Alresford is an absolutely beautiful little market town nestled in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, just a few miles east of Winchester. I should know, because it just happens to be my home town too. And it was also the scene for a wonderful homecoming for Rebecca, retuning to the family home with fiancee Paul (very soon to be husband Paul) to tie the knot in beautiful St Mary's Church, before heading across the road with friends and family for a reception at equally fantastic Old Alresford Place - a stunning mansion house tucked away at the edge of town. No chance of oversleeping for this one - the biggest electrical storm I can remember for years woke me up bright and early, but for all of this angry weather's enthusiasm it soon gave up the fight, and instead we were treated to blazing sunshine and deep blue skies - dotted with the fluffiest of white clouds - for the rest of the day. This was definitely a hot one!
Bridal prep at Rebecca's parents' beautiful house, deep into rural Hampshire (we'd met up here a few weeks before for the pre-wedding shoot and it was just as lovely as I remembered), comfortably filled with assorted bridesmaids, family members, hairdressers and make-up artists but still managing to keep a sense of calm (I'm always impressed with how relaxed this stage of the day can be for so many brides - it's all in the planning, I guess!). Rebecca looked absolutely beautiful, even before she was made up and dressed, and there was laughter and smiles everywhere I looked - everything had come together perfectly for the big day.
A quick spin down the road to the church - I love a country wedding for many reasons, but one in particular is that (tractors permitting) there isn't any traffic to worry about as you race to get to the church far enough ahead of the bride to catch up with the groom and his entourage, the arriving guests, and of course the vicar - or in this case (an unusual one for me) both of the vicars! By now the sun was absolutely blazing. The rural scenery looked at its absolute finest and everything was bursting with early summer colour. As the guests settled themselves inside, and Paul took his position at the front of the aisle, I headed back outside to catch the bridal party as they pulled up en masse in a wonderful vintage bus. As the bridesmaids made a final few adjustments ready for the big moment I nipped back in (the photographer heading back down the aisle is, I believe, now the modern traditional signal that everything is about to happen) and then it was all eyes on the church door as Rebecca made her entrance on her father's arm...
Many kisses and hugs for the newly married couple outside the church, before everyone crossed the road to Old Alresford place, the scene for the rest of the day's celebrations (stopping by the entrance gate to the church for a barrage of confetti, very enthusiastically thrown!). Old Alresford Place is a lovely old manor house with wonderful gardens - perfect for making the most of on a sunny day like this, with garden games set out, drinks and canapes, and plenty of time for Rebecca & Paul to let it all sink in and spend time with their guests (and a few family and group photos outdoors) before heading into the beautiful dining room for speeches and the wedding breakfast. The speeches are always one of my favourite moments of the day from a photographic point of view, always full of laughter and smiles, sometimes a few happy tears, and lovely candid moments. And as the delicious-looking wedding breakfast was served I discreetly took a step back (I find that people don't generally tend to want too many photos of them eating) and start planning for the time out photos with the couple later in the evening...
As we arrived back at the venue ready for the evening celebrations, the band was set up and ready to begin with the first dance. The superb ballroom had been decorated with huge numbers of balloons floating against the ceiling, trailing long strings down to the dancefloor, which I have to say made for a very cool effect - it makes the space feel much less empty during those first few moments, although those moments didn't last very long anyway: Rebecca & Paul's friends are most definitely party people!
Many congratulations Rebecca & Paul on an absolutely wonderful wedding - what a treat to be there and capture it all for you - and wishing you many happy years together!
The above photos are, as ever, just a small selection from the day: friends and family can view the full set and slideshow in Rebecca & Paul's private gallery, but you'll need to ask them for the password first.
If you are planning your wedding at Old Alresford Place and would like to know more about my wedding photography services, packages and prices, please don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your plans; I'm always happy to help however I can.
Hope you enjoyed the photos and, as ever, thanks for reading.
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