Blake & Martha's beautiful country wedding in Devon
A couple of weeks ago I spent the weekend town in Totnes, Devon, where I had the chance to photograph the whole weekend for an old school friend of mine, Blake, and his lovely new wife Martha.
So Devon is pretty far away from London, it turns out. Five and half hours after leaving home, I arrived in Devon at the Maltsters Arms in a quaint village by the name of Tuckenhay. Set on a the tidal Harbourne river, it was an amazing setting on a barmy summer evening where Blake, Martha and a bunch of close family and friends were having some relaxed drinks. Blake was staying at the Maltsters Arms along with his ushers and myself, whilst Martha was staying with her family nearby. An early(ish) night was had by all, because Blake and his troop of ushers were up just after 8am to drive down to the beach for a spot of breakfast, a cold swim and a modified version of clay pigeon shooting played entirely with pebbles. The sun was shining and it was the perfect start to the day.
From the beach, we all headed over to the field where the marquee was set up and waiting, where I snapped a few shots of the tables before they were occupied. I left the usher party helping out with some last minute prep and whizzed over to a local B&B, The Parsonage, where Martha and her bridesmaids were getting ready. Martha started having her hair done, while I quietly captured the little moments. I couldn't stay long though, because I had to change into my suit for the wedding and have some lunch!
I jumped back in my little rental car and zipped back to the Maltsters Arms, where I changed into my suit, met up with the usher party again and had a hearty lunch made up of numerous difference baguettes filled with anything and everything. The usher party then got into their wedding garb nice and quickly so I could take some photos of them outside the pub. A few fun photos later, I got back in the car and returned to The Parsonage for the final time. Martha was getting into her dress, having had her makeup all done, and her mum and dad arrived to see her wander elegantly down the spiral staircase in her gorgeous wedding dress. Needless to say they were pretty speechless. Martha's bridesmaids helped her into the Morris Minor car that her dad had arranged. I beat them to leaving though and drove myself down to the church in a hurry in order to get there as long before they did as possible.
I had about ten minutes in the church with all the guests before I was told she had arrived. Blake didn't seem too nervous and he was pretty stunned when he saw his beautiful bride walking down the aisle with her dad. The service went by in a flash (well, actually I didn't use flash), and soon everyone was outside hugging, kissing, smiling and celebrating. Confetti was thrown (and lots of it) and then the guests made their way to the field for a drinks reception. The wedding party hung back by the church for a short while for some family photos, before we all headed up to join the party.
The reception was brilliantly MC'd by Blake's friend Henry, who did a fantastic job getting the crowd going, including a quick round of a classic drinking game to the tune of Police's 'Roxanne'. Everyone went mad for it! Following that there was a lovely welcome speech from the father of the bride, a quick word or three by the bride herself, and speeches by Blake himself and his joint best men. All the speeches were very heartfelt and meaningful which was apparent in the way all the guests responded. The best men had a tough job on their hands as there isn't much in the way of 'dirt' to be had on Blake. Blake's brother pulled out a magazine feature that Blake had been in as a teenager, and then his best friend Ollie had the audience in stitches.
Dinner was served, and an hour and a half later Blake and Martha shared their first dance together as a married couple, before the band got the party properly started. There was even a fancy dress box next to the dance floor! The dancing continued until after midnight, whilst some chose to sit around the campfire int he corner of the field, toasting marshmallows.
As if that wasn't enough, the party continued back at the Maltsters Arms, where the drinks continued to flow. The rest of that evening can be summed up with a few words: conga line, ambulance and an enormous butternut squash. I'll let your imagination go wild with that one.
Sunday morning arrived along with several sore heads. A fry up soon sorted that out before the ushers all checked out of the Malsters Arms and headed on over to the field and marquee, where lunch was soon to be had. Before that though there was a very casual game of cricket and some frisbee action. The lunch spread was ridiculous - cold meats, salads, cheese, the lot.
Feeling like I couldn't possibly eat any more, it seemed appropriate for me to leave, in time for me to pootle back to London in time for the World Cup Final that was taking place that evening.
Huge congratulations go to Blake and Martha for an awesome weekend that will live long in the memories of everyone who attended!
Oh, and here are some photos I took along the way :-)