I consider myself a very lucky human being. Getting to travel the UK without limits, documenting wedding days for couples who really GET what I'm about - capturing the true, raw emotion and celebration of each and every wedding day without any pre-planned or scripted shots, allowing my creativity and human connection with everyone I capture to lead the way in telling the story of each wedding day - that, all of that wonderful, liberating stuff, is a big part of what makes me believe I'm a really lucky person.
But the biggest part for me is meeting the BEST people - couples who just want to be real (and have FUN!). It's a beautiful thing to be welcomed into a couple's lives, to get to know them and their priorities, their families, their history. Do you see why I consider myself to be a very lucky human being?
Hop to it Janet, you're thinking, how does this relate to Hannah and Sean's EPIC wedding at Rise Hall? It has everything to do with these two. I'll tell you. They are everything I love about being a wedding photographer and so, so much more.
We three met at Hornington Manor (am I the only one who thought of Macbeth?!) during one Brides Up North's wedding fair extravaganzas. We got chatting that day and just flew from there.
Hannah and Sean booked my Deluxe Package - up to 12 hours of wedding photography and a Sunset Session engagement shoot.
With loads of time to plan, we booked their Sunset Session for the autumn before their summer wedding. Gorgeous autumn colours and yummy evening sunset light added another layer to their photographs - exactly why I call them my Sunset Sessions.
We had a BLAST. Though I don't think either of them would profess it, these two are totally relaxed in front of the camera. We used the opportunity to meet up and get familiar beforehand, in one of Hebden Bridge's many cafes, then we headed out to spend a couple of very happy hours talking about dog dreams (we're all dying for one but haven't taken the plunge yet) and swapping funny stories, I defy you to spend time with Hannah and Sean and not love them, it's just impossible not to have a great time in their company.
Along the way I learnt that Hannah and Sean met through My Single Friend - a dating website founded by Sarah Beeny. It was fitting then, that they chose Rise Hall as their wedding venue - the drop dead gorgeous grade 2 listed stately home was restored to brilliant glory by Sarah.
Somehow, a year and a half from our first meeting at the Hornington Manor wedding fair zipped by and I found myself on Hannah and Sean's wedding morning, craning my neck and trying to keep my mouth closed as I looked up at the impressive Rise Hall exterior.
The stately home's exterior is just a hint of what it holds inside. The morning was really relaxed, it felt like being at home with a (VERY) big family, (if your family lived in a stunning luxurious house - Rise Hall's a stunner throughout). With 29 bedrooms for guests to book, family and the wedding party had stayed the night before the wedding and shared breakfast together. Friends arrived early and the building was full of cheery calls and friendly faces dropping in on the bride and groom. Hannah and Sean's wedding day had family at its heart. Hannah's mum had been collecting and pressing flowers for their confetti and she even made their magnificent wedding cake. The family helped each other out all morning, preparing their final decorations and making sure setup was complete, alongside Rise Hall's dedicated managers Stuart and his son Daniel who worked tirelessly throughout the wedding day, as well as Cherry Williams Party Hire, who was setting up glorious blossom trees inside the Hall and Fulford Flowers, who added their touch of magic with bouquets, chair sashes and more blossom tree magic in the ceremony and reception rooms. Their wedding party was made up entirely of family, so close are these two to theirs. Having stayed overnight, the morning's prep seemed to stretch out calmly into the afternoon. Hannah and the ladies' prep was led smoothly by Victoria Farr MUA, whose knowledge and intuition was absolute gold dust, she made sure that everything was just perfect. Soon it was time to step into the dress and walk with papa down the grand staircase to join Sean at the top of the aisle. I don't know whether Hannah felt a flutter of nerves, if she did she didn't show it. And as soon as they had exchanged their vows, raising the roof with laughter at their 'what's yours is mine' vow (or is it what's mine is yours?!) Hannah and Sean could not wait to see everyone they'd invited to their wedding.
Champagne was poured, canapes scoffed (thanks Baba Ganoush!) and big old hugs and congratulations were given. Mum's confetti was tossed with great gusto!
The blissful afternoon of happy chatter and drinks melted into the evening, when classic and brilliantly funny speeches from the father of the groom, the groom himself, and his best man were made in Rise Hall's grand reception room, under a canopy of sparkly fairy lights draped from the high ceiling.
The cherry on the top of this brilliant, oh so happy celebration of a wedding day was the Ceilidh! After Hannah and Sean's first dance (these two had moves up their sleeves - I should have known!) It's No' Reel Ceilidh Band whipped everyone out of their seats -no trace of tiredness this evening - and into swirling circles and lines of directed dances. Can you think of a better way to meet everyone at a wedding?
No chance of holding onto your dance partner, within moments you've moved on to dancing with a new person, each as inexperienced at Ceilidh dancing as the next (or maybe not, I have a sneaking suspicion that some of Sean's family are well versed in some of the dances!).
Blimey! What a day! I wanted to stay all night too. Hannah and Sean, as soon as I have Doris the Daschund you'll be the first to know, and I hope by then you will have Renée the Frenchie!
A massive thanks goes to everyone who was involved in helping to make Hannah and Sean's wedding day so spectacular - from family and friends to the professionals involved, I'm sure these two have sent out so many thank you messages already, and I'll add mine here. Venue - Rise Hall Wedding Coordination - Stuart and Daniel at Rise Hall Hair and Makeup - Victoria Farr Makeup Artist Wedding Dress - Treasured Brides
and so many more I'm sure!
50 Glorious Photographs of Hannah and Sean's Relaxed Luxury Wedding at Rise Hall in the East Riding of Yorkshire - Morning to Night