From a stunning wedding in France on the blog yesterday to this Norfolk wedding where a little of France came to England (well, at least groom Francois and many guests did!). One of my first 2019 weddings, Lucy and Francois enjoyed the best Spring wedding day imaginable at the incredible Oxnead Hall. It’s fair to say the bar for 2019 weddings was set very high early on!
I’ve worked at Oxnead Hall since it opened as a wedding venue and every year I return to find it taken to new levels by its owners. The accommodation, variety of ceremony locations, party space, wet-weather fall-backs and of course those gardens are second-to-none in Norfolk and (aside from the distance I can cover in those grounds on a wedding day!) it’s a wonderful place for wedding photographs. With such a warm, gorgeous and so in-love and expressive couple to spend a day with and so many fun and friendly guests, I look back on this wedding with very fond memories indeed.
Lucy and Francois live overseas so I only managed a video call with them before the day. I prefer to meet in-person if possible but a FaceTime call is a good alternative and, on this occasion, it really didn’t matter. Lucy and Francois were so likeable and easy-going that the day started seamlessly with them both at Oxnead getting ready in separate areas of the estate. There were some lovely moments in the morning seeing Lucy and Francois exchange gifts and watching Best Man, Yohann putting the finishing touches to what proved to be one the funniest Best Man speeches I’ve had the privilege of listening to; all the more impressive given that it was delivered in Yohann’s second language.
On a bright day in Spring, before the leaves on the trees provide shade, the stunning church at Oxnead delivers the best ceremony light that I’ve seen in any church and quite possibly the best I’ve ever worked in. This part of the day is tricky for wedding photographers as there’s no possibility to move bride and groom and change the lighting during the ceremony, you have to work with what you get. As you’ll see, we got beautiful light for Lucy and Francois. Not only that, David the vicar at Oxnead is one of the most relaxed you could meet and delivered a beautiful and fun ceremony that was a joy to be able to capture discretely from the front of the church. During the ceremony I couldn’t help but get excited (in a light-obsessed photographer kind of way!) at the light also falling on some of the aisles half-way down the church. It was so good that I did something I don’t often do and returned briefly inside with Lucy and Francois after confetti to use the pool of light I’d seen. It’s one of my favourite wedding photographs that I’ve taken and I love that it’s taken feet from where they married moments earlier.
After canapés, drinks and music in the ‘formal’ gardens it was off to the main barn which is one of the nicest reception rooms to photograph in. Stacks of space and natural light, wonderful decor and even a mezzanine to use for additional angles. With the speeches over-running, I did have to have the conversation with the venue and Lucy and Francois to decide whether to cut them short in order to make use of the best light of the day for some couple photographs. The light is lost quickly in the grounds at Oxnead Hall, due the tall trees and valley location, and the gardens never look better than with the late evening sun on them – fortunately Lucy and Francois prioritised photos and we got to enjoy a magical half an hour in some stunning spring evening light.
The evening party commenced on return from the gardens starting with some sparkler chaos and ending on a busy dance-floor with the soundtrack provided by the always brilliant Joe Ringer Band. As I left after saying goodbyes and looked back at the dance-floor, with the band in full swing and the F&L letters glowing above them, I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to do it all again! Days as a Norfolk Wedding Photographer don’t get much better!