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Real wedding 2021 - Hanbury Wedding Barn

So I finally had the pleasure this August to photograph a few weddings at the wonderful Hanbury Wedding Barn based in the Midlands, UK.

Being a brand new venue that only opened just before the first lockdown this was my first time shooting there for a real wedding having previously only having had the opportunity to do a styled shoot for the amazing venue stylist Louise at Lush Occasions. Thankfully I think I'm now the photographer that's visited the most, so I know it well, and all the little photo spots really well - bonus!

Bride enjoying the wedding morning prep
Love and laughter from the off - Gemma the Bride

I must admit to really liking the morning prep as it allows me to have a little chat to the bridal party and build a bit of a rapport which relexes everyone further, and have a mooch around, talk the the days event coordinator and see where everything has been put.

This is especially nice at Hanbury Barn due to the thought that has gone into the getting ready rooms - the main room is spacious, has its own shower and other facilities and some chunky blind that I loved shooting through from the outside.

Getting ready room 2 on the opposite side of the barn, which some might say is the grooms room, isn't as large, but has it's own similar facilities and is a great space to get ready.

Getting organised during the wedding morning
All smiles from the brides lovely sister!

I arrived a few hours before the ceremony as always so I'm not rushing around. Even if I have been to a venue 20 times I always like to do a walk around to see how the venue has been set up, and what the light is doing.

Every wedding is different because the couple is different, the time of day, the season, the weather, so the look of the photos you take could be too! Finding the light and the quirky and different opportunities to create something new and from what I've done before is always my aim.

Where was I? So, getting there early.... this also allowed me time to capture all the things that Gemma and Paul made for their day, which was quite a lot including a table plan, rustic looking signs, some table details, photo displays and more.

Paul even made an amazing post office box, which I would love to buy from him if they decide to let it go! 😜 They really did a top job of the decor and additional touches that they added themselves as this is a massive job, so kudos to them.

Gemma even went one step further and made her own wedding cake! I know right!! She doesn't mess about! 🤣 (Now I think back I don't believe I tried a bit! Gutted!🙈 Love a bit of cake!)

Wedding sign directing guests to puck a seat, not a side.
Bringing family and friends together from the off!

During this time I was able to take some photos of the dress hanging from the beams in the indoor ceremony room - as they were getting married in the outdoor part of the the venue it was perfect as there wasn't loads of additional decor to distract from the dress.

During the morning the ladies were enjoying a few drinks and some nice food as they pottered around the venue before everyone started arriving. I was able to also have a walk round to see what the light was doing in different areas of the barn too. I found some pockets of natural light and unique shadows to place the shoes and flowers in to make these photos a bit different and unique to the day.

Brides shoes and bouquet photographed outside half in harsh sun, half in a shadow that cast a pattern of leaves
Using the harsh light and shadow pattern for something different!

As I said previously, as the weather, season and light can be very different from the last time I came, it is also one reason it's not always essential to have shot at a venue previously - any good photographer should always have a look around everytime, even if they've been there before - things change, new features may have been added which has happened quite a few times this year as venues were afforded the extra lockdown time to refresh, revamp and reinvent areas of their venue.

I believe that your wedding photos should be yours and unique to you, not a rip off of another photographers work or the same as all the other weddings shot in that location. I'm pretty sure you'd agree with that, especially given the amount a wedding costs!! Still deeply scarred from our wedding day 😜 but it's well worth having everything you want and can stretch too, so go big as the saying goes so you have no regrets!!

Groom having a flower pinned onto his suit jacket
The grooms arrival and that moment... how do you put a button hole on then?

Mother of the bride applying mascara in a mirror. Photo taken discretely through the door
Mother of the bride getting ready in the bridal prep room

So as Paul and the guests started arriving, (Paul didn't use the venues brand new groom/2nd partner prep room) I was able to grab a few arrival shots too - only possible when I'm shooting on my own without a 2nd Tog (Photographer) when the venue is so well laid out. You will know what I mean if you've been the Hanbury Wedding Barn - I was able to see through the prep room blinds and step outside for a peek to see what happening as the car park and courtyard is like 15 to 20 metres away through an arched walkway, so super close and convenient.

Two lovely sisters getting ready at Hanbury Wedding Barn
Sisters tweaking the final prep touches!

As Gemma got into the dress I stepped outside where I could see people starting to take their seats in front of the outdoor gazebo where the ceremony was today. A few doing up the back of the dress photos followed and some final touches.

Next, the mandatory registrar meeting and we were good to go! Ceremony time!!

Wedding sign inviting guests to sit anywhere - pick a seat, not a side!
Always good to mix it up!! #onefamily

Groom sat waiting for his bride at the end of the outdoor ailse
The nervous but excited Groom waits for his lovely bride

A nervous looking Paul waited as Gemma walked around out if site to a hidden area where she would emerge at the bottom of the ailse for her walk with dad to meet her Prince Charming.

