Last Saturday was set to be a lovely day – not only was the weather set to change after a week of wet to perfect late Summer’s sunshine, but I was return to Hedge End Farm; I covered Eleanor’s wedding to Nathan there last summer, and this summer I had the privilege to return to record her sister Liz’s marriage to Sam.
But this was no ‘duplicate’ wedding; despite also being a marquee wedding on the family farm, Liz & Sam had ensured their day was totally unique to them.
I arrived at the house to find Liz with her Mum and sisters, deep in the usual hair and make up preps (I’ll be honest, it was really lovely to be welcomed like an old friend rather than the usual round of polite introductions!). I spent a while with them, and then meandered out to capture the waiting marquee, enjoy the gardens, and climb the hill to where the ceremony space was laid out in a freshly-cut wheat field.
Once I’d covered all the ready-and-waiting props for the day, I walked around to the farm’s holiday cottages to meet Sam for the first time, and invade her own bridal preps!
I spent some time with Sam and her family, and then headed back into the main farmhouse to catch up with Liz – passing Lauren from Concept Flowers busily decorating the two vintage tractors which would carry the brides to the ceremony.
Back indoors, I found Liz helping her bridesmaids dress before they reversed roles and her sister’s and Mum helped Liz into her own form-fitting gown, with a long-sleeved lace covered bodice over the strapless gown. The flowers were beautiful, a riot of warm colours set against the subtlety of the palest pink wedding colours.
While the brides finished getting ready, the guests were ushered across the road to a bunting-lined track around and up to the hill opposite the farm to a spot next to the wood where bales had been laid out in semi-circle. A three-piece band played as the guests gathered, near the floral archway that was ready for the ceremony.
The two brides rode up the hill in style, each in trailers pulled by the flower-bedecked vintage tractors. They circled twice around the guests, then disembarked and met in the middle before processing down the ‘aisle’ to the front together.
The short humanist ceremony was personal and touching, and once rings had been exchanged, everyone joined in to sing the Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’ before the brides processed back down the aisle, around their guests and back to the archway. The guests lined themselves along the bunting lane to form a confetti tunnel, through which the brides processed to much cheering, and then Liz & Sam led their guests down the hill in a long snake, accompanied by the band as they walked.
Across the road and into the farmyard, past the marquee and it was time to enjoy drinks and canapés in the gardens, spending a couple of hours in the glorious late summer sunshine, playing badminton and croquet. A nice detail arranged by the brides was an old-style instamatic camera being passed around, taking instant photographs which were immediately pegged to a photo ‘washing line’ – it was a really lovely way of recording their guests.
Before the next part of the day was set to start I escaped with Liz & Sam back out into the fields, where they enjoyed some quite moments together enjoying the views across the valley under the huge September skies.
We rejoined the guests, and after a short spell in the orchard for family formals, everyone processed down though the gardens into the marquee. Once everyone was seated, the wedding breakfast began with the speeches – Liz’s Dad was followed by Sam, and then bridesmaid Tiffany (Sam’s older sister), and then finished with a few words of thanks from Liz. Next they cut the cake, and then, formalities over, everyone relaxed into the wedding breakfast.
After the meal Liz & Sam were called to the dancefloor for their first dance as Mrs & Mrs, during which they were quickly joined by all the guests.
I made my way out into the now-dark gardens after saying my goodbyes, enjoying the sight of the lit-up marquee filled with a party as I took my leave.
Congratulations Liz and Sam it was a very lovely day and I enjoyed being part of it immensely.
Credit where due!
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