Last November I photographed the wedding of Mike and Kayleigh at the Tythe Barn, Bicester, Oxfordshire. This was the last wedding of the season for last year so I thought I would ring the changes and do a blog about the day predominantly from the bride’s perspective rather than me as a wedding photographer. I have included a few thoughts from my perspective and I hope the combined thoughts of bride and give you an insight into how amazing your wedding day can be……….
A Winter Tythe Barn Bicester Wedding
‘We had been together 7 years when Mike proposed in on his 30th Birthday in October 2012 (in Iceland!) and we always said that we wouldn’t want a long engagement. However we knew it would take at least a year to get the money together to have the day that we wanted. To us, it didn’t matter what time of the year we got married as it wasn’t about the weather. We also knew that if we had spent the extra money for a summer wedding, it would have probably rained on us anyway!
The Dress: Individual 1950’s glamour
Tall and willowy, Kayleigh looked amazing in her dress and she especially loves the relaxed shots around the car that really capture the fun essence of the day. Here’s what she says about choosing her dress:
‘I visited multiple wedding dress shops, and tried on goodness knows how many wedding dresses but I still didn’t get that overwhelming ‘this is the one’ feeling when I put any of them on; in fact, I felt awful in most of them! I especially couldn’t handle the dresses with a train….it felt like something was following / tugging at me the whole time!
I was starting to feel like I wouldn’t find anything and then I remembered my mum showing me a link to a website, Vivienne of Holloway. My mum was looking for a 1950’s style dress for herself to wear on the day; however she noticed they did an ivory lace version. I instantly fell in love with the dress when she showed me but for some reason, I felt like I had to be traditional and look for a long wedding dress. But after failing miserably, I booked my bridesmaids in to travel with me to London and visit the shop.
The girls had fun trying on the 1950’s dresses whilst I found what I was looking for! I then went into the tiny changing facility at the back of the shop, with just a curtain hiding me from the shop floor! Before I had even looked in the mirror, I knew this was the dress for me. Everyone agreed and thought it was perfect and I loved it so much but still had my doubts – ‘would Mike like it?’, ‘it’s not from a wedding dress shop – does it look cheap?’, ‘it’s so different – what will others think?’, ‘I’ll have to get different straps though as I don’t like the current ones – how will I do that?’ After a few days over thinking things, I just had to pull myself together and make a decision – look like what everyone expects a bride to look like, or look like Kayleigh and make the dress your own. Decision made!
The Car: A cool wedding gift
‘Our venue was literally a 2 minute drive from our house, therefore we couldn’t justify spending so much money hiring a car. However, one of Mike’s closest friends offered to sort this as a wedding gift as his uncle had a ‘Willy’s Woody’ car. I would have been grateful for anything but when I saw the picture of this car, my jaw dropped! I thought it was so cool. He organised a visit to see the car and it was covered in dust as it hadn’t been taken out for a while, but you could still see the beauty and the noise was just incredible…people would definitely hear us coming. The car was something that actually encouraged me to get my dress and also, without realising, matched perfectly with the bridesmaids’ outfits and Mike’s outfit – we definitely didn’t plan that.
The Meal: Sing for your supper
For a wedding photographer the meal can be a ‘down time’ before the speeches, people eating doesn’t always make for flattering or interesting photography! But sometimes there is something to capture such as the ‘dancing chef’ scene created by some very gracious and participating guests…says Kayleigh:
‘For the meal, we had four tables of twelve as we didn’t want a Head Table. However, unknown to our guests, we picked two people from each table and they were summoned into the other room by the caterers; they didn’t have a clue what was going on but were told to put on a chef’s hat, an apron and when the music came on, to go out and dance…..they all came out laughing, dancing and skipping to Survivors’ ‘Eye of the Tiger’ before carving the roast beef at their tables. It was hilarious for us to watch and a real talking point for everyone; definitely a high point of the meal’.
Best Part of the Day
‘Without being too soppy, the best part was actually standing in front of all our friends and family and getting married. Which was strange as it was the bit we were dreading the most. I really hated the thought of everyone looking at me and having to speak out loud; I genuinely thought that nerves would get the better of me and I would either cry or have a serious giggling fit – which would have been very inappropriate as once I start, I can’t stop! However, it was nothing like that; both of us were just so happy that we smiled the whole way through. We made a promise to enjoy the day and not let it rush past in a blur.
