I've always loved the New Forest. This was my playground when I was growing up, and it's fair to say that it's pretty magical at any time of year - each season brings its own pleasures. For a Summer wedding though it's something else: a riot of greenery, a wonderfully relaxed feel, and a real sense of intimacy and romance. The perfect setting then for Sarah & Neal's gorgeous, chilled-out ceremony and celebration at the hidden gem that is Weddings In The Woods, a little spot nestled amongst the trees just outside Lyndhurst.
This was an occasion which had the bride and groom's personality stamped all over it, as all of the guests I chatted to agreed. No formality, no stressing over the little things - everything was simply geared towards bringing together all of their friends and family in a beautiful location and having a fantastic time. And they most definitely managed to tick all of those boxes!
Before heading on to the venue Sarah and her bridesmaids were to be found getting ready at The Pig in Brockenhurst, a restaurant with rooms in a beautiful manor house way out in the forest - somewhere I'd heard much about but hadn't had the pleasure of going to before, and which has since gone straight to the top of the list of places I want to stay for a couple of days doing nothing more than eat and relax. Excellent choice! As I captured a few photos of the bridal preparations family members started to arrive and the activity increased, building up to the grand departure of the bridal party in a very funky old Ford Prefect (you don't see many of those around these days) and relocation to our home for the rest of the day.
And so on to the venue. Weddings in The Woods is literally the name of this beautiful little spot a few miles outside Lyndhurst, and quite simply it does exactly what it says on the tin. It's the most charming, down-to-earth location for a wedding; huge, towering trees bursting with vibrancy and standing tall over a clearing, in which you'll find a gorgeously rustic barn and marquee, shepherds' huts scattered around the site which serve as accommodation for the guests (an easy stagger back to your bed at the end of a hard day's celebrating), a huge fire-pit, and - if you're quiet and patient enough - little glimpses of the fauna which makes the Forest such a special place (well, I saw a couple of deer crash through the undergrowth in the distance on this occasion, and I've definitely seen wild pigs in this neck of the woods before). It's always nice when you get the chance to use a word like idyllic. I've got no hesitation in rolling it out for this one - it's a wonderful spot, off the beaten track, and for anyone looking for something slightly alternative and very chilled out as a wedding venue in Hampshire I'd highly recommend throwing this one into the mix.
And before you know it (believe me, it all happens very quickly when you're the one stood there at the front; I can speak from experience here!) they were husband and wife, and walking back down the aisle together. With a thoroughly charming - and very personal - ceremony behind them, they and all of their guests could turn their thoughts to the rest of the day; namely, celebrating! With the summer sun roasting down on us, and plenty of people ducking for shade whenever the fluffy white clouds parted for a while, we squeezed in a few family photos (and a few more with that very cool car) amongst the many hugs and kisses that they spend their time receiving. And then, as afternoon moved into early evening people started to retire to the marquee in anticipation of the speeches and wedding breakfast - a family-style spit-roast lamb buffet with all the trimmings (I completely understand when people opt for chicken for the meal; a path-of-least-resistance crowd-pleaser naturally, but a whole sheep on a spit wins hands-down in my book every time!).
I'm not sure I can remember the last time I saw so many people having fun at the same time - what an absolutely fabulous wedding! Huge congratulations to you both, Sarah & Neal; you really did it in style!
If you are planning your Wedding In The Woods in the New Forest and would like to know more about my photography services, packages and prices, please don't hesitate to contact me at any time to discuss your plans and ask me any questions you might have.
As ever, many thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this little story from the day,
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