I love to travel and I love to photograph weddings. Put them both together and you have an incredibly beautiful Braxted Park wedding in rural Essex at the idyllic estate, home of the Clark family.
The luxury venue, which is close to Colchester and Chelmsford, offers more than just weddings. I noticed as I was passing that they have cookery courses, which piqued my interest. But back to Alex and Louises day!
I visited the venue the day before the wedding to take a look around, before the photography the next day. I was immediately struck by the incredible bluebells on one side of the driveway to the house and made a mental note to visit these again with the couple the following day.
And so it begins..
The day began bright, sunny, cheerful and full of fun! The bride and bridesmaids had stayed at the cottage deep within the walled garden the night before and were already preparing for the day as I arrived. The morning of a wedding is the perfect time for me to photograph the details; the venue, dress, shoes and flowers.
I take a fine-art approach to the wedding detail photographs, aiming to produce unique and beautiful images for the bride to remember her choices.
After this, I switch into reportage mode to document the (usually slightly nervous) story of the morning and become ingrained in the day, which is incredibly important to me becoming as invisible as possible, to allow me to capture everyone in their most natural state. Louise and her bridesmaids had their hair and makeup ably applied before she was helped into her wedding dress and veil.
On to the main event
The wedding ceremony is of course the most important part of the day but my favourite moment is when the groom first sees his bride ans she walks down the aisle. Just beforehand I think he realises how much this means to him and I often see guys look upwards as they prepare themselves for their emotional marriage.
After the page boy and flower girl had entered the unique Italian inspired ceremony room at Braxted Park, it was Louises turn.
She looked incredible in her chic outfit and Alex was overjoyed to meet his soon-to-be-wife; smiles were almost etched onto their faces.
The ceremony and readings followed, along with the exchange of ring, important first kiss and signing of the register … and they were officially married! They made their exit through the Queen Anne house towards the steps for a group photograph, and then on to confetti.
The wedding reception
The couple greeted their guests and offered canapes (oysters no less!) and champagne, all within the Pavilion, while I documented the personalities of their friends and family as they enjoyed the drinks reception. After a while, I took the couple for their wedding photographs in the Braxted Park estate.
The beautiful house and lake made a fantastic backdrop for stunning portraits. Louise & Alex were really happy to make their way into the bluebells which I’d spotted the day before. For these kinds of occasions, I carry a large piece of plastic to sit on, so the dress doesn’t become covered with mud.
As we returned to their guests for family photographs, it was clear how in love the couple were and it was such a privilege to capture this for them.
Speeches and more fun!
The couple entered the marquee for the wedding breakfast to rapturous applause from their guests and they settled down to an amazing meal. Speeches were not too far behind and Alex was suitably embarrassed by his best man and brother. It’s my goal to always capture a “head in hand” moment from the groom.. and Alex supplied this perfectly!!
As the afternoon made way to evening, the guests chatted and relaxed before the final formailities; cake cutting and first dance.
The Braxted Park marquee lighting is fantastic for the first dance, producing a beautiful, sparkly fairy-tale feel.
To finish the day, the guys wanted a “guy” photo, so I took them out for a cigar smoking shot, before setting up a sparkler shot for the couple, which had been on Louises list.
Congratulations Louise & Alex! It was a pleasure to spend your wedding day with you! And now onto the full set of wedding photographs at Braxted Park..