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Gathered Together – My Favourite Wedding Photos of 2012

January 22, 2013

Do I ever get tired of shooting weddings?


But I do get tired from shooting weddings.

Despite what ‘Uncle Bob’, with his big camera might think, if you’re not exhausted when you come home from a photographing a wedding, you’re not doing your job properly!

When I’m right in the thick of a busy wedding season it’s hard to take stock of every single photo, but having a break to plan my year ahead and look back on the one just gone, it’s been nice to have the opportunity go through all the shots from 2012 and pull out some of my favourites.

I’ve not tried to crowbar them into a particular theme, venue, or stylistic hook, they’re just the ones that make me smile, get a lump in my throat and, in one or two cases, take my breath away…

Jimmy Choo Wedding Shoes Compton Verney Warwickshire

Beautifully-blinged Jimmy Choos

On the whole weddings are fun and upbeat places to hang out on a weekend, and one of my favourite parts of the day is being with the bridal party while they get ready. It gets me warmed-up and, as well as snapping a few detail shots, it helps the bride, her bridesmaids and family get used to me and the camera as they get on with preparing for the main business of the day.

Bride getting ready for wedding at Wethele Manor Warwickshire

Capturing Harriet in her old grey T-shirt provided a nice context for the transformation to come

Bridal car arrives Compton Verney Wedding Warwickshire

Emily and her bridesmaids in their personalised dressing gowns

Getting ready for wedding at Clopton House Warwickshire

Laura, her mum and Scarlet the bridesmaid as their preparations spread out to every room in the house

Make-up, mirrors and being laced into big floaty dresses – it is all photogenic stuff and is never more emotionally charged than on the morning of the wedding.

Bride and makeup artist at wedding Warwick House Southam Warwickshire

An old work colleague of mine, and a fellow ginger, Lucy made a stunning bride

Bride getting ready for wedding Nailcote Hall Solihull

Natalie at Nailcote

Sister Lacing_up_back_of_brides' dress Hogarth's Solihull wedding

Saira being laced up before tying the knot

Final Touches bridal preparations for Weddings at Compton Verney and Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire

An army of bridesmaids is essential for a final primp and preen

Proud mother of the bride and bride wedding at Compton Verney Warwickshire

Emily and her mum have a bit of a moment

Wedding Hair bride wedding at Walton Hall near Wellesbourne Warwickshire

A lovely shot of Joanna giving her lip the slightest of nervous chews

Hydrangea bouquets at Warwick House Southam Warwickshire paper hearts Crockwell Farm Northamptonshire

Bouquets ready to go, with garlands of paper hearts

It’s not always the women. If a bride and groom are getting ready at the same venue, or live close by, there’s sometimes the opportunity to capture the Groom getting ready too.

Groom all ready for his wedding at Brownsover Hall Rugby Warwickshire

I love these pics of Simon in his room at Brownsover Hall – he really was this happy all day!

Once everyone is set, if there’s time, and the environment is right, and if the bride is up for it, I sometimes take a few posed portraits before the car turns up

Bride_infront_of_landscape_painting by Leamington Spa wedding photographer Rachel Spivey

An epic landscape painting made an impromptu backdrop for this stunning portrait of Saira

Vintage wedding dress bride Northamptonshire Crockwell farm wedding

There’s something a bit pre-Raphaelite about this shot of Helen

There’s often a special moment when the Father of the Bride sees his daughter in her dress for the first time. I have to admit, since my own Dad died in February last year, these shots have taken on a much deeper poignancy.

Bride and Father getting ready wedding at Walton Hall Warwickshire

A genuinely candid moment of Joanna and her Dad

Bride_descends_stairs_with_father at Wellesbourne wedding Walton Hall Warwickshire

The Bridal party leave Walton Hall

If I have been booked to cover all the preparations, it can sometimes be a bit of a race to the venue to arrive before the Bride. It’s nice get some shots of the expectant Groom and guests arriving when I can.

Venue details Kenilworth Castle dapper groom Warwick House Walton Hall Warwickshire

Everything set for the arrival of the Bride

Wedding guests arrive at Holy Trinity Church Stratfor

Despite another rainy Summer, I was quite lucky with the breaks in the weather

Bride's sister bridesmaid with bouquet arrives at Holy Trinity Stratford

Laura’s sister Ella arrives at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford

Toddler turns photographer Nailcote Hall Solihull

There’s always someone muscling in on my job

Church doorway at St Lawrence Lighthorne Warwickshire and chapel at Walton Hall Warwickshire

Waiting for their big entrance

Different churches have different rules on what parts of a wedding service I can photograph – some are strict, where others are pretty relaxed – hovever all registrars in Warwickshire request that all photographers follow the same guidelines. During a civil ceremony I am limited to; the bride entering, the exchange of rings, the kiss and shots pretending to sign the register.

