Aynhoe Park has to be one of my all time favourite venues, right up there with places like Babington House and The Soho Hotel - venues that ooze a very classy boutique style, and effortlessly so. Places like this provide the ideal setting for wedding photography and ultimately play a significant role in the atmosphere of a day.
I last documented a wedding at Aynhoe Park in late 2010 when we had some of the worst snow in recent years. The snow fall was so heavy that no daylight came into the building whatsoever (despite the massive windows!), visibility was down to just a few meters at the worst stage of the day and of course that meant that we couldn't get outside at all.
Take a look at that Narnia themed wedding at Anyhoe Park.
Thankfully, this wasn't the case with Chris and Kate's wedding. In fact it was probably one of the sunnier days of the year so far. We got to see the stunning exterior, the grounds and sculptures of Aynhoe park - all set in Oxfordshire's stunning countryside. The large rooms really come alive when the natural light floods in too.
Aynhoe's windows are so huge and there are so many of them that there is a consistently good quality of light throughout the day and into the early evening.
Chris and Kate are an incredibly interesting couple and their attention to detail was exquisite. They invited only their closest family and friends to the day which had an 'alternative' feel - breaking many of the standard wedding norms to create a wedding truly unique.
Shortly after their civil ceremony they had friends read poems and play the violin, this was swiftly followed by a very relaxed drinks reception on the lawn. I documented this intriguing day alongside Alexis and together we were really spoilt. I have to thank Kate and Chris for keeping us incredibly well fed and treating us like special guests, we felt privileged. What a great day to document.
Speeches followed the three course meal and afterwards we began documenting the evening reception, this stage in the day had more of a sedate dinner party atmosphere which proved delicate to work in but everyone had become very used to us by then, so we slowed our rate down a little and documented this small chapter of the day, often just feet from our subjects.
I knew their first dance would be a little quirky and I remember Chris being slightly nervous that he couldn't keep up with Kate but they pulled it off perfectly, the 1920's style band were absolutely amazing and really finished off this exceptionally well planned day.
Kate & Chris were also kind enough to send me this amazing testimonial in the comments below:
We want to send you our very biggest thanks!
Since yesterday we've been poring over your photos, marvelling at everything you captured — especially the sentiments and personalities of our family and friends that show up so beautifully with the quality of every image.
We're also incredibly grateful for the memories of our wedding that you triggered for us…
Some people say that on the day after you're married, you're sure to wake up and feel something has changed and that you've 'become married'. That sounded exciting — and we were certainly all up for it — but things actually remained fairly dream-like and surreal for us until now (in a good way, of course!).
Maybe it was the wild beauty of Aynhoe Park or the Anatolian deserts that followed, but we couldn't fully conjure our wedding to mind… until we saw your photos and the emotions, experiences and feelings of the day gradually started flooding back.
Your photos helped concretise our day and that is something precious beyond measure.
We should say too that everyone at the wedding complimented you and Alexis on the very helpful, friendly and low-profile ways you wove through the scenery, gently gathering images that we know will mean the world to us (and them!) for many years to come.
So many thanks again for your exquisite work!
All very best,
Katie and Chris
Here are just a few of my favourite wedding photographs from this amazing day.