Trinity Buoy Wharf, my favourite wedding venue in London. Roberta and Conor planned an amazing day at Trinity Buoy Wharf’s main building, the Chain Store. The sun was shining and everyone was just so relaxed, it was such a pleasure to be a part of the day.
Engagement shoots are the marmite of the wedding photography world.
There’s no way around it, engagement shoots are embarrassing! They just are. Very few of my couples are comfortable in front of the camera, hence why they’ve chosen a documentary style photographer.
Having done my own engagement shoot quite some time ago, I remember how awkward and unnatural it felt to pose for the camera. Your body stiffens, your arms hang uselessly around your waist and out comes that awkward fake smile.
Unless you’re a super model, being in front of a camera for an hour is quite a daunting task. But this is your wedding and you should do something special. You’ve done the research and you’re pretty sure an engagement shoot is a good idea…
So should you do it? Will it be worth it? Keep reading for some reason for and agianst.
IT’S GOOD PRACTICE FOR THE WEDDING
Hmm maybe? Your wedding day is a juggling act, scheduling every moment, not a minute to spare and for someone who’s camera shy, allocating an hour for couples photos seems a little over the top.
Every wedding photographer will have a different approach. Some will put heavy focus on the portrait shoot, so if you know you’re having an hour or so for photos, an engagement shoot will be good practise. However, I find the majority of couples I work with prefer to prioritise the candid, documentary style shots over the couples photo session, and tend to allocate a smaller duration of about 10-15 minutes.
On top of that and maybe more important, an engagement shoot can’t prepare you for how you’re going to feel on your wedding day. Your blood is pumping, everyone is taking your photo, you are the centre of attention. I can’t think of a time when you would care any less that your photographer is going to take some photos of you both. It’s a completely different experience to an hour long engagement shoot, just the three of you walking around a park or a city street. So yes it can be good practise, but I feel it’s not as needed as other photographers might say.
THE CLIENT-PHOTOGRAPHER RELATIONSHIP
Pre pandemic I would always meet with potential couples over a coffee or a beer. We’d discuss their plans for the day and get to know each other a little better. Over the last year, phone and video calls became the only way to ‘meet’ your clients and whilst we’re back to normal (sort of), the majority of people are still booking without a face to face meeting.
So an engagement shoot can also be an opportunity to get to know your photographer. You can talk through your day, ask them questions, get recommendations and generally use them as font of knowledge for all things wedding related. You’ll also get used to their style and better understand how they work, which in turn will help you stay calm and relaxed on the day.
MAKE IT YOURS
If you’re undecided about an engagement shoot because you don’t fancy an hour kissing your partner in a dreamy meadow, just remember an engagement shoot is essentially you buying an hour of time from your photographer. What you choose to do in that time is entirely up to you.
Maybe you want some photos at a cocktail making class, or you could go bowling in fancy dress, plant flowers at your allotment, or just stay home and play twister? Whatever it is, don’t waste it on something you think it should be, make it something completely for you.
HOPE THAT HELPS MAKE YOUR DECISION, IF YOU ARE BOOKING AN ENGAGEMENT SHOOT AND STILL UNSURE WHERE TO GO CLICK HERE FOR A FEW PLACES IN LONDON THAT COULD HELP YOU ALONG.
Asha and Dipil cancelled their original wedding date that was just after lockdown began in early April. They decided to keep their rescheduled date in July and to keep it small, simple and meaningful. I was nervous to shoot my first small and socially-distanced wedding since the pandemic began, but I couldn’t have wished for a better day. I loved that Asha got ready at her family home with loved ones close and a round of putting with her dad in the garden. After a ceremony at Marylebone Town Hall, we had an awesome couple’s shoot in Camden Town. Camden, as usual, didn’t disappoint, but there was something even more special than usual – crowds in the bars cheered them over the bridge, a busker offering to play their favourite song, while they danced on the cobbles, and they even found time for a quiet drink – just the two of them – inside one of the usually-packed bars. As they are both dentists who have worked in full PPE for months, they were so happy to break out and celebrate! They finished with a meal in one of their favourite Indian restaurants.
Five down, five more to go! This is the last five London engagement shoot locations. As I’m writing this I can think of three, four, five more amazing places but I guess they’ll have to wait for the next blog!
This place is so big you’ll need a map to find your way around. And choose your locations wisely as there’s no way you’ll find your way round all of them.
One of my favourite locations is the Palm House Conservatory. If you can bear the high temperature and get some shots before the lenses start to fog up, you’ll be super happy.
Luckily, when I shot a wedding there they provided us with a golf cart to scoot around in, minimising our travel time but whilst this might save a little time, I can’t think of a nicer park to spend the day walking through.
