The feeling's moo-tual
March 06, 2020
Sara and Roo's New Forest Winter Wedding
The setting of Bartley Lodge Hotel in the New Forest was just perfect for this classic December day; light grey skies contrasting with dark wintery trees, and I’m glad to say the rain held off for the wedding of Roo and Sara. The pair navigated their big day with plenty of personal touches, and a mutual appreciation of the idea of becoming one, yet always remaining individual.
Both brides prepared themselves for their big day in different areas of the hotel, and the vibe was organised, yet relaxed and full of love. Sara went for a gorgeous white wedding dress, the dramatic fishtail and beautiful sheer back complimented by a diamanté sash belt just radiating fairytale chic, and it was Sara along with her mother who planned this dream day to perfection. Roo oozed cool with her choice of classy blue relaxed cut suit, check waistcoat and red tie. It was so lovely to see how each bride kept her personality shining through their clothing choices, really owning their individual ‘look’.
This effortless permission to just be yourself ran throughout the day, right down to the box of costume and props that appeared in the evening, resulting in all the guests taking on a different persona with the help of some truly ridiculous hats... But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!
While in one room, Sara and her Maid of Honour Sarah, and ‘Bridesman’ Simon glammed it up in their floral silk robes, in another, Roo and her two brothers (both best men) scrubbed themselves up a treat with matching suits and pink ties, a nod to the baby blue and pink colour theme.
I feel it is always lovely to capture a memorable image of each of the couple at the moment when they are all dressed up and ready to see each other. Framing Roo at this moment through the staircase gives this portrait prominence with her relaxed personality shining through as she pauses a while before entering the ceremony room, a smart frame to suit a dapper look.
I love this quirky mirror shot of Sara, the cheeky yet mysterious half smile on her face full of anticipation of what’s to come. Her hair and makeup are stunning, smoky eyes and soft pinks brought about by Frances Moore. No wonder it was a touchingly emotional moment when her Dad first set eyes on her!
Then of course comes that precious moment just before the ceremony starts; the slight pause that allows you to breathe in the knowledge that you are not quite single, not quite married. Sara and her father stand at the top of the dramatic mahogany staircase, and Roo waits in the ceremony room, getting a pep talk, or perhaps a bit of cheeky banter from her brothers. I used black and white for both these images, firstly as I didn’t want the deep mahogany of the staircase to take away the focus, but also because it portrays a feeling of timelessness within a moment like this.
At last, the wait was over! The shared look of love, relief and excitement is utterly gorgeous here, as the couple lay eyes on each other for the first time on their wedding day.
The venue was then filled with chatter, joy and bubbles as the guests gathered for the infamous group shot! I stood at the top of the staircases while my assistant (another Kelly!) captured the reactions of the group from below.
Despite the grey day, the bridal party were very much up for venturing outside and using the beautiful grounds of the hotel. I’m so glad they did! The contrast of the grey skies and bare trees with the beautiful spring green of the lawn is so atmospheric here, and the dynamic blues of the two best men’s suits set off the delicate pinks of their ties.
Even Roo’s beloved dog Dave wanted to brave the outside world and photobomb the couple! Check out his awesome colour coordinated neckerchief! I’ve had a few weddings lately where pets have made an appearance, and it is so lovely to be able to include them in the action and always fun to see what amusement they bring with them!
It was blue and pink through and through as the newlyweds stepped into the reception room; giant martini glasses overflowing with flowers and sumptuous blue chair sashes really making a statement in this almost regal space. Personalised touches were also apparent throughout; Roo is a dairy farmer, and the room was dotted with little cow details as well as a few beautiful milk churns bedecked with floral arrangements.
The ‘piece de résistance’ though, was the wedding cake. Sara had provided her cake chef (Caked Away) with the colour scheme of the wedding and the instruction that it was to be ‘cow themed’, but other than that had completely left it up to her to design and had not seen the masterpiece until the day of the wedding. I love the subtle cow print on the bottom layer, the delicate pink roses and the incredible cow drawing - how on earth did she do that?! The quote ‘you are my greatest adventure’ was another lovely personal touch, a beautiful summary of the life these two have shared so far.
The evening was full of magic, and the couple made sure that their guests were not left to fend for themselves! Together with DJ Alan Granville they choreographed an incredible and personal programme of hilarious entertainment. Kicking things off with a Mrs and Mrs quiz, the couple sat back to back and raised table tennis bats to ‘prove their love!’ Keeping the competitive spirit alive, the guests were asked to choose a side, and Bohemian Rhapsody was belted out to the rafters in a ‘sing-off’ to rival the cast of Pitch Perfect!
Then, the aforementioned props box was brought into the limelight, and the guests donned a glorious selection of hats. Unfortunately Alan didn't have a cow hat for Roo to wear, so she opted for a pig instead!
A key moment of the evening was inviting their nearest and dearest to sit down on the floor for a rendition of the 80s classic ‘Oops Upside Your Head’. A touching tribute to Sara’s mum who was adamant that this should happen on the night and what a great way to bring out everyone's fun side. It was always Sara and Roo’s intention to make their special day a celebration of life and they certainly succeeded.
Before the day was over, I wanted to capture the romantic beauty of the venue outside at night. I love how much light is almost melting from the windows here, as well as the Christmassy twinkling of the fairy lights in the tree. This image for me has a real feeling of warmth and tenderness, two emotions that were so prevalent throughout the day.
Sara and Roo, may warmth and tenderness remain key to your marriage, carrying you through your lives together with light and joy. It was an absolute pleasure to photograph such a special day - and a lot of laughs! We wish you all the happiness in the world.
Love Kelly x
A.B.I.P.P. - A.M.P.A