The photography package booked was short - starting with the arrival of the groom and guests followed by the bride, the ceremony, and the various "must-have" group photos afterwards in the photogenic grounds of Shaw House. This means that the proportion of candid "reportage" photos is less than in longer coverages as the posed photos must take priority in the time available.
Shaw House is a beautiful old building in extensive well-kept grounds, easily reached from the nearby M4 motorway, and with lots of free on-site parking. In addition the registrars are usually very easy for professional photographers and videographers to work with - no awkward restrictions on shooting during ceremonies. All this means that the venue is in high demand - there were two wedding ceremonies shortly after Peter's arrival on-site before anyone arrived for Karly and Michaels ceremony! Our couple had the last ceremony of the day and so we were able to take our time and relax for the photo shoot without having to worry about clashing with another wedding party. Phew!
Our groom Michael stated very firmly that he doesn't do smiling. Fortunately our Bride Karly more than made up for that with her beautiful Smiles!
The first photo below shows Shaw House as seen from huge lawns to the south-east of the main building. To the left you can see the spire of St Marys Church Shaw Newbury peeping through the treetops. In front of that, again to the left, is the car park reserved for wedding VIPs and is where brides normally arrive. The steps in the middle of the building are where the guests access the main ceremony room - which in the photo is on the ground floor on the right of the building (obscured by the mature tree in the photo). This stair case is where the bride and groom and the guests exit after the ceremony and is a good location for the group photos. Just behind the camera position is the main car park which is where the guests should park. The main reception desk is on the opposite side of the building to the VIP car park and behind the trees in the photo. Too much information? Well if you're running late (as several guests were) and you haven't visited Shaw House before you may appreciate it!
The next photo shows the spectacular front of Shaw House as seen from the VIP car park. This side of the building does not have any access to the interior - those big oak doors are firmly locked - so you need to go around to the opposite side:
Peter caught the groom off-guard for a moment and managed to capture a smile!
The camera loves the best man as you can see in the next photo. Our groom did not quite manage to revert to his serious face!
Peter shot a variety of candid and semi-posed photos as the various guests arrived:
Very soon our bride Karly arrived in granddads posh car:
Some of the ladies outfits were amazing. Soooo photogenic:
And our bridesmaids looked fabulous:
The little people are always great photo subjects at weddings:
Very soon the ceremony was underway. Remember our groom doesn't do smiling!
The Newbury registrars are easy to get on with and so important photos such as the exchange of rings are straightforward to shoot. The bride and groom were positioned close to a main window alcove and so the registrar invited Peter to shoot from within the alcove in order to capture our couples faces. Sometimes the room is set up with the desk near another window and so there is no alcove "problem":
The tradition among our couples community is that there is NOT a first kiss at the end of the ceremony. This often catches out registrars and priests alike who otherwise assume couples will take them up on their suggestion to seal the deal with a kiss. The next photo shows our guests hilarity as our bride does the exact opposite of what our celebrant was expecting!
Photography of the bride and groom signing the civil register is not permitted - though a "mock signing" is usually set up immediately afterwards. This period is a good opportunity to capture a few more photos of the guests, including the always photogenic girls and boys:
The proud father of the bride:
You can see the window alcove where the bride and groom are positioned in the next wide-angle photo. This can make it difficult to shoot anything other than backs of heads or everything from the back of the room. So the registrar may invite the photographer to take up a position within the alcove. Its not ideal and sometimes the main desk may instead be positioned next to the window in the centre of the photo:
Still the smiles from our groom are in short supply! But he was adamant he doesn't do them.
We were never going to get a smile out of the little boy but the big boy couldn't help himself but crack a grin!
The steps leading out of Shaw House are a good position for some of the photos so long as the sun is not too bright - which can make portraits too contrasty and unflattering. We shot the big groups here:
We varied the backdrop to the photos with some nice views of the grounds of Shaw House as in the next photo featuring our newly-weds with all the parents:
The sun made a dazzlingly bright return and so we took advantage of some shade for some more posed photos:
We briefly shot a few more photos at a local hotel before the coverage ended and the reception began:
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