sarah and dean's summer scorcher shustoke wedding
I'm going to start this blog by just discussing how much I absolutely bloody love this couple! They're the kind of people who make you wish you were a 7 year old again just to ask them to be your friends.
I met Sarah and Dean met at a wedding fair last November and then again in January in what holds my record as the longest initial consultation I've ever had (over 4 hours for those of you who like their facts and figures). I was there so long their notoriously social awkward cat even came over to say "Hello" but it may have been more of a hint to get out of the house.
I knew before I even got them in front of my lens they would be absolute naturals and I wasn't wrong. With their wedding being held at the rural gorgeousness that is Shustoke Farm Barns I thought we'd go the total opposite for their pre-wedding shoot.
Because of Dean's love of aviation and him organising the Red Arrows to make a heart in the sky when he proposed to Sarah (he didn't, but he let her believe that was the case for maybe too long) I suggested we do their pre-wedding shoot at Cosford Air Museum. However, considering we didn't really want to hire the entire place for two hours I suggested instead we hit the graffitied walls of the Custard Factory and good lord am I glad that we did!
From the first photograph it just worked. The colours down there are incredible and mixing that with this vibrant couple was like a photographer's dream come true. We played silly games, they made each other laugh and we all got a little bit too hot as we decided to do this on the hottest April day imaginable!!
So with the pre-wedding shoot and our final meeting done the next step was the big day!!!
In the midst of an actual heatwave in Britain Dean and Sarah's big day arrived. The day started at the Lea Marston Hotel for Sarah and her bridesmaids getting ready. Rarely for the morning preparations it was all very calm and pretty relaxed with the only real drama was caused by me nearly getting caught by a sprinkler.
Once the bride was in her dress with one stunner of a flower crown I jumped in the car and had a lovely country drive to the venue.
Shustoke Farm Barns looked absolutely stunning for their big day. Gorgeous floral features suspended from the barn roof, the absolute STUNNER of a cake and the personal touches of decor around the venue just made a beautiful venue even more incredible.
With the guests seated and Dean waiting for his bride the string quartet began to play "At Last" by Etta James as the bridal party entered the room followed by Sarah and her dad. You could tell from the get go this was going to be an emotional ceremony, and I wasn't wrong. The reading from Dean's dad had everyone in tears (including me) but there were plenty of laughs as well while these two best friends said their vows.
With the bride and groom upstairs with me to take advantage of the gorgeous windows upstairs in the venue the guests were treated to a Pimms and the gorgeous canapés the venue offers.
Even with a slight change to how we did things because of the sun being just too bright for the family portraits I still borrowed Sarah and Dean for their official portraits. Armed with the SPF and two mini fans to help keep them cool we headed out to the front of the venue.
"I pledge to you my love and trust. I promise to be ever honest and faithful to you and to share all that I am with you.
You are my best friend and I will always be beside you"
Anyone will tell you how much I love a wheat field so we took FULL advantage of the fact it was in full bloom and this pair are just such naturals no guidance was needed at all. They just giggled and held each other close as I snapped away.
We then headed to the little avenue of trees to get a bit of shade. One thing I love doing during the portraits is getting the bride and groom to practice their first dance, not only to help the nerves for this happening later, but also it gives some gorgeous shots. Usually this leads to tender moments and the bride getting a spin, but not with the now Jellicoes. Nope, Dean started busting some funky moves and Sarah couldn't help but giggle.
Arriving back the room had been set and was ready for the wedding breakfast. Just gorgeous touches on the tables made them so personal and an absolute delight. The perfect blend tea bag and vintage china cups and saucers all inspired by Sarah's Nanna Rose were a wonderfully personal wedding favour for the guests.
As the guests sat for the meal I headed upstairs for my little break and to eat the INCREDIBLE food, the BBQ banquet that Shustoke offer is just out of this world and I need to know where they get their chorizo sausages from! As I heard the corks popping I knew it was time to head downstairs ready for the speeches.
Both Dad's spoke first and kept it simple which laid the ground for Dean. Inspired by George Micheal he told everyone the full story of the couple's relationship including a few embarrassing moments which got some great audience interaction!
The best men both pulled it out of the bag with, lets face it, giving Dean a right roasting in front of all their friends and family. From a time telling game, stories of Dean's inability to say certain words as a child right through to a life sized cut out of the groom in a very fetching stag do outfit.
Once the glasses were chinked for the last time the guests departed to gather around the gorgeous Olive trees in the courtyard whilst we did all of the family portraits.
The newlyweds then cut their absolute stunner of a cake which quite frankly was delicious. Three gorgeously decorated tiers of lemon drizzle, red velvet and cherry bakewell were lapped up pretty quickly by the guests. (See details of suppliers below)
We soon then got to one of my favourite moments of a day...the sunset was happening!!!!!!!!
After getting a few shots with the Aston Martins which delivered the groom to the wedding we headed down the little lane to the venue to get some sunset shots and my god they're a dream!
We were soon to the first dance and these two didn't pick a traditional slow dance to do the 'awkward shuffle' to. They were busting some shapes to Luther Vandross being sung live by their brilliant band and the joy of this dance just shows so clearly on their faces while they are dancing.
To finish off the evening they headed outside to toast some marshmallows and Dean was desperate to get a light trail of a sparkler. Whilst it's something I have done before, I'd not done it at 9pm on one of the longest days of the year, ie not dark! So a little creativity and we got it. As I walked off with a pork bap in hand leaving all of the guests to enjoy the rest of their evening of this absolute corker of a wedding.
"Oh my love, a thousand kisses from you is never too much"