Yesterday I joined the very beautiful Sian & Mike to photograph their wedding at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire.

Man alive – I love this place!  There’s arguably not a more dramatic backdrop for a wedding in all the land and we had an amazing day with Sian & Mike!

I hope you enjoy this story of a very special day!

I joined Sian and Team Bride in the beautiful market town of Ripon, decked in red, white & blue bunting for the Queen’s Coronation weekend!

Look who spotted me outside, stalking the good people of Ripon for establishing shots of the square…

Our lovely bride Sian!

The beautifully boutiquey hotel room was full of action, with bridesmaids and mum’s attending to hair and makeup.

In the window, Sian was doing her own makeup

And in the bathroom (!) was hanging Sian’s AMAZING Ian Stewart wedding dress!

I love anything by Ian Stewart – they’re always so unusual and detail-filled.

Her flowers by Amy at The Greenhouse in Ripon were equally beautiful!

Here are the Old, New, Borrowed & Blue!

An old lucky sixpence (from the year of her mum’s birth), new sparkly shoes, borrowed handbag & a bit of blue on her pants!

In another room of the very same hotel, Clare joined Mike & his brother John for a few preparations.

I’m always calling the girls team bride and the boys team groom and these guys had even had special badges made for each team!

[ Clare was given a Team Groom badge and I proudly sported my Team Bride badge!  I may even pin it on my bag and wear it forever! ]A quick double check the rings were still there!

Though Sian had thoughtfully left messages around the room!

One groom, looking dashing!

Outside of Sian’s window I spotted their beautiful roller roll up

Team Groom, standing by!

Sian & Mike’s ceremony was hosted in the grounds of Fountains Abbey at the stunning Fountains Hall!

While they had a few spare minutes, Clare caught a few shots of the chaps

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, some very well behaved flower girls enjoyed being princesses for a day!

Sian was helped into her beautiful dress by mum & gorgeous girls in green!

A stunning dress indeed.

It was great to see Debs again, from Debonnesse at love hair & beauty boutique in Ripon, who’d done a top job on all the girls hair.

I love this one of the window light on Sian’s face.

And this flash-filled one of Sian happy with what she sees!

A relaxed shot of Sian with her lovely bridesmaids…

…and a deep breath…

…before hitting the road!

Like Kate Middleton herself!

Arriving at Fountains Hall…

Love this one!

Climbing the stairs to Fountains Hall’s magnificent Great Chamber

Mike waited by its medieval oriel window, looking very relaxed indeed.

Down the aisle!Looking very happy indeed!

[ just a side note, but Sian & Mike’s registrar was so lovely, warm & funny, and it’s great to see someone who enjoys their job so much! ]

With this ring I thee wed…

I loved how they did the kiss!

Signing of the registers with the witnesses

and back down the aisle as man & wife!Down the stairs

and after getting their near and dear outside, we unleased the newlyweds into a cloud of confetti!

A quick shot of everyone

And a fun idea Sian had of the happy couple having a smooch while their family overrated their gaze!

This is a great idea, hey?!

Sian’s admitted to being an avid follower of this blog and both her and Mike came approached their wedding photography with all sorts of fun ideas they’ve seen me do and have found elsewhere, and it’s always great to shoot couples who are really excited about the photographic element of their wedding.  We always get a brilliant stash of pics this way.



Love it.

So after the ceremony, guests wandered into the private walled garden outside fountains hall 

and enjoyed drinks and canapés

While Sian, Mike & I got our portrait shoot around Fountains Abbey underway!

A little smooch at the entrance to the hall

A cuddle under the trees on the way down to the Abbey

And down into the brilliant Cellarium of the Abbey, with a cheeky ball room dance pose as a tease towards their surprise 1st dance!

There are beautiful arches to frame our happy couple everywhere!

Another fun idea I’ve been playing with recently, making a heart with hands.

There are SO many amazing spots to photograph in around the backdrop of this grand derelict 12th Century Abbey

We’d done a practice shoot a few weeks ago around the Abbey, and they’d brought along their lovely dog Walter!

Sadly his bouncy temperament meant he sadly spoiled his chances of joining them for their big day celebrations!  Boo.

[ if you’d like to check out their ace pre-wedding images on the blog here ]

I was super pleased with the portraits we caught around the Abbey, and although Sian & Mike & myself were game for more, I wanted to get them back to enjoy the company of their guests!  I’m always conscious that the newly weds get some quality time with their pals during their wedding reception.
Once they’d had a good mingle, guests wandered past the Abbey to Sian & Mikes wedding reception Marquee, hidden in the woods!Not a bad view to walk past on the way hey!?Cute details were everywhere…

And the marquee was cunningly hidden away in an area just on the doorstep of the Abbey

Inside the tables were elegantly dressed and the cake looked wonderful.

Fun badges were available for guests, and I added an ‘I ♥ Weddings’ badge to my collection!

Their table plan cunningly later became their wishing tree!

Introducing the new Mr & Mrs Foster!

Speeches were brilliant, featuring the mother of the bride, the father of the groom, Mike’s big book of just and deserved complaints and general moans’ and an impressive bit of shaming from Mike’s bro!


The mums and nans received as their wedding gifts keepsakes made of cuttings of Sian’s wedding dress!

After dinner, and once we’d got our highlights slideshow up and running, Sian & Mike had a bit of loose time before evening guests arrived, so we hit the Abbey for another quick round of relaxed portraits; starting at this wicked bridge 

A little shot of some of the beautiful details, showing their new rings and the bracelet & earrings Mike bought for Sian as a gift!

I don’t usually do the under the veil shot, but thought as we had a mo, we’d give it a bash.

It somehow resembles a bit of a heart shape!

We headed back in through the main door of the old Abbey and walked down what was once the aisle!

This place must have been HUUUUGE!

In front of the bell tower we had a little romantic smooch!

And a bit of fun under the stonework!

Mike and Sian had been secretly taking ballroom lessons and had possibly the best 1st dance I’ve ever seen up their sleeves!

There was a lift in the routine, so they had a wee practice in the Abbey!

…and a final backlit cuddle in an Abbey doorway.

I just love the history of this place, and wrote a whole bunch about it in the pre-wed blog here if you’re interested.

We were all glad we got another round of portraits around the Abbey, and it’s great that it’s June & light till late!

Back in the marquee, the happy couple jumped back into their reception to join guests…

…while a caricaturist did the rounds!

As I said, their first dance to Nat King Cole’s ‘Let Their Be Love’ was quite wonderful, pulling off their lift perfectly!

Then the party really got started!

When we left the gang to their flamboyant ‘Reach for the Stars’ / Beyonce routines (!) it was still light outside and the sky was only just starting to darken over the Abbey!  Summertime is clearly upon us!

A massive thank you to Sian & Mike for both being totally lovely and a joy to photograph, and also making us feel so involved in their big day!  I hope you guys enjoy your honeymoon in Dubai and the Maldives!  You guy rule.

x Barns (of Team Bride) & Clare (of Team Groom!) x

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