If I had to sum up Andrea and Matt’s wedding at Stanlake Park in one word, it would be wow! The day was full of so much laughter and love, as well as some glass smashing, wood sawing and traditional Austrian dancing. The summer rain was pretty persistent, but it did not ruin a wonderful wedding which was a pleasure to photograph.
The morning of the wedding bride Andrea was getting ready at a hotel in Reading where I joined her and her bridesmaids. During the morning Andrea was presented with a lovely notebook with photos and messages from her friends, as well as a video from some friends back in Austria. Andrea’s reactions were wonderful, and she was clearly very touched by the gesture.
My second shooter for the day Becky joined groom Matt at home with his dad, best man and groomsmen, then they headed off to a pub near Stanlake Park ahead of the ceremony. I learnt later in the day there was a slight panic when they got to the pub and realised they had left the wedding rings behind! A quick trip back to the house by one of the groomsmen saved the day.
Andrea got into her beautiful Wed2b wedding dress with the help of her bridesmaids and mum. The room was buzzing with excitement then everyone except the bride and her parents left the room. Andrea had a lovely moment with her mum and dad, just the 3 of them. The love and emotion so raw at this moment, it was an honour to be there to capture it.
I then sped ahead of the bride to be sure I got to Stanlake Park in plenty of time.
Stanlake Park is a truly beautiful barn wedding venue in Berkshire. Being set in 150 acres of picturesque and secluded grounds I was spoilt for choice when it came to spots for photos. The ceremony was to take place in The Coach House which is a grade II listed barn with a beautiful secluded courtyard. The Coach House looked beautiful set up for the ceremony and the big windows allowed for natural light to come flooding in.
I greeted groom Matt outside The Coach House and helped him and his best man and groomsmen with their buttonholes. My second shooter Becky caught the moment, it’s not often I am in the wedding photos, but I am always happy to help if necessary.
Wedding guests took their seats and Andrea arrived at Stanlake Park. There was one small hiccup and the bouquet by VFB The Florist had been accidently left behind at the hotel. The show must go on and one of the bridesmaid’s bouquets made a good substitute until after the ceremony when a family member went to the hotel to collect it, then back to Stanlake Park.
The page boys and flower girls did a wonderful job spreading petals down the aisle, being guided by the bridesmaids. Andrea then made her way down the aisle on her father’s arm and met her husband to be with a huge smile. When it came to sitting down in her beautiful dress, Andrea very nearly missed the chair! Matt and her bridesmaids rushed to help her and in true style the bride laughed it off and reassured everyone she was fine. Unexpected moments like this are part of a wedding day and what makes them wonderful, and often can be some of my favourite photos (as long as everyone is unharmed!)
The rest of the ceremony was so wonderful and full of love and laughter. A lovely Austrian tradition took place after the ceremony where the newlyweds remained at the front of the room and all their guests came to congratulate them. Such a lovely way for all the wedding guests to show their love and best wishes to the bride and groom.
Outside the rain held off and in the courtyard the drinks reception had started. Guests lined up and the newlyweds exited to a shower of bubbles, a lovely alternative to confetti. Next up was time for some group photos. Unfortunately, not long after the rain started, and we all had to shelter in The Coach House.
Becky and I took this opportunity to pop over to the Victorian Barn at Stanlake Park where the reception was to take place. The barn looked stunning with the fairy lights and bunting overhead. The centre pieces and details were so pretty, and we made our way around the room taking photos of all of the beautiful pieces. At one end of the barn there was a cart filled with wonderful looking sweet treats, all made by Andrea’s Aunts. I sampled them later on in the evening and they were delicious.
The drizzle wasn’t letting off and I really wanted to get some bride and groom photos done, so I chatted to Andrea and Matt and they were happy to get on with some photos. Such a cool couple, they didn’t mind getting a bit wet and they smiled throughout.
There are so many spots for wonderful wedding photos around Stanlake Park. The Walled Garden between The Coach House and The Victorian Barn was a particularly lovely spot. Between shots and locations, I was sure to hand the bride and groom umbrellas. One of my favourite photos is of the two of them walking between the vines with their umbrellas and smiling, it summed up their wedding day perfectly and it was such a natural moment.
After these photos there was a surprise set up for the bride and groom with an Austrian tradition of sawing a large lump of wood. It was such good fun and the bridal party also got involved. Inside the barn before the wedding breakfast another tradition took place for good luck. Andrea and Matt had to drink from a champagne flute then smash them on the ground. They did a great job and the glasses smashed all over the place, so the good luck was definitely on their side.
After the wedding breakfast it was time for speeches which were touching and brilliantly funny. Matt’s brother was his best man and he did an excellent game where wedding guests held up cards to guess the answers to questions about Matt.
As the evening went on it was time for cake cutting and first dance. More Austrian traditions came later on including a game where the bride and groom had to dance with wedding guests to find who had the keys to a small chest. These traditions were so wonderful and great to photograph. Andreas family and friends who had also travelled over from Austria for the wedding surprised her with some Austrian dancing which was awesome. The English guests got involved and everyone was smiling, laughing and clapping.
I really wanted to do a night-time photo in the vineyards at Stanlake Park, however the rain was still coming down pretty well. Becky and I scoped out the options and got it all set up. I asked Andrea and Matt if they would be willing to do the photo and they were really into the idea which I loved. It only took a few minutes and I was so happy with the outcome of the photo.
The rest of the night was full of more dancing, shots at the bar and a Mr and Mrs game. The final event and final tradition was for Andrea’s mother removed her veil, and officially hand her over to her new husband. It was so emotional and also so wonderful.
Andrea and Matt’s Stanlake Park wedding was such a great day and an honour to photograph. I loved all the traditions and special touches and at the end of the day no even remembered the forgotten bouquet and almost forgotten wedding rings! Andrea and Matt were married and it had been a great day and that’s all that mattered.
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