Almost a year has passed since I attended James and Hayley’s wedding in the heart of the Suffolk countryside.
I was so excited by the prospect of photographing their wedding at Otley Hall that I had my fingers crossed all the way home from our first meet up consulation hoping they would choose me so I could add the hall to my expanding list of locations. I’m often asked by prospective clients if I’ve photographed a wedding at their chosen venue. There are so many fabulous destinations that more often than not, it’s a first time for me. I would alway say to anyone planning the big day, don’t be put off if your photographer hasn’t been there before, if they are good at what they do, it won’t be a challenge. For me the thought of a Tudor house, manicured gardens, woodland pathways and wild ponds was enough to get the ideas flowing for their photographs. Often fresh eyes on a venue can result in some stunning images, so don’t be put off. If I haven’t been to a venue before I try and meet up for an on site consult to get a feel for the location and find out what my clients want to see and include in their wedding photography so I met James and Hayley with baby Hector in tow, at Otley Hall on a cold late winter day for a walk round. I think they could tell I was very enthusiastic for their chosen venue and the fact I left with extensive plans for the day helped with any nerves they may have had.
A beautiful, early summer day blossomed the morning of 20th May 2017. I joined Hayley, her family and Bridesmaids at Hayley’s parents house where her mum had laid on a buffet of treats to keep everyone going through the morning. James and Hayley’s boys, Hector and Isaac were so good, they played, gurgled and watched the morning unfold as it went from calm to chaos over two short hours, as weddings often do.
Leaving the girls to make their way to the St Andrew’s Church in beautiful Redlingfield (I really was spoilt by the locations on this day) I arrived at the church to meet the boys. In typical farming fashion, a 4×4 and trailer was ready to take the married couple and the wedding party to Otley Hall, but for now, I basked it the sunshine, photographing the arrivals at the beautiful church, before Hayley and her bridesmaids arrived.
Her dress was an amazing sight, she wanted to be a princess and she certainly was, with a smile as big as any I’ve seen before. Complimenting her dress were beautiful, delicate flowers and the Bridesmaids wore dove grey, embellished dresses. They all had soft hair and makeup ensuring everything looked beautiful against the ancient church, lush green landscape and big blue Suffolk sky.
The ceremony was lovely, their children, friends and family watched as James and Hayley said their vows, the Best Man checked, then checked again to make sure he had the rings and there were so many smiles I was blessed with an abundance of photographs.
After family photographs at the church, the wedding party headed off in the trailer to Otley Hall which meant I arrived in good time and was able to walk round the venue to see how it changed in the seasons since we had last been there. Otley Hall was resplendent in the sunshine. Barren winter had given way to summer and the nooks and crannies had sprung to life with glorious leafy trees and colourful flowers, each area of the gardens giving a totally different backdrop. Once the couple had arrived, we headed off to have some time alone for their couple shots making use of every corner of the grounds.
I joined the wedding party for dinner, it was such a treat to sit down and be a part of the wedding breakfast although there was so much good food I was worried I may not be able to get up again to work for the speeches! But as afternoon rolled into evening, Hayley and James came out again for more photographs, rain was threatening so we decided to get the early evening sky rather than golden hour which was the right decision, spring showers started and stopped for a while but not enough to put off their guests from being outside where I was able to mill around photographing the merriment as the drinks flowed into the evening. After photographing their first dance and saying my goodbyes, I drove off into the night with the anticipation of editing what had been a beautiful, colourful, country wedding at a historical venue with a family who, surrounded by their friends and loved ones, had a wedding day full of fun and laughter.
Venue: Otley Hall,
Hair: Carly Daniels
Dress: Lavender and Jude
Disco: Flame Entertainment
Cake: Mel Boon
Florist: Callendars of Framlingham