A warm and surprisingly sunny Saturday in August took me to the Chesterfield Downs golf club near Stevenage and the wedding of Sonja and Russell. This was a great day as I followed Sonja’s preparations from hair and make-up in the morning, through to the informal and relaxed wedding ceremony – where Abbie their daughter played a starring role as ring bearer – and then onto a chilled afternoon reception overlooking the rolling Hertfordshire countryside.
Being a local wedding meant a relaxed start to the day for me, with minimal travelling. I arrived right on time at the Bride’s parents house ready to capture the getting ready shots. Sonja was just having her make-up done as I arrived, and everything was fitting together nicely.
One of the memories I like to help the bride capture is the details of her outfit, including the shoes and jewellery. Having spent a few minutes talking to the bride’s parents earlier I quickly realised how important gardening was to the bride’s father, so with a busy house I decided the best option was to step into the garden and take the detail shots outside. Later I was able to capitalise on the bride’s father love of horticulture as I used a beautiful display of vegetables as the background for some “father of the bride” cuff links Sonja gave her father as pre-wedding gift. I really enjoyed pulling these 2 ideas together and hope Sonja and her father feel the same way about the shot.
Once everyone’s hair and make up had been done, there was just time to grab a few individual portrait shots and couple of family group photos before leaving for the venue.
Whenever I shoot a wedding I always to speak to the officials, whether that’s a registrar or the vicar, to make sure I’m going to be working within their rules and not getting in the way or disrupting the ceremony. In this instance the registrar and I both did a double take as I came in to the ceremony room, because we recognised each other from Lorraine and Paul’s wedding a few months earlier (see those photos here). After exchanging pleasantries the registrar said she was happy for me to do whatever I wanted since she knew I wouldn’t disturb anyone, and even offered to stand aside to help me get the best shots of the bridal party entering the room and the exchange of rings.
Although I’ve been to Chesterfield Downs a number of times (although never as a golfer) this was the first time I’d shot a wedding here, and I have to say the venue worked really well. The service itself was held in a function room away from the main reception areas which was accessed by a spiral staircase – which although probably not ideal for anyone wearing high heels and wedding dress, gave me the opportunity for a great shot of Sonja coming up the stairs.
Russ and Sonja had opted for a simple ceremony, and after the formal signing of the register photos everyone moved into the patio area to relax and celebrate. Working outside again gave me plenty of space to shoot both some posed group shots and and a number of candids. The golf course offered some beautiful views over the rolling Hertfordshire countryside. As part of the package at Chesterfield Downs the use of a golf cart is provided to go down to the 3rd hole and use the scenic lake as a backdrop. This was a lovely location for some informal portraits of Sonja and Russ, and upon our return the party was in full swing so for me it was just a matter of getting the formal group shots, before the wedding breakfast.
This was definitely a wedding of familiar faces as I immediately recognised the DJ from several other events. My final jobs, as with most weddings, was to capture the cutting of the cake, and the first dance. This was a great wedding and I really enjoyed shooting in a different location.
Below you’ll find a slide show showing pictures from the day.
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Here are the full set of shots from the day…