A Wedding Story

“Believe me my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”


Bridal Prep

The sun has a nasty habit of hiding away for much of the summer (insert quotation marks) months and setting off from home for the drive up to the Lake District was no exception, it looked like we were in for another soggy, miserable day. However by the time I arrived at the stunning Lakeside Hotel, Newby Bridge, Windermere it was a gloriously sunny day. It's the first time I've photographed a wedding here and although I'd looked on google as I do before shooting at any new wedding venue, I really wasn't prepared for just how stunning a location it is. Right at the very southernmost tip of Lake Windermere, the beautiful country house hotel set in landscaped grounds leading to the lakeside shoreline with picture perfect views across the lake and fells. I may be a little biased here because we recently married in the Lake District but I really do think it is THE most beautiful part of the country and is a stunning backdrop for your wedding photos.

There were still the final few remaining covid restrictions in place, especially on the numbers you were allowed at a wedding however Joanne and Andrew had already decided that they wanted a smaller, more intimate wedding anyway so happily they weren't forced to cut back on the number of guests invited.

A good wedding tip, when you're picking your Bridesmaids make sure you choose wisely, pick one that will do all the running around and organising for you before the wedding and on the big day, Joanne had picked 2! They had everything arranged ready for me to start photographing, and you can see in the first couple of photos, everything nicely laid out, I'm a documentary wedding photographer so technically it's not cheating if everything is there already, the girls even took Joanne's dress away to hang up in a much quieter and tidier room for me to photograph later in the morning. Once I'd finished photographing the wedding details it was present time for all of the Bridesmaids and Flower Girls, this is always something worth holding on for until your photographer arrives as it can make for some great reaction shots and helps break up the wedding prep a bit too.

Everyone continued getting ready, making sure they'd got their own Instagram-worthy photos and selfies, even the hair and MUA took time out from the prep to create their own tiktok / instaboomerangstory or whatever they're called these days I quietly went about my job, keeping out of the way, capturing and documenting the action and fun as it happened, nothing staged and nothing posed.

something old something new something borrowed something blue wrapped wedding gifts for the bride
All the bridal and bridesmaids presents, shoes and accessories laid out on a double bed with gingham sheets
Smiling bride leans across the bed and hands out a bag of wedding gifts to one of the bridesmaid
bridesmaids crowd around a table, some sitting on the floor as they open their wedding presents from the bride
wide shot of the room as bridesmaids open their wedding gifts from the bride during the morning wedding prep
bridesmaid in pyjamas balances carefully on the bed watched by the other bridesmaids.
bride and bridesmaids kneel on the bed and raise their glasses as the hair and makeup artist make an Instagram video
bride and bridesmaids use a selfie stick to take a group photo on the wedding morning
reflection of the bride in the mirror sitting down as the hairdresser fastens clips in her hair
brides perfume and bouquet lying on the bed during the wedding morning

The Ceremony

As Joanne posed for a final few photographs by the hair and makeup artist for their Instagram accounts I headed to meet up with Andrew in the gorgeous and intimate Oak Room with its' wood panelled walls, ornate fireplace and classic decor, it's a great room with lots of natural light and views of Lake Windermere beyond the conservatory windows. Andrew was nice and relaxed as he waited for his new Bride, all the wedding guests were laughing and joking and, clearly happy to be finally celebrating both the wedding and easing of lockdown restrictions, it was lovely seeing everyone having a great time after such a tough year for everyone.

bride poses for photos by her hair dresser and make up artist before heading to the wedding ceremony
wide shot of the oak room with its red carpet and wood panelled walls in the oak room
groom and best man sit looking relaxed waiting for the arrival of the bride before the ceremony
nervous looking little flower girl with slightly older bridesmaids either side of her about to walk down the aisle
2 older flower girls lead the way down the aisle followed by a little flower girl scattering petals on the red carpet
bride enters the room smiling as she starts her walk down the aisle
groom turns and looks over his shoulder as his bride walks down the aisle at the lakeside hotel
bridesmaid bends down to fix the brides dress as she stands with the groom at the top of the aisle
shot from the back of the oak room at the lakeside hotel windermere as the bride and groom say their vows
wide shot of the lakeside hotels oak room as the bride and groom turn to face each other during the wedding ceremony

