On Friday we headed down to Somerset to photograph the wedding of Helen & John

They hosted their entire wedding on the stunning Orchardleigh Estate, in Frome; where they married at the quaint little parish church (on it’s own island!) and hosted their reception in the above magnificent Victorian Stately Home!  And after spending a day there we could see why Orchardleigh was voted 9th best UK Wedding Venue by Marie Claire Magazine!

The wedding preparations were around the fab properties of Orchardleigh Village, a good mile and a half into the estate.Outside the boys were being shown how to tie a ribbon onto John’s Range Rover by a bridesmaid!Meanwhile, upstairs, the bride was finishing having her warpaint applied!

And beautiful she looked indeed!

Back in April 2010 I photographed the wedding of Erica, today’s chief bridesmaid (above) to an old school pal of mine Dave, at the equally grand Aldermaston Manor House in Berkshire (check out their highlights vid here).

Helen, Erica & the gang really had a fun, relaxed morning getting ready together, and there was constant laughter throughout the house!

The dress, looking resplendent…

The shoes, so elegant…

…and the flora by Bramble & Wilde in Frome! WOW.

Bridesmaids getting ready…

…and one bride, hair-up & made-up!


We first caught up with the Groom & his former military buddies marching down to the village!Their preparations were in the Garden HouseJohn & many of his close buddies are pilots and he & Helen originally met through British Airways (who John flies domestic for).

Once the chaps were ready…

They headed down to the picture perfect island chapel, surrounded by its very own moat!It’s not on the power grid, so lighting was supplied by candles and the organ was powered by a lady pumping a big handle!
Once the church was set Clare had a bit of time for a few portraits 

The groom and the best man

While back with the girls Helen was laced into her dress!

That moment when the bride is finally done and realises she’s actually getting married!

Love this one

…and this one coming down the stairs!

Team bride!

The flowers looked amazing against the dresses

A nice moment with Dad outside the house after the girls headed churchwards.

♫ … going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married… ♫

It’s nice seeing the grooms reaction to the wedding party’s arrival

…here comes the bride!A few details during the church service

with this ring I thee wed

The vicar was really cool, not only cos he had the most brilliant Welsh accent, or a powerful singing voice, but because he was totally ok with us photographing everything through the service; so we got lovely natural shots of the signing of the registers.

Most officials don’t like photography during the official signing, as it’s a legal document and there can be data protection issues, but you’d not be able to get any info from an image like this and much nicer than a fake, staged signing.Back down the aisle as man & wife

And out into the sunshine!A quick shot of everyone outside the church……and a blast of confetti at the gates!Then after the gang headed up to the house in a minibus, we did a few portraits around the church

The sunshine was just beautiful!

It’s all about the relaxed portraits

Generally I meet the couple a month or so before the wedding at a pre-wedding meeting, but as Orchardleigh was so far away from Leeds, we decided to catch up the afternoon before the wedding, for a snoop round the estate and to show Helen & John how it feels to be photographed.

It always helps make the shoot on the wedding day quicker if the couple have been through the experience of being photographed already, and we got some lovely images around the church and house.

So on the day we got lovely natural pics like these.

Before the 2nd minibus load had left from the church, we headed up to the beautiful Orchardeigh house

And did a pic with John’s ace Range Rover

The South-facing facade of the house is quite breathtaking!

I love this one on the steps.

Being a pilot, John has a part-share in a nippy little Russian Yak stunt plane.  On of the fun aeronautical elements of the day was where his and his pals plane would do a surprise flyby over a groupshot of everyone at exactly 3pm!

Typical then that at around 2:50 I began arranging everyone into position, and by 2:51, everyone was literally in position and ready.

…those may have been the longest 9 minutes of my life!

But we managed to get a shot of the flyby…

and then the two pilots performed a full-on aerobatics display; flying upside down at 70ft, doing loops & rolls & even stalling their planes!

It was majorly enjoyed by the gang, and the first time I’ve ever seen a wedding airshow!Clare caught this ace shot of the grooms plane flying super low and straight at them!BrillaintAfterwards we whistled through the family groupshotsand did some wedding party shots (with parents) around by the Orangerie

The main wedding party inside the Orangerieand a few fun shots of team bride & groom

A bit of jumping fun!

And then before it was filled with people, I caught a few pictures of the wedding breakfast laid to go in the Ballroom

Tables were named after all the places Helen & John had visited, apart from the top table, which was their honeymoon destination

The cake was made by one of the mums!

Speeches were lots of fun indeed

As dusk settled over the house……the first dance was danced…and the party started!

A quick shot of the hens……and the stags (doing their best stag impressions!)

It was fantastic fun all round to spend the day with Helen & John & their wonderful friends and family in the amazing Orchardleigh Estate!

Here’s to a fabulous honeymoon in St Lucia & to a very happy life together!


Barnaby & Clare