Like a lot of my weddings Chris & Julie had booked me after seeing some friends of friends wedding photos and being recommended. So when they got in touch to see if I was free I was super excited to hear they were getting married at The Ashes which is such a great wedding venue. Not only that but Chris & Julie had planned so much cool stuff throughout the wedding day too and were really looking for someone to capture nice natural photos of everyone just enjoying their day which is exactly how I love to shoot.
The Ashes Barns Country House is a beautiful setting for any wedding, a 50 acre site resting at the foothills of the Peak District National Park and within the Staffordshire and west midlands border. There are so many great areas for guests to enjoy but also a wedding Photographer’s dream. Long drive ways, lakes and ponds, formal lawns, exposed rustic brickwork and timber, beautiful corn fields and grassland, flagstones, bridges, you name it they have it here
The day started with me meeting up with Julie at The Ashes where they have a private room for hair and make up. All her bridesmaids were super cool and relaxed and just made me feel really welcome. I think her mum was quite chuffed too when at first I mistook her for one of the bridesmaids too!! While the 2 ladies from Caro Millington were doing a great job with all the hair and make-up, I took the dress, wedding shoes and flowers outside for some different shots in the arch way to the main house. It was such a super bright day and wanted to get some shots with a bit of contrast and drama. I loved the contrast of the beautiful white wedding dress by WED2B set against the rustic brickwork and wood. Now if I was a girl then Julie’s wedding shoes are exactly what I would want to be wearing all day, some custom made Converse from Sapphire Sparkles sat next the lovely wedding flowers by The Topiary Tree.
Meanwhile my 2nd photographer was tagging along with the boys who were calming their nerves with a few pints at the local pub just round the corner from the Ashes. It obviously done the trick as when they arrived at the venue they started the outside games straight away! The Sun was extremely bright and it made for some amazing blue september skies as a lovely back drop to the rustic and character filled barn surroundings. After a very emotional Tony arrived to see Julie all ready and looking gorgeous, a few selfies and some last minute touch ups it was time to head across the grounds to the ceremony barn. Chris looked pretty cool waiting for Julie to arrive, but then again he did have 2 best men by his side. The crazy bright sun continued during the ceremony with a really strong bit of light coming through right where the ceremony was taking place making for some super dramatic shots.
After the ceremony Julie & Chris really looked after all their guests with drinks, music by the super talented Dan & Jess from Acoustic Duo Replay (music by them in the slideshow below), games in the courtyard and also some amazing savory and sweet crepes supplied by Lollapalooza. While the guests were enjoying themselves, we got a few formal family portraits as well as some fun bridal party shots too! We then grabbed some lovely relaxed shots of just Julie & Chris round the pond, manor house and archway before heading back to continue the fun with their guests.
After some great food supplied by Jenkinsons Caterers and then some emotional and equally hilarious speeches there was a bit more time for some courtyard fun and the boys had an epic game of ring toss to try and win a twenty pound note! I love capturing shots like this of exactly how the day pans out and all the natural documentary photography that comes from it. I always want to tell a genuine story of the day so my clients can relive it not just from their own point of view but also everyone else’s!
At this point I noticed due to being at the foothills of the peak district we no longer had any more sun but that at the bottom of the drive and near the lake there was the last bits. I knew Julie and Chris would love some sunsets shots and a bit of time to themselves, so we headed down for another mini portrait session. I like to try and keep everything as relaxed and fun as possible and also not too long as I appreciate couples don’t want to spend hours having photos taken when they could be having a good time with their guests too. I normally aim to have a couple of mini sessions to give as much variety as possible without couples felling worn out by it, I never wanted to be a photographer that dragged couples away for hours at a time so I like to keep the sessions around 15 minutes max!
After this the only thing to do was cut the cake by Tickety Boo, first dance and then bust some moves on the dance floor with Sound Solutions providing the tunes! All the guests were having a great time and the dance floor was a constant source of fun and laughter! We signed off with a final shot outside in the gorgeous courtyard with some fairy lights in the tree and beautiful candle lanterns. It was such a relaxed and fun day so I hope you enjoy looking at the photos as much as I did creating them. Here’s a slideshow of all the wedding highlights and a few pictures of the day and then a link to the full gallery underneath. If you like the idea of having your wedding day at The Ashes Barn Country House then get in touch with them asap as they are booked up very early in advance. If you like my style of nature storytelling wedding photography but with a creative twist and would like me to capture your wedding then get in touch here, thanks Gareth Newstead Photography
Rings – https://www.ernestjones.co.uk/
Suits – https://www.slaters.co.uk/
Dress Alterations – https://adeavabridal.co.uk/