My oh my - what a day! Before we get to that though, let’s rewind to the beginning.
Katie got in touch with me last year to ask if she and Simon could meet me to discuss their wedding and, crucially, to find out if I was the photographer for them! The first meeting can be a little daunting and feel a bit like an interview, but when Katie & Simon came down to the Wild West from Laaandan town it couldn’t have been more different!
We met for coffee to chat about all things wedding. Talk swiftly moved on to more urgent matters like ‘So what exactly is a Pret?’ (I don’t get out of Pembrokeshire all that much!) and before long we were comfortable enough to be on swearing terms and comparing TK Maxx bargains. I really liked them, and so was thrilled when they asked me to photograph their wedding!
As always, the months flew by and soon enough it was time to meet again, this time to actually talk about the wedding! They had also opted for a pre-wedding shoot which I include in my wedding package, and brought their new baby, Mabel - a black lab/retriever puppy! <3
The weather on the day itself was a photographer’s dream - slightly overcast with a warm breeze, just perfection. The venue, Plas Hyfryd in Narberth, had recently had some renovation work and was truly living up to its name (‘Lovely Place’ in Welsh) when we arrived that morning.
My very capable assistant Jemeima and I popped upstairs where the girls were getting ready. Operation Wedding Prep was well underway; hair was done and Katie was taking her seat for makeup with the others done and looking beautiful. Phillipa Hughes was in charge of the makeup, it was my first time working with her and she was fab. As well as being a makeup pro she was a very handy wedding woman and it seemed there was nothing she couldn’t do!
The girls were mega chilled, without a hint of the stress and nerves that can sometimes be around during the pre-wedding prep. They were enjoying the morning, each with a prosecco in one hand and a cuppa in the other - girls after my own heart! Simon’s incredibly talented and very well dressed sister (I have since sought out and bought the dress she was wearing I loved it so much) arrived with the beautiful bouquets. Laura had done all of the flowers for the day; a lovely personal touch.
With hair and makeup done, the Bollinger popped and a toast to the day made it was time to put the dresses on. The bridesmaids wore floor length, grey wrap dresses, and Katie was in just the most spectacular Stella York gown from Janes Bridal in Lincoln It. Was. Lush. A royal-inspired, timeless dress with ballgown silhouette features, fabric covered buttons down the length of the train and, the best bit, pockets!
Leaving Katie and her girls to gather their thoughts and bouquets, we went ahead of them down the road to the church where Simon and the guests were waiting. Marrying them was Martyn, the vicar there who is always so nice and accommodating to me. They’re not always that forthcoming so it’s always very much appreciated.
40 minutes later after a gorgeous ceremony filled with love and laughter (the perfect combination for photos) the guests flooded outside to congratulate the newlyweds and grab a handful of confetti for what was an epic confetti aisle, even if a mischievous Aussie did try to sabotage it with a very well aimed crotch shot! We kept the family back to take photos at the church, while others made their way back to the hotel to get the party started. Slowly we filtered the group down until just Katie & Simon were left for some couple portraits in the dappled shade of the trees surrounding the church.
It was really important to Katie & Simon that people were able to sit back and enjoy the day as much as possible, so at this point the only thing on the schedule was some down time to have a drink and catch up with their guests, which in turn gave me the perfect opportunity to capture some casuals in the sunshine whilst the guests indulged in the Pimms and prosecco that was on tap.
Plas Hyfryd put on a delicious three course meal and the speeches were fantastic, inducing the perfect mix of tears and laughter. After the formalities it was back to relaxing on the patio for the guests as the sun slowly set toward a break in the clouds which I was definitely keeping my eye on, my hopes pinned on some golden hour magic before dark!
Dreams clearly do come true, and beautiful golden light began to trickle across the park. This was my moment to steal Katie & Simon away one last time, and we found a quiet spot in the trees across from the hotel. I encourage the couple to take this moment away from the busy party to just spend some time together to reflect on the day. They didn’t need any help from me; these two were so natural and happy together! I try to keep these moments as relaxed as possible, partly because it’s more fun for everyone that way, and partly because it allows the couple to show real emotion and laughter, which comes across beautifully in photos.
As we strolled back towards the hotel we could hear the band, Tough Love, starting up. I’ve seen them at weddings before and they are fantastic! This venue lends itself perfectly to the evening’s activities. Within easy reach there was the indoor dance floor where guests were most definitely enjoying the band, and the new outdoor seating with fire pits in the tables (cool huh?) perfect for enjoying the last of the twilight and reflecting on the day.
The time came for the first dance. For some couples dancing solo in front of all their loved ones doesn’t sound like the most relaxing bit of the day, and Katie & Simon styled it out with perfection. A few elegant turns before inviting all their guests to join them, which everyone was dying to do. This part is one of my favourites to capture, with the couple surrounded by friends and family enjoying the moment and the music.
As the evening progressed, the time came for me to leave. It had been a long day, but I was genuinely sad to be leaving this lovely couple - what fun we had! It was a total pleasure to be a part of their relaxed and beautiful celebration. We most certainly didn’t leave empty handed, as to put the cherry on top of a wonderful day they were kind enough to send us on our way with a bottle of champers each! That was so kind.