Francesca and Iain’s wedding at Fforest, Cardigan, Wales
Last week we traveled to the West Welsh coast for Francesca and Iain’s beautiful wedding. I first shot the couple, and their adorable son Pablo, last autumn for their engagement shoot on a crisp and sunny day around Columbia road flower market in East London. It was a great way to get to know all three of them and help them relax in front of the camera before their wedding day.
We spent the weekend in Wales, and the night before the wedding we settled into the beautiful surroundings of the venue Fforrest, near Cardigan bay, a campsite with a difference.
I knew Fforest would be a special venue for this wedding, but it really did turn out to be magical. The site is within 200 acres of woodland, pastures and wild meadows . The self-titled “luxury of simple” venue was a world away from the city engagement shoot I did for Francesca and Iain last year. The great outdoors, understated design and great local food had a relaxing effect on all the guests, and I was pleased to be able to join in and get a bit of fresh country air!
The views were a photographers dream and we set a lot of the shots up to include the landscape of the Preseli mountains, ancient woodland and water meadow. Simon was particularly enjoying getting back into landscape photography and he was up early and late to catch the beautiful light.
Francesca and Iain had exclusive residential access to the site, so this meant the guests, and us, could camp in the amazingly large and luxurious tipi tents over the weekend. A whole weekend of festivities was planned, starting with drinks and an open air screening of Lost Boys the night before the wedding. After the film, we retired to our camp to get some rest and sat around the camp fire staring up at the stars.
The next morning we rose early for a hearty Welsh breakfast in the beautifully decorated barn. After breakfast, Simon and I met make-up artist Lauren Dunn and headed to the Crogloft, an old crofter’s cottage with slate stone walls, where Simon took shots of the groom. Meanwhile, I went along to capture the bride getting ready with her bridesmaids and family. Francesca looked stunning in her dress and bright flowers in her hair. Iain was in keeping with his Scottish heritage and wore a kilt, while baby Pablo looked a cutie in his bowtie.
The wedding ceremony itself was held at the Giant Hat Tipi and was lit only by tealights, and it truly was a beautiful and relaxed ceremony. The service was followed by cocktails on the lawn and we took the opportunity to take some large group shots of all the guests with the breathtaking landscape in the background.
The couple chose a tea ceremony for the wedding breakfast and the barn was a picture of rustic charm, with vintage crockery on linen tablecloths and silver candelabras. The flowers on the table were wild flowers picked that morning from the meadows by the bridesmaids. Later the guests were treated to a whole roast hogget.
While the guests danced the night away with cocktails flowing, Simon set up a photobooth in the main Tipi for the guests. We supplied a backdrop of bunting, to suit the style of the table decorations and the setting. We made chalk board speech bubbles so guests could write personal messages for Francesca and Iain.
As the sunlight faded, huge fire bowls were lit to light the venue and guests were invited to let off sky lanterns. Releasing lanterns is considered good luck in Thai culture and with every guest releasing a lantern at the same time; they made a breathtaking sight in the clear night sky.
We really had a wonderful time photographing Francesca and Iain’s beautiful wedding and felt so lucky to spend the weekend with them and their guests. The weekend felt really special and its relaxed atmosphere and stunning landscape really made it a magical lost weekend.