Victoria + Neal | The Manor House

A Staffordshire wedding

derbyshire wedding photos in beautiful golden sunlight

A Staffordshire wedding

Anyone who knows me knows I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with shooting friends weddings, or weddings for people I know. I absolutely love shooting them, but I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to not only shoot the wedding and be totally on top of my game, but to also make sure that they have a great time too. That’s not to say that this isn’t always the case – I’m relentless at weddings and never stop shooting until I know it’s going to look amazing, but where friends are concerned, I feel the extra pressure for it to be epic! Victoria and Neal were no exception (don’t worry guys, it’s a good thing… I love extra pressure!!) 🙂

A wedding of friends

So, I knew Victoria from when we went to school together. She was in the year below me growing up. I was best mates with Adam, her brother so it was amazing to be able to hang out with them again and catch up after so many years of drifting apart. The wedding was also held at their parents home in Staffordshire. A beautiful country house, set on its own in amongst open fields. If I’m honest, I’m a little bit jealous. I remember as a kid, hanging out there with Adam and I always loved that house then. Now, nearly 20 years later, I still love this place, especially now I can appreciate what great houses are all about. What makes it extra awesome is that Andrew & Jane, Victoria’s parents, have only gone and built a pizza oven and outdoor cooking area in the back garden. Not just any old pizza oven, but a super huge one which puts my normal “family sized” one here at home to shame!!

Knowing Victoria growing up, I remember her always being super polite and generally lovely, but I didn’t know Neal so I was keen to get to know him too. We met up a couple of months before the wedding and had a drink and a natter about the wedding and I quickly realised that below that quiet, calm and collected exterior was an uber cool guy who showed a real interest in photography and a mutual love for dark, atmospheric photos. I knew this wedding was going to be awesome and I couldn’t wait to shoot it!!! All I had to do now was make sure that a). I did a great job of it (I’d hate to loose a friend over screwing up a wedding lol), and b) that Neal, Victoria and all their friends and family had an epic time!!!

The wedding day

I started the day generally being nosey – I went for a wander around the grounds and took a look at the beautifully decorated marquee before heading inside to see how Victoria was getting on with her hair and makeup preparations. It was lovely and calm with just Vic and her mum getting ready together, whilst Andrew, her dad ran around outside like a mad thing, making sure that every one knew what they were doing and that everything was in place for one of the best days of his daughters life!

After preps we headed off to the church to see an eagerly waiting Neal and his guys. Victoria arrived in style in her dad’s gorgeous Bentley and before we knew it, was about to be married. We always say a quick hello to the vicar when we arrive for weddings. Partly out of common courtesy as it’s always nice to be polite, and party to see what rules the church had on photos (note to our future brides… double check the church rules on photography as they can vary vastly). The vicar was lovely – we were allowed to take any photos we liked, but only from the back. I had a quick word and he said I could sneak down the side for a photo as Victoria and her dad arrived. However, when doing that I got stuck at the front and wasn’t able to find a quiet spot during the ceremony to sneak away to the back, unnoticed. So, I found a pillar, with a great view of the cermeony and hid behind it. As crazy as this sounds, it actually worked out really well as I was able to grab some extra sneaky shots of the ceremony from the front, so we could actually see Victoria and Neals faces as they said their vows. To me, being at the front is sooooooo important. The view from the back is great, and I’ll always have my assistant there shooting that angle, but you need to see the emotions of a ceremony to really appreciate it. Seeing smiles from dad as he gives his daughter away, or seeing the look as the bride sees her husband-to-be for the first time that day, knowing she’s found the most amazing guy in the world… Priceless – I would do everything I can to make sure I see those moments from the front and not be noticed by anyone else!

Drinks at The Manor House

Thankfully the sun was shining, so we headed back to The Manor House for drinks on the lawn and photos, serenaded by an awesome singer. Dinner cooked by Chef Paul from Restauraunt Gilmour was great and followed speeches which involved (almost) bringing Victoria’s 2 ponies into the marquee, dressed as husband and wife. The sun was still shining so everyone took the opportunity to head back outside and bask in a glorious summer evening. It created such a relaxed feel to the day and everyone was loving having a beer in the sun!

Thanks guys for trusting us to photograph such an amazing day – it was great to catch up with you all again.

Here’s a seek peak while we work on your photos! Turn it up loud….. And enjoy!!!

Derbyshire and Staffordshire wedding photos. Ben and Hannah are multi-award winning, husband and wife Derbyshire Wedding Photographers. Ben loves travelling throughout the UK for weddings and abroad for destination weddings. Meeting new people every day as we go is awesome! If you’ve seen us at a recent wedding and have a friend that’s getting married, we’d love you to recommend us! 🙂

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