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A post-lockdown wedding at Alderford Lake, Shropshire

It’s been a hard struggle for the wedding industry over the last few months, particularly with the announcement earlier this week that weddings will now be reduced from 30 guests to just 15. However, I had the pleasure of shooting Damian and Rosamund’s wedding back in August before Coronavirus restrictions tightened, meaning their beautiful wedding for 30 guests was able to go ahead at Alderford Lake in Whitchurch, Shropshire. It was my first post-lockdown wedding and I couldn’t have chosen a better one to shoot.

 

About Alderford Lake

Alderford Lake is a stunning scenic area in Shropshire, near Whitchurch, with around 47 acres of land where you can swim, canoe, kayak and more. Set beside the lake is a marquee that can be hired out for weddings and more! Damian and Ros chose this beautiful setting to hold their small and personal wedding reception.

 

The wedding of Damian and Ros

Ros chose to get ready at her beautiful home which meant I got some really lovely shots of her with their pet cat, Phoebe. This isn’t something that happens often but pets are certainly as much a part of the family as anyone else!

 

The bride on her wedding day sitting with the cat

Bride having her make up down by a makeup artist wearing a mask

 

Bride's wedding dress hanging from a doorframe

 

Her dress hung from a doorframe next to the family chalkboard. On the board, Damian had written:

24 years ago I walked to school with you. Today we walk down the aisle!

The remainder of the board was covered in drawings from the children, hearts with arrows going through them and family messages. It was such a lovely touch, I couldn’t not get a photo of the board and the dress together.

 

Bride reflected in a large window mirror while having her make up done

 

The theme was quite autumnal, one of the main colours being a deep, maroon red. I love this photo of her doing her son’s tie for him.

 

Bride doing up her son's cravat on the wedding day

 

Once ready, the ceremony itself was held at St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Wem, Shropshire. The church was absolutely beautiful and I managed to capture some shots from above, which is quite rare for a church wedding. Not only does this angle highlight the bride and groom but also that beautiful parquet floor!

 

Bride and groom from above getting married in a Shropshire church

 

Bride and groom in the church with guests wearing masks behind them

 

During the ceremony, the guests wore masks when inside the church while also seated in their individual households so they were sticking to social distancing guidelines. The wedding, though small, felt completely safe and they even maintained a certain distance from the vicar.

 

Gorgeous stained glass window in the church with the bride and groom in front of it

 

Flower girls peeking out from behind the large church door

Bride and groom in the doorway of the church

Bride and groom kissing while her veil blows in the wind

Groom holding up face masks reading Just Married

 

They fully embraced the masks, which I suppose is the only thing you can do, and even got some that read ‘Just Married’ on.

After the official bit, the couple and their guests moved on to the marquee at Alderford Lake. The marquee was beautifully lit and dressed with tulle chair covers, white tablecloths and huge floral centrepieces made from green foliage and pink flowers. Even the bottles of wine on the table had a pink label to match.

 

Marquee with gorgeous wedding dressing and large flower centrepiece

Wedding cake covered in white chocolate and strawberries

 

The wedding cake was a drip cake, topped with chocolate-covered strawberries and a cake topper that reads ‘Mr and Mrs Whitehurst’. Surrounding the cake were lots of little cupcakes, also covered in strawberries. The effect was simple but so beautiful.

The couple didn’t have the best weather and the evening was filled with rain, but that didn’t stop us from getting some stunning outdoor wedding photographs. As a wedding photographer, I can generally shoot for every eventuality, including rain!

 

Bride and groom for Shropshire wedding under an umbrella

 

Bride and groom outside on their wedding day

Bride and groom by the lake at Alderford

 

So if it rains on your wedding day – don’t panic. The images will still be spectacular.

They then danced the night away on the dancefloor in the marquee, complete with a ‘Crazy in Love’ lit up sign behind them

 

Bride and groom during their first dance with a 'Crazy in Love' sign in the background

 

Damian and Ros definitely didn’t let Coronavirus get in the way of their wedding. Despite the reduced numbers, the day was absolutely beautiful.

 

Bride and groom wearing Just Married face masks

 

 

 

Should you get married abroad or in the UK?

When it comes to planning your wedding, there are a million decisions you need to make – what kind of flowers will you have, what will your colour scheme be and where do you want to get married? If you’ve only just got engaged, you might not really have any idea what you or your partner want and you may be open to the idea of getting married in another country.

If COVID wasn’t a thing (and let’s be honest, we all wish it wasn’t), you could literally get married wherever you wanted. It could be Europe, America or even further afield than that. So with this in mind, should you get married abroad or in the UK?

 

Why get married abroad?

Getting married abroad can be just as magical as having a wedding in the UK. The weather is almost guaranteed to be beautiful and sunny and some countries have incredible scenery that make for stunning wedding photos. But this isn’t enough of a reason to have your wedding abroad, so why should you consider this option?

 

Sentimentality or memories

Some people love to have a wedding that’s memorable for them. Perhaps you and your partner met while you were on holiday or have some exceptional memories while abroad. It may even be that you got engaged while on holiday and want to return to that place to get married. If you have some sentimental memories of a particular place abroad, this would be a fab reason to get married there.

 

A smaller wedding

If you want a small, personal ceremony then a destination wedding could be the one for you. These types of weddings don’t tend to work if you want more than 50 guests as travel becomes an issue, as does expense. There may even be some moral issues – you wanted the wedding abroad so should your guests have to pay for their flights? What if some guests can’t afford to come? Destination weddings tend to be more expensive for your guests, but generally very close friends and family members will be willing to fork out the extra to see your big day.

