This week's wedding is a country house classic, with a gorgeous village church thrown in. Set deep into the Yorkshire Dales, Swinton Park in Masham, creates the perfect backdrop to Mike & Gina's wedding day. We even got some low sun breaking through the trees, and strolled into the neighbouring parkland filled with deer.. Just wait till you scroll down..
I had been in touch with Mike & Gina for well over a year, and had been super excited to shoot a wedding so close to where I am based much of the Summer. The Yorkshire Dales are fast becoming one of my favourites places to visit (along with the Lakes of course) and have made me fall back in love with England's country-side.
It's rolling hills, dry stone walls and grazing cattle, make for a peaceful yet dramatic drive into work.
Pulling up to Swinton Park doesn't disappoint either, with it's castle-style turret standing tall and strong at the end of a sweeping drive, past it's huge gates. It has presence, but it also has character; which made it the perfect choice for a couple like Gina & Mike.
These guys clearly hold their friends and family dear. Having had the entire place to themselves and all their friends and family for the weekend, I think the house had begun to feel like home. The whole place was warm with excitement and anticipation (and perhaps a tinge of a hangover) when I walked in at 8am.
Ladies with towels on their heads passed me on the stairs, and cheery young chaps cycled past me in the corridors on their little bikes.
This big old beautiful (stately in style) Manor House, felt much more homely than it's gold guilt frames and oil paintings implied.
The entire day was full of the chinks of champagne glasses, and raucous laughter.
But as always, I held out my own excitement to see what would happen in that last hour of sunlight. And even though a huge cloud sat on the horizon, for what felt like an age, it lifted.. and the golden hour really delivered.
I walked the couple out to the gate, which led into the neighbouring parkland. Over this fence were beautiful trees dotted around a river in the distance, with a herd of deer grazing nearby. We tiptoed into the grass, and as the couple walked across the sunshine, the shafts of sunlight came streaming through the leaves behind them. Heaven.
The diamanté detailing on Gina's dress began to glint in the sunshine, and the white of Mike's shirt reflected it's warm tones back onto her smiling face.
Draping her arms around his neck, they started chatting and laughing. I am so lost in shooting it all, that I can't hear them; with every minute that goes by the light is getting better.. But another dark cloud above us gets closer.
Panic, heart racing, moving super fast to catch everything, but smiling so hard my cheeks hurt.
Both Mike and Gina totally trusted me, and let me take them away from their wedding party for a 20 minute photo break. And I'd say it was worth it, wouldn't you? A word of advice.. If a photographer wants to grab you for sunset photos on your wedding day, never ever put it off (whatever song the DJ/ band is playing). We often have a very small window to grab light at it's best (especially with the cloudy skies of England) and the results are usually the best photographs of the day.
A huge great big thank you to all Mike & Gina's friends and family, who were so welcoming and wonderful. It was a wicked wedding in a stunning setting.
These things all make the pressure of my job, seem that much easier.
I close with a quote which seems apt, considering my nervous wait for sunshine amidst dark clouds at sunset. From the book 'Stray Birds' by Rabindranath Tagore:
"...Clouds come floating into my life,
no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky..."
Congrats to Mr & Mrs Powell!