I was second shooting for a fellow photographer friend at Nicola and Jono’s wedding, which is always a different but really great experience in many ways! The pressure is always a little bit less when second shooting, as you’re not the one in control of the overall vision for the day, and you get to see things from interesting angles as you’re generally standing in different positions, which can actually make for some of the most natural and unique shots, so I like to take the opportunity to do this sort of work when time allows.

Nicola and Jono’s wedding was held at the stunning Wethele Manor, on a beautiful August day, right in the midst of the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic – so watch out for some interesting shots of masked-up guests and socially distanced chairs coming up! Although this is the new normal for all of us (as I write this in early 2021, still very much in the middle of the pandemic), I hope very much that in years to come we’ll look back at these photos of masks and “distanced” loved ones, and think how strange it looks, as if from a different world, and a different time. 

When I arrived in the morning I got started by photographing a few details of the venue, the dress, the stunning wedding arch and the flowers – I just loved the flowers for this wedding! They added so much colour and vibrance, and the way they were used to decorate the beautiful “orchard bothy” for the ceremony looked incredible! As I was second shooting, I was in charge of groom prep rather than bridal prep, which again made for a different dynamic and an interesting change, so it was great to spend some time with the guys getting their suits ready, seeing a different side to the morning preparations.

Once everyone was ready, it was time for the ceremony to commence, and we couldn’t have hoped for a more stunning location or more perfect weather for this outdoor celebration. Nicola’s little flower girl made all of our hearts melt as she scattered petals on the ground, and then Nicola was walked down the aisle by her mum – both of them looking gorgeous and glowing. The ceremony felt really intimate and personal, and in a way, the restricted numbers of guests contributed to that feeling. Everybody present was either family or very close friends, and there was a real feeling of togetherness and joy. Despite the distanced chairs, you could really feel the closeness and the love from everyone present.

After saying “I do”, and showering the happy couple in confetti, it was time for some family shots – check out the awesome personalised masks which the couple had made! If you’re going to have a wedding in the middle of a global pandemic, that’s how to do it!

Wethele Manor has got to be one of my favourite venues for couples portraits, as the grounds are just so stunning! We used the weather and all the little “props” around the gardens to our advantage, getting some lovely shots on the rustic, engraved wooden swing, the stunning archway covered in greenery, and also the field nearby with the tall grasses and atmospheric sky as the clouds started to gather.

Nicola and Jono were due to have a beautiful marquee reception at the venue, but at the very last minute the UK government announced that the relaxation of the Coronavirus restrictions (which everyone had expected to come into force on August 1st) were actually going to be postponed, throwing everyone’s plans into chaos. This meant they had to change their plans to host a smaller scale garden party instead, but fortunately Wethele Manor were still able to provide them with the food they had planned, it was just to take away instead! (2020 truly was the year of the takeaway! But this one was special, and super upmarket!) Nicola and Jono had decorated the garden beautifully, with personalised favours, flowers, balloons, and even a gorgeous centrepiece for their table with their names in hearts.

Speeches were heartfelt and personal, the drinks were flowing, the cake was delicious and enjoyed by everyone, and there was just a wonderful atmosphere around the whole gathering. Considering the circumstances this couple had been faced with, not only trying to plan their wedding in the middle of the pandemic, but then all of their plans being thrown in the air at the last minute, they really did make the absolute best of the situation. They proved that you don’t necessarily need a massive, hugely expensive wedding day to have a great celebration – at the end of the day, family, friends, love and laughter is what counts, and they had all of that in abundance. Congratulations Nicola and Jono, you’re a wonderful couple, and you certainly proved that love conquers all!

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