Tanya and Leigh’s Wedding Flying High over Staunton Harold Hall, a wedding venue in Leicestershire
The Couple: Tanya and Leigh (and their lovely mothers!) came across my stand at the National Wedding Show. I was so happy to hear how much they loved my documentary photography style, and how my photographs captured more intimate and personal moments, rather than lots of posed shots; they said they had been searching the show for someone like me all day, what a compliment! When the couple began talking, I knew their wedding would be something special, and I was instantly excited to hear about their plans to hold a summer garden wedding – in their own garden! Aside from falling in love with each other, Tanya and Leigh had also discovered their shared love of gardening and wanted to tie the knot under a beautiful old English rose arch at the bottom of their garden. However, halfway through wedding planning, they called to tell me that there had been a ‘plot twist’! Construction work near to the house and an ever-growing guest list meant that they were moving their wedding to the stately Staunton Harold Hall in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire. Not a problem! If you need to make any changes in your plans (and many couples do) just give me a call and we will work around whatever we need to in advance. The couple’s friend and the florist didn’t give up on their garden dream and used so many details to ‘bring the garden’ to Staunton, from herbs in flower arrangements and plant plot place settings to a beautiful, bespoke rose arch in the ceremony room. One of my favourite details was the family’s four pairs of wellies filled with flowers at the top of the aisle.
The Venue: Staunton Harold was the first place that Leigh took Tanya on a ‘proper date’ – Leigh tells me that on that sunny afternoon, they watched as a couple had their wedding photographs taken on the lawn as music played, and he was already thinking about marrying her! Since that day, they have spent many happy family times in Staunton’s grounds, and I can see why; the beautiful Georgian mansion overlooks a wide, tree-lined lake set within 2,000 acres of green parkland, and has the little gem of a 17th-century church nestled right in the centre. Those 2,000 acres would come in handy later on when Tanya and Leigh told me of another ‘plot twist’ – Tanya’s dad (a professional pilot, fondly known by the family as ‘The Captain’) would be flying his daughter and her bridal party in by helicopter, and landing right on Hall’s lawn!
The Photography: One of the greatest photography challenges of Tanya and Leigh’s day was making sure that I was there to capture key moments happening at split locations, but this is easily managed with experience and expert planning. Tanya’s bridal preparations took place at the beautiful Breedon Hall in the morning, and I arrived early to capture the bridal party buzz! After Tanya’s departure, I made a well-timed dash to Staunton Harold to capture guests arriving and having drinks with the groom. Shortly after, I expectantly awaited The Captain’s landing, knowing that it was a surprise to all the guests; when the helicopter began to chop the air above the hall, guests filled up the windows to watch – what an entrance!
The day was filled with such intense emotions of love, heartwarming energy, fun, and laughter. When the couple gave very personal gifts to friends and family to thank them for being ‘their army’, I had never seen so many people in happy tears in one room.
Tanya and Leigh continued their love of plot twists and surprises well into the evening, with helicopter rides for their guests, an amazing fireworks display over the lake, and a secretly rehearsed first dance with their own version of a ‘Dirty Dancing’ lift! I spent 12 hours capturing Tanya and Leigh’s special day (I don’t limit my time when I can see that there are great wedding memories to be captured) and the fact that I was smiling all the way home tells you just how much I loved this wedding.
Florist | Kate Martin Wedding Venue | Staunton Harold Hall and Estate Decor | Kate Martin Fireworks | Spitfire Pyrotechnics Wedding Shoes | Jimmy Choo Dress Salon | Cicily Bridal Boutique in Ashby de la Zouch Wedding cake | Ann Harrison (Leigh’s mum!)