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Dynamic Details and Fancy Feet

July 07, 2016

Joe and Kelly's Springtime Southend Barns Wedding

Right from our first meeting I knew Joe and Kelly were a couple who would stick in my mind - full of banter and mischief, they are both strong and interesting people who have a lot of love for each other and their family. Kelly is a self confessed tomboy; wholeheartedly obsessed with cycling, she doesn't like wearing dresses or makeup, and has never been shy to make it clear that she doesn't care much for having her photograph taken either! Luckily she is always up for a giggle, so in getting to know them throughout their engagement shoot and in creating a portrait for their guest signature canvas we had plenty of time for a good laugh and a chance for her to relax (and trust me!) in front of the lens.

Spring had well and truly sprung by the time the 6th May rolled around; the world was a lush green colour and had started to bloom. I arrived at Hunston Mill Cottages to meet the groomsmen and took great care when parking next to the gorgeous bright red Ferrari Joe had hired for his wedding day. More on that later!! The lads were full of laughs about the trials and tribulations of tying the rings onto the posh white ring-bearing cushion and the gifts that Joe had given them all; tie pins featuring various woodland animals. You can imagine the discussions (and the terrible puns) which ensued on the decision to give his two best men a fox and erm... a cockerel.


Banter aside, Joe was a groom that knew his style and was passionate about the details and intricacies of the wedding right from the onset. This resulted in the guys looking super sharp in their tweed and burgundy suits, and dapper brown brogues. I found this lovely shelf to frame Joe’s awesome shoes, the bricks and wood tying all the tones together beautifully.


Despite all the larking about, the gents were ready pretty early which gave us time at the reception venue to take a couple of morning shots before the fun began. The ceremony itself was held at St Peter’s Church in Selsey, with the reception at Southend Barns. It was nice to be able to get there early and take in the peacefulness before all the guests arrived. Taking advantage of this, along with the glorious morning light, opened up a new take on locations as I normally photograph guests mingling in the afternoon in this spot or at night, after the fires are lit, but it worked well for Joe and his two best men in the morning here. You can really appreciate the styling of the gents suits; the burgundy of the best men a delightful reverse to Joe’s stylish tweeds and trendy knitted burgundy tie. The logs and wooden table surrounding them give a perfect 'country chic fashion shoot' vibe.


We left the guys to sort out a few final arrangements (and play with the Ferrari!) and headed to Kelly's father's gorgeous house in Selsey. In true 'no-nonsense' Kelly style, she greeted us at the door brandishing a ukulele with 'does anyone know how to play this?' The ever thoughtful Joe had given his bride the ukulele as a gift; it was signed by one of Kelly's favourites - the one and only Craig David! Amazingly my assistant Kate is a musician so got to work singing the ladies a few tunes with the uke! It was a truly 'meant-to-be' moment and brought a wonderful joy and lightness to the room.


Unlike the boys, the ladies were a little more laid back in their attitude to time. They really added a new level to the prerogative of the bride being late! I grabbed a cheeky shot of two of the bridesmaids hiding in Kelly's' bed as they watched her casually applying her makeup.


Kelly had added her own cheeky style to the day; determined to avoid high heels she had every one of her bridesmaids and flower girls in customised converse trainers! Each was personalised with their name and the date of the wedding in tiny shimmering crystals and the ladies smugly agreed that it was nice to let the guys be the ones with sore feet for a change!


Trainers or not, Kelly emerged a truly beautiful bride. Here she is with the mirror showing off both sides of her hair and that stunning lace dress and deep red bouquet. Though she might have been tempted to strut down the aisle in some cycling lycra, she just glows in this portrait: simply stunning.


On arriving at the church we found the vicar waiting patiently at the door! A great opportunity to capture this rather traditional English image though, the wonderful old church framed by blue sky and fresh green lawn.


