Up to the North of Hampshire a couple of weeks ago for Hannah & James's wonderful wedding; a ceremony at St Michael's Church in Basingstoke, with secluded Highfield Park near Hook - right up towards the border - the scene for activities either side: bridal prep in the morning, and the rest of the afternoon and evening's celebrations later in the day. Highfield was a new venue to me for wedding coverage, so I'd arranged to meet here with the bride and groom a few weeks previously for our pre-wedding shoot (a few images from that day available to view here as well if you're interested). We'd taken the opportunity to have a really good look around and mark out some favourite locations for the day, although to be honest you're spoilt for choice both inside and out - definitely no shortage of excellent photo opportunities here!
As a change from the usual experience of squeezing into a hotel bedroom with any number of bridesmaids, hair and make-up artists, flower deliveries and so on, the bridal preparations were taking place in one of the larger function rooms down on the ground floor. They still managed to completely take over the room however, so it's probably just as well Hannah had taken that opportunity when it was presented! It was actually Hannah's mother in charge of hair and make-up, and she was just wrapping up after what must have been an immense job as I started to photograph. Everyone was looking absolutely stunning - some real talent there for sure!
The ceremony was to take place in Basingstoke, specifically St Michael's church, right in the centre. I'd only ever seen this church from the outside (it's the one near the Anvil Theatre) and how no idea how absolutely gorgeous it is inside. And huge too! What a hidden gem this church is - definitely an absolutely wonderful choice if you are considering a church wedding in the area. James was there and keeping himself occupied when I arrived, with guests milling around outside and starting to come in and take their seats. A quick couple of photos of him with his groomsmen, and then he was delivered safely to his place at the end of the aisle, ready to receive his bride as she made her entrance...
Immediately after the ceremony (well, once the bride and groom had emerged from the church to a barrage of confetti) we returned to the hotel as we had a pretty tight turnaround between wedding and wedding breakfast. We still managed to squeeze in drinks and canapes, as well as a large group photos of all of the guests, though before everyone was ushered into the main dining room, which was to remain the focus for the rest of the day's events. Happily however, and despite looking clouds and reports of thunderstorms further along the close, we were able to make good use of the extensive and beautifully-kept grounds front and back, not least the gentle hill on which the hotel sits with its views back across what must be most of Hampshire. Amongst these beautiful corners around the venue one space in particular stands out head and shoulders above the rest; the Folly. I already knew that this was high on Hannah & James' list of priorities for the couple photos, and they had gone to a whole load of extra trouble decorating it up for the occasion. It looked absolutely fantastic, and I understand that it's also licensed for outdoor marriages which is a bit of a rarity in the UK, so well worth keeping that one up your sleeve if that's on your wedding wish-list!
So whilst the other guests were still seated in the dining room we nipped off to make the most of the quiet grounds - Folly included. A good measure of the photographic variety available at a venue is if you can cover both the pre-wedding shoot and the day itself there, and still come up with different couple portraits each time, and Highfield Park ticks that box, I'm happy to say. As we rolled on into the evening we took the opportunity to capture some family and group photos (pro tip; don't feel that you always have to try and fit these in to the time between ceremony and wedding breakfast, just because it's how things are usually done. Doing it slightly later in the day, as Hannah & James did, can relieve a lot of time pressure if things are a bit squeezed earlier on). And then before we knew it we were throwing bouquets, cutting cakes, and - erm, dancing firsts. A heaving dancefloor soon after the first couple of dances is always a good indicator of a fun party crowd, and it looked like Hannah & James' celebrations were set to continue long into the night...
Many congratulations Hannah & James on an absolutely wonderful day - wishing you many happy years together - and huge thanks to the couple and all their family and friends for being such fantastic, willing and natural photographic subjects!
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The photos above are just a small selection from the day. Friends and family can view the full set in Hannah & James' private online gallery, but you'll need to ask them for the password first.
If you are currently planning your Highfield Park wedding and would like to know more about my wedding photography services, packages and prices, please do drop me a line to discuss your plans and ask me any questions you might have. I'm only too happy to help however I can.
Hope you enjoyed the photos from this gorgeous Summer wedding, and thanks as ever for reading,
Winchester Wedding Photographer covering all of Hampshire and further afield.
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