and garden-games-on-the-lawn experience. Plenty of that today. I’m also a massive fan of the decked riverside terrace that they recently installed there. It’s absolutely transformed that corner of the grounds, and personally I think it’s a superb spot for the group photos in particular. So that’s exactly what we used if t=for this time. (Big group photo below taken from up on the fire escape, one of a couple of excellent vantage points the venue offers for that particular shot).
And then – always one of my favourite parts of the day with a Sopley Mill wedding – a little trit-trot over the bridge with just the bride and groom for a few couple portraits as other guests make their way upstairs for the wedding breakfast. It’s a nice way to steal a few moments for couple photos without feeling like you’re taking them away from the party for too long, but also and equally importantly, an opportunity for the newly married couple to actually spend a moment together. It’s amazing how much of a whirlwind a wedding day can feel like if you don’t make a point of carving out some little moments of calm for yourselves. You’ll quickly be right back in the thick of it: receiving line, speeches, cake cutting…
As we moved through into the evening it was back outside to enjoy the rest of the sunshine (perfect timing Frankie & Paul; the clouds rolled in and the little rainstorm appeared just as you started your first dance) and party time. What else? A bouquet was thrown and caught (congratulations bridesmaid, see you soon?), giant Jenga was toppled, croquet balls smacked. I don’t think any fish were caught in the end; Paul and his fishing-loving friends had I believe ultimately been persuaded to leave the rods at home. We did manage to steal away though for a final couple of bride and groom portraits by the river in the evening light.
Wonderful, wonderful day. The perfect Sopley Mill wedding, with the perfect couple. Massive congratulations Frankie & Paul!
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Making it possible…
Venue: Sopley Mill (ceremony & reception)
Hair & Makeup: Bridal Treats
Florist: Twig & Twine
Caterers: Red Cherry
Bar: Tom’s Bespoke Bartending
DJ: We Perform
Cake: Daisy Cakes
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this little taster of the gorgeousness that was Frankie & Paul’s Sopley Mill wedding. This is just a small selection of images from the day – friends and family can view the rest of the photos and the slideshow in their private viewing gallery, but you’ll need to ask them for the password first.
If you are currently planning your Sopley Mill wedding and would like to know more about my wedding photography services, packages and prices, please do get in touch to check availability and ask me any questions you might have. I’m only too happy to help however I can.
Thanks as ever for reading, and come back again soon for many more photos from many more beautiful weddings!