May Bank Holiday was a busy weekend. On the glorious, sunshiny Saturday my destination was a stunning wedding venue, Hendall Manor Barns near Uckfield, North of Brighton. The couple, Emma and Paul had planned for their wedding ceremony and reception to be held here. Joining me on the journey was Jim, of Jim Elliott Video and Photography. The venue is in the middle of rolling green fields which just invite you to stop, take a moment and just view the world. It really is stunning.
There was a sense of calm when we arrived, helped I’m sure by the professional and friendly staff at Hendall Manor Barns who were ensuring all things were set and in place as planned (and doing a wonderful job of chasing up the delayed flowers!). Paul was looking remarkably chilled out as he was waiting during the final stages of the set up, happily taking time out to pose with his brothers who were taking the role of Best man and Usher for the day. Emma & Paul’s son Oscar was also there waiting, playing with some other children and being incredibly well behaved (I need tips for my children!!).
Paul,his groomsmen and son didn’t go for the traditional buttonhole flower accessory. Instead, Paul had commissioned a jewellery maker, Alexandra Howard to make some lapel badges and tie pins for them all to wear. These looked amazing, a steampunk style that really complemented the slim-fit blue suit with black trims that Paul was wearing.
With perfect timing, Emma, her parents and bridesmaids arrived in a vintage VW split screen Campervan supplied by Delux Wedding Hire based in Crawley, West Sussex. I learnt 2 things: 1) the camper was called Candy after its Vintage White and Apple Red colouring. And, 2) I want one!! Emma looked beautiful wearing a strapless ivory gown with incredibly delicate fabric flower details along the décolletage and hips, finished off with a veil. Her bridesmaids complemented her perfectly in deep purple-blue dresses.
While Emma completed the legal conversation with the registrars the rest of the guests settled themselves into the main hall at Hendall. This brick barn building is flanked on its lengths by ginormous windows which allowed light to stream in and bounce off the walls creating a really warm feel to the room. It was a real pleasure to witness the interactions between Paul and both families as the start of the ceremony drew closer.
Suddenly in a flurry the registrars returned. The atmosphere changed from jovial chit-chat to a quiet, nervous anticipation. This is one of my favourite moments during a wedding day, I feel that knot in my stomach and sense the adrenaline start to course through my body from the excitement of what is about to happen! From where I stand I am able to capture the visible emotion and anticipation of the groom as well as the emotions and expressions of the bride as she walks towards her beau. One of my favourite shots of today was during this moment. Oscar, their son, crept from his seat to peep past his father’s legs to watch his mother arrive and walk towards them. Paul’s nerves were visible, as was the simultaneous tenderness towards their son.
It was a pleasure to watch Emma and Paul exchange rings and vows (and a kiss!!) during the ceremony. Their friends and family looked on proudly as they married, then of course Oscar stole the show by joining them as they signed the register!
After the ceremony we were able to whisk the new Mr & Mrs Brigstock away to the gorgeous and varied grounds at Hendall Manor Barns….but not before I spied the Best Man looking decidedly nervous for his next big role….the speeches, while Emma & Paul played around with the Camper oblivious to his near panic!!
Now, the grounds at Hendall really are beautiful. If you come out of the main wedding and reception area there is an array of areas that are just crying out to be used as a backdrop. The first place we used was the car park barn. This may seem like a bizarre place to settle, but when doing the recce of the location a few months previously I spotted these wonderful railway sleepers used as a wall. Lovely textures that lend itself to both colour and black and white photography.
We then walked the scenic route round the grounds using pathways and greenery as the main components for the composition of some more photos before coming to the Manor House. This is the owners private dwelling, but they very kindly allow us to use it for the photographs and boy am I glad! I couldn’t resist asking Emma and Paul to sit and chat for a moment on some small steps leading up to a summery, yellow door. This door makes me want to rethink my own exterior colour scheme at home!!
Popping through a side gate into the private gardens we came to the piece-de-resistence….the pillars. For those that don’t know Paul, he is a singer, a rock singer, and I felt the unplanned & unposed shot as he lifted their entwined hands in the air was befitting for his craft and personality. As we continued to spend some time in this area we really got to see the love and happiness that was bouncing between these two. Emma could not stop smiling and laughing as they chatted and posed and chatted some more.
Our last point of call as we returned Emma and Paul to their guests was to capture some shots of them with their families and friends before they sat down to their meal. Again, the location couldn’t be more perfect. Back in the central courtyard there are some steps leading up to the barn and its large glass doors. This provided an opportunity to capture the reflection of the blue sky that blessed the day without getting any of the sun-squint in peoples eyes! Winners all round. I even found some new assistants for the afternoon.
As we called it a day and left Emma & Paul to enjoy the rest of their celebrations I have to say it was a glorious day. The bride and groom looked so happy, the venue was a dream and I got home well before dark ready to prepare for a wedding the following day! What a privilege to be part of such a lovely wedding. Thank you Mr & Mrs Brigstock, and congratulations!!