Steve Barber Photography | Kent Wedding Photographer


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Mr & Mrs McClelland - St Augustines Priory, Ashford, Kent

Mr & Mrs McClelland

Wedding venue – St Augustine’s Priory, Ashford, Kent  

Season - Summer 2016

The Day of the wedding

I had the pleasure of meeting Chloe and Ryan last year at a wedding fair and from the moment we met we just clicked!

I’ve been looking forward to this wedding for some time now and knew after I’d heard all about the plans for the wedding over coffee that it was going to be a day to remember. We had it all to look forward to from a large mixed bridal party to an afternoon tea wedding breakfast and to top it off a dirty dancing take off for the 1st dance. I simply couldn’t wait to capture this one! 

St Augustine’s Priory is a stunning venue steeped in history, it also has plenty of great places for photo opportunities. I especially like the secret gardens as they have lots of different levels and features to create something a little different every time I shoot there. When I arrived at the venue the place was a hive of activity with the final touches being applied to the ceremony room and the garden games. I always like to start with an introduction to the bridal party before taking the dress and shoes to one side for some detail shots. Its these little touches like the perfume worn on the big day that bring the day back to life when couples look back through their photos. As the hair and makeup was now underway I started to pin down the shots I wanted, finishing with a lovely reflection of the wedding dress in a large mirror at the bottom of the oak staircase.

I like to capture the day as unobtrusively as possible so as Chloe and the bridesmaids had their hair and makeup done I found some nice angles to shoot from as the morning passed.  The distinct aroma of perfume and hairspray filled the bridal suite along with lots of laughter, which could be heard even as I made my way across the grounds to capture the now dressed ceremony room. As I turned the corner Ryan and the ushers were fitting each other’s buttonholes so I used this opportunity to get some shots with the guys before heading to the Priory.

Ryan was very relaxed and enjoying the moment with his friends. As guests began to arrive and say hello to Ryan it was my chance to break off to finish with the girls as we were fast approaching the ceremony.

Chloe had requested that the dress was out of site from both her dad and the bridesmaids so after sneaking around to take some shots of it earlier it was time for Chloe to get into her stunning dress and make her grand appearance. The girls got to see her first and it was beautiful! It was so nice to see a tight group of friends sharing such a cool moment; Chloe did well to hold back the tears until she got to see her dad for the first time today. Wow! What a special moment to capture as dad fought to hold back his own tears of joy.

The guy’s made their way across to the priory to get the wedding ceremony underway and as they did there was a slight pause at the priory steps for the girls to compose themselves before making the walk down the isle.

Wedding Ceremony

Ryan was beaming from ear to ear as his friends began to walk the isle. Each usher arm in arm with a bridesmaid. As Chloe accompanied by her dad, made the walk he couldn’t hold back the tears. When Chloe and Ryan were face to face you could see the excitement in their eyes, as they got ready to take their vows. The ceremony was perfect with a few readings and a lot of funny moments, mostly from Ryan trying to get his words out. As formalities drew to a close the guys sealed the deal with a kiss. The new Mr & Mrs McLelland signed the register and walked the isle one last time to lead guests outside to the lawn for confetti and drinks. After fifteen minutes it was time for me to intervene for some group photos which were great fun. I think its really nice to include the guests at this point of the day, my first group photo included everyone. After some brief instructions I had everyone cheering and making plenty of noise as the guys held a kiss. The idea is that the longer the cheering from guests, the longer the kiss has to last, it’s a little bit of fun and always gets people in the mood for the next 10 minutes while we work our way through the shots. When we had finished I led the bridal party over to the secret gardens for a few more photos.

Scattering the group in a relaxed pose creates such a nice photo and is a bit of a trademark shot when I shoot weddings. We just about managed to fit everyone in this one but boy it was worth the extra work. When we had finished it was time to whip the guys off for some romantic photos away from the crowds but not before I asked a couple of ushers to help with some smoke grenades, it didn’t take a lot to convince a few assistants to help as the boys clambered over each other to grab a grenade.

Every wedding is unique and so the photos should follow suit, the smoke did exactly that and is one of my favorites from the day.

Wedding Reception

Guests were ushered into the dinning room and asked to be upstanding for the new Mr & Mrs McLelland. As they made their entrance there was a roar of cheers as they made their way to the top table. Posh sandwiches and cakes filled the tables and everyone looked like they were having a great time catching up with one and other over drinks.

Speeches were next on the list to close the afternoon lunch. First up was Chloe’s dad who made a funny but heartfelt speech about Chloe’s younger years and her future with Ryan, this was closely followed by the Best man’s and then Ryan’s but not before a few dare cards had been issued to the guys that missed the stag night. One of these was a dare to kiss the smallest girl in the room, unfortunately for the poor guy that was handed the dare was soon to find out that her boyfriend was probably one of the biggest guys in the room so it made for a really good laugh as he gingerly drew his dare and carried out the kiss in front of everyone in the room.

Evening guests started to arrive as the toast drinks were raised and were soon mingling with the day guests at the bar ready to celebrate the evening reception with the guys.  As they cut the wedding cake guests joined in for a few photos, this was closely followed by the long awaited first dance. This is a favorite for me when I photography weddings and this one didn’t disappoint! The DJ gathered guests into the room and announced Chloe and Ryan to the dance floor. The guys shared an amazing dance together and pulled off every step of the original “Time of my life” soundtrack but without the big dramatic lift at the end. (which was probably a good idea as Ryan had had a few drinks by now!).  As the evening rolled into the night, guests enjoyed the great music, photo booth and all the fantastic grounds this venue has to offer.

I had an amazing time capturing this wedding for such a cool couple, thank you Mr & Mrs McLelland. Here are a handful of my favorite photos that tell Ryan and Chloe’s story at St Augustine’s Priory. Please feel free to get in touch if you’re looking for a wedding photographer to capture your own wedding day.

The finer details

Photography coverage – Ceremony- 1st dance + smoke & twilight flash photography

Hour’s coverage – Approximately 10 hrs.

Number of photos – Approximately 750


Book a consultation with Steve

Photographer location – Rochester, Kent

Tel – 07584 049 489

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