When I rocked up at the venue, Claverham Manor in Sussex, on the morning of the wedding and went for a wander to check the place out, I had expected it to be your usual fancy wedding venue – then I saw the wildflower meadow where the ceremony was to be held. It had been mowed to create an aisle and a circle in the middle for the actual ceremony to take place. It was magical. The groom came up behind me and I asked if they do many weddings in this wildflower meadow. No, just us, he said. Oh that’s special, I thought. Then he told me it was his dad’s house! I was insanely jealous, it was so beautiful. But it was when I saw the orchard that I decided this must be my next home.
The whole day I felt like I was shooting a destination wedding in Spain or somewhere equally exotic and sunny. The main house had a swimming pool (which I was eyeing up from the second I spotted it, wishing I’d brought my swimmers), plus a moat all the way around the house – when the invite said to be careful not to drive into the moat I thought it was a joke!
Hermione and James booked me ages ago, after they’d spotted that I’d shot a friend of theirs, Ali and Verity’s London wedding. I spoke to H-bomb (as everyone called her) on the phone and we got on amazingly, I loved her! I also loved the irony that she’s vegan and her now husband James is a salmon smoker 😉 By the way as an aside, his boozy smoked salmon The Pished Fish is not only incredible but also crazy popular. Yum!
The ceremony, as you probably worked out, was in the wildflower meadow (feel free to imagine the most perfect wildflower meadow, it will match your expectations), and the party was on the lawns and in the tipi in the garden.
These guys not only had the most beautiful humanist ceremony (conducted by their friend who had always promised Hermione he’d marry her if she didn’t find anyone), but they also had fireworks once the sun had set, and everyone jumped in the pool at the end of the night! (Well the end of the night for me, I’ve heard about James’s legendary parties and as such suspect the wedding’s still in full swing…)
Dress: Pronovias (Mirror Mirror Bridal in Angel) // Suit: Austin Reed // Bridesmaids’ dresses: mostly ASOS, one David’s bridal // Hair & make-up: Michael (my long-suffering hair stylist) and his wife Tash – both from Unruly Curls (http://www.unrulycurls.co.uk/) // Florist: Lucy Hocking, the very talented gardener at Claverham // Cake maker: James’s mum Jill // Cupcake maker: Marnie Searchwell (http://www.marniesearchwell.com/)// Band: DrBluegrass and the Illbilly 8 // DJ: various friends including Glenn Middleditch (founder of Peckham Rye Music Festival) // Caterer: The Naked Food Company (http://www.nakedfoodcompany.co.uk/) // Wedding invitations: Hermione’s mum Joan // Name places and all other signage: Joan // Bar: Shrub & Shutter
More awesome back garden weddings:
Low-key back garden and skate park wedding // Amber + Josh
Back garden wedding in Kent with space hoppers // Jo + Olly
Orchard wedding // Emma + Rory
Florida backyard wedding // Nanna + Rasmus
Festival wedding in Kent // Daisy + James
Four Oaks Farm Sussex Wedding // Al + Ruth
Tipi wedding in a meadow // Hermione + James
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer who’s more like a guest who takes awesome photos than a boring supplier, get in touch!