‘If I told you a year ago what you’d be doing today, would you have believed it?’ This was the half-jesting question I asked Jen during the morning before her wedding. It was only just over a year previously that she met Stewart, yet within months they were engaged and planning their classic English country church wedding. Observing how they were together during their wedding day – laughter or a smile never far away from their lips – I can understand why this is such a special match.
Jen grew up in the idyllic village of Damerham, to the west of Fordingbridge, Hampshire. Its Norman church, St. George’s, is where she and Stew chose to get married. She’s now a soil scientist and Stewart is a teacher in Salisbury. They both play in the Hampshire-based Hyde Band, Jen the euphonium and Stewart the cornet. Fellow members came to play for their wedding, and formed a colourful guard of honour after the service.
Arriving at her parents’ house, I found Jen, her sister, Becca, and mother, Sarah, having their hair and make-up done in the sitting room. Morning sunshine meant beautiful window light for my photos. Shortly before I departed for the church, I also took some charming portraits of Jen, Becca and their father Brian.
The service began at 2 pm with Brian proudly accompanying Jen up the aisle as the band played a brass arrangement of The luckiest, by Ben Folds. She and Stewart were married by the Reverend Rob Eardley.
Dinosaurs were one of the themes of the day and featured in the First Reading by Stewart’s mother Susan – A Lovely Love Story, by Edward Monkton. They also featured on the beautiful wedding cake that she created, and in the thousand – yes, 1,000! – origami dinosaurs that Jen and Stewart folded in their spare moments in the run-up to the wedding.
In a poignant moment after the Service, the confetti and group photos, Jen laid a bouquet on her late grandparents’ grave. It was a beautiful tribute to dear family members who could only be there in spirit to share the joy of their day.
Exchanging sparkly heels for sparkly trainers, Jen then strolled with her new husband and sister down the lane to the Reception. A car had to wait for a couple of minutes until it could pass. To my relief, the couple inside looked amused rather than exasperated!
After a hearty wedding breakfast of pie and mash, Brian kicked off the speeches with a heartfelt tribute to his daughter and new son-in-law. Stewart followed, describing how Jen made his life complete. Finally, Stewart’s brother Alistair recalled their childhood and described how happy Jen had made Stewart, concluding with fitting toasts to the wedding party.
After cutting the cake and posing in glorious evening sunshine for romantic portraits by the stream that flows through Damerham, Jen and Stewart reprised The luckiest for their first dance. Then all their friends joined them on the dance floor. It was an exuberant end to a joyous day.
I wish Jen and Stewart every happiness in their married life together!
Make-up: Beauty Couture
Hair styling: Tiffany Pain
Shoes: Irregular Choice
Music during the Service: Hyde Band
Catering: Signature Catering Co
DJ: SLS Entertainments
Second photographer: Emma Sargent Photography
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If you're planning your wedding – or you know someone who is – please get in touch. I would love to hear all about your wedding plans and discuss how I could chronicle it in beautiful images for you.