Drinks and Confetti

After the wedding ceremony and the formal photographs were over and out of the way it was time for a short reception in the gorgeous Cumbrian sunshine, everyone congratulating the newlyweds and having drinks and canapés before we headed down onto the shoreline for a confetti shot as we weren't able to in the grounds, not that it mattered anyway, a bit of a breeze had got up and those confetti canons really go with a bang and send out a heck of a lot of confetti way, way up in the air, well that combined with the stiff breeze sent the confetti way up into the air, covering most of the landscaped gardens, the hotel guests sitting enjoying a drink and I'm pretty sure right into the hotel bedrooms, the ones that had left their windows open for fresh air anyway, oops! Very funny though as everyone at first stood around in shock and disbelief before setting off laughing at just how much of a mess they'd all made. Ayway as I said earlier, it was a fairly short drinks reception as it was on to the next part of the day....

wedding reception in the sunshine in the gardens of the lakeside hotel with the lake and fells in the background
bride laughs with a wedding guest during the drinks reception in the sun in the gardens at the lakeside hotel windermere
bridesmaids help with bride with her dress in the gardens at the lakeside hotel newby bridge windermere
bride and bridesmaid laughing with wedding guests during the drinks reception in the sunshine on the lakeside
bride and groom enjoying a drink smiling in the sunshine during the drink reception
bride and groom with wedding guests in the garden at the lakeside hotel windermere
wedding guest picks up his daughter the young flower girl and look out at the boats on moored on Lake Windermere
shot of the bridesmaids taken through a bush in the gardens at the lakeside hotel
flower girl  jumps off steps outside the lakeside hotel caught mid air with her bouquet in her hand arms in the air
bride and groom covered in confetti on the shoreline of Lake Windermere

Messing about in boats...

After the "formals" and confetti shot was over everyone excitedly headed down to the Lakeside Pier to board the beautiful, traditional wooden launch, the Queen of the Lake for an amazing private cruise on Lake Windermere. Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed the breathtaking scenery of the Lake and Fells. The views are beautiful from the shoreline anyway but if you ever do get the chance to take to the water, I'd thoroughly recommend it to make the most of the views, you can really appreciate just how spectacular the Lake District is when your on a boat. It was perfect weather, a glorious day for messing about in boats and there was plenty of drinks for everyone on board to toast the newlyweds and to help cool down in the sunshine and even something for the kids too, one of the Bridesmaids joining in with the flower girls. It is a great way for everyone to relax, chat and just enjoy themselves without the usual hustle and bustle of "what's happening next" that you often get at weddings. It's such a great way to break up the day so if you're considering a Lakeland wedding, I'd definitely advise you to try and make time in the day for a cruise.

bride gets a helping hand stepping down onto the wooden boat on lake Windermere
bride smiling sits in the sun on a wooden boat on lake Windermere with a. glass of champagne in her hand
bride on a boat laughing with wedding guests in the sunshine
bride and groom pose for a photograph at the front of the wooden boat with a champagne glass
bride and groom kissing on a wooden boat in the sunshine on Lake Windermere
bride and groom stand at the front of the boat as guests take their photograph on mobile phones
wedding guests group together using a selfie stick pose for a photograph on the boat on lake windermere
groom smiling and laughing with wedding guests sailing on windermere in the lake district
little flower girl drinks through a straw out of a large plastic slurpy cup
bridesmaid and flower girls sit in a line on the boat drinking through a straw from a large slurpy cup

More messing about in boats (for me anyway)

Something you can say for people in the Lake District, everyone is so friendly. We experienced it on our own wedding day, we walked up to one of the jetties for some photographs ourselves and everyone on there enjoying the views very kindly cleared it for us, without asking, so we could get our own stunning shots. This time it was one of the guests staying at the hotel had his speedboat moored up outside and offered to take me out on the Lake so I could get this fantastic shot of all the guests on the jetty with the hotel in the background, probably one of my favourite ever group shots and also giving me a chance to get some shots of the newlyweds that wouldn't normally be possible from on dry land.

It was also great fun for me on the speedboat so to the very kind person that offered up the use of your boat, thank you sir!

wedding guests start lining up in the jetty outside the lakeside hotel windermere
wedding guests pose for a photograph on the jetty outside the lakeside hotel with the bride and groom in the middle
bride and groom walk onto a wooden jetty outside the lakeside hotel on Lake Windermere
bride and groom pose on the wooden jetty with boats in the background on the lake
bride and groom pose on a wooden jetty next to a white speedboat
bride and groom pose on a wooden jetty next to boats with the lake  Windermere and the fells in the distance
bride and groom holding hands walk off the long wooden jetty outside the lakeside hotel windermere

Back on dry land...