I also thought I would be worried about if people were having a good time or if they were OK etc., but again, it was just so nice to be around everyone we loved and it was great to see our families getting on so well.
The ceremony is of course the most important part of the day. As a wedding photographer it’s really important to me that I capture the emotion and the interaction between a bride and groom and the guests – so much is happening between them and around them. One tip though; do check that your venue celebrant or church priest allows photography during the ceremony as not all of them do. I always make sure that this is checked and that the couple know what can be photographed during the ceremony.’
Kayleigh’s advice to other brides
Track your spend.
I was told that I was a very laid back bride in the sense that the colour of the flowers, the table decorations, the favours, the Grooms outfit, the bridesmaids didn’t stress me out but behind the scenes, the cost really did. However, being the excel geek that I am, I created a document that allowed me to track absolutely everything. So even though we still had money to find, at least I knew where we were / needed to be.
Identify your priorities and invest in those.
Weddings are expensive, even if you just do bare minimum they are costly and our wedding cost way more than we had initially anticipated or wanted; we were lucky that our family could help. We invested in the venue, food and wedding photographer and worked everything else around that. I saved money with my dress and Mike bought his outfit, but we opted to let the rest of the guys to wear black suit, white shirt (which most already had) and we sorted the same burgundy tie and button holes.
The bridesmaids bought their own dresses and my sister made the invitations and place settings. I am a keen cake maker so I made the cake and bought chocolates from Thornton’s to create the favours (wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow). The wedding car was a wedding gift from a friend and Mikes sister did our makeup etc. The table decorations were old ship lanterns that my stepfather had. It was a real family affair and that made it very special. Save costs wherever you can but invest on what is most important to you.
Be true to yourself.
As much as I appreciated input and feedback from people, I realised that I wasn’t your typical bride. I didn’t like shopping or going to wedding fairs. I didn’t want fancy table decorations, lots of flowers, formal suits, bows on chairs and a princess dress. I didn’t want to look at page after page of wedding magazines and mull for hours over a colour theme. I wanted it to be special yes, but stressing over that kind of stuff wasn’t what we are about. The venue we picked was just perfect for us; a converted barn with fairy lights, old fashioned chairs and big tall candles, with the tables decorated beautifully by our florist using the ship lanterns from my stepfather.
You wedding isn’t just about you, it is about the both of you.
I had so many people telling me ‘it’s your day so you do want you want, you’re the bride’, and the truth is, I hated hearing that. I wanted our wedding to be about us, not me. Mike had just as much say in everything as I did because a wedding is about two people; don’t let your future husband be the guy who just turns up to say ‘I do’. I think the wedding industry sometimes creates a perception that the most important thing about the day is the dress, the flowers, the colour scheme, the perception of wealth etc. and people forget the true meaning of a wedding. The aim of the day is for two people to promise their love and lives to each other.
Don’t panic about the dress!
Tip: always make sure you have put the dress on properly before you get any alterations!!
Mike’s ‘Nana’ made straps for me however I kept putting the dress on too high – wondering why the dress was now too tight for me, I barely ate anything to try to lose weight but the dress still wasn’t zipping up. Four days before the wedding, I woke up in the middle of the night and realised I had been putting the dress on too high! I was putting the waist part a couple of inches too high, onto my ribs! I called Mikes Nana and went round at 9am the next day, put the dress on properly and she extended the straps. I went home and ate a massive baguette with a big bar of chocolate!
Are you planning a Winter Tythe Barn Bicester Wedding?
If you are looking for a wedding photographer for your wedding at The Tythe Barn or in Oxfordshire and like this style of relaxed wedding photography why not give me a call 0370 626 5200, drop me an email, or use the Contact Form to get in touch, I’d love to hear your wedding day.
Hi, I'm Kevin, a destination wedding photographer based in Cambridge. I love working across the UK, Europe (especially Italy) and beyond. When I'm not working you’ll find me running across the countryside with my chocolate Labrador recharging for the next fantastic adventure!