The Dreys | Kent Wedding Photography
Fiona & Chris | The Dreys, Kent
Photographing a wedding at The Dreys in Kent feels as though you have been transported into another world. As you arrive at the car park you realise you are not yet at your destination. A sign directs you into the woods and following the festoon lighting you make you way through to a beautiful clearing. This is where outdoor wedding ceremonies take place at The Dreys. As you continue further you arrive at the main site with its rustic charm and character in abundance.
Finishing Touches and First Looks
I started the day with Chris and the ushers who were getting ready at the Tudor Marriot Hotel. Chris looked the part in his stylish Scabal suit. It always makes me laugh to see the struggle the chaps have when it comes to putting on those wedding day accessories! Cufflinks, ties and button holes can be a challenge for the unpracticed, fortunately at least one usher had the experience to tie a Windsor knot for everyone!
Following this I caught up with the bridal party who were in a gorgeous cottage nearby. BEYOU Weddings were on hand to provide their expertise with hair and makeup for Fiona and the bridesmaids. Sue Davies Flowers & Garden brought in some incredible bouquets and you’ll see her wonderful floristy on display throughout the day.
Weddings aren’t just about the ceremony, they are a chance for families to grow closer together. There were beautiful moments between Fiona and her parents; first when her mum saw her dress and later when her Dad helped her put on her bracelet. These are moments where you can feel the emotion in the air and I am always aware of their significance, I hope they will looked back on with a fondness and be cherished. It was soon time for the ‘first look’ before the couple got married. In fact it was to be my first ‘first look’ too, so was a real treat! The look on Chris’ face was priceless when he turned around to see Fiona in her stunning dress, Amelie by Alexandra Grecco (from Blackburn Bridal). And check out the shot of Fiona and Chris on the swing later for a good look at those Charlotte Mills shoes!
A Personal, Humanist Wedding Ceremony
Fiona and Chris chose to have a beautiful humanist ceremony at The Dreys, led by Samantha Kelsie, who made it a very personal celebration of love. The happy couple said their vows under a canopy of leaves surrounded by their friends and family. The rings by Rachel Jones at Gill Wing Jewellery were lovingly exchanged. I really enjoy the personal touch that a celebrant like Samantha brings to an event such as this. Not only did we have the sound of birdsong around us but there were stirring performances by The Cellists. Following confetti it was time to celebrate and guests followed the newlyweds through the woods to the stunning reception awaiting us.
Capturing the Real Connection Between People
Garden games, music, canapés and drinks, all the things needed to get a wedding reception off to a great start. Whenever you have activities like archery and kubb for guests to partake in, you can be sure off some great bonding between people! I love to find these moments and it’s at this point in the day where I feel like another guest just floating between groups and capturing the action. I don’t want to interrupt things or make people conscious of the camera, I try and blend in and let people just carry on as the normally would, my job is to document events naturally and creatively.
I enjoyed taking Fiona and Chris off for their couple photographs where we found some lovely locations around The Dreys. My approach to all couple sessions is to firstly make sure it does not feel like a photoshoot! I want people to really just enjoy the time together, thinking of it as more a chance to spend some quality time together. Giving couples little games to play are one way to help you relax and feel good. With other activities, deeper emotion can emerge. Couples trust me to capture what their relationship is truly like. This is an organic and free-flowing session, and I adapt the interactions accordingly. As you’ll see, with Fiona and Chris were able to show me genuine feelings they have for each other and allow me to capture these.
Time to Celebrate!
The wedding speeches were a delight in the atmospheric marquee. It’s funny, even though I have heard hundreds of speeches in my career, I am always fascinated how every one is unique: be it the way it’s delivered, the content or the reactions from the crowd, there’s always a new aspect which keeps it fresh! Delicious catering was provided by Tayberry Foods Ltd Then, as dusk fell, the sparklers came out before we all hit the dance floor accompanied by DJ & Saxophonist David Cardoso. The hilarious first dance routine from the newlyweds to Gangnam Style got things started with a bang and there was no let up all night long!
My what a day. If you are looking for a woodland wedding venue then The Dreys in Sittingbourne Kent, is definitely it! Check out the slideshow and then take time to scroll through some of my favourite images.
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