This is the tale of Ash and Sam’s wedding at The Out Barn in Clough Bottom, Clitheroe.
To be a wedding photographer at The Out Barn, Clough Bottom is to immerse yourself totally amongst this unique place in the Ribble Valley countryside and all of the wedding guests that shared Ash & Sam’s day. Add a humanist ceremony to the mix a for the personal touch and I had the ingredients to create a wonderful story that only personal, natural documentary wedding photography can. From the view of Pendle Hill on the horizon to the star studded moonlit sky which lights the elliptical cedar clad shaped barn, there’s the perfect blend of nature and farmland with contemporary architecture and design for a bride and groom and their guest to spend the perfect day. The Out Barn is family owned and run and has its original roots in the 17th Century as a traditionally stone built barn. How fitting that Ash and Sam, and Taylor their son, decided to do the legal wedding beforehand an then on the day have a ceremony that was all about their family, traditions and roots.
The perfect start to shooting the wedding day took place at The Old Dairy Wedding Cottage for all of the bridal preparations. Just outside the barn itself it has it’s own private lane. There I met a very excited Ash and mum Karen and the bridesmaids. As well as the hair and make up the proseco, tears and laughter were all in full flow. I love to photograph personal effects and the letters swapped between Ash and Sam were so heart felt. This is photography that is truly authentic and tells a real story. Sam wasn’t so far away with his best man, Pete. The lads were staying in the village Waddington which was five minutes away. With only five minutes sleep the night before the lads had a quick brush up, a nip and a splash of after shave and they were out for a few groomsmen photos. I was a bit like Reservoir Dogs had come to Waddington.
After a nervous walk down the aisle the humanist ceremony from Jo brought out all of the emotions. Through my lens I often see and feel the event unfolding with a few goosebumps and the odd lump in the throat. None more so than here. Then that emotion just spilt out into the rest of the day and this is where The Out Barn is so perfect. People can be outside or inside but you always feel together as a wedding party. Once the wedding breakfast was set it was time for The Singing Waiters and the speeches. IF the singing waiters caused an outrageous amount of dancing that felt like we were already in the early hours, then the speeches were something truly unique. The best man, Pete was a Kiwi of Māori decent. When there’s a wedding they Māoris perfrom The Haka and Ash and Sam had their very own haka. I have never had such a rush in photographing a spontaneous, authentic moment at a wedding (he could have warned me beforehand!). Wow! Just, wow! It was so electric and full of emotion that after everyone just chilled out side in the summer sun and I was able to just go with a mix of family photos and just those pure documentary shots that capturing wedding family and friends just having a great time unposed.
Ash and Sam were having such a brilliant day and it was time to have a few photos together. As with all my weddings I like natural photography that is un-staged and unposed. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask anything of them to get the perfect composition and light, so a little guidance as to where to be and stop as they spend some time away from the crowd together is just perfect. I could feel how they were just enjoying the day and I just let that unfold in front of the camera lens. So beautiful. They even had Pendle Hill as a backdrop and in a spontaneous moment we captured one of my favourite bride and groom portraits as the lens looked to the hill and left them just out of focus and their own moment in the foreground.
And so the evening drew in and the party just went on. Italian and Mexican food with plenty of champers kept the wedding guests fuelled and so to the cake cutting and first dance. Surrounded by everyone the purple lights of The Out Barn provided the perfect ambience saw Ash and Sam take to the oval barn’s intimate dance floor with special moments for the family. More partying ensued with people partying on and I was still part of the whole day; swept up in all of the emotion I then took a breather outside and then saw the shot to complete the story. The moon gazed down at this wonderful, contemporary wedding venue and the people within it. The dark but clear skies above the Clough Bottom and Clitheroe landscape at dusk provided the perfect contrast with the purple lights of the cedar barn. Wedding photography is about creating and capturing someones wedding day by telling their story – truly – from beginning to end.