Somerset is abundant with beautiful wedding venues such as Babington House and Orchardleigh House so I was delighted when Helen and Sam asked me to photograph their wedding at another gem Ston Easton Park, a Palladian Mansion near Bath which oozes opulence and decadence, and has the most amazing gardens for some stunning wedding photos.
We started the bridal preparation at Helen’s parent’s home and from the minute I walked through the door I was welcomed into the family, with Helen’s mum Sue busily making us delicious appetisers to keep us all going, while her dad Richard kept the bubbles flowing as the girls had their hair and make up done by the talented Yvette Parsons, and stuffed confetti cones with dried petals.
This wedding was full of personal little touches…I love how the cones were made from the manuscript of ‘Kissing You’, the love theme from Romeo & Juliet which is the music Helen walked down the aisle to…and the handkerchiefs Helen gave to both her bridesmaids and her parents…there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Helen is also a bit of an artist and is a dab hand with a paintbrush so she sacrificed some of her old ones to make holders for the table plan and table names which looked great.
The plan was for Helen to make her way to the ceremony in her father’s 1920s Belsize car but as the wind was ‘a bit blowy’ that day, the girls’ lovely locks wouldn’t have survived the open top and were saved thanks to a vintage Bentley and Rolls Royce borrowed from family friends – not too shabby a back-up plan for the wedding cars! The Belsize still made a cameo appearance outside the venue after the ceremony, and as all brides should, she took the driving seat…start as you mean to go on, and all that! From the look on Sam’s face, it seems he’s already accustomed to this 🙂
Once the ceremony and group shots were done, I took Helen and Sam off for a bit of alone time to wander around the beautiful grounds to some picturesque little spots I’d found on my reccie the day before the wedding. I just love the chocolate-box cottage at the edge of the river, covered in Wisteria and the pergolas – all very romantic for a little one-to-one time for the new Mr and Mrs…and on that note, for all you brides wondering whether to take your husbands surname officially, how about this for the ultimate demonstration of togetherness? The couple announced at their reception that they are both officially changing their name to an amalgamation of their surnames. It was a complete surprise for the entire wedding party but it was met with rapturous applause and whoops of delight from their family and friends, who all obviously agree, in the infamous words of Jack Johnson, that they really are “Better Together”!
If you’re looking for some inspiration for evening entertainment at your wedding you could make like Helen and Sam and surprise your guests with a casino set up – its amazing how passionate and vocal people get about the winning, and perhaps more so the losing of money, even when it is not real…and then they can get passionate and vocal all over again when they hit the dance floor, courtesy of some pretty funky and soulful tunes from the live band SupaTight. Add in some Photo Booth fun and a Sparkler exit and everyone should leave thoroughly spent, in every sense of the word.
A massive congratulations to Helen and Sam – may your married life together be as united and unique as your new name!
Venue: Ston Easton Park
Dress: ‘Celebration’ by Peter Langner, from Browns of London
Headpiece: Gillian Million
Bridesmaids Dresses: Cobalt Blue Frances Maxi by John Lewis
Cake: Emma Buston at Bake My Cake
Flowers:Lynnsey Kelly Flowers