Claire and Neil’s festival tipi wedding photography in Sheffield
with homemade bunting, wooden signs, old fashioned games and lots and lots of cake.
As featured on Boho Wedding Blog
Claire and Neil booked me after we’d chatted on Skype then we met up a couple of months before their wedding when I took their engagement shoot. We got on so well we chatted about the world and his brother on both occasions but unusually, it was just the way it happened, we spent really very little time talking about what they had planned for their wedding. I love weddings and usually I’m straight in there, like a big kid on Christmas Day, wanting to know all there is to know about my couples plans for their wedding day. Most of the time when my coupes wedding day arrives I know what to look out for and almost what to expect but I’ve now decided knowing very little and being surprised by what I find is the only way to go!
When I turned up on the day of the wedding at Claire folks house in Sheffield, Claire opened the door in her PJs saying, ‘This is possibly the most unconventional set up for getting ready you’ll have been to. I’m here alone apart from Lyla (Claire and Neil’s young daughter) sterilizing baby bottles. Mum and dad are at the farm decorating the venue and I’ve not been in the shower yet.’ Claire was doing her own hair and make-up. She didn’t want to look like someone else of her wedding day. I love when brides take this attitude, not that I have any objection to professional hair and make-up artists, I just think it’s so lovely when someone knows what they want and goes for it either way. I asked where the flowers were, expecting a florist to turn up with them any moment. ‘They’re in the garden,’ Claire replied. It was the second thing that day I hadn’t expected. And the unexpected kept coming. Not knowing makes you more creative. You think on your feet, you have no preconceived ideas. Sure weddings no matter how alternative they sometimes get follow a formula, there are parts you know will happen but when you don’t know much you see so much more. I knew the story of Claire’s wedding dress. That the band was a bunch of lads from the school Claire and Neil taught at. I knