Moor Hall Aveley

Moor Hall Aveley

Moor Hall

A delightful little wedding venue. Moor Hall Aveley wedding venue. A lovely venue for intimate weddings, absolutely beautiful grounds, the sweeping driveway.  This was to be my first time filming a wedding at Moor hall and hopefully will never be my last. Of the many weddings venues i have filmed weddings at, from massive castles to small intimate country style pub wedding venues. i must say that Moor hall has to be one of my favourites. The manicured lawns. The secret garden with the shepherds hut with its quaint rustic style decor or even the pink room laid out in classical victorian finery. With just a touch of pink!. As wedding venues go, Moor hall has the subtleties of a grandiose mansion house. Without the feeling of being just another wedding to cater for. Staff are attentive and friendly with out being overbearing and no one micro managing the day which is a plus point. From a wedding photographer’s point of view, perfect. superb backgrounds, lots of leafy shaded areas to diffuse the harsh summer sunlight added with a touch of off camera flash to add shadow and subtlety. As for the wedding of Russell and Emily in late October 2016, a real indian summer wedding, beautiful warm sunshine coupled with a balmy summer evening, what more could one ask for on their wedding day. Lots of outgoing friends and guests, full of fun and laughter with just a hint of the cheeky father of the bride to spice things up a bit. Or maybe it was the large light letters spelling out on the dance floor.

If your looking for a wedding venue with a personal feel, yet will give you the refinements of a big venue, then Moor hall aveley could be the wedding venue you’re looking for.

My Big Greek wedding

My Big Greek wedding

Sometimes a quirky wedding comes along that is really different from the rest such as my big greek wedding. Don’t get me wrong i love all weddings, from the smallest intimate wedding in an exclusive venue to the biggest brashest loudest weddings known to man. Indian weddings full of colour and ceremony. jewish weddings lots of traditions. Greek weddings now these people know how to party!.

Now being a UK wedding photographer, the core of my weddings tend to be traditional christian and catholic church based weddings. So when a request is made to me to do a Greek wedding, well what could i say, had to do it.

The wedding of Ari & Alex Raftopoulos was going to be a big greek sumptuous affair, The big greek family laughing and jovial, all ready to have a fun day with family and friends and i think this is what makes a greek wedding most enjoyable, everyone is out to enjoy themselves no matter what, the matter what being the pretty dismal weather on the day, Overcast and windy to say the least. From my point of view as the photographer, no crazy sunshine to deal with and even nastier shadows, so minimal flash. Every other day had been glorious untypical sunshine bathed in 30+ degree heat and the 17th June 2016 was the odd one out. But hey lets have fun!. Bridal prep at ari’s family house in the morning. Absolutely Beautiful bride in a very stunning wedding dress.

An outside wedding has to be one of the best highlights of anyone’s wedding and even better when you have literally a couple of hundred guests to watch you get married. The long red carpet, the groom looking anxiously over his shoulder waiting for his future wife, the anticipation of the guests. Then finally the bride makes her grand entrance with mum to give her away. With the service lasting well over an hour and seemingly quite detailed with a lot of religious practice but suffice to say the orthodox priest was quite down to earth with a little humour thrown in.

Family and group shots done, individual shots with Ari and Alex themselves, had to do the veil shot with the windy breeze acting as a prop to lift the veil and give that soft romantic feel to the couple. Even the videographer helped out by holding the top of a white plastic table next to the couple to reflect some natural light back into the couples faces to create shadow which was not forthcoming from the sky.

Then the fun really begins. First dance then another dance then another, then everyone’s dancing. The “kalamatiano”, (i looked up that one). The bride and all the ladies dancing and did notice a few men muscling in on that one too. But the highlight of the day has to be the Greek money dance. The couple dancing with the handkerchief, the music tempo becoming more upbeat, everyone getting on the dance floor and the whole atmosphere exploding through the roof as money is pinned and taped onto the brides dress. Ari and his twenty pounds top hat and the long reams of cash on the dress, even the kids were getting in on the craze. An absolutely crazy day full of fun and laughter. Oh how i would live to do that all over again.

My Big Greek wedding

Mountains Country House Wedding

Mountains Country House Wedding

What a quaint wedding venue. Mountains country house in the heart of the Kent countryside. A Mid Victorian grade 2 listed mansion with some interesting features, listed Minton floor from the 1860’s. The redwood trees from Canada. The laid lawns and permanent wedding Marquee within a stone’s throw of the house all make for a stunning wedding venue.

The wedding of Matt and Sian in late July 2016. A perfect wedding with a lovely couple on a glorious English summer’s day, what more can one ask for on their wedding day, well the weather wasn’t looking that perfect to begin with in the morning. Heavy dirty black looking clouds building up in the morning and i was expecting torrential downpours, well that’s what the weather forecast said. A few spots of rain and then it all blew over. Oh the joys of the English summer wedding and our oh so unpredictable weather.

Matt, his dad (best man) and grandad (usher) made it a real family affair, none of the my father and me, more like best mates. Bridesmaids in crimson and flower girls with wings. A very emotional wedding and a very close couple with lots of outgoing friends they had the perfect day. With the wedding breakfast and speeches done, relax and chillax for the remainder of the day. Time for a little off camera flash and some natural posing with the couple in front of the main house. Getting ready for the evening dance, a little set up i don’t often get the chance to use, a single flash on stand in manual creating a star effect behind the couple and then another single flash in a lastolite softbox to create a soft light in front on the couple for the first dance, a little something different for that first dance.

Gosfield Hall

Gosfield Hall

There are wedding venues and there wedding venue’s. Gosfield hall in the heart of the Essex countryside has to rate as one of the best wedding venues in Essex if not the whole country and recently shortlisted to win best wedding venue of 2016. Along with its sister venue, Leez priory within the country house weddings group.

The Grandiose English country mansion Gosfield hall has it all. The high ceilings the original massive Georgian windows the Queen Charlotte’s Oak panelled gallery with a 120ft long aisle  with loads of natural light. The tudor courtyard and the opulent master bedroom with it’s marble columns and four poster bed. A beautiful wedding suite if ever there was one.

As with all weddings, it’s the Bride and Groom, friends and guests that make a wedding. Trevor and Tanya were that perfect wedding couple on a most excellent wedding. Trevor “Mr Guinness” the groom. A real friendly and outgoing guy, couldn’t stop laughing all day and boy he loves his Guinness, a big kid at heart. Tanya, really full of fun and with not a hint of nervousness on her big day, resplendent in her gorgeous wedding dress. With a June wedding you would expect there to be blazing sunshine, not the very un summery like  weather of late. The sunshine was out and about in the morning and with the clouds moving in the threat of rain was looking ominous. Luckily Gosfield hall is such an excellent venue for picture taking that just as good images can be taken inside as well as outside. With the ceremony and heart shot done, the heavens opened up to two hours of torrential rain, then it was summer again as if nothing had happened. The joy of  our glorious unpredictable weather on a English summer wedding. Then it was family and friends shots moving into the cake cutting and first dance.Towards Dusk a mist descended down on the surrounding grounds for some lovely evening shots with setting of the evening sun.

A wedding photographer’s dream has to be the master bedroom and it’s reflecting mirrors, the grand staircase, the library, banqueting hall and not to mention the gardens, the list goes on and on

knowle house

knowle house

knowle house

The sweeping drive, manicured lawns and gardens. The Victorian mansion, you know when you’re in a quality wedding venue by the secluded entrance which hides another world. Knowle house in Higham a stone’s throw from the A2, in between Gravesend and Rochester in kent. Originally an 18th century Mansion house with links to Charles Dickens and just around the corner from Gads hill, residence of the former great writer who has so many links to the area.

For the wedding of Paul and Shelley in early June 2016, I was expecting this to be a really stuffy wedding venue full of managers trying to micro manage every aspect of a wedding, clipboards in hand, aloof and full of delusions of grandeur. No not Knowle house, in fact the total opposite. As soon as i walked in the main entrance a beaming smile from the duty manager and a “would you like a drink”. Knock me down with a feather i thought. Never get this at other wedding venues i thought to myself. This was just an opener for the rest of the day.

“The Knowle specialises in large portions, fresh produce and does not pander to modern fads”. as quoted on the Knowle house website

The weather on the day was a bit iffy to say the least, slightly chilly ,very cloudy, not what you would expect from June. Just about a typical British summer. As with all weddings it’s not the weather or the venue that makes a wedding but the people, electric was the atmosphere, with so many friends and guests laughing and joking you knew this was going to be a fun wedding.

The entrance of Shelley accompanied by her son down the red carpet and out into the venue grounds for the start of the service. Suffice to say the wedding went very well, the weather behaved itself and even the grass avoided swallowing a few heels, even warmed up a little. Family and group shots around the grounds and the wedding breakfast begins. Now Normally i go back to the car to do some office work, five minutes later there’s a knock on the window ” do you want a meal” followed by “we’ll bring out to your car if you want”, well what can i say, knock me down with another feather. So to all you wedding photographers  out there, get into knowle house. A really lovely wedding with a down to earth couple who live for the day and enjoy life to the fullest.

Vaulty Manor wedding

Vaulty Manor wedding

vaulty manor wedding

What a sweet little venue, Vaulty manor with its beautifully restored 17th century Manor Barn, sweeping driveway. The 12 acres of beautiful grounds. The 16th century Manor house and above all the lovely tranquillity of the Essex countryside all set in a niche wedding venue, what more can one ask for,  for a lovely down to earth Vince and Diane on their wedding day.

The Bridal

The Rose cottage for the bridal prep and a really good make up artist Dawn taylor. Now i meet makeup artists at ten to the penny, Dawn is so friendly you wouldn’t believe she’s doing a job and seems more like friends of the Bride and having a really good time too. To top it all off a lovely looking Diane. (nope i’m not getting a percentage kickback)

The wedding

The Wedding of Vince & Diane in late April 2016, Vince (he’s the one that looks like Richard Gere), a really lovely laid back couple. Easy going and full of smiles and laughter. As with most weddings you expect the bride to be a little emotional on her wedding day. Vince the groom took the honours on this day, always looking out for a tear or two. Vince took the biscuit. With Diane’s daughter Phoebe giving Diane away and both looking lovely, Vince looking very resplendent and very Richard gere looking. With the smaller wedding venue’s there’s that feeling of intimacy that you don’t get with the bigger venues and no management timekeeping, go with the flow as they say. Don’t get me wrong for a Vaulty Manor wedding it is very well managed without the pretense of being managed. With the weather bordering on the iffy side, The sun was out for the confetti then it was a case of in and out of the clouds for the rest of the day. Group shots done and out of the way, Vince and Diane’s couple shots with minimal posing and keeping the ambience as natural as possible. Onto the speeches, suffice to say there was not a dry eye in the house.
Andy Wilshire and his rat pack tribute was the entertainment for the evening and a very good tribute he was too. A beautiful couple at an excellent venue and a lovely day had by all.