Shoreditch, the hipster’s playground, the street artist’s canvas. I’ve never been into the skinny jeans looks and whilst I do occasional wear a beany it’s only to control my monstorously curly hair. But despite my lack of cool, I do love Shoreditch and it’s vibrant colourful streets.
Whilst this is one place I do know my way around, I still like to shoot with no specifc direction in mind. The back streets all link up and have a varied selection of colours, textures and graffiti, some covering whole buildings.
There’s a great mix of new and old London in Shoreditch, so you’re bound to get a great mix of styles in your photos.
If I could be anywhere in London on a sunny Sunday afternoon, it would be on the Southbank. There’s a feel of culture when you walk along past the Southbank Centre, the BFI and the Royal Festival Hall. Luckily, the 70’s architecture and location next to the river make it a great location for some pics too!
The route from the Waterloo entrance through to the Tate Modern or even Borough Market will not only give you more than enough spaces for photos, but you’ll have a fantastic day out. There’s so much to do and experience here that you’ll get what you need way, before you get to the end of the route.
This is a real hidden gem of a location. It’s tucked away at one end of Hampstead Heath but good luck finding it without a map. Imagine you discovered a pergola garden that had been forgotten about for years, the bricks weathered and plants overgrown and climbing up the archways, creating a location right out of a fairytale.
For a London location, it’s remote and not overly busy, so it’s another place that great for a shoot if you don’t want to be on show.
I was heading to Peckham on the overground thinking of Rodney and Delboy. Their flat, the yellow three wheeler car and the pub they drank in was the full extent of my Peckham knowledge. It turns out that Peckham is actually quite different now.
The space around the Bussey Building is full of outdoor cafés and bars, perfect to sit down get some ‘chilling with a drink’ shots. There are loads of industrial buildings covered in colourful, mural backdrops and then there’s the Bussey Building. The part I shot in is basically a multi-story car park with a bar located on the top floors but it also makes for a very cool rooftop shoot, but be sure to get going before the crowds ascend… or not, if a night out is on the cards.
I hope you found this helpful. If you’re not getting married in London or wanted to shoot your engagement shoot else where then get in touch, we’d be happy to help!
Viv and Dwij’s wedding day at Micklefield Hall was a fun-packed multicultural celebration. It started early in the morning with the Chinese tradition of blocking the groom from entering the Bride’s home (or in this case bedroom) to collect his bride until he proves himself worthy. This involves completing fun and hilarious challenges set by the bridesmaids. It’s definitely a great way to kick off the wedding day.
They then continue the day with not only the traditional civil service around Micklefield Hall’s beautiful water feature but also a Hindu service and Chinese tea ceremony. After the formalities, they relaxed with cocktails and canapés before dancing the night away.
I met the wedding crowd at Tower Bridge where we waited for the Boat to arrive to take us to Trinity Buoy Wharf. Along the way we went through a small storm which meant people took cover anywhere they could, luckily this was the only bad weather we’d have all day.
There’s a number of places to have your ceremony at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Alice and Richard chose The Drawing Room a venue that reminded me a lot of St Chad’s Place in King Cross, the venue my wife and I had our reception in… it’s now a burger restaurant!
They then migrated over to The Chain Store where they had their wedding breakfast and drinks out on the Trinity Buoy Wharf’s terrace overlooking the Thames.
Trinity Buoy wharf is one of those venues that can cater to any wedding because it has a room, basement or hall for every occasion. Ranitta and Sunit had their ceremony in the The Electrician’s Shop. An industrial basement venue packed full of history and atmosphere. They then made their way to The Chainstore & Riverside Terrace for the reception and evening drinks.
Trinity Buoy wharf is always my first recommendation to any getting hitched in the capital.
Within about two emails after Lucy and Tom got in touch regarding their wedding photography, we realised they lived two doors down and decided to meet in our local pub. They were planning a Micklefield Hall outdoor wedding, a beautiful venue with stunning grounds just minutes down the road from us.
Micklefield Hall has everything you need for your wedding day. From any accommodation needs the night before and after, the option for an indoor or outdoor ceremony, beautiful stretching gardens to roam around and sip some cocktails and the restored barn for drinking and dancing into the night.
A good venue and a great staff will always make the day feel fun and seamless, and that’s exactly what the folks at Micklefield Hall do.
No, Peter and Rachel are not models that I hired for the day. They’re a real-life couple that are completely in love.
This was a fun one for me, not only because Peter and Rachel’s was the first wedding at the new Tithe Barn but also because I got to visit Skipton. A town that I visited regularly as a young boy to see my great aunt.
