Dorset country church wedding and garden party reception for Michaela and Rupert

Covid-19 wasn’t going to stop Michaela and Rupert getting married. They had no alternative but to postpone from their initial date in June but September was as late as they were prepared to wait.

They met several years ago in the sixth form at Blandford and stayed together all the way through university, Rupert at Twickenham and Michaela at Reading. He’s now an IT administrator while she works in the health service.

On my way to Michaela’s parents’ house, I stopped at St. James’s, Alderholt, where they were getting married to look for the best place for the group photos; in front of the west door was perfect. Hair and make-up was well underway when I arrived, bringing out the natural beauty of Michaela, Abi and Georgina. During the morning, as well as taking lots of candid shots indoors,  I took them outside for a fun portrait in their silk robes.  One of her young bridesmaids also posed for some portraits – quite the model in the making!

Parking at the church, I met Rupert’s parents. His father Russell looked very dashing in a morning suit and top hat. The vicar, the Revd Simon Woodley, proved to be very welcoming. I later spotted that he was accessorising his white cassock with bright red plimsolls! Rupert and his brothers, Ted, Hugo and James, were all in good spirits when I greeted them.

In short order, it was back outside for Michaela’s arrival in in Lillie, a vintage VW Camper van from Dorset Dubhire. Her father adjusted her veil before walking her to procession forming up inside the church gate. The youngest bridesmaids looked very cute as the adults in the party coaxed them into their places.

Owing to government regulations, only 30 people were allowed to attend the service, so lots of Michaela and Rupert’s friends and more distant family members joined the service by Zoom. Congregational hymns weren’t allowed, so instead we listened to songs pre-recorded by Michaela and her mother Jacky – such beautiful voices!

Michaela and Rupert looked so happy as they made their vows to each other. Their smiles continued into the vestry as they and their parents signed the registers and on into the group photos, which I took outside the west front of the church.

After the confetti shower and group photos, Michaela and Rupert travelled in Lillie to their reception venue, Rupert’s family farm near Pimperne, Dorset. After a quick photo in front of Lillie, Rupert drove Michaela and me up to a field above the farm.

I had previously enquired if there was a view to be had for romantic portraits and the location Rupert chose had it in spades. You could see for miles around. The sky was somewhat overcast but this was ideal for me: soft, glowing light and impressionistic cloudscapes made for beautiful, fine-art photos of the two of them. Michaela’s delicate bouquet of pink, white and purple roses from Willow Florist complimented the flowers she wore in her hair, gathered up in an elegant chignon.

Returning to the farm, Michaela and Rupert joined their guests in the garden above the house for champagne, speeches and then a cream tea in a large marquee erected for the occasion. It was a pleasantly warm and still afternoon – the weather broke just the next day – and everyone was happy and relaxed.

With no evening reception, Michaela and Rupert took their leave of the party at about 6.30 pm. Before they did so, I found myself in the perfect spot to capture a bouquet toss. The girl who caught it – a former netball team captain at school?  – looked suitably sheepish.

It was a such a lovely day; I was delighted to play my part in it.

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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.

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