Hayley contacted me after seeing my pictures on Hitched.co.uk. She and Adam, her Groom, had sadly had to rearrange her wedding several times due to Covid and this was to be their third wedding date. We spoke for a little while and after reassuring her that I wouldn’t let her down, and a quick video call (it was all the rage in 2021!) they asked me with photographing their wonderful wedding at Botleys Mansion in Surrey!
Botleys Mansion is stunning! It’s one of the Bijou wedding venues in Surrey. It’s all that you would want from a Surrey wedding venue - the architecture is light and stylish - the sweeping staircase outside is a gift for Reception Drinks outside as well as the perfectly green gardens and nearby Home park for photographs. The building is filled with natural light - as a photographer, I love natural light. It means that I can photograph the day without being noticed - a must for candid moments. The grounds are perfect. There is just the right amount of perfectly designed garden and wild parkland should you cross over the bridge to Homewood Park and all close at hand so my lovely Bride and Groom are not far away from their guests.
On the morning of Hayley and Adam’s wedding it had rained and many of the nearby roads had flooded, however as I drove nearer, the sun came out - the bees buzzed in the lavender and the sandstone shone!
Hayley and her Bridesmaids got ready in the Bridal Suite whilst Adam and his Groomsmen dressed in another room at Botleys. Hayley had 6 Bridesmaids - of whom 2 were with baby bumps. Hayley had her rather talented friend Saria did the girls' make up and Emily, also with a bump - did all the girls' hair. I love the atmosphere during the getting ready phase - there’s so much time, everyone looks and smells amazing - there is so much excitement and love - and then time gets in the way!
When the Father of the Bride gets ready with the Groom you know you have a keeper! The atmosphere was so warm. Hayley had given Adam and his boys some wonderful gift - no more so than the most beautiful cuff links. Adam’s mum had sadly passed away and Hayley had had a portrait of Adam and his Mum etched into a set of silver cuff links. The Groom was speechless.
Adam and his Groomsmen wore Black Tie. They looked rather good! One of my hidden talents, having attended a few weddings, is that I'm a dab hand with buttonholes and was quickly able to attach everyone’s buttonholes!
Hayley’s Chief Bridesmaid dressed the Bride. She took her job very seriously, wearing cotton gloves to protect the dress. Then Saria and Emily touched up the make up and attached the veil. It was time for the Reveal! Firstly, Hayley’s Dad was invited into the Bridal Suite to see his daughter as a Bride - he was speechless and a tear or two was swallowed back, then the bridesmaids came back in. It had the desired effect with many tissues were passed around!
The wedding ceremony was held in The Green Room at Botleys. The room was filled with the Bride and Groom’s family and friends. The room had been decorated using silk flowers and a arch. Such a sustainable choice. Incredibly, a week or so before, Hayley had been at home and heard her neighbour Robyn rehearsing through the wall, and knew she had to have her sing at her wedding. The Bridal party entered the room to Robyn’s voice - perfectly timed - then Hayley and her Dad entered and several tears were shed- especially by the Mother of the Bride. Just a perfect ceremony - So many smiles, such love! From my position I could photograph all the emotions - it is the best job!
Everyone moved outside while the bride and groom had a moment after the ceremony. The wedding guests mustered on the sweeping staircases surrounding the entrance for the Bride and Groom - Hayley and her Adam came out to confetti and sunshine!
After a few family shots - we nipped off for some photographs - again - never too far from the champagne and laughter! The perfect gardens and wonderfully soft daylight was a bonus but really - Hayley and Adam were just gorgeous - happiness is the most wonderful emotion to be around! Then I quickly returned them back to their wedding party and photographed the love and friendship that surrounded them.
The Wedding Breakfast was held in Botleys Mansion’s chandelier filled Atrium. The room had been decorated again, using silk flowers. What a green way to decorate a wedding breakfast! Hayley and Adam had a wonderful Remembrance Table to family members not present - just by the top table - a touching idea.
The Bride and Groom entered their Wedding Breakfast, down the white stairs, to the wild cheering and applause of their guests!
After the incredibly delicious meal the speeches began - the Father of the Bride first - to his little girl.
Then a nervous Best Man - who quickly got into his stride and had the Groom in fits of embarrassed laughter before making many cry with his tender words for his best mate!
After the Groom had toasted his beautiful bride, surprisingly, the Mother of the Bride stood up. She had a speech from the Bride’s brother who couldn’t be with them - poor Hayley was blown away by this but quickly recomposed herself - enough to tell her mum off for the surprise!
Then it was time to cut their amazing wedding cake.
After a short refresher in the gardens, the dancing began. Robyn sang for Hayley and Adam's First Dance and then Father and Daughter Dance - what a talent and amazing that she should have been found and instantly booked by being overheard through the neighbouring wall between them - fate.
My evening ended with the Father Daughter dance before catching some candid portraits of the guests.
Thank you Hayley and Adam for having me - it was wonderful!
Hayley and Adam said about me in their review -
"We could not be happier with the service that Gill provided to us before, during and after our wedding day. After being let down by another photographer and putting out a message online, Gill emailed and called to have a chat about everything. I felt at ease immediately knowing we were in great hands. On the day she understood what we wanted and half the time we didn’t even notice she was there. Everyone at the wedding said she was fun, energetic and super friendly, exactly how we felt too. Our photos are perfect, could not have asked for more. An absolute pleasure to work with her and would recommend to anyone."
Venue - Botleys Mansion by https://bijouweddingvenues.co.uk
Hayley’s dress was from Chiselhurst Bridal by Essence of Australia
Make-up - @sariamariemua on Instagram
Hair- Emily of Surrey Bridal Hair surrey_bridal_hair on Instagram
Flowers and room design by https://www.chicweddings.co.uk/
Cake by Iced Elegance
Vocalist - Robyn Taylor robyntaylorofficial on Instagram