From Skipton, we made our way to the Tithe barn which overlooks the beautiful Bolton Abbey. A great view for the guests and a lovely location for some couple shots at sunset.
Johnny used to work at The Londesborough Pub and what with it being one of the best wedding pubs in London, it seemed the obvious choice to host their reception.
They tied the knot at Islington Town Hall then jumped on their Routemaster bus up to The Londesborough. Before everyone else arrived, we took a stroll around the surrounding streets to grab a few, fun couple shots.
Natalie and Johnny had decided the food was to be entirely Vegan, which being a massive BBQ made me a tad apprehensive. Of course after tasting the Malaysian curry, I was proved totally wrong. The only place I could find fault was the fact I was’t allowed seconds.
After nervously putting off the first dance for as long as possible, they kicked off the dancing which then carried on into the night. These two were such a sweet couple. Always playfully teasing each other in the photos creating a genuinely fun, authentic set of pictures.
Another great wedding at a great venue!
Bryony and Craig were married at Shustoke Barn, Warwickshire in March this year, on the first sunny weekend after the early spring snow. It was a relaxed, boho-inspired wedding day, with outfits and flowers in blues and greys. We were so in love with Bryony’s dress and the gorgeous flowers at this one – not to mention the atmospheric Shustoke Barn, owned by family run Cripps & Co, who have several beautiful barns we’ve had the pleasure of shooting at (including the first ever wedding at the Tithe Barn at Bolton Abbey – we can’t wait to share this wedding!). Being a wedding photographer means Dan gets to travel to the best places!
We’re so lucky to have this wedding featured on Love My Dress on 12 September, you can read all the details about how they planned and spent their day there!
Flowers: Bloom Fleuriste
Brides Gown: Aimee dress by Divine Atelier from Serendipity Brides in Weedon
Hair: Juliet Johnson
Make up: Emily Grosvenor
Bridesmaid dresses Mix Bridal
Groom’s suit Noose and Monkey
Cheese cake The Cheese Shed
Videography Opaline Films
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Flowers really help set the scene on a wedding day – rustic, classic, contemporary, understated, oversized, multi-coloured, full of texture, full of colour, simple or uniform – with so many options and styles to choose from, it’s certainly one of the most fun parts of wedding planning and there’s something to suit everyone. We’ve taken a look back over some of our favourite floral moments and compiled them here for your wedding day inspiration.
Grace + Tom
This bright, vibrant, sunny wedding could only have bold, vivid blooms to match. Broadly yellow, orange and blue, Grace’s bouquet was also peppered with pinks and reds. Big sunflower heads sat amongst orange roses, freesias, iris’, daisies crocosmia and lisianthus creating an eclectic, fun and fragrant arrangement.
This one doesn’t include any flowers at all, yet is as stunning as the rest. Cath + Will opted for various complimentary green foliage, including bay and fern leaves. And if a bouquet of greens wasn’t enough, how about that bridal crown?
Erin’s autumn-hued bouquet had the most elegant finishing touch of two pheasant feathers, which sat along side stunning thistles, red roses chrysanthemum, eucalyptus leaves and rosehips, creating a gorgeous array of textures, scale and colours.
The peaches and cream blooms were the icing on the cake of Olivia + Lawrence’s wedding in the woods. Snapdragons, roses, thistles formed the basis of the bridal bouquet, with english cottage garden geraniums, dahlias and mint in pots and planters around the garden reception venue.
Victoria and Adam’s flowers were true to their laid back tipi festival wedding – simply english lavender across the bouquets, buttonholes and potted plants on the long trestle tables. They created them themselves, and the result couldn’t be more perfect.
This wedding not only has the most stunning bouquet but the venue was transformed into a breathtaking walk through an English country garden – lisianthus, stocks, love in a mist, anemones, iris’ and roses featured, paired beautifully with eucalyptus and fern leaves. They complemented the Victorian, London pub venue perfectly.
There were three beautiful floral focal points in Sarah + Stuart’s big day – the Indian-summer inspired bouquets, the stunning flower arch and Sarah’s delicate floral crown.
For us, the floral arch was the more stunning of all – rich hydrangea heads in varying shades of blues, purples and pinks, married with vintage roses and vines of lush green leaf made for a ceremony location to remember.
Another autumn-hued floral theme, Rachel and her bridal party had gorgeous over-sized bouquets with eucalyptus, wheat, orange leaves and chrysanthemums which were mirrored elegantly in the buttonholes.