Wedding ceremony kiss at Princethorpe College and Kenilworth Castle bride and groom kiss

A kiss in the elaborate church at Princethorpe College and one in the gatehouse at Kenilworth Castle

Kiss the bride Fawsley Hall Northamptonshire Wedding Ceremony

A great kissy pic of Andy and Sarah at Fawsley Hall

This year I was honoured to cover my first civil partnership. I really hope to get the chance to do more and I hope they are all as warm, funny and lovely as Becky and Louise’s day was.

Civil Partnership photography Warwickshire by Rachel Spivey

The happiest of couples – Becky and Louise

The middle of England is blessed with some great places to get married – whether it’s a traditional church, stately home, converted barn or a castle or two. I certainly got to visit more quiet corners of Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire than ever this year.

Solihull church wedding photography of couple in grounds

Saira and Justin outside their cute little church near Solihull

Newlyweds_in_wedding_car Clopton House Stratford upon Avon

Laura and Nick arriving in style at Clopton House

Informal bride and groom photograph at Crockwell Farm northamptonshire

The formal Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle and the more rustic grounds of Crockwell Farm

Wedding_couple_photographed infront_of_village_shop Gloucestershire

A cracking shot of Siobhan and Karl outside a little shop in Bretforton, Gloucestershire

Wethele Manor wedding photography Warwickshire

Harriet and Lee looking relaxed in the countryside around Wethele Manor

The Bell Alderminster Warwickshire wedding reception

A great view of Warwickshire from The Bell at Alderminster


Joanna and guests on the lawn at Walton Hall

Kenilworth Warwickshire bride fur shrug evening reception photography

Every fairytale princess needs a castle

Photography of Bride and groom on the hill at Kenilworth Castle Warwickshire

Maria and Howard on high ground as the sun goes down

Bridal Flowers Wedding Dress Clopton House Stratford upon Avon

Laura gets the conga started

Marquees are a common feature at a lot of weddings, and some are prettier than others. They can create odd colour casts and the polythene windows and support struts can be distracting, however if the weather is right it’s like shooting in a giant diffused lightbox.

Wedding marquee at Compton Verney bride and groom flowers by Warwickshire wedding photographer Rachel Spivey

Emily and Chris in a quiet unguarded moment, in a marquee

Champagne reception kiss bride and groom stratford upon avon warwickshire

Laura and Nick wait to be announced at their wedding breakfast

Happy photograph of wedding guests looking at photos

Guests check out a display of the couple’s snaps

Groom and groomsman photographed in the marquee

Nick gets an update from his Best Man

I’m never happier than when any group photos are over and I am left to roam the celebrations and snap the guests. As my job involves focusing on faces I always find it interesting to spot family resemblances from generation to generation.

Page boy at Walton Hall Wedding and Usher at Compton Verney wedding

Little men scrubbed up for the big day

Guests relax at wedding reception Kenilworth and Solihull

Candid moments

Mother of the bride groom hats photography Walton Hall and Compton Verney

Not sure of the collective noun for a group of ladies in big hats, but here are some

Grandma at wedding Walton Hall and uncle videographer at Ardencote Manor

Smiles, camera… action

Couples go to lots of effort to personalise their wedding and give their guests a unique experience, something I wholeheartedly endorse, especially with the blank canvas of a marquee.

ladies hats hanging in marquee Clopton House Stratford upon avon by Leamington photographer Rachel Spivey

Hats off to the happy couple

Bunting vintage wedding theme Kenilworth and Wethele Manor

Bunting of all hues and styles was a popular touch at most of the weddings I attended this year

Details stratford upon Avon wedding and Cake at Brownsover Hall Rugby

Drinking straws from Cat and Tom’s wedding and Laura and Simon’s exquisite cake

I try not to use flash at a reception, unless I absolutely have to. Not only does it irritate people, but the results are never that great. So when the sun goes down my primary light source disappears too.

Kenilworth Castle photography wedding

As Warwickshire wedding venues go, they don’t come more iconic than one of our castles

First dance at Walton Hall Warwickshire and Crockwell Farm Northamptonshire

Available light and moving objects make the first dance tricky, but the results can be quite atmospheric

Walton Hall at night shot through the window Warwickshire wedding

Walton Hall at the end of a long day

Big thanks to all the couples, their families and the venues I had the pleasure of working with last year.

I’m looking forward to my first wedding of 2013 in Lapworth on Saturday and watching the skies wondering whether it’ll be my first snowy one too.

RS x

If you’d like to know more about my wedding photography please visit

One Comment leave one →
  1. Siobhan permalink
    April 30, 2013 3:18 pm

    Ok – I don’t mind admitting that I cried at my desk looking at these – a truly stunning collection of some beautiful moments. And we made the cut! 🙂 Best wishes to everyone for their big days in 2013 – I know you’ll do a great job at capturing their special days and I look forward to seeing more of your work soon x

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