A Last Minute Change

If there’s a story to make you think about why you might want someone to help you organise your wedding or just co-ordinate on the day, this might be the one. James & Carly had planned the wedding themselves but had got Sam from South Coast Weddings on board to work on the actual day to help make the day run smoothly. When Sam turned up the day before she was faced with a little problem. The day before that, the tent in the field where the reception was at Purbeck Valley Farmhouse, was subject to some very stormy weather and one of the main structural wooden beams had broken, making the space unsafe. It was unfortunately too late to repair or replace it. Sam, being familiar with the area was instrumental part of the effort they needed to change their reception venue the day before the wedding! She found a lovely barn on a farm down the road. When I arrived on the wedding morning, I had no idea all this had happened and it seemed it had all be taken in their strides. As I hope you’ll agree from the pictures the day turned out to be a special one with so many natural and joyful moments caught in their wedding photography. 

purbeck valley farm wedding photography

I’m going to let Carly tell you a bit more about them and the wedding below.

James & Carly

We both studied together at uni, James was in the year above me, and I pounced on him on a course night out. I always say only got with him so he would help me with coursework, but it seems to have lasted. We weren’t necessarily interested in marriage, but after an awkward discussion at WOMAD festival (“James, you know how I’ve always been adamantly non-marriage, well, I’ve changed my mind”), James proposed in a secluded spot on a trip to Croatia in our campervan. We knew we wanted to get on with it, so we planned the wedding to take place almost exactly a year later.

Love of the Outdoors

James is from Dorset, and it’s a huge part of his identity. It’s even his middle name! Whereas I have moved around a lot, so I don’t have such strong roots. And besides, I made him move up North, so the least I could do was to let him get married at home. We love festivals, camping and the outdoors, so the informality of tipis seemed to fit us.

Time to be Over-the-Top

I was adamant I didn’t want to wear white as I didn’t like the ‘pure’/’diminutive’ connotations but after trying on a million yellow or red dresses and reading an article which explained the real origins of the ‘white dress’, I succumbed and fell in love with my eventual dress in a local boutique. I also really wanted a flower crown because when else do you get to be so over-the-top?! Unlike me, James knew from the beginning exactly what he wanted, but struggled to find it. Two trips to London later and he found ‘the one’.

the baby doesn't look impressed at being held by these jokers

Full of Colour

We wanted to create a fun, informal, colourful atmosphere. We were on a bit of a budget, so bought the ivy wholesale online, and made as many of the decorations ourselves as possible – plant pots, artificial grass, ‘photobooth’ frame, signs, bunting, ‘postbox’. When the plans changed, lots of things ended up not getting used… but I don’t mind – we just had to let it go!

The Psychology of Love

Again, it was really important to us that everything was really personal. My brothers played all the music, the readings were all aiming to be as personal as possible – particularly the one about the psychology of love (since we’re both psychologists). I also wanted women to feature prominently, as I think traditionally weddings can be ‘men speak, women look pretty’. I also decided to walk myself down the aisle – I have a good relationship with my dad, but I don’t like the idea of being ‘given’ by one man to another. My dad was really good about it – it’s his own fault for raising this way I guess. And James and I were entering into this together, as equals, so we went up the steps together, as equals. However, we both loved the idea of getting ready separately, so we still did that!

Joyful Natural Wedding Photography

I met you at a wedding fair in Manchester. Overall I hated the fair if I’m honest! It was a bit overwhelming and very traditional. However I’m glad I went because without it, we wouldn’t have found you! You stood out for a number of reasons – you were very relaxed and informal, which I loved, and your photos were beautiful. I also just liked you as a person and felt we’d be comfortable working with you. We’re not hugely comfortable with the camera so working with you on the day was great – you put us at ease and didn’t make us pose! The photos have been exceptional. Every time I look through them I see something new. You really captured the tone of the day.

night time portrait of joyful couple

A Unique Celebration

Our first dance was Mirrorball by Elbow. We love the lyrics, it’s very romantic, and we have lots of lovely memories of the song at various places. Also, Elbow are a (sort of) Manchester band, so that’s great. We hired a band, The Easy (aka Funkty Dumpty). James was very keen to have a funk and soul band with a big brass section. We were so pleased with them, they had everyone dancing – even people who don’t usually dance! And I don’t think we left the dancefloor all night.

Our favourite part of the day? That is so hard to choose. For me, something running through the whole day was the relief and lightness of heart that it was happening, after what had happened the day before with us losing our original planned venue! That the eventual day was literally created by our friends and family. In a way, it was a blessing that things went so wrong the day before, because it melted away any fears – we genuinely didn’t care if/when things went wrong. We both loved every single second.

Advice for couples planning their wedding: I have two pieces of advice:

1. Don’t make decisions based on what other people will think. 

2. Get wedding insurance.  

flowers and button hole detail photos two dogs expressing their love for each other shot of brides friends getting ready on the wedding morning father of the bride surveying the make up situation parents of the bride do some ironing the bride tries on her flower crown preparations on the wedding morning best man cuddles a very cute puppy bridesmaids cuddle and wave Carly with her wedding dres on father of the bride emotional reveal fun candid shot of wedding guest laughing more wedding guests arive in the distance with farm background guests laugh as they wait for the ceremony guests hug as they arrive for the wedding day Carly the bride making her way down to the ceremony groom and best man look serious as they wait for the wedding ceremony to start shocked groom sees bride for the first time on the wedding day joyful wedding photography guests seated for ceremonygroom looks lovingly at bride couple read each other their vows purbeck valley farm wedding wedding photography that is natural fun presentation during nuptials twin brothers play music during the wedding the couples first kiss joyful and natural moment between the newly weds, groom has hold of brides arms and they smile at each other groom kisses bride on cheek during the signing of the register couple walk away together after the ceremony confetti moment joyful natural wedding photography picking the confetti out of their hair funny faces for the formal photos couple and bridesmaids pose for wedding photo candid moment at purbeck valley farmhouse wedding photography joyful and natural wedding portrait photographycouples portraits of carly and james couple walk together in the field table plan, and farm set up for the wedding breakfast entrance to wedding breakfast barn colourful lanterns in wedding reception space wedding guests laugh togethercolourful macaroons groom laughs with his mates couple steal a moment away from their guests to have a kiss the baby doesn't look impressed at being held by these jokers a reflection photo is always a winner, especially at night time couple have a moment under the festoon lights which makes the photos look very boho indeed bride and groom hold microphones as they address their guests during the wedding breakfast carly and james make a speech together best man makes his hilarious speech wedding guests outside at night and clouds are lit by the moon the band sing and play the first dance couple embrace during the first dance couple enjoy the first dance togetherbride is being help by james in tight embrace couple are lit by blue disco lights the wedding band have a brass section wedding guest pulls funny face on dancefloor lads bust some moves on while dancing the lights are swirly and it looks kinda nice but the guests look drunk this pictures shows many guests in different positions dancing in this layered photo bride and maids dance couple dance to proud mary and we're rolling rolling on a river as they lurch forwards

If you think this style of wedding photography where things are joyful and natural is right for you, then get in touch and tell me about your wedding plans, I’d love to hear from you! 

Carly & James awesome suppliers

Brides shoes:


Grooms shoes:


Bridesmaids dresses:

For Her And For Him

Grooms suit:

Walker Slater

Brides dress:

Johanna Hehir
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