When I first met Emily and Jack and they told me about their festival wedding at The Dreys at Squirrel Wood. I was so excited to photograph a wedding here and was delighted that Emily and Jack decided to go ahead and book me for the day. I started at bridal prep at Emily and Jack’s home. I knew it would be busy but nothing truly prepared me for the noise and industry of 10 bridesmaids, one flower girl, two proud mums, make up artists and, of course, my beautiful bride. Oh and videographer Andrew from Reel Motion Film … it was Andrew’s last wedding on the videography side and it was great to work with him.

There were personalised wallets for the girls, personalised champagne flutes (being well used …), scrambled eggs, bacon, salmon … more champagne. Personalised bridal slippers. A flower girl with an attitude. Personalised dressing gowns. Individually styled bridesmaids dresses, all in the same colour way but very different in style. Relatively sensible nude coloured shoes … because The Dreys is principally an outdoors venue, with festoon lit paths meandering through the woodland. I had prepared myself … but was it enough … ?

Emily and Jack festival wedding at The Dreys Emily and Jack festival wedding at The Dreys Emily and Jack festival wedding at The DreysI survived … I had to leave before the bouquets and flowers for the girls arrived in order to make my way across to The Dreys to meet up with Jack and his … wait for it, 10 groomsmen (and one page boy … oh Riley …) …

Emily and Jack festival wedding at The Dreys Emily and Jack festival wedding at The Dreys

We got the news (via radio … weddings at The Dreys are a well-oiled machine and seamlessly orchestrated) that Emily had arrived in Bella the Bus, along with the bridesmaids in a limousine. And it was time for an emotional walk along with her father to arrive in the woodland setting for her marriage to Jack. Annie Love was the celebrant for this wedding … full marks for the most appropriate name!

Emily and Jack asked for a second photographer to work alongside me and I was so happy to have Sarah at my side. Having two photographers for a large wedding such as Emily and Jack’s is worth it … I love this angle captured by Sarah during the ceremony.

After a reading from Jack’s father and a ceremony including their mothers and giving of roses as remembrance, Jack and Emily made their way along the paths to the venue. I had a moment to capture these few moments with them before their guests joined.

Formals and groups shots soon followed. We had worked on a list and got the family photographs taken quickly … and then it was time to round up the bridal party (with 24 members, you can just imagine …)! I think this might have been the point where Jack coined the “this wedding is carnage” phrase!!!

By this time, the carnage which Jack had predicted was starting … I’m sure that my lovely couple will be finding confetti for days .. if not weeks!

The speeches were before the meal and were brilliant .. I’ve listened to a few in my time and I find it fascinating to hear how the couple spent their hen and stag dos (carnage) and stories about them growing up … many of which can’t be repeated! The marquee was filled with shouts and whoops and hollering. This crowd certainly knows how to party! The wedding cake was stunning … with hints of macrame styling which is found throughout the venue beautifully echoing the festival vibe.

With so many guests spread over a large venue, it’s sometimes hard to encourage the bride and groom to step out for a few minutes. The Dreys is situated right on Detling Hill which has its own weather system. A photographer friend of mine was photographing a wedding near the coast and texted me to tell me it was raining … but at The Dreys, the sun shone on Emily and Jack and we found a few moments to get these images … the whole setting lends itself to festival weddings. For celebrations without limits.

Look at that light! Beautifully autumnal, warm and just at the right place at the right time. God I love this couple!

Emily and Jack’s first dance was not a gentle shuffle around the dance floor. Oh no, it was banging! Their smiles and laughter really capture for me just how much they are in love. And the packed dance floor showed how much their friends and families loved to party too!

I have no words for how lovely you both are, Emily and Jack. You have an amazing ability to make everyone feel welcome and valued. I have never eaten so well at a wedding (thanks to caterers Up in My Grill nor have I ever seen such a feast for the eyes as Grape and Fig provided for the evening grazing table.

Oh .. and the ice creams which the children at the wedding were delighted to announce were free provided by my good friends at Treats on a Tricycle. I had the honeycomb ice cream. And was in heaven!

I didn’t want to leave. But darkness was falling, as was the temperature and we had come to end of our coverage. I have to admit, I did sneak the odd sun dried tomato and cheese stuff pepper from the grazing table and … oh my … it was good.

Oh Emily and Jack, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I can’t wait to share your final images with you. I wish you all the luck and love possible for your married life together. Thank you for choosing me xxx


P.S. And whether carnage did happen after I left … well that’s something I will never knows!!!