About 60% of the weddings I shoot each year are at new venues. Whilst it is true that having worked at a venue many times gives me valuable experience and knowledge, photographing a wedding at a new venue often gives me butterflies as I explore the opportunities. Add into the mix the fact that these two venues couldn’t be more beautiful and that makes Marcus a pretty happy boy (excuse 3rd person)!
What made the day even more special was that this was a destination wedding. Dan and Hayleigh live and work in Hong Kong and a lot of the guests had travelled from far and wide to celebrate their special day. It really was an international wedding in the Cotswolds!
I met Hayleigh and her entourage at Lodge Farm near Chavenage where she was preparing for her big day. After negotiating the necessary ball throwing and stroking duties with the local canines, I found Hayleigh in the main house with the amazing make up artist Vanessa Smith. There was a lot going on that I enjoyed capturing, with 6 bridesmaids, Hayleigh was well looked after but still seemed in charge! After a few pictures in the grounds of the farm, I headed to Westonbirt Arboretum and the wedding party boarded their transport – the Alex Cars vintage bus!
The Great Oak Hall at Westonbirt Arboretum looked great in its wedding finery and the ceremony was as beautiful as I expected it to be…happy tears all round! The wedding day was one of the most relaxed I have ever attended. Dan and Hayleigh had planned it so well that they had plenty of time for guests to hang around drinking champagne outside the Great Hall in the sunshine chatting and catching up. After throwing rather a lot of confetti, we headed for Chavenage.
If you haven’t heard of Chavenage before, check it out. Their website is very understated but the venue is incredible. I won’t go into the history here as I need to get to the pictures, but it has been virtually unchanged for the last 400 years! It’s the kind of place I imagine Constable to have sat and painted…cows and all! The beautiful flowers shown throughout the venue and day were by the very talented Sarah Tuckey at Aqua Wedding and Event Flowers.
The entertainment before the wedding breakfast was plentiful. There was plenty of mingling and photos but also garden games…including archery! Photographing archery to include the archer’s face is very difficult as there is a large risk of ‘spearage’ but I managed to get a few pictures. Anyone that has seen my portfolio album will know how often animals pop up at my weddings…well here we had a chicken wandering through the day. Early reports that it wanted to play a game of boules were unconfirmed…
There was a little time for some portraits with Dan and Hayleigh before the meal, and with a place like Chavenage, we were spoilt for choice! The only thing I knew was that cows had to feature! The room for the wedding breakfast looked stunning. It was candlelit but the green outside uplighters gave me that little bit of extra light to shoot the speeches without flash to really capture the ambience of the evening.
As always, the blog below is just a selection of images but I do hope it captures the essence of the day. A big thankyou to Dan and Hayleigh for looking after me on the day – congratulations!
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