I met Victoria and Lee back in March 2016 in a Costa coffee shop in Alnwick, Northumberland. We chatted over coffee about the big plans they had for their wedding in March 2018. Two years before their wedding day they were keen to book me at a new and upcoming venue near Alnwick, Doxford Barns. At the time it was the longest booking I’d ever taken but chatting to Victoria and Lee about their plans and just generally about their lives I knew they were my kind of clients; relaxed, diligent planners, lovers of creative photography.
We met again in Costa just before the wedding and it seemed like the 2 years had flown by, but Victoria had crammed a lot of planning into those two years and I’d become a recommended supplier at Doxford Barns in the meantime, we were all excited for the day to finally arrive!
Victoria’s wedding dress was from Y. A. P. Bridal Boutique. Talking to Victoria I finally discovered that Y. A. P. stands for “you are precious” and the company has a wonderful back story to it revolving around wartime love letters.
Victoria had her dress altered by Groom & Co based in Jesmond, Newcastle. Three of the four bridesmaid dresses needed alterations and these were done by the Sewing Maid in Alnwick. Victoria said to me that this lady “saved my life” and that she would recommend her services to absolutely anyone and everyone!
Victoria’s shoes were from Dune and the flowergirls’ shoes were from Next and dresses were from Debenhams.
This is one of my most favourite bridal prep shots I’ve taken, and I was thrilled to learn that it is also one of Victoria’s favourites from her wedding too. Totally candid, it portrays how TEAM BRIDE pulls together to get the leading lady to the ceremony on time. Often these last few moments are a blur to the bride, but photos like this are a great reminder to cherish the efforts of her supporting ladies.
You can see why Victoria fell in love with this dress, the detail in it was exquisite.
Victoria’s stepdad John came to see Victoria before the ceremony and Victoria handed out hand written cards and gifts to her bridesmaids.
Victoria’s dad David then arrived to see his daughter in her dress for the first time and get ready to walk together to the ceremony.
The wait outside the ceremony is a big moment for any bride, its a nervous time as she waits to walk into a room filled with people knowing all eyes will be on her. I remind her that everyone in that room is here for her and her groom. They’re all here to support you, there’s no judging, just gasps and smiles, loving looks and happy tears. Every bride needs to take a few seconds to remember this, the walk up the aisle isn’t a gauntlet to run, it’s a journey you can float on, being accompanied by your dad, your mum, your brother, sister, son or any loved one you want by your side. Victoria had her mum and dad walk with her up the aisle to meet Lee.
The Threshing Hall at Doxford Barns is one of the best ceremony rooms at any venue I’ve shot at. It really is the jewel that sits in Doxford Barns’ crown as one of the UK’s best wedding venues. I’ve long said that it reflects the traditions of a church wedding where you have this sacred space where a bride and groom promise themselves to one and other. This is space is then not used for the reception, so the ceremony venue remains really very special. The festoon lighting and the fireplace really make it atmospheric. The detail in Victoria’s dress really showed and shimmered in the darker surroundings.
I’m from Northumberland so I may be accused of being biased but no one does a ceremony like Northumberland Registrars. They make the ceremony so personal to you and allow time for there to be laughter and smiles amongst the legal process. This makes for wonderful photography and they recognise that photography is a big part of your day and don’t impose restrictions on professional photographers allowing you to receive the photos you long for of your vows.
Music during the ceremony and afterwards was provided by the very talented Jess Avison. I love working alongside Jess, she has a magical voice fills the Threshing Hall.
Looking out on new married life like…
As it was raining off and on and pretty cold we shot the formals indoors inside the Threshing Hall. The Doxford Barns staff removed some chairs for us and we did all the photos indoors and in the warmth. This is a key component of your wedding day, and you’re most likely going to be getting married in Britain with British weather which is hugely unpredictable. Few people want rain on their wedding day but at the end of the day there is nothing you can do to stop the weather so my advice to any prospective bride and groom is A. pick a venue that allows for a wet weather contingency and B. have a wet weather contingency! You’ll be far less stressed if you know that rain won’t stop play. Doxford Barns having a bespoke ceremony room means that it can also be used for your group formals whilst your reception setting is being prepared. Not many venues can offer this.
I bring studio lighting equipment to every wedding in case we need to shoot your group shots indoors. I’m a working professional and as such plan and invest for multiple eventualities. Just because it rained on your wedding day doesn’t mean you should have to receive below par photographs. It is literally my job to ensure that you get great photos regardless of the weather. Doxford Barns having the Threshing Hall helps make this possible. If you’re getting married then no matter where you’re getting married ask yourself, “what if it rains? where will we do our group photos if it does?”
Victoria and Lee were brilliant to photograph, I try not to heavily pose my couple portraits, instead I just give an idea of how to stand and then let the couple interact comfortably so they know that the posing is natural to them. I want any bride and groom to feel ownership of their photographs, them feeling like this is how we would interact together is a big part of that. These are Victoria and Lee’s photographs, not mine.
Doxford Barns wows guests when they step into the Threshing Hall for the ceremony and then delivers another wow when they come into the Great Barn for the reception. Capable of holding well in excess of 150 guests it is a large space that can host pretty much any sized wedding. Festoon lighting illuminates the Barn as it does the Threshing Hall.
Lee and Victoria named their tables after holidays they’d been on together. A great idea and they are very well traveled!
The cake was made by Stone Cottage Bakery based in Felton.
Favours were provided in the form of scratch cards and one of the Best Men, David, was a jubilant winner!
Victoria’s sister Hannah surprised her with an emotional speech of her own. I’m a big fan of women doing speeches in modern day weddings, if a bride or bridesmaid or a mother wants to do a speech then they should absolutely do one!
Victoria’s rings are some of the nicest I’ve ever photographed. Since shooting the wedding of a jeweler, Sophie, I take far more notice of rings and they must be so, so time consuming to design and make.
Coco Luminaire provided the L & V light letters, I always enjoy crafting a photograph with these, they really do light up a room.
Evening music was provided by Livewire.
I’m not like most wedding photographers, I photograph your wedding rather than clock watch. I took portraits of Victoria and Lee in bitesized chunks through the day and into the night so that their wedding felt like, well, their wedding, rather than a photoshoot. It allowed us to get a wide variety of photos that reflected more the story of the day. I wanted to make Victoria and Lee look like movie stars, but I didn’t want them to have to work like actors to achieve that, that effort and work should fall on me as the professional.
These are a small selection of the 850+ photographs Victoria and Lee received of their wedding day at Doxford Barns. They received this many in part due to the lengths Victoria especially went to in planning their day – I’ve told her many times that she should become a wedding planner, or at the very least put it on her CV. Not many brides appreciate the skill set they’ve developed when planning their wedding, but not many people ever plan a full day’s event for 100 or more people!
The following suppliers helped make this wedding what it was:
Cake: Stone Cottage Bakery.
Suppliers, feel free to share this blog however, please don’t take any photos without my consent, contact me if you’d like to use them commercially.
Brides or grooms to be, if you’d like me to shoot your whole wedding then contact me at Dru@DruDodd.com and let me know your date, venue and anything else about your wedding! I only shoot a certain amount of weddings each year so that I can full commit to your day so get in touch sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. Victoria got in two years in advance!
Finally, to Victoria and Lee, thank you so much for choosing me to be your photographer. We became friends throughout the process and it was an honour to provide you with photographs you now hold so dear.