If you go back in time half a decade, Bredenbury Court, now a stunning wedding venue, was a failing private school where during the final term, they only had 4 pupils. The school was situated not quite in the middle of nowhere, but not far from it, on the road between Bromyard and Hereford. It's secluded, grand yet quiet, beautiful and would therefore make the perfect place for a wedding venue - which it certainly does. Surrounded by acres of pure green Herefordshire countryside, the setting could not be better.
What's more, the venue itself has been turned from a school into a fantastic place to get married. The orangery in which weddings take place inside (an outside option is also available) has windows all down one side, with huge skylights bathing the interior in gorgeous natural light. If all ceremony rooms looked like this, my job would be very easy indeed!
When Roz and Arjan booked me to photograph their Bredenbury Court wedding some 15 months ago, I had not seen the venue - in fact no one really had; Whilst the grand school-house remained largely unchanged, several building works were taking place to convert the school into the amazing country house-come-barn conversion you see now. Roz and Arjan told me that they had been shown around wearing hard hats and high-vis jackets as the work went on around them! Anyway, a couple of weeks before the wedding I popped over to meet the couple at the venue and take a look around. I was in love. The main problem you tend to get with barn conversion and/or listen buildings is that they're dark - building regulations mean you can't add loads of large windows so you're stuck; but that's not the case here. The rooms are huge, and so beautifully lit with nothing but natural light. It's just perfect.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was waiting at the end of the aisle for Roz to make her way towards her husband. I had been with Roz and Arjan all morning, going between the two in order to keep all bases covered. I knew Roz's father was quite emotional, which made for some superb 'father seeing his daughter in the dress for the first time' photos and again, in the ceremony, his expression just really helps to make this image. I've always said (and several registrars I know well have agreed) that there's a look of love, and you can often see it in two people who you just know are the perfect match for each other, and my god you can see it here. As soon as Roz got to the end of the aisle, the first thing she did was put her head on Arjan's chest and just breathe a big sigh of relief that they were together again. The second I pressed the shutter button on the camera, I knew that I had captured a special moment.
At the time of writing, I haven't delivered the final set of images to the bride and groom yet (but they have seen these images and have approved the sharing of the images) and whilst, in my down-time over the winter, I will write a proper article on this amazing wedding, I feel like this beauty deserves a place in my portfolio immediately.
After the wedding and the group photos were taken, we went for a bit of a walk around the grounds. Roz had said to me previously that she really loved the photos of mine that were taken in fields, and had a really country 'feel' to them. Now, it had rained for 6 out of the last 7 days when it came to Roz and Arjan's wedding, but that certainly didn't stop the couple from making the most of their surroundings. One of my favourite images from immediately after the wedding is the one above, where I had used a low angle and a long lens to shoot through some yellow flowers to add a splash of colour to the image, and contrast against the deep blue of the groom's suit, and the deep greens of the bride's bouquet.
As soon as the bride and groom have received the rest of their beautiful wedding photos from Bredenbury Court, I'll be sure to share more here. But for now, I'm going to leave you with the image below and a short story.
As it says above, it had rained pretty much for the whole week before Roz and Arjan's wedding. It even rained for part of the day - luckily I had gotten most of the group photos out of the way then quickly changed the order of the day, in order to take the couple's photos outside, then the remainder of the groups inside (better to have couples photos outside and groups inside than the other way around if rain is threatening.) Now, for the rest of the wedding, on and off it was raining. It looked like it had cleared up as the wedding guests were tucking into the wedding breakfast. When the wedding coordinator asked me why I was constantly looking out of the window, I said I was hoping for more rain. 'Why on earth are you wanting for it to rain?' she asked - I replied with if it rains enough I'll take one of the best wedding photos you've ever seen (a rather large claim, I know) and sat about waiting for it to rain.
And then it rained! The bride and groom were ace when they said they were happy to brave the elements for a photo. It wasn't so much the torrential rain that was the problem - it was more the driving wind behind it which you can see in the image below. Rain at a wedding is a tool and should be used like any other opportunity.
Pure documentary wedding photography (6). 1/400; f/2.0; ISO 100; 50.0 mm.