Relaxed Child-friendly Winter Wedding at Alrewas Hayes, Staffordshire - Keeley & Tom
If You love winter weddings then you will love this cosy Country House Wedding
Keeley and Tom got married at Alrewas Hayes, Staffordshire, in November. I was excited because it was the first time I would be photographing a wedding there and it is literally on my doorstep! It was a super fun cosy wedding, with flowers on the tables and plenty of activities and games to keep the little ones happy (there were plenty of little ones running around and having fun).
If you are planning a relaxed wedding day then I would love you to get in touch and I will send you a copy of my wedding brochure!
Keeley got ready in the beautiful bridal suite with her two daughters and maid of honour, and there was such a calm vibe. She wore a beautiful two piece gown, and looked so gorgeous. She then walked the short distance with their two beautiful girls to get to the ceremony.
Tom's face was a picture when he saw his daughters walking down the aisle in front of their Mum.
The ceremony took place in the beautiful ceremony room at Alrewas Hayes. The ceremony area was full of natural light, which came flooding in through the huge windows, because it was such a gorgeous day outside. Although intimate, the room had beautiful high ceilings and has a very grand feel to it.
In her own words, Keeley shared with me how they planned their wedding and how they found my website, after searching far and wide for a photographer, whose relaxed style would be the perfect fit for the kind of day they were hoping for.
Planning A Wedding and Finding Your Wedding Photogpaher
It was June 2018 … In the midst of a long and hot summer Tom and I were enjoying a drink (or two) in the evening shade. Ever the romantic, my partner of 7 years, asked ‘Shall we get married next year?’ … not the most romantic proposal out there I admit, but we popped a bottle of fizz, music on in the background and chatted for hours about our dream wedding, it is a lovely memory, and so began the wedding planning.
I must admit, whenever I had heard someone planning a wedding say they were stressed I hadn’t understood it. How could planning one day be stressful! … now I know! To put ourselves under a bit more pressure, we decided a few weeks later we would set the date for the winter … of that year! That gave us exactly 4 months to plan!
4 months, thats ages, we said. We secured the venue, I found a dress, we sent out invites, tick, tick, tick! Things were going well (if not, a little hectic). The only thing we couldn’t find was a photographer who’s style of work matched the laid-back feel we were hoping for. It was at this moment we started to, ever so slightly, regret having booked our wedding so last minute. No wonder people book these things so far in advance we said. That night, I sat there aimlessly googling …
‘wedding photographer tamworth’ …. scroll, scroll, scroll … nothing
‘wedding photographer lichfield’ … scroll, scroll, scroll .. nothing
‘wedding photographer relaxed style’ … nope! You can almost hear the photographer shout “say cheese”
‘what to do when you cant find a wedding photographer’ … this was getting silly!
I gave it one more shot ‘Laid back, relaxed, natural wedding photography’ (I couldn’t think of any more synonyms). … queue the orchestral music … up popped Helen Howard Photography!
I scrolled through her website, I could feel my smile growing with each picture I looked at, literally I couldn’t stop grinning.
Not one looked awkward or over posed, they all just looked wonderfully ‘natural’. After convincing myself that there is no way Helen would have any availability at this short notice I typed an email, explained my struggle with finding a photographer, outlined our camera awkwardness and pressed send.
I woke up to an email .. from HELEN HOWARD. We were very lucky and Helen did have that date free, we arranged to meet up.
I drove the short journey to my meeting with Helen, Tom and I decided it best that I go on my own so that my husband-to-be could stay with our two little ones, I could just imagine them throwing photo albums on the floor and climbing on the furniture (unbeknown to me Helen wouldn’t have minded one bit). I walked into Helen’s lovely little office and its relaxed, cosy feel gave me good vibes. We sipped tea and Helen told me how she worked. She told me how she likes to fade into the background, capturing the most genuine moments of the day. She told me how she uses a mixture of experience and good timing to capture some more organised shots (bride, groom and grandparents for example) but explained that it needn’t feel posed or awkward and I believed her. We booked Helen as our wedding photographer … what a huge relief.
Meeting With Your Wedding Photographer
Nearer the time of the wedding, Helen asked to meet us at the venue to have a look around together and talk more about what we hoped to see in our photos, as well as meet Tom and our girls, she wanted to make sure the girls in particular felt comfortable with her on the day. Helen took the lead (in the most loveliest of ways) and made suggestions and asked questions as we walked around the venue. It was very clear from the outset that Helen knew her profession very well and her passion for it oozed out of her.
On The Wedding Day
Helen arrived while I was getting ready, to be honest she slipped into the room without me even noticing. The morning went by with a blur, the excitement and nerves getting the better of me and I cant remember that much of it but what I can say is that Helen subtlety snapped away and did her best to put my nerves at ease (I am pretty sure that wasn’t part of my wedding package but she did a great job of it anyway).
My nerves quickly faded when I walked into a room, full of all my closest friends and family and the rest of the day had that relaxed and down to earth feel Tom and I were so hoping to achieve. Throughout the day Helen chose the most appropriate times to sneak us off for a ‘walk around the courtyard’ or a ‘stroll by the lake’ each time snapping away without us hardly noticing. The day for us ran smoothly and was everything we hoped for and more.
Fast forward a few weeks and our email arrived with a link to our photos .. eek!
We poured a glass of wine after the kids had gone to bed and relived one of the happiest days of our lives. The beauty of the way Helen works is that every photo we looked at was a beautiful surprise. The photos were jam packed with emotion and we ahh’ed, ooh’ed and laughed our way through them. She captured not only the most treasured moments with us and our wedding party but captured many candid photos of guests and parts of our wedding that we wouldn’t have seen on the day if it wasn’t for Helen.
Back in June, I visited my grandmother, she was over the moon when I told her Tom and I were planning to get married, after a cup of tea (my nan’s answer to any news; happy, sad or indifferent), I asked to see her wedding album. She went straight to the cupboard and pulled out the 60 year old wedding album. She unwrapped it from the tissue paper she keeps it carefully covered with and we spent an hour looking through together, talking about how in love they were, how her dress was specially made, how nervous she was… she loved reliving the day, it was a really special moment for both of us. I know that when our grandchildren ask in 50 years time if they can see our wedding album, like my nan, we wont have any problem remembering all the special moments that happened throughout the day as Helen so beautifully captured each and every one.
Thank you to Keeley for taking the time to write this guest blog post for me on her wedding experiences.
I loved their stunning family orientated wedding so much. If you’re getting married and looking for a relaxed and natural wedding photographer, please get in touch, the kettle is always on in my office and I have some beautiful new sample wedding albums and parent albums that I just cannot wait to show off!
Here some photos from Keeley and Tom’s Alrewas Hayes Wedding,