Will you just LOOK at that sky!  

Some weddings are planned with fine-tuned military precision, every minute accounted for, every timing organised, every moment supervised.  Nothing goes wrong, and yet there is a sense that just a little of the sponteneity is sometimes lost.   Ellie and Colin's Walton-on-Thames wedding, held just across the river from picturesque Hampton Court was a more relaxed affair and one filled with love, joy and perfect unexpected moments

Bridal prep was at the wonderful Oatlands Park Hotel in Weybridge, a stylish and classical hotel of stunning grandeur and elegance. 

Prep is often my favourite part of the day, it's the calm before the storm, but also provides so many sweet moments of anticipation.

and a chance to shoot the dresses...

and the shoes...

and the flower girl!

... and of course the maid of honour.  I love this moment, like so many during this particular wedding, it is a candid, unguarded moment that speaks of the excitement and bustle of the day.

Of course the bride is always the star of the day, but there are always supporting actors who stand out.  Sometimes it's mum, sometimes of course it's the groom.  But at Ellie's wedding it was daughter Amy the flower girl.  While Mum was putting her dress on, Evie took me round the hotel, and demonstrated her best ballet moves for the camera.  Bless her. 

Ellie's wedding was very much about family, and it was so lovely to be able to capture so many small intimate moments of family warmth and affection. 

as in this shot, where my supporting actor star Amy steals this moment with that wonderful glance at Mum fitting into her dress.

Another spontaneous moment, as we were setting up for a simple portrait behind the hotel - I actually love this shot more than the portrait, for it's sense of space, time and composition - it's a lovely moment of hurried calm.

Amy looking stunning in white, was at first a little self conscious about posing.  It's particularly hard for a lot of brides to relax into a portrait session on the biggest day of their life.  My style is not to push too hard, and to try and make any part of the day and the shoot as much fun and as relaxed as possible.

and so with the little time we had, slowly Ellie managed to relax and enjoy herself. 

Because she does indeed look beautiful in white.   One of the great advantages to shooting some portraiture before the ceremony can be that a nervous bride can have her mind distracted for a little while from what can be a nerve-wracking day. 

For me, shooting weddings is all about the day unfolding.  The stories, the characters, the relationships, the love and the laughter.  We should document that day as fully as possible.  But it's still crucial to capture the details.  The rings stay on, but the box may well be lost.  And who doesnt remember that trip to buy their wedding rings!?   

Another sweet candid moment with groom Colin and his Dad.

The ceremony took place at Weybridge Registry Office, just a stone's throw from the hotel. 

Best man Michael was the great organiser of the day, and while he ran the whole day with wonderful precision, he remained relaxed and good-humoured throughout.  A real life-and-soul of the party, I can't wait to shoot his anniversary party in Brighton in November

Ellie's father lead her down the aisle with all the solemn gravitas of the occasion.

....cracking a smile only to shake the groom's hand.

When it comes to group formal shots, a lot of photographers complain about the big shot of everyone, but I really like it.  Family and friends all sharing that moment of congratulation and celebration, it's a timeless moment of togetherness that we return to gaze on again and again.

On perhaps the hottest day of the year, Colin and Ellie chose to shoot their portraits away from the hotel, and to head down to the coolness of the river...

... where some people were cooling themselves in a very different way.  Well it's one way to congratulate a bride and groom I suppose...

The reception was held at Imber Sports Centre, festooned with balloons and lights

and provided many of those sweet spontaneous moments i was talking about

although this particular spontaneous moment has perhaps just a little touch of surrealism...

you know how it is, when you've just danced yourself fabulous in your best heels and no one, like just NO ONE, is paying attention...

The other staring role, I should say, went to Maid-of-Honour Izzy, who helpfully doubled as my glamourous assistant, holding up a remote flash so we could light this wonderful sunset shot of Ellie and Colin