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Sandon Hall Wedding Photography - Paige and Kieran

Sandon Hall Wedding Photography
Sandon Hall Wedding Photography

I’ve always gone by the principle that I will travel anywhere to shoot a wedding. I don’t confine myself to just Kent and the surrounding area. And so was the case for Paige and Kieran’s wedding where I headed up to Stafford and the stunning Sandon Hall. Their Sandon Hall Wedding properly got my creative juices going.

A friend of mine dropped me a line at the start of the year. “Mate, how much do you charge for wedding photography? And would you be happy to travel to Stafford? Friends of ours are getting married.” Well within a matter of a couple of hours I’d spoken to Paige and Kieran and we hit it off straight away. Booking secured and the planning began.

It also meant that I’d be able to catch up with one of my best friends (and old customer) who lives in Stafford. More on that later.

Now I’m typing this on the hottest day of the year in the garden. The day I drove up to Stafford was a hot one. 3 hours in the car with tunes banging away….only to find when I’d set off that my air conditioning had packed in. To say I was ready for a beer when I arrived in Stafford was an understatement. Thankfully my bestie, Hannah, was waiting with an ice cold beer! The evening was spent catching up before I settled down for the night and got a solid nights sleep.

The next day, the day of the wedding was a complete contrast to the day before. Thick cloud covered Stafford. A quick check of the weather radar said there wouldn’t be any rain. However, the heat was still there so by the lunchtime it was REALLY sticky.

This was the weekend of Glastonbury and I listened to the coverage on the short drive to Sandon Hall. Sandon Hall is situated in amongst stunning parkland. I drove along the gravel track through the fields and parkland, dodging sheep and pheasant. I turned left and over the brow of a hill and there it was. This huge gothic style hall. Dark and imposing the cloudy skies around it were perfect. It looked amazing on the website but nothing prepared me for just how stunning this place is. I was like a kid in a sweetshop!!!

The arrival of Paige had to be coordinated well as Kieran had already arrived so to avoid them bumping into each other I whisked Kieran away to the gardens to get some pictures and make sure button holes were attached properly. I’m not just there as a wedding photographer…I help out with the little jobs and finer details.

Upstairs Paige was getting into her dress whilst the kids ran around and bridesmaids sipped fizz. It was a happy scene of chaos. Lots of atmosphere and emotion. Just how I like it. As we waited for Paige to get her shoes on we all fanned ourselves from the heat. It was warm….really warm!!

I nipped down to the Orangery where the ceremony would take place and had a chat with the registrar and celebrant. Such a lovely duo who were approachable and relaxed with the photography side of things too. As the guests made their way in Kieran headed to the front to wait. Puffing out his cheeks, he rubbed his hands together. Nerves. Behind the table where the register would be signed is a stone fountain. It provided a perfect ledge for me to sit on. Standing for the bridal party arrival, I perched myself on the ledge for the ceremony getting a different look and feel to the ceremony shots to normal. When the bridal party entered the Orangery, The Family Madrigal played. An upbeat tune. The registrar leant across to tell me and Kieran that he’d done a wedding recently where the processional music was “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash! That is brilliant!

The ceremony was so lovely. Nervous giggles throughout and smiles around the room. Before we knew it it was time to begin the post ceremony celebrations. The kids vacated to the bouncy castle (with some of the adults). We spent 10 minutes or so grabbing family group shots before heading to the Rose Amphitheatre. This is a stunning bowl adorned with rose beds. We could feel some spots of rain so we decided not to head down from the ledge we were on overlooking the garden. So much for the weather forecast. However it held off and we got some great shots including Kieran posing with the bouquet.

At a venue like this where there is so much potential and possibility for photos it is important you don’t take over. It’s a balancing act and that’s what I hope I managed on the day.

After the wedding breakfast and speeches we headed back to the gardens to get some more shots and to gather our breath. The hall was turned around ready for the evening do. I headed to the hall to find the newlyweds rehearsing their dance which included some lifts. I headed out of the front doors and captured some of the lifts framed by the stunning doors. I find it’s always a good idea to capture rehearsals like this just in case the planned lift doesn’t come off in the actual first dance. My judgement was bang on as nerves kicked in and the crucial lift I’d caught in rehearsal didn’t come off during the actual dance. When the lift didn’t happen Paige and Kieran held each other, laughing as they continued to dance.

With the rest of the guests joining them on the dance floor I made a quiet exit and drove back through the parkland to Stafford. A fabulous day where the rain held off (just). I got back to Stafford and then popped into town for a couple of drinks with Hannah and her boyfriend James. And time to relax before the drive back to Kent.

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