Proud dad escorts his daughter down the wedding ailse
Here comes the Bride with her proud dad!

A few tears from a few guests, including Paul, a beautiful ceremony, some kissing, signing, and then the deal is sealed!

Mr & Mrs at long last after all the rescheduling.

A few man tears are always a welcome addition!
Sealed with a kiss in the outdoor gazebo at Hanbury Wedding Barn

I should add that before I was booked to photograph this wedding, Gemma and her Mum came to see me at a wedding fair to book my services after a previous conversation, but in that short period my brother had asked me to be best man and had set a date for their Ibiza wedding - this meant I couldn't do Gemma and Paul's original date.

We all know what happend next though! Covid lockdowns struck, rescheduling galore, and as Gemma had to find another photographer she reached out once again on the off chance I was free.

Although I was on a 5 day family staycation at at Billing Aquadrome with some other family members and kids, I decided I had to now do the wedding after feeling bad once before when I had to tell Gemma I was now unavailable. We had gone away the Monday, but I drove back the 1 hour drive home on the Tuesday morning to do their wedding, then drove back after I finished about 9.30pm. 1 happy couple and a happy photographer too!! I feel like I was meant to cover their wedding, and it was an absolute pleasure.

Anyway, back to the wedding!

The happy couple walking back down the ailse
Presenting the new Mr & Mrs!

Some of what I like to call keepsake photos, or formals next before doing a few photos of Gemma and Paul, these we did next to the water on the decking area. At Hanbury IF the weather wasn't good, they have plenty of indoor space for these photos, so no need to worry if you have you day coming up there over the autumn/winter months.

Bridesmaids and Bride holding their wedding bouquets above their head and wearing funky heart shaped sunglasses
The ladies showing off their flowers and funky glasses!!
Groomen and groom portrait standing like a trendy boyband
The newest boy band in town make their debut!

After more drinks it was time to sample the amazing catering that was done by Top Table Weddings and Events. The dinner and evening food were off the chart good - I was lucky enough to also have the full 3 courses, the cheesecake... wow!!

Father of the bride delivering his speech

Tears of joy and happiness

View of the guests and ceiling beams and large chandaliers
Cheers to the happy couple!! Look at those amazing lights and beams!!

Speeches done in a relaxed manner next with a few words from Gemma as well and Paul with laughter and few tears, which always make for great emotiove photos.

Groups shot of some old university friends with the bride
Always room for adhoc Uni friends photos!

Then it was party time with Dammit Jack providing the music - 3 brothers that are well known in the Derby area and for good reason too! They did a great version of The Kooks song 'She moves in her own way' which was Gemma and Paul's 'unofficial' first dance song - I say unofficial as they didn't have a ceremonial first dance as such, just a cake cutting and a start to the evening set where everyone joined in.

We ventured over to the wheat field nearby via a trip through a let's say 'rustic' area - some might say rubbish area, I say area with lots of features and interesting objects to be used as props, like an old backhoe digger! We were lucky enough to be treated to some golden sunshine along with the wheat field and Gemma even treated Paul to a Piggy back, so my #piggybackchallenge completed! Big check in that box!! 🙌🏾

Bride giving the groom a Piggy back
Can you piggy back your spouse? In the field next to Hanbury Wedding Barn

Arranging the veil for a photo! Why do think we allowed him to come with?!

Bride with a floating veil in a wheat field during the golden hour
The veil drop done by the light footed Paul the Groom

Of course Paul got to pose with the digger, be rude not too!! 😜

Amongst all the building materials, which you can see as they're well hidden in a gated off area, I found these little pink things to use for a shot. It's not always in the places you think where a good shot can be found. The less obvious the better!!

The groom posed to look like he is holding the sun in his hand
Holding the sun

So Paul wanted to "hold the sun", so.we gave it a go with what sun we had between the cloud and the horizon. We only had a small band with no cloud so made the most of it.

Then, as the party was in full swing I found Gemma the Bride double parked! Tut, tut!!

Bride holding x2 drinks, one in each had.
Double parked and loving it!!

So that was a glimpse into one of my weddings using a small sample of the sneak peek photos I sent to Gemma and Paul. More sharing on the way as soon as they are ready!!

This wedding season certainly has been like no other with one while season crammed into 4 months! Now to edit all of them!! Unfortunately when you are out taking photos more than you are editing, the queue gets larger! 😕

Eyes down, wish me luck! Let's hope we all don't burn out with all the late nights and extra work, after all, you can't edit if you're dead right!!

Please be patient with your wedding suppliers during these busy periods - if you have had your day, don't forget others may not have, and we sometimes have to help each other out by covering people in isolation or even illness, it happens!

Editing will obviously take longer for all photographers, especially the popular ones with a heavy schedule. Don't forget, we also have families and need to rest too!

Hope you enjoyed the read! Blogging... not my strongest!🤣

Much love


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