After the fun on the boat it was back to dry land and a few photos of Joanne and Andrew making the most of the jetty and the shoreline, I don't like to tell couples what to do during the portrait session, I try to shoot from a distance and it gives the newlyweds a chance to spend a bit of time together away from their guests before joining back up with everyone as they all headed inside for the wedding breakfast.

bride and groom pose for portraits on a wooden jetty outside the lakeside hotel windermere
bride and groom kiss on a wooden jetty on Lake Windermere with the fells in the background
bride and groom walk towards the camera on a long wooden jetty on lake windermere
bride and groom hold hands walking along a wooden jetty outside the lakeside hotel with white boats either side of them
bride and groom walking off the long wooden jetty holding hands outside the lakeside hotel windermere
bride and groom hold hands walking along the windermere shoreline outside the lakeside hotel
flower girl picks up and carries another flower girl in the gardens at the lakeside hotel on Lake Windermere
flower girl chases a younger flower girl around the lakeside hotel gardens in the sunshine
bride and groom share a quiet moment in the lakeside hotel gardens away from their guests taken through a curtained door
Wedding Breakfast

One of the best things about the wedding breakfast (apart from the food of course!) has got to be the wedding speeches and more specifically, the reactions of the guests. I've heard a lot of speeches as a wedding photographer and you can usually tell when a speech has been written from the heart and when it's been "googled". If I had a pound for every time I've heard the same joke(s) over and over again I might not be able to retire but it'd certainly be able to put it towards a new camera! It's highly likely that a lot of the guests would've heard the same jokes too.

If I could offer up a bit of advice, if you're one of the lucky ones (or unlucky depending on your point of view) that has been asked to make a speech and you're struggling with what to say or worrying what to say, don't head to straight google, hands down the best speeches are ones that come from the heart. If you're the Father of the Bride have a think back to when your daughter first brought him home to meet everyone or those first few weeks and months of getting to know him, there must be some sweet or funny moments perfect for a bit of light embarrassment for the newlyweds. If you're the Best Man, you can't beat a good roasting of the Groom, talk about the things you got up to growing up together just make sure you don't push it too far, as I say a bit of roasting is funny and a squirming, cringing Groom always good for a laugh but absolutely flaming him and having the guests wincing, not so good. Think carefully about whatever tales you're letting everyone in on, there's been times where even I've thought, ooooh I'm not sure you should've brought that one up. As for the Groom yours is easy, there's not the pressure to be funny like there is with the Best Man, just don't forget to tell the Bride she looks beautiful and don't forget about the Bridesmaids, thank both sets of parents and that's it, you're pretty much done!

Joanne's Dad wasn't one for making a speech so Andrew's picked up the baton. After previously photographing Andrew's Mum, Eileen's 70th Birthday Party a few years back, I knew his Dad wasn't shy and more than happy to make a speech so I wasn't surprised he took over and absolutely nailed his, a very funny man as you can see from the reactions.

newlyweds introduced into the room during their wedding breakfast at the lakeside hotel windermere
bride and groom holding hands smiling enter the room before their wedding breakfast
bride gives a thumbs up to a wedding guests as the newlyweds take their seat for the wedding breakfast
cupcake with yellow icing in an ornate cake case with an small luggage tag that says I do tied with twine
grooms father stands to give his wedding speech during the wedding breakfast
bride sits on an ornate wooden chair smiling at the top table during the wedding breakfast
shot of the bride smiling during the wedding breakfast at the lakeside hotel windermere
bridesmaid puts her hand to her face laughing with wedding guests during the speeches
father of the groom gesticulates with his hands during his wedding speech
bride looks sideways smiling at her father during the wedding reception

As I mentioned right at the start there were still a few remaining government covid restrictions in place and unfortunately singing and dancing were still outlawed and that mean now cake cutting on the dance floor followed by the Bride and Groom's first dance as Mr & Mrs, so instead we headed back outside for a final few pictures outside the hotel making the most of the lovely light you get during golden hour, just as the sun slowly sets.

bride and groom stand looking at each other in the entrance to the lakeside hotel in windermere
bride and groom kiss in the entrance to the lakeside hotel the brides hand in the pocket of her wedding dress
wide shot of the bride and groom kissing in front of the lakeside hotel windermere
bride stands on the jetty by the lakeside hotel with her hands in the pocket of her wedding dress
bride and groom stand facing each other smiling in the sunlight during golden hour
bride and groom smiling at each other during golden hour on the jetty overlooking Lake Windermere
Lake District Wedding Photography | Windermere Wedding Photographer

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