Chloe and Nathan’s wedding took place on gorgeous August day in the stunning setting of Stokes Farm Barn. This gem of a wedding venue is family run and situated in Wokingham Berkshire, on the site of a fully working farm. As I had not photographed a wedding here before I arranged to make a visit in the week before the big day to have a little look around and check out the venue and the perfect spots for photos.
Right away I knew Stokes Farm Barn was right up my street. The picturesque Victorian timber barn is stunning and the gardens and walled patio outside are perfectly kept. As it was summer holidays my son came along with me for the visit and the pond on the laws was of great interest to him. The ducks waddling around looked so perfectly English and we were taken by surprise by a few fish jumping out of the pond!
I was so excited to photograph Chloe and Nathans wedding the following weekend.
The morning started slightly differently for me as I arrived at Stokes Farm Barn, then quickly left again in a taxi. This was because bride Chloe was getting ready at a nearby hotel in Reading where I was heading to next, and I would be coming back to Stokes Farm Barn on the wedding bus with them. I do love a wedding bus and will always try to accommodate travelling with the guests to get photos of the journey.
At the hotel Chloe was having her hair and make-up done surrounded by her bridesmaids, friends and family. The atmosphere in the room was fantastic as they sipped champagne and laughed throughout the morning. I took some photos of Chloe’s gorgeous wedding dress as well as the bridesmaids dresses which I loved. The cropped style and print were so pretty, and all the girls looked amazing in them.
Chloe presented her bridesmaids with gifts, then it was time for me to head a few floors up to see groom Nathan, where he was getting ready with his brothers who were also his best men. The beauty of the bride and groom both getting ready in the same hotel meant I was able to get photos of both of them getting ready that morning.
The boys finished off getting ready and looked so smart in their suits. They also added the button-hole flowers to their suit jackets, which was a little tricky. They decided laying the jackets on the beds and doing it that way worked much easier.
I headed back to Chloe’s room where it was time for her to get into her dress and veil. An amusing moment came when the mother of the bride helped her with her shoes and noticed the ‘I do’ letters had been put on the wrong shoes and were the wrong way around. We all had a good laugh about that as the bridesmaids blamed each other. Chloe’s dad then got the signal to come into the room and it was such a lovely moment and the father of the bride looked so proud as they both looked very emotional.
Before the wedding Chloe and Nathan let me know they had a plan for before their ceremony that was a little different, in that they were going to do a first look (where a bride and groom see each other before the ceremony) when we all arrived at Stokes Farm Barn. However, they were also both due to travel on the wedding bus before the first look. So, this is how it went. Firstly, Nathan got onto the wedding bus on the bottom deck and put on a blindfold so he couldn’t see his bride to be getting on the bus a few minutes later. Chloe then was given the signal and made her way onto the bus, up to the top deck. All their wedding guests also made their way on board and we all set off for Stokes Farm Barn.
Upon arrival at the venue the guests made their way off the bus and only the bride, groom and I remained. Now it was time for the bride and groom to see each other for the first time on their wedding day. Nathan made his way up the stairs to the top deck and beamed with joy as he saw his bride. Poor Nathan then realised the roof of the bus was quite low and bumped his head as he made his way towards Chloe. This moment was so special, and I was so honoured I was asked to be present to capture the photographs.
Before the wedding bus departed, we did some photos next to it, then I headed into the main barn which looked so pretty ready for the ceremony. This space is really lovely with oak beams and neutral colour schemes. The balcony bar above is also a really nice feature and a great viewpoint for the barn below.
Soon it was time for the ceremony and another lovely moment was Chloe’s grandmother who was an honorary flower girl, throwing petals as she made her way down the aisle. Bride Chloe was led down the aisle by her Dad and everyone in the room was smiling.
Chloe and Nathan had mentioned before their wedding they planned to have confetti cannons let off during the ceremony after their vows, when they were pronounced man and wife. They loved the idea of having a photograph of this moment taken from the balcony in the barn. I made sure I made my way up to the balcony bar at the right time and when the confetti cannons were let off it showered everyone and looked amazing. A really nice, different touch for the wedding ceremony.
After the ceremony the drinks reception took place on the walled patio and we did some group photos on the lawns with the pond and lovely greenery behind.
Chloe and Nathan chose not to have confetti for their wedding, but instead chose to have bubbles. As well as the guests blowing bubbles, they also had bubble machines which worked really well as it meant there were so many bubbles floating in the air.
Now it was time for the newlyweds to have some photos together, just the two of them. Chloe already mentioned to me she was nervous about this part and does not like having her photo taken. Anyone I photograph who feels like this I reassure them not to worry and I will direct them on how to pose and make them feel comfortable in front of the camera.
They both did an amazing job and looked wonderful in the photos. Having the beautiful natural surroundings of Stokes Farm Barn also made for a stunning backdrop.
The wedding breakfast would be taking place in the lower barn at Stokes Farm Barn, so I headed down there to take some photos before guests started making their way in.
The bride and groom had chosen lots of balloon details which I loved. The centre pieces were mini balloon numbers and the wedding cake was a gorgeous silhouetted couple with icing balloons from Celebration Cakes by Catherine Scott.
Soon wedding guests filed into the small barn and the wedding breakfast began. While everyone was eating, I asked the couple if they would be happy for me to borrow their wedding rings for a couple of photos, as well as the bouquet. Stokes Farm Barn has some lovely little spots to do some photographs with these items, so I didn’t have to go far.
Soon it was time for the speeches, and they were brilliant, especially the best men’s speech. They produced photographs and props, even Nathan’s favourite childhood soft toy made an appearance. The bridesmaids were also gifted some light up trainers which looked amazing later in the night on the dance floor.
There was a little bit of time at this point in the wedding day, and guests chatted and drank champagne as the main barn was set up for the evening party and I set up some lighting as well.
The main barn at Stokes Farm Barn looks so good in the evening with the fairy lights above and the large windows down one side. The newlyweds took their position in the middle of the floor surrounded by their guests as they cut the wedding cake, then had their first dance as man and wife. The dance floor quickly filled up and everyone was having such a wonderful time.
If you have read any of my other wedding blogs, you will know I love a good night-time photo on a wedding day. The sun had just set so I went for a little walk around Stokes Farm Barn to find a good spot for this photo. The sky looked really dramatic as the clouds were lit up by the setting sun and I liked the shape of the barn building, so I decided to do a wide shot and silhouette Chloe and Nathan against the side of the barn. Once I was ready, I asked them to come outside for just a couple of minutes to get the photo, then it was back to the party.
Chloe and Nathan’s Stokes Farm Barn wedding was so much fun from start to end and had some really lovely personal and different touches throughout the day. It was a pleasure to photograph their wedding and it was a delight to work at such a lovely venue.
If you would like to read another blog about a barn wedding in Berkshire, please see my Olde Bell Hurley blog here.