Last weekend I joined these two kids, Sam & Katie, for possibly one of the coolest (and sunniest) weddings I’ve shot in a long time!

They hosted their wedding at Katie’s Auntie’s farm in Penkridge, near Stafford, and had a whole host of ‘country’ wedding ideas up their sleeves!Unusually, but most excellently, Clare & I were asked to join them the day before their wedding for Sam’s 35th Birthday celebrations at the farm.

So, while their near and dear pottered round, dressing the house and marquee for the big day…

We did our practice photoshoot around the farm, to scout some spots to use the following day!

Anyhoos – for a bit more insight into the day…

The farm was full of dogs (we LOVE dogs!), including Katie & Sam’s dear pooches, Digby – skilled at double high-5-ing (and who was going to be ring bearer tomorrow!)…

And the lovely Woodie!

Sam’s a ‘tree-fella’ (doing Tree Work & Forestry Services), with impressive tree felling hands to match, and takes the dogs with him on all his jobs, so are super well-behaved.

Anyhoos – we found endless few fun spots round the grounds to practice cuddling up…

…and smooching!

I loved the rustic vibe of the well used farm buildings

A sweet one at the farm gates.

Sam couldn’t help himself, and clambered up the giant Oak to hang a giant redwood swing for the wedding!

Here’s the Birthday boy armed with his competition throwing axe!

It was ace to be able to celebrate his birthday the night before their wedding.

[ Between us though, Sam thought the date was such to help him remember their anniversary… ]

Furthering the country-vibe of the wedding, Katie’s a competition events rider and munching in the meadows was her horse Tom Cruise!

So it seemed foolish not to get him involved in the shoot! 

It’s all about the competition events footwear!

Come evening time, once we’d checked into our hotel nearby, the lawn outside Grandma’s cottage was set for the evening’s celebrations…

Grandma was razzing around the grounds on the golf cart they’d hired for the wedding.

As a keen shot, and as it was Sam’s birthday, they’d decided to make clay pigeon shooting the evening’s entertainment!

So Sam’s boys set up the clay pigeon ‘traps’…

… as guests arrived…

and tucked into Hog roast and profiteroles!


Here are the happy bride to be & birthday boy, enjoying a drink in the sunshine 

The best weddings I’ve been to as a guest (it does happen!) have been the ones where the couple have made a whole weekend of it, e.g. joining them for a BBQ by the river on the Friday, the wedding on the Saturday and breakfast and a brew before heading off on the Sunday.  This way the big day itself doesn’t feel like a mental whirlwind, moving by without really feeling like you got to chat to the couple properly.  Spreading it out makes the whole event more relaxed.

Then it became shotgun time!Many of the guests were seasoned pro’s at handling a shotgun, and it was quite the spectacle seeing these guys nail the clays.

This chap clearly came primed to shoot!

And Sam, having started shooting with his Dad & Grandad at just 4 years old, was game to pass on the tradition!

He’s just a big kid really, but armed with a 12-guage 8-shot semi-automatic shotgun

This is one of my fave shots of the day, of Sam decimating a clay, with the spent cartridge flying through the air.

I really enjoyed trying to catch the shot leaving the guns……capturing the clays exploding…

and seeing the shells fire out of the double barrelled guns.

Being able to shoot 6 frames per second on my new Canon 5DmkIII certainly helped!Here’s another showing the shot leaving the gun, fired by Sam & Katie’s little flower girl!

Love this one!
Another showing the explosion, shot & clay!

I thought a pregnant chief bridesmaid holding two shotguns would make a keeperThe girls on the quad, which’d also see some use on the wedding day!

The fella’s had a great laugh in the evening sunshine

Plenty of rounds were spent!BOOM!  Kate’s bridesmaid giving it a blast!  Love the shape the shot’s made on this one.This chap had some mad skills…

I think I saw him nail 8 in a row with the semi-auto, tipping down the gun every shot (so as not to remember the clay’s route)Sam insisted that I have a bash too (though I didn’t take much convincing!), and with the 8-shooter I smashed 6 of 8 clays!

Happy with that!

I wasn’t quite so happy with the bruised shoulder the next day though!As evening set in the dogs were getting a little restless, missing out on the party…

So dad and his wife took them out on mass for a stroll.

Little Woody isn’t phased by the sound of shotguns, so he joined the party.

The shooting went on well into dusk…But we’d noticed someone hadn’t yet taken a shot!  So up came the bride for a few rounds!

It’s my kind of bride who shoots shotguns the night before her big day!

Here’s a little rambo style portraiture of the happy couple!

So we left the gang shooting into the sunset (which they apparently did until literally the light was no more)

Fun times all round eh!?  And that was just part 1!  The big day was yet to come.

[ I’d like to get bonus credit for not making a shotgun wedding gag! ]

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