An Autumnal Wedding at Bartle Hall
I received an email back in September 2020 from Chloe who was looking for full-day wedding photography coverage for her winter wedding in 2021. The date was important to her because she and her fiancé Tom met in November and it was going to be 8 years to the day, from when they got together! How beautifully romantic!
Set in the heart of the Lancashire countryside, Bartle Hall is a beautiful retreat featuring sixteen acres of beautifully landscaped countryside and gardens, complete with a contemporary country house hotel and converted coach barn. This wedding venue is one of the most revered in the northwest and it's easy to see why!
This was the very first time I'd been to Bartle Hall Hotel and it didn't disappoint! I arrived on a gloomy, wet, rather dull Monday in the middle of November. Now, I've got to admit, it takes me a while to get going on a winter's morning but I had a head start this morning because being a Lake District wedding photographer this was some half hour's drive from where I live in Cumbria! There wasn't much light on arrival and the cloud cover was fairly thick but the caffeine from the drive had fully kicked in and I could instantly see why Chloe and Tom had picked this lovely venue. I immediately got to work scoping the venue out to get an idea of the best backdrops for photos, desperately searching for undercover areas should the rain become more persistent!
As I was exploring, I met two of Chloe's bridesmaids struggling to attach a trio of lanterns to a nearby tree. I stood bemused and photographed for a while before offering my help. One light stand from the boot of my car and some time later, and it was mission accomplished. Having been introduced, we then made our way to the Thicket Lodge where Chloe and the bridal party were getting ready.
The Thicket Lodge was beautiful though I thought it rather small for a full bridal party - I've worked in smaller areas though so I began unpacking my lenses, reflectors etc. Chloe and I had a brief discussion about the day ahead before with much relief she told me that we would be shortly moving to one of the bigger rooms in the Main House to continue the bridal preparations.
It wasn't long before the wedding coordinator arrived and helped us to move over to the Singleton Suite, which was just gorgeous, had lots more natural light and offered much more room to manoeuvre. This beautiful room had a King size four-poster bed, a freestanding bath, an en-suite bathroom and all the other luxuries one would expect.
Samantha and Sophie lent a helping hand positioning Chloe's gorgeous dress and all her accessories just where I wanted them - I never touch the dress if I can help it!
Time began to pick up the pace and judging by Mum's nerves, things were beginning to get a little more real! I excused myself while Chloe got into her dress and went off to find Tom with an aim to return in 15 minutes to capture those very last few moments of Chloe getting ready. Nobody knew where Tom was but having been a wedding photographer for over ten years, I knew the very first place to look would be in the bar and sure enough, I found him there grabbing a nervous and swift half!
A string quartet set the scene beautifully while Tom nervously waited at the altar for the love of his life to appear. I doubled back to get those final getting ready photos!
Having covered all of the getting ready photos, I geared up for the main event. I usually set one camera up with a long lens which allows me to get the ring shots (in this case the 135mm F2, because it was fairly dark in the ceremony room) and something a little more versatile like the 24-70mm F2.8, for wider shots. Following the bridesmaids, Chloe walked nervously down the aisle arm in arm with her father and I caught Tom sneak a glance; I could tell he was emotional, Chloe looked absolutely stunning!
Family Formals, Details & Intimate Photos
Chloe and Tom officially tied the knot and it was time to gather everyone up as fast as possible, ready for a quick fire round of family formals - pardon the pun! At this point, we were faced with a really difficult decision, we were rapidly losing light and it was drizzling like crazy - not heavy rain but that fine stuff that just soaks everyone to the bone, you know the sort! It was a case of 1) standing everyone out in the rain with a really good backdrop and getting wet or 2) finding somewhere under shelter where the backdrop may not be as epic. Chloe and Tom chose the latter and I agreed...wet people don't smile much! I then dived into the reception to get some photos of the details before grabbing some more intimate photos back at the main hotel.
Reception, Cake Cutting & First Dance
Wow! What a reception! Gavin Young AKA best wedding singer in the northwest introduced the best man and bridal party one by one, before announcing the bride and groom. This was followed by, congas around the room, hilarity, napkin waving, dancing on chairs and so much more. Gavin is a true entertainer and his voice was incredible! He had everyone on their feet at every possible opportunity. What a reception!
Cake Cutting, First Dance and Confetti
Following the speeches, Chloe and Tom cut the cake, had a quick few rounds of Mr and Mrs (always good for a laugh!) and Chloe's father stole the first dance before handing the beautiful bride over to Tom! Unfortunately, we didn't manage to get the confetti shot earlier on, and so having spotted the confetti, the videographer and I handed it out to everyone on the dance floor for a surprise confetti shot with a difference!
A huge thank you to Chloe and Tom for choosing me to document your wedding day. You have such lovely friends and family! Wishing you all the very best for your future together!
If you're looking for a wedding photographer to tell the story of your special day, please, get in touch. I'm really looking forward to hearing from you!