Liz & Peter’s pub wedding at The Bluebell, Dockenfield is the sort of charming day I really adore. There’s certainly a place for bombastic weddings, but in all honesty, I think I prefer shooting the relaxed, low-key affairs. Weddings like this invariably allow more time for the truly important stuff; hanging out with your nearest and dearest, chatting with old mates and, above all, a closer association with the reasons that originally inspired two people to choose to spend their lives together.
I began my coverage of Liz & Peter’s day in Farnham. I caught up with the boys, who were having breakfast at Bill’s on Castle Street. This is the sort of atypical wedding scene that I really enjoy – nothing clichéd and lots of honest moments. Next it was off to Liz’s parent’s house in Rowledge to see Liz and her bridesmaids and capture the bridal prep. Once everyone was ready, we made tracks for Guildford Register Office. Civil ceremonies often have a refreshing lightness to them, and that was very much the case for Liz & Peter. A small crowd always seems to negate any stuffiness; perhaps it’s the fact that everyone knows one another so well. Liz looked utterly stunning in her gorgeous Laure de Sagazan wedding gown from The Mews and I loved her colourful sunflower bouquet.
Liz & Peter decided to do a two-stage wedding reception. Initially their guests came back to Liz’s parent’s house for an informal afternoon tea. This was great because it gave an hour or so for the Bride & Groom to celebrate with their immediate families and close friends before heading on to the Bluebell for the more gregarious stuff. It’s not a structure I’ve covered before but as Liz & Peter were very organised and had built in plenty of time during the day, it worked marvellously well. I’d recommend it to anyone.
On arrival at The Bluebell, Dockenfield Liz & Peter were met by an extra helping of cheering guests. Following confetti, reception drinks flowed naturally into speeches – some of the best and most moving I can ever remember (with many tears shed) – before the dance floor was declared open and the party started in earnest. The Bluebell, Dockenfield has the perfect mixture of open space and cosy nooks and it made for a fun photographic environment. I especially enjoyed photographing the snooker. This was played by about thirty people at once, on a mini table in a tiny low-ceilinged room. Hardly The Crucible, but from my point of view far more compelling!
We also found some time to sneak out for portraits. Liz & Peter sport one of the most significant height differences I can recall. This is mostly down to the fact that Peter has a rower’s frame and is essentially a giant! For portraits I actually love a height disparity. It might sound counter-intuitive but people tend to fit together better when one is taller than the other! I love the results. Natural, easy images of two people very obviously head-over-heels about one another.
I need to say a huge thank you to the Liz & Pete for having me. They were utterly fantastic and a pleasure to work with. If you haven’t gathered already, I left their wedding feeling completely invigorated! Thanks also to their good friends, and my former clients, Vicky & Paul. I shot for Vicky & Paul back in 2014 (followed by Vicky’s brother in 2017) and it was partly their recommendation that led Liz & Peter in my direction. I’m pleased to say that the chain continues; Lisa & Geoff, who were guests at The Bluebell, are my first wedding of 2019! I can’t wait to get the season cracking next weekend up at Eynsham Hall. Anyway, enough from me. Let’s have some photographs.
Want to see more of my documentary wedding photography? If you’re after another pub wedding, how about Lydia & Nikos’ day from way back in 2010? Fancy something completely different? Check out Fenella & Jamie’s extravaganza in Henley from 2016.