Natalie’s flowers spanned a small portion of the colour spectrum but in the most intricate and textured detail. Peonies, scabious, freesias, roses and love-in-a-mist and forget-me-nots all combined to create a stunning pink and purple display for both the bouquets and the table decorations.
For their October wedding, Fran + Matt opted for white and golden hues. Fran isn’t a huge flower enthusiast but her love for plants led her to choose to keep the bouquets simple and decorate the tables with little succulents in a variety of gold pots and geometric terrariums.
Bryony’s brief to florist Bloom Fleuriste, was to have white and blue wild flowers with lots of greenery – she exceeded expectations and blew Bryony away when she revealed her bouquet on the day. The bridesmaid’s had smaller versions of the main bouquet, which included a stunning hydrangea head, anemones, astrantia, ranunculus and even a striking succulent.
Sam and Steve were married in 2017 at Wilton’s Music Hall in East London. I’d been eager to shoot here after attending a wedding a few years ago – the walls feel alive with history, and no venue I’ve shot at before feels quite so much like going back in time. As the oldest surviving grand music hall in the world (the whole world!), it saw life first as a row of houses in the 1690s, followed by a merchant’s ale house in the 1820s, a concert hall in the 1830s, a music hall in the 1850s-80s, a Methodist Mission from the 1880s right through the Blitz until 1956, a rag warehouse in the 1960s and after half a century of campaigning to save and preserve it, it is now once again thriving with performance and art… and of course, weddings! To say Wiltons has atmosphere is an understatement. From the moment you arrive at the front doors, flaking its paint in all hues of red and pink, you know you have arrived somewhere special and completely unique. This paved the way for Sam and Steve to have a day their guests would remember for a long time to come.
I’d been impatiently waiting for this wedding ever since Joanna enquired. The ceremony and reception were held in an urban, graffiti drawn warehouse space in Hackney called Swan Wharf which looked super cool and perfect for a London wedding… and it didn’t disappoint!
When Claudia got in touch about her wedding at Trinity Buoy Wharf, it was only after a few emails that we realised we knew each other from a few years back when we both worked in French Connection as students, oh how the time flies, and what a small world!
Both the ceremony and reception were held at Trinity Buoy Wharf, which in my opinion is one of the best urban venues in London. Gin & Tonics were poured by The TGC during the reception, pizza was served by Baz and Fred in the evening and the finale was a dance set performed by DJ Luck and MC Neat. What a day!
One of the great things about being a wedding photographer is being able to visit so many amazing venues. Whether it’s in the country side or the city, a spacious hall or a cosy east end boozer, it never disappoints.
Choosing a venue is hard, probably the hardest decision you’ll make when organising your wedding. So to help you out, I’ve started a list of the best venues I’ve photographed this year.
Starting with my top 5 Urban wedding venues. If you want that big spacious barn vibe but don’t want to leave the city hopefully this list can help you kick start your venue research.
10 Heathmans Road, Parsons Green,
London, SW6 4TJ
The Worx is a Venue and Studio hire complex. With infinite white backdrops used for fashion, portraits and car photography, it also works well for couple’s portraits and group shots. The wedding was held in one of the bigger studios and was later transformed into the dining area, there’s also a courtyard outside for drinks and canapés!
402 Cremer St, London E2 8HD
Situated across the road from the Hoxton Overground Station, The Hoxton Arches are literally underneath the railway track. With a cool, art gallery feel to it, it’s a blank canvas for you to transform into whatever you see fit. There’s a back garden area, with tables and chairs and a backdrop of graffiti.
60 Dace Rd, London E3 2NQ
I love this venue. Hidden away in East London, this is a super cool, spacious warehouse with all the trimmings. This is as urban as you can get! It’s three floors up, with exposed brick walls and high ceilings with metal girders. It has loads of space inside and out for drinking, dining and dancing!
64 Orchard Pl, Poplar, London E14 0JY
Situated right on the Thames at what used to be a former working dock. Trinity Buoy Wharf is the perfect wedding venue. Sip your drink whilst looking out over the Thames, or maybe have a wander past the colourful shipping containers, have a game of ping pong… and if you’re lucky, see the view from the top of London’s only lighthouse!
7 Roach Rd, Tower Hamlets E3 2PA
Stour Space is a fantastic, creative space. Drink your fizz in the large open area on the ground floor before heading up to the mezzanine level for some yummy food. To chill out, head to the floating jetty on the canal to see amazing views of the Olympic Park.
Abi + Ollie had a wonderful country wedding in the Gloucestershire countryside – in Abi’s family home’s grounds no less! Rustic in parts, every detail was well-thought through and beautiful. Shooting it was a pleasure.
