I was very privileged to recently undertake the wedding photography at St Barnabas Centre for Nick & Sonia. Although the reception was to take place at the St Barnabas Centre, the day was to be spread over a number of venues including the ceremony itself in the very pretty church of St. James in Thorley.
We met up with Sonia and her bridal party early in the morning at ‘La Dolce Vita’ Beauty Salon in Bishops Stortford. Sonia, Nick’s mum and two sisters, Sonia’s sister and her Maid of Honour were all due to have their hair and make-up done. Although it was quite early, it wan’t too early for a few bottles of bubbly to be cracked open and there was a real party buzz to the mornings preparations. The staff at the salon were brilliant – very warm and welcoming and, very importantly, kept the photographers in coffee. The salon is deceptively spacious with different rooms for all the different preparations. I’d like to pretend I know my way around a beauty salon but, like most men I suspect, I didn’t really have a clue. I just tried to keep out of the way and capture what was going on.
After the Salon, I headed back with Sonia and some of the party so that she could get into her dress while Chris, my assistant, went with the bridesmaids to get some shots of Nick and his groomsmen getting ready at their hotel. The timings worked a treat and I was able to meet back up with Chris at the church to meet the Vicar and get ready for Sonia’s arrival. Sonia was arriving at the Church with her Mum and Dad in their orange V.W. Camper – Tigger! (Cliff will probably tell me off that I’ve got the make and model wrong but I’m sure he’ll be able to put me right in the comments!)
St James is a very picturesque parish church and Derwyn the Vicar, presided over a very intimate and touching service. At the conclusion of the ceremony and unknown to Sonia, Nick had arranged for Sonia’s horse Merlin to be brought up to the church which was clearly a really big and pleasant surprise for Sonia. We were blessed with a beautiful spring day so we were able to do some group shots outside. This was a new venue for me, never having done any wedding photography at St Barnabas Centre before. So I had been up to the venue a few days earlier and had a short route worked out for Nick and Sonia to walk so we could take some photos and make the most of all the wonderful setting had to offer. Nick and Sonia’s guests were able to enjoy aperitifs in the barn for the 30 minutes we were out shooting.
The barn conversion at the St Barnabas centre has been carried out very thoughtfully and blends all the charm of the old building – exposed oak beams and a high pitched ceiling with all the functionality and creature comforts of a modern conference / banqueting suite. From a photography point of view, the high dark ceiling threw up a few issues about how to light the speeches when the natural light went but, again, thanks to a pre-visit and a chat with the venue organiser, Kate – I had come prepared and it was no problem.
Towards the end of the meal, as the sun was going down; there was a wonderful opportunity for some sunset shots (one of which you can see below). Nick & Sonia were good enough to bear with me and leave their dessert so we could grab a couple of shots before we lost the sunset. I’m glad they did as we got some spectacular shots.
In the evening a whole hog roast had been laid on for the guests (and photographers!) and Naomi and her team from Premier Crew had done a hugely impressive job through out the whole of the reception. All was left was the cake cutting, first dance and to get the party started!
It was a truly wonderful day from begining to end. It was an honour and a priviledge to shoot the day for such a lovely couple who are clearly so much in love. Congratulations guys!!