For me, this was quite simply a gorgeous wedding. I had previously photographed the bride, Holly, when she was a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding in Cyprus. I was honoured that Holly asked me to photograph her own wedding to Andy. I love it when I have an existing connection with my couples or their wedding guests. It always makes the wedding very special and personal for me.
The Ashes is a stunning country house wedding venue. It’s located in a beautiful countryside setting in the Staffordshire Moorlands. The Ashes has to be one of my absolute favourite wedding venues. It has two large converted barns for the ceremony and reception. Both barns have been lovingly restored and renovated. For me the real beauty of the building lies in the detail – the stonework and the exposed oak beams. It’s not a ‘showy’ venue, but I think it definitely has a ‘wow factor’. The Ashes it is a multi award-winning wedding venue and it’s well deserved.
The Ashes Exclusive Country House Barn Wedding Venue Staffordshire
Tanya’s Top Tip: Go with your instincts when choosing a wedding venue. Are the staff easily available and friendly when you first make contact? These people will be running your Big Day so you need to like and trust them.
Holly’s dress was absolutely stunning. It was understated and modest, with very intricate lace detailing. Holly looked graceful and elegant – a truly beautiful bride. Her dress was by American dress designer David Tutera. The style was Kalia from his Mon Cheri range, supplied through Bethany Hannah Bridal in Warrington.
Tanya’s Top Tip: Comfort is key. Will the dress be too hot for a summer wedding, too revealing or too tight? Make sure that you feel comfortable and relaxed in your dress.
Holly chose a pair of fairly flat pumps in ivory lace. They were elegant and comfortable. Brides sometimes regret wearing a pair of high heeled shoes on their wedding day, which can prove uncomfortable and difficult to walk in. If you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, then I think you’re likely to feel more relaxed.
Holly’s shoes were Lille Lace Pumps from Harriet Wilde.
Tanya’s Top Tip: Three little words – comfort, comfort, comfort! And if high heels make you taller than the groom, consider a small heel or flat bridal shoes.
Hair & Make Up
Holly’s hair style and make up were both very natural and understated. Together with the gorgeous dress they completed her elegant and graceful look.
The bride’s hair and make up were both by Gemma Lucas from Doll Face of Macclesfield.
Tanya’s Top Tip: You want your hair to stay looking immaculate, so go heavy on the hairspray! When it comes to make up, go for slightly more than normal as it will help to make your wedding photos stand out.
Holly wore a stylish Swarovski sparkling crystal necklace and matching earrings. Again, I think her choice was perfect and matched her elegant and understated look.
Tanya’s Top Tip: Don’t go all out with the bling as it will detract from your dress. Less is more when it comes to jewellery. Choose understated pieces that compliment your total look.
The flowers at Holly and Andy’s wedding were amazing. The table centrepieces were real showstoppers. Tall glass vases packed with pretty long-stemmed roses in ivory, pastel pink and dusky violet colours, with foliage complimenting their soft, muted tones. The same vintage style blooms featured in the bride’s bouquet and in flower arrangements on window ledges throughout the barns.
All flowers were supplied by the venue’s recommended florist, The Topiary Tree.
Tanya’s Top Tip: Go with colours that fit with your theme and try to work in your favourite flowers and scents. Don’t go for a bouquet that is too big, as it will be heavy and tiresome to carry all day.
Holly had six adult bridesmaids, including her sisters and close friends. Their dresses were simple yet stunning. Long, plain dusky pastel pink, worn off one shoulder in a modern take on a traditional Grecian-style dress. The bridesmaids also wore their hair in a matching side plait.
Bridesmaid dresses from Gorgeous Couture.
Tanya’s Top Tip: Choose colours that compliment your over-all scheme. Bright, contrasting colours are fine but subtle, muted colours can look lovely alongside your bridal outfit.
The cake followed the theme of the wedding – elegant, simple and beautiful. The cake is important to me as a wedding photographer. There is a real ritual about photographing the wedding cake. All the guests line up to take that photo of the bride and groom cutting the cake. I often like to stand back from the bride and groom and take pictures of all the guests with their cameras. It’s a special moment. It represents the first day of the rest of their lives together.
Cake designed by Michelle Ashurst 07748 022956
Tanya’s Top Tip: Don’t just go for an OTT showstopper that you like the look of – make sure you love the flavour and texture of the cake itself.
Holly’s thoughts on Tanya
“Tanya was the obvious choice for our wedding photographer. I loved her work and knew that she is very friendly in her approach – not at all intimidating. I was really, really nervous on the day and Tanya was brilliant in helping to make me feel calm. She fitted in with our guests and helped us both to relax and enjoy the day.
“Tanya is very organised and gets everyone where she needs them for the photographs. The group photos didn’t drag on like they can do at some weddings. I love her natural style of wedding photography. There is no having to hold a pose for the camera – you almost forget Tanya is there!
“As time goes on I keep looking back on Tanya’s photos and they are amazing. They remind me how much I absolutely loved our wedding day. There was not a minute of the day that I didn’t enjoy. Tanya played an important part in helping to make it such a fun, happy and chilled out wedding.”