Daniel and Lewis had a beautifully simple wedding day with the ceremony at midday followed by a stroll around the grounds of York House in Richmond. Choosing to keep the guest list low, only two close friends were invited to the day, so I count myself very lucky to have been there to capture such a lovely, intimate celebration.
Upwaltham Barns is becoming one of our firm favourite venues. We had the pleasure of shooting Hattie + Peter’s wedding there in March – with Spring in the air, champagne in the glasses and everyone suited and booted (Hattie in a gorgeous Jesus Piero gown), it made for a fantastic day of celebrating.
This English country garden wedding is full of the biggest laughs you’ve ever seen – from ceremony to speeches to the first dance, it was a giggle-fest, start to finish. Held at the Olde Bell in Hurley, Berkshire, India and Nick hosted a wonderful easy-going day of genuine and straightforward love and affection for all their family and friends as well as each other. Shooting it was an absolute privilege.
Mikey started his wedding day with dip in Hampstead Heath Men’s Pond with a group of his best mates and family – an activity I had never photographed before! Luckily the sun was shining and everyone seemed game enough to plunge in the cold water. The rest of the day was a blast from there – fun and modern elements of the day took the form of a reading from Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch during the ceremony, a first dance sung by one of the beautiful bridesmaids, and matching bespoke Converse for dancing (amongst other things!), whilst a more traditional edge was covered by the beautiful surroundings of Camden Town Hall for the ceremony and Gibson Hall for the reception. A London wedding at it’s finest.
I had a little help from a great second shooter called Dawn for the main part of the day, a few of these shots are hers.
After a fun engagement shoot in Paris last January, I was looking forward to seeing Cat and Oli again on their wedding day. Upwaltham Barns is becoming a favourite venue of mine – this was my third wedding there, and as a family-run business they really know how to run a wedding day with the greatest of care, consideration and attention to detail. I think my favourite moment of the day was the kids chanting to lure Oli and Cat outside to have picture taken with them. A super cute bunch.
Ally is the most organised bride, no, most organised person, we’ve ever met. Her wedding to Paul was our longest standing booking for photography for quite some time, and we also helped make their vision for their wedding invites and later the table plan and a few other bits and bobs for the day, a reality. They got engaged in New York, so the table names were based on their favourite places they had visited, and by contrast their ceremony and reception took place at the very beautiful and classically English Caswell House in the Cotswolds. I’m always super excited by a bride in a tea-length dress as I had one myself (easier for dancing!), and Ally’s was just gorgeous and suited her to a T.
It’s been a year of firsts for Story + Colour – first engagement shoot in Paris, first Indian wedding, first wedding abroad in Cyprus, first trip to… Peckham. This little dream we had about owning our own business three years ago has really come to life and we’re loving every minute. On top of the international travel, our work has taken us to the Cotswolds, West Sussex, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, London, Surrey and Devon. We’ve managed to get our new website up and running which not only shows the photography at the heart of Story + Colour, but also the design of invites and various bits and pieces that we do along side it.
Thank you to every couple who has put their faith in us this year – we cherish each and every one of you and it has been such a pleasure to work along side you and be present on your big day. Your relaxed natures, sense of fun, massive smiles, epic dance moves and tears of happiness have inspired us for the past 12 months. We can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store and look forward to the people we will meet and the places we will visit along the way. Here are just some of our favourite images from 2015.
After Jessica and Sandeep’s English countryside civil ceremony on the Monday, I was really excited to see them again and shoot their Indian wedding at Merriscourt in the Cotswolds just a few days later – my first ever Indian wedding. I was looking forward to seeing the rituals of another culture but in terms of shooting the pictures, I couldn’t wait to see the colourful celebrations. And they did not disappoint! With the August sunshine in our favour, one of my favourite parts of the day was watching and listening to the procession of drummers who lead Sandeep to the one of the ceremonies on horseback, as well as the amazing food courtesy of The Clay Oven. Meeting these guys and shooting both their wedding days was a real highlight of 2015.
We met Jessica and Sandeep in a local burger restaurant when they were searching for their wedding photographer. The plan was for a Hindu ceremony in the Cotswolds, preceded by a small civil ceremony the week before. As time went on, the plans for the English civil ceremony grew, so that Jessica could have a white dress and all the things she had always imagined at her big day. The ceremony took place at Chicheley Hall in Buckinghamshire, followed by a reception on family land, surrounded by the great outdoors.
There is so much we love about this wedding; Jessica and Sandeep never stop smiling (really), the personal details at the reception that really showed how much effort family and friends had put in to make the day so special for the couple, and the anticipation of the Indian ceremony just four days later, made it one of our favourites.