A beautiful Summer's day on the south coast with Jack & Jo - a wedding at gorgeous Milford church, a reception at fantastic Sopley Mill, and a little stop-over between the two to hit the beach for some photographs. This beautiful couple's day was about as quintessentially English as you could get (and a total contrast to our central London pre-wedding shoot earlier in the year).
Milford-on-Sea is a lovely little village right on the coast, on the edge of the New Forest. The wedding had largely taken it over for the morning: groom preparations at one end, in the Beach House Hotel; bridal preparation at the other, in Jo's family home, and the very charming All Saints Church right between the two ready to host the ceremony. I do like it when all the preparations are taking place nearby - it's such an advantage when it comes to re-telling the story of the day to have photos from both sides, when you're able to nip between the two. Both the bride and groom were surrounded by various friends and family - absolutely loads going on, plenty of laughter and smiles, and an absolutely gorgeous day outside. Summer sunshine was definitely making an appearance today!
With Jack confirmed as being safely at the church greeting the guests, I hot-footed it back around the corner to catch up with Jo ready for the bridal party to begin their walk to the church. Walks to the church are always good fun - the little toots of the horn as drivers shoot by, and also I always get the feeling that it gives the bride just a few extra moments to gather her thoughts and relax into it all. Anyway, this was a lovely little stroll and really, what could be sweeter than walking from your parents' house to the church to get married? And it's a beautiful little church as well. Actually, not so little, now I think about it; in fact just the right size for a wedding with this number of guests - still small enough to feel intimate, but even so with enough space and - my favourite! - side aisles to allow me to stay out of the way and not draw attention to myself.
So Jack & Jo were now husband and wife, greeted by their cheering guests and a barrage of confetti as they stepped out the church. Stunning Sopley Mill was our destination for the celebrations, but - as the guests departed on the Routemaster bus for a little tour of the Forest en route, we had a little planned stop to make first. A couple of stops in fact, as there was no way that we could have a wedding so close to such fab beaches on a day like this, with sweeping vistas across the Solent to the Needles and the Isle of Wight, without catching a few seaside photos ourselves. Jack and Jo already had it all planned and knew exactly where they wanted to go. And just as with the cars tooting as our bride walked to the ceremony, now we were surrounded on every side by holidaymakers cheering and congratulating them both as they made their way down onto the sand. And then, photos taken and sand in my shoes, it was on to Sopley...
As the speeches ended and the beautifully soft evening light started to roll gently across the Mill, we took the opportunity to nip out and capture a final few photos of just Jack and Jo, before returning to the rest of the wedding party for the evening's celebrations. There are many things I love about Sopley Mill; as a venue it's absolutely charming, it lends itself so well to the flow of a wedding, it has so many interesting little features to explore (absolute gold for a photographer)... but one of the best bits of all for me is the countryside right on the doorstep - a perfect spot to steal away with the bride and groom, just for a moment or two. A little opportunity for them to catch their breath and let the whirlwind of the day sink in, and a great opportunity for me to provide them with perhaps just one or two little gems to remember their day by...
As we returned to the Mill the duck race was very clearly imminent. One duck per table had been prepared (some, it has to be said, rather creatively decorated) and at the end of something approximating a countdown they were all lobbed into the river to float firstly under the bride, pooh-sticks style, and then - if they were lucky - to continue to bob past the swirling eddies and snagging reeds to the finish line. As the evening drew in the bouquet was tossed (and caught, very importantly!), the cake was cut, the first dance was danced... And just to cap it all, the summer sunshine tipped its hat to us as it left for the night in a final little blaze of glory.
The above photos are just a small selection from the day: friends and family can view the full set, plus the slideshow, in Jack & Jo's private gallery... but you'll need to ask them for the password first, of course.
If you are planning your wedding in the New Forest or at Sopley Mill - or, for that matter, fancy some wedding photos on the beack as part of your day - 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 and ask me any questions you might have. I'm only too happy to help however I can.
I very much hope that you enjoyed the photos from this fabulous seaside wedding. As ever, thanks for reading,
Winchester Wedding Photographer covering all of Hampshire and further afield.
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