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Happy Tears at Manley Mere!

As I made my way along the drive into Manley Mere I was beginning to think I was there on the wrong day. The lake was busy with people on paddleboards and in kayaks, the grassy areas full of families enjoying a summer picnic in the sunshine and lots of people bouncing and splashing around on a huge inflatable aquapark. I couldn’t imagine how someone was able to hold their wedding at such a busy venue.

Katie Woodfine & Grant Critchley

Katie & Grant

My worries soon disappeared though as I was shown to where the wedding party was going to be held. Kate and Alistair from Manley Mere were so friendly, helpful and accommodating I was soon at ease. At the back of the main building is a secret hidden gem of a garden. It was so unexpected but made the perfect location for photographs, like an oasis of calm. In fact, wherever I pointed my camera made the perfect location! Getting a shot of the swans that are lucky enough to call the mere their home, was a lovely moment, they looked so serene and romantic.

A wedding day can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, and what was so fantastic about Katie and Grant’s wedding was how organised they were. The bride got ready at home in Helsby and she had Dawn from Elizabeth Arnold Sewing Studio on hand to help her get into her dress, leaving mum and the bridesmaids time to relax and enjoy this precious time together.

Katie arrived in style in a vintage cream Volkswagen Camper-van, it was such a fun way to arrive for your big day!

Grant, meanwhile, was awaiting his bride – and just about managing to keep it all together. I think he is the most emotional groom I have ever seen, which was so lovely. In fact, Grant’s brother was really emotional too and I loved being able to capture their feelings forever in the photographs. Being on the other side of the camera meant I was able to hide my emotions too, as I confess I had a little tear or two.

Everything about the day was gorgeous. Seeing how happy the bride and groom were together, how much Grant obviously adores Katie, how lovely both sides of the family were and all set in an amazing location made this wedding pretty much perfect.

A Little Announcement

It’s been so busy over the last few months with weddings all over the place, from family farms in Frodsham to stunning Scottish settings, and who can forget THAT owl, but I’m delighted to share that some of my photographs have been chosen for awards!

My most recent award is so very special to me. Being named as the Regional Welsh Photographer of the Year by The Wedding Awards. It’s incredibly humbling to have won this as it’s a very prestigious award and the other photographers involved are truly talented photographers too.

And who can forget the owl that stole the show and sent me viral across the internet! I’m so pleased this image has been chosen by Masters of Wedding Photography, as the entries are judged by some of the top international wedding photographers, which means a lot to me.

Three images have also been recognised by The Weddison Awards. This is an International Wedding Photography Contest that holds wedding photography competitions every month. Thousands of photographers enter, and the ones chosen to go in a Collection, which is published every month on their Website and Instagram page. Less than 10% of all photographs are chosen, so I’m thrilled that three of mine made it into the Collections. At the end of each competition year, Weddison publishes the List of the Best International Wedding Photographers – I’ve got my fingers crossed I’ll be on it!

Sadly, it rained for most of the day for this couple. But as I was getting ready to leave Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa, I could see the sky changing colour and it was just stunning, so I quickly ran back into the venue to get the couple back out again. I’m so glad I did……

You may recognise this one from the Frodsham Marquee Wedding I blogged about a few weeks ago.  This image was taken when I was packing away my gear in the marquee and I could see the bride and groom having a moment in the distance. The light was just stunning, and I love how they are framed with the river in the distance too.

This image was taken at Peckforton Castle set in beautiful grounds within Cheshire. It was snowing, and the bride wasn’t keen on many shots outside. This was taken in the great hall and the light was shining through the windows and I asked the couple to stand in the bright sunlight. I just think it’s perfect light and the bride looks stunning.

I absolutely love my job, and if you like my style of photography, then let’s talk soon about your wedding.

A Romantic Scottish Wedding

When Helen asked me if I would travel to Scotland with my camera to capture her wedding day, I instantly said yes. Helen and I share a mutual friend and so it was a fabulous opportunity to catch up with friends and visit one of the most beautiful venues in the UK.

Helen Langthorne and Matthew Dixon were married at Inglewood House and Spa in Stirling.  It really is a most stunning setting to hold a wedding; magnificent Jacobean architecture, a spectacular ballroom, sweeping landscaped grounds and a rather lovely duck pond.  It’s no wonder Inglewood House and Spa was voted the Romantic Venue of the Year 2017 at the Scottish Wedding Awards.  As I drove up to the venue I knew it would lend itself perfectly to a fairy-tale wedding.  Although I’ve travelled a lot with my work, this was my first Scottish wedding, and it didn’t disappoint.

Whenever I’ve visited Scotland in the past, it had rained so when I arrived in the sunshine it was nothing short of a miracle…but, yes, you’ve guessed it, rain was forecast for the wedding day. But nothing was going to stop us.

Happily, we woke up to a sunny day and everyone was very excited. One of my favourite parts of any wedding is seeing the bride getting ready for her big day. It’s such an intimate time spent with those nearest and dearest to her and can often be quite an emotional experience. At some point, the tissues come out and tears of joy are wiped away before anyone’s mascara runs!

Helen and Matt’s morning was no different. In a wonderfully romantic gesture, Matt sent Helen a card with some lovely words in…she let me have a peak and even I shed a tear (no, I’m not going to tell you what it said, but believe me, it was beautiful).

Of course, you can’t have a wedding in Scotland without going the whole nine yards, and it was great to see all the boys in kilts. I have to say they looked very handsome indeed! Their outfits made the day such an authentic Scottish experience, although I’m afraid I was too shy to ask exactly what they were wearing underneath their kilts (or could say “ too shy to ask THAT question”).

The humanist ceremony was conducted by celebrant Mary Wallace and told the story of the world Matt and Helen have built for themselves, how they met and what they have achieved together. It celebrated how far they have come and the solid bond and love they share. Hearing such personal anecdotes made the wedding very special and there were lots of tears and laughter throughout. Even Helen’s sister, Ruth, shed a tear, and according to Helen, she never cries!

Eventually, the rain did come at around 6 pm, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of the bride and groom and all their guests as they danced the night away in traditional Scottish Ceilidh style.

Thank you, Helen and Matt, for letting me share such an amazing day.