As soon as we stepped into the quaint English church we were greeted with another strong theme of the wedding - the humble bicycle. Joe had wanted to pay homage to Kelly's love of cycling throughout the day and made sure you were never far from a cheeky bike! Guests had to cross the 'love lane' mat he had made up as they took their seats for the service, and even the vicar injected a few bike related puns into his sermon!


The ceremony was full of tenderness as the couple exchanged vows and heard a poem written by Joe’s father. Here we see an intimate close up as they kneel to receive a blessing, as well as the best man's son looking as equally debonair as his father as he takes in the atmosphere.


The new Mr and Mrs made their way over to Southend Barns to enjoy the more informal part of their day. They cut the cake on the lawn while guests merrily chatted, entertained by the very talented Stephen Cornwell on acoustic guitar and vocals. The sun continued to do its thing, and the group photographs were full of jollity. I love this shot of the bridal party in the courtyard gardens, the deep reds and burgundy's contrasting against the vibrant fresh green hedge, and the comical angle of the best men's legs in the foreground!


Speaking of legs, I could resist showcasing Kelly and Joe's choice of footwear. I really loved how their shoes seemed to sum up their personalities so I set up this image to reflect that. The subtle reflection of Joe in the mirror checking out the shoes and the quirky position of his leg made for a slightly abstract take on the standard couple shot.


The couple had included some quirky little details for the reception as well. The table decorations were vases filled with rosy red apples. Both the colour of the fruit and the reference to a healthy diet blended perfectly into the theme and they looked great. The 'apple' theme didn't stop there... Each table was a well recognisable 'icon' found on a phone or tablet screen, and they had worked really hard on the table plan; each tiny detail being representative of the day and the couple's love of technology. You can see the guests’ names surrounding each icon, and even the amount of 'battery life' left on the plan was 16%; representing 2016!



The place settings and this wonderful planter kept the bicycle theme subtly scattered throughout the wedding. I love the classy choice of deep red and cream roses too - the day oozed just the right amount of quirkiness among elegance.


Kelly and Joe’s gorgeous daughters were an integral part of the proceedings as well. Like their parents, the girls are strong characters with a cheeky twinkle in their eye! I persuaded them to come and play with me on the lawn and tried to capture their personalities in the next three shots. Erin, Kelly's oldest - looking like a fairytale princess with her beautiful golden hair, and Bo, the couple's youngest who was very content to show just how much her dress could twirl! Lacey, the middle daughter decided to spell her mum's name out with sticks on the grass, but in finding she didn't have quite enough sticks she decided she should become the second 'L'!



We all enjoyed some excellent food and even better speeches! One of Joe’s best men, David, is a teacher and provided a Powerpoint presentation to accompany his speech! Superb. Joe and Kelly really did cater for all into the evening with a live band, magician AND caricature artist, so guests were thoroughly spoilt. I managed to steal them away for a few evening shots; the first behind the barn in the secluded garden area which at this time was blooming with the last of the spring tulips. I noticed the light getting more and more beautiful and couldn't resist this romantic shot which really captures the season.


As a complete contrast, when the sun finally set we set about making the most of that amazing Ferrari. I wanted to harness a completely different feel; that of a Hollywood film set, as the Ferrari was such a good feature throughout the day. I love the drama of the moody sky behind and the low level lurking of the iconic pyramid canopies that frame Southend Barns. Even camera shy Kelly had to admit it was ripe for a spot of posing!!


The shot of the day for me though was when the whole family took a quick walk to the beautiful corn field at the back of the barns. It had been an emotional, exciting and exhausting day for the children and taking time out for a moment of calm all together was a special moment for all of them. The peace of the wistful clouds and the last warmth of the setting sun seems to be pulling them forward in this image as the intrepid five look to their future.


Joe and Kelly, it has been an honour to be chosen as your wedding photographer. You are an awesome couple, full of life and warmth and you made both me and my assistant feel so welcome - by the end of your wedding we were dragged on to the dance floor for a spot of leaping about! May the joy of your wedding day set you up for a lifetime of laughter and love together.

With love, Kelly x

Kelly Hearn A.B.I.P.P - A.M.P.A