Tithe Barn Wedding Photographs - Darren and Lucy’s wedding day
I met Darren and Lucy back on a sunny May morning on a bar terrace overlooking the river in Fordingbridge. I was aware that Darren has one hell of a reputation as a professional magician and magic consultant. Over a couple of coffee’s their excitement and passion for their Tithe Barn wedding plans completely quieted the part of my brain wanting to scream “show me some magic!” With a gorgeous countryside venue, split screen VW van, live music, guest entertainment and a secret plan involving Jason Donovan my photographic passion was roused.
In essence Lucy and Darren wanted to create a day of unique, relaxed fun in the country summer sun, this is exactly what they got- and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple!
Park House Hotel Wedding Morning
Cut to a scorching Saturday morning in August and I travelled with excited anticipation to the luxury Park House Hotel & PH₂O spa in West Sussex. In one of the gorgeous private accommodations I found Lucy and her bridesmaids preparing for the day ahead.
The light and airy room with a balcony view over the gardens and countryside made for a perfect wedding morning.
After the excitement of our last meeting I wasn’t quite expecting Lucy to be as incredibly calm and relaxed as she was. Her bridesmaids rallied around her as her hair was styled and there started the wedding day surprises. Her bridesmaids held back the tears as they received gifts and read the accompanying cards. Lucy then received a wonderful bound collection of ‘letters to the bride and groom’, which required some serious breath control and hand flapping to read!
Around the room I noticed the details that would help make up the day. Custom coat hangers held the dresses, Pac man socks for the chaps, a diamante head-piece, congratulations cards and champagne bottles all had their part to play in the day ahead.
With the aid of the natural light streaming into the room I aimed to capture the essence of the morning’s preparations, the bridesmaids zooming round as they prepared, the busyness of hair and makeup artists, the sporadic appearance of family members, all set against the calm collected bride ‘in transformation’
Delightful floral scents had started to drift into the building. Downstairs in the cool of the hallway lay the glorious creations of Rose Cottage Florists. In keeping with the soft pastels and countryside themes of the day they had created some stunningly unique wedding bouquets and button holes.
Back upstairs the last of Lucy’s makeup was being styled and her bridesmaids donned their gorgeous Grecian dresses. Lucy’s floral diamante head-piece was incorporated into her incredible hair and it was time for her to be helped into her beautiful wedding dress.
Outside in the hot sun a wonderfully decorated VW split screen camper van from Vinnies Vintage Vehicles arrived to transport the girls to the Tithe Barn wedding venue (not to be confused with the Tithe Barn in Symondsbury), where Darren and the guests were waiting expectantly.
The Tithe Barn Documentary Wedding Photographs
Set in 300 acres of South Downs National Park land The Tithe Barn is a jaw dropping grade II listed wedding venue. The huge stone arches and flagstone floor make it amongst the most unique and aesthetically pleasing wedding venues we work at.
Enjoying the sun there was a happy buzz about the wedding guests as they waited for the ushers to guide them into the wedding ceremony.
Darren stood with his best man and brother at the head of the aisle, both sporting sharp blue suits. The waiting brought laughter and as the VW van pulled up outside some fleeting nerves. These soon dissipated as the happy couple caught each other’s eyes for the first time in the day.
The wedding ceremony perfectly reflected Lucy and Darren’s fun and loving nature. From my vantage point behind the registrars I even noticed Lucy’s father jokingly hand signal that a monetary exchange would be appropriate for giving away his daughter!
One of the two lovely readings from the service will probably stick out in my mind forever. Not just because I am reading ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go’ by Dr Seuss to my son at the moment but because one of their guests read it perfectly from memory as if he was presenting on the stage.
The newlyweds left to a standing ovation to their drinks reception in the glorious sunshine. After drinking, laughing, greetings and exploring the grounds I organised a few group shots precariously balanced upon some step ladders.
Lucy and Darren’s friends and family shared in their fun-loving nature and even a few of the group shots became ridiculously hilarious (especially after the ‘go on have a kiss, suggestion!). All of the guests were so very friendly and helpful. I know many of our clients comment that having us at the wedding is like ‘having a guest with a big camera’ but I truly felt like a guest. Whilst the wedding guests enjoyed the weather and surroundings, Darren, Lucy and I explored the Shepherds hut, trees and nearby field for some ‘couple shots’.
For the first time in the day the couple had ten minutes to chat and relax, still beaming with love. I hate posing people for photographs almost as much as people hate posing for photographs and tend to take a few steps back and let the couple lead the camera.
Over the years I have seen so many contrary ‘documentary wedding photographers’ fill their portfolio with obviously posed images. The couples may look beautiful and amazing but they will look at their posed images and see them as ‘un-natural’, not really what our clients have in mind for their timeless wedding photography.
Darren and Lucy are so relaxed in front of the camera any thoughts of false posing went out of the window. They decided that all of the beauty and emotion of the day could be dealt with by having a good run about the place followed by an impromptu jumping competition!
Looking around the room the amount of thought and detail that had gone into their dream wedding was apparent. A picture frame with their parent’s wedding photographs greeted the guests next to a huge seating plan. The tables were adorned with handmade table and place names, flowers and wedding photo sharing information.
Tourelle Cuisine supplied a mouth-watering three course meal and after coffee’s the champagne glasses were filled for the speeches.
All of the speeches no matter how tear jerking and emotional had one theme in common – they were hilarious. I’m not sure I have ever seen a room full of people laugh for so long at a wedding. Lucy’s dad, quiet all day was a natural comedian and speaker, Darren held his own and delivered tears of joy and laughter. Darren’s brother (and best man) had the crowd in the aisles and Darren in various states of embarrassment and shock.
The most poignant moment of the speeches however (that I alluded to earlier) was a secret kept by myself and a select few. In looking back over Lucy’s childhood photographs Darren had noticed that Lucy was for a long time (and still is) a huge Jason Donovan fan and was often snapped wearing a t-shirt with is face on. So as a wedding day present Darren had organised a framed photograph of none other than Jason Donovan himself wearing a t-shirt with Lucy’s face on it. I’m not sure she could quite believe it!
To calm down and recover the wedding party drifted back outside into the low summer evening light. The band set up, the bar opened, evening guests arrived and it was time to cut the cake. The stunning homemade wedding cake not only smelt but looked amazing- even more so when cut for the first time exposed its rainbow interior.
One of the groomsmen picked up his guitar and beautifully played Darren and Lucy’s first dance. I couldn’t help but think how very ‘them’ the scene in front of me was. Surrounded by singing and smiling friends and family the loving couple swayed and spun about the dance floor all of the time beaming into each other’s eyes.
Decade wedding band were next up, filling the dance floor with their anthem covers and from then on in the guests, no matter what age or size did not hold back. The dancing flip-flops went on and the moves were coming out.
Upstairs on the balcony, overlooking the main room the sweet table was being ‘investigated’ by children and adults alike. The wedding party took it in turns to take their own pictures behind a huge Polaroid frame with chalk boards.
As I packed my kit away and left the dancing was still in full force, the evening guest’s brought a renewed energy to the dance floor. Outside groups sat around the fairy lit tables and tree’s filling the cool night air with sounds of chatter and laughter. In true Darren and Lucy style some of the guests had decided that quick running contest was called for!
A lovely fun packed day for a lovely fun-loving couple.
You can see Lucy & Darren’s Tithe Barn Wedding photographers review here