 

The beaches

Let’s be honest, the beaches in the UK aren’t exactly the best. While you may be lucky and get exceptional weather, you could also be very unlucky and end up getting married on a rainy beach in Cornwall. The beaches abroad can be more sandy, more beautiful and more warm, so if you’re adamant about having a beach wedding, consider getting married abroad.

 

Timescales

Generally, you can organise a wedding abroad much faster than you can in the UK. This is because wedding suppliers get very booked up a long way in advance in the UK. Some couples can be engaged for over two years and may have booked their photographer or cake maker a long time ago. But getting married abroad means you can organise a wedding a little faster if you’d prefer to do it sooner.

 

How much does it cost to get married abroad?

According to research conducted by luxury travel agent Kuoni, the average cost of an abroad wedding is just £7,500 compared to the average in the UK of £32,000. Obviously the price of a destination wedding could shoot up the more guests you have and the Kuoni based their figures on the average of 10 to 15 guests.

This means that a wedding abroad is actually cheaper than one in the UK.

 

Why get married in the UK?

The UK certainly has lots to offer and there are tonnes of incredible venues all over the country if you would prefer to stray away from your local area or hometown.

 

You want a big wedding

A big wedding just isn’t feasible abroad as the cost would surely sky rocket. If you want a big wedding, you’re betting sticking to the UK and even your local area so people don’t have to travel too far. You can hire a venue such as a large hotel so that people can stay overnight in the venue. If you hire a marquee, ensure that there is sufficient accommodation locally.

 

You love your hometown

Some people couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere other than their hometown. Perhaps you want to get married in the same church as your parents or have had a local venue in mind since you got engaged. These are excellent reasons to get married in the UK.

 

Easy planning

Planning a wedding abroad can be far more stressful. Despite the fact that it costs less and you can organise a destination wedding faster, it’s much easier to organise a wedding in the UK. You don’t have to worry about how you’ll ship your dress over (and whether it’ll get lost), how all your guests will get there or how to organise a wedding in a foreign country with foreign suppliers. Generally, getting married abroad requires a wedding planner local to the area so they can help you out. You may also be required to travel to the venue for food tasting and other things, and this is much easier to do in the UK.

 

So, if you’re torn between getting married abroad or in the UK, hopefully these points will help you to make a decision.

How to make a wedding photo album

Chances are you have a lot of wedding photos that you just don’t know what to do with. As a wedding photographer, I know that each wedding can result in at least 500 images, but this figure is probably nearer to 1,000. There are so many amazing photo opportunities and I’d hate to think that I missed a moment, so I try to capture everything.

I’ve previously discussed ways you can display your wedding photos in your home, but if you want to make a photo album, there are many ways of going about that too.

Below, you can find my top tips to create your very own wedding photo album.

 

How many photos do I need for a wedding album?

The number of photos will obviously depend on the size of the album, but also how many photos you need to show a full overview of the day and any interesting moments. You’ll likely want photos of everyone getting ready, arriving at the venue, the ceremony itself, the drinks reception, the wedding breakfast, the speeches and then the evening reception. I would advise that the minimum number of photos you should include is 50. You also don’t want to miss anyone important out of the album, so this should be enough photos to make sure that all the close family members and friends will feature someone in the album.

 

How to choose a wedding album

Now, albums can be created digitally using digital images instead of printing photos and slipping them into an album. You should have a think about which type of album you want. If the book can be created digitally, it’s easy to pick a company, such as Snapfish or Vistaprint, and use their online tool to create your album. This is excellent as you can choose the layout of each page, if you want more than one photo, as well as how you want them to look together.

 

A digital photobook that's been created online

 

You can even choose details such as the picture on the front cover and the text on the spine of the book. These are relatively cheap to make and you can have a really good quality album made for less than £30.

If you want to go for a classic photo album, you should arrange to have your chosen photos printed so they can be stuck into the book. There’s less flexibility with this choice, as each photo will be the same size and will have a specific slot to go into the album. But you still have some say over the order of the photos and can even personalise the book. You could go for classic formal photo album or make it fun by creating a scrapbook style album that also includes memorabilia from the day, such as an invitation, an order of service, a menu, some dried confetti, etc. The book can suit your personality.

 

How to choose the photos for a wedding album

As I said above, each wedding could easily result in 500 to 1,000 images, so how on earth do you pick the photos you want or like the best? I’ve previously written an article around choosing photos for your album, so head to that page to find out more. Tips include choosing the photos that you like of yourself and from different aspects of the day so you have a whole overview.

 

Wedding photo album laid out on a table

 

When choosing an image for the front cover of an album, you should find one that sums up the day the best for you. Can you remember how you were feeling in that moment, or does the photo make you smile? These kinds of images should be the ones that take centre stage.

 

How to add your photos

Adding the photos depends on the type of book you’ve chosen.

If you’re making a digital album, your photos can be uploaded to the site from your computer. Your photographer will likely have supplied you with a USB of photos, so you can take them off the USB and add them to the website you’re making the album through. Then, use the online tool to drag the photos into place on each page.

Some digital albums allow you to add text, so you could add little descriptions of what’s happening in each picture or who is in it.

If you’re making a physical album using printed photos, you can either stick or slot them into place, depending on the book. Photo albums that allow you to slide the photos into a plastic wallet are much easier than trying to peel back the sticky layer, put the photo in straight and stick it back down.

This photo album from Paperchase says that it will fit up to 300 images and that you should use 6×4 photos. See how the pages are plastic so the photos slot into place? This is very different to the self-adhesive albums that can be trickier and take longer to put together.