I’d long been looking forward to photographing Victoria & Laurence’s big day. We’d had an absolutely wonderful pre-wedding shoot a little earlier in the year down at Hengistbury Head (I must start blogging a few more pre-wedding shoots as well as the weddings themselves I think; they’re an excellent opportunity to get a bit creative and explore capturing the essence of the couple, plus we go to some beautiful locations for them too). No more dress rehearsals now though – this was time for the real thing!
Victoria and bridesmaids were getting ready up in the Avon Suite – the Mill’s own pre-ceremony dressing room (loving that dress by the way, Victoria!) – while Laurence and his groomsmen greeted arriving guests downstairs. When you’ve got a perfectly sunny Summer’s day like this everything before the ceremony takes care of itself really – everyone just loves exploring the grounds and soaking up some rays before heading upstairs to the ceremony room.
What a wonderful thing when you’ve got a whole stack of musically gifted friends. Not only did they play the music as Victoria walked down the aisle on her father’s arm, we also had – a new one for me – a barbershop quartet during the signing of the register. I’ve got a lot of respect now for this form of signing having heard it close up; it’s incredibly impressive harmonising.
So the music was beautiful, but of course it doesn’t compare to the beauty of the wedding itself. I love seeing couples so genuinely happy, so fizzing with the joy of tying the knot. And smiles – so many smiles! Newly married, bride and groom beamed their way back down the aisle and into that glorious sunshine to kick off the celebrations with – what else when you’ve got a summer wedding, a rich green lawn and garden games – Pimms and nibbles…
One of the things that I really appreciate about Sopley Mill as a venue is that there are so many different options for your group shots. As a photographer your requirements can change so much, even during the course of a single day, depending on factors such as where the light is coming from, what conditions are like underfoot, how mobile some of the guests are… what I’ve happily learned through the course of the many weddings I’ve now photographed at Sopley is that you’ve always got options for beautiful group photos. I don’t tend to include many in my blog posts as, from a storytelling perspective, I much prefer the photos I show here to capture the essence of the day itself, the couple and their guests, but rest assured I know how important it still is to get them right and make them beautiful, even if – as many of my couples say – they don’t want to feel like the group photos took over. On a day like today we were after somewhere quiet with a little bit of shade, and I like to keep the light behind the couple if I can… the big tree at the far end of the lawn, where the two rivers converge, fitted the bill very nicely thank you.
Right up to the top of the Mill then for wedding breakfast and speeches (many more smiles, much more laughter…) and then back outside once again to enjoy the rest of the evening light, starting with a bit of a Sopley Mill classic, the duck race. A nice little touch for Victoria & Laurence’s wedding; the rubber ducks were sat on the tables as part of the centrepiece, ready for each table to decorate (please note if you’re considering this yourself: decorations and punny names can get increasingly entertaining the further into the meal the duck-pimping starts and the more the wine has flowed by that point).
And then as the soft evening light rolled in, out over that fab iron bridge to the extra little gem that Sopley Mill has up its sleeves in the water meadows across the river for a few couple portraits before the evening party kicked off in earnest.
You know how you go to a wedding, and it just feels like the perfect couple had their absolutely perfect day. Yep, this felt like that. Massive congratulations to the most lovely of brides and grooms. Wishing you many very happy years and adventures together Victoria & Laurence!
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this selection of photos from Victoria & Laurence’s wonderfully sunny Sopley wedding. There are plenty more for friends and family to view 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 photography and would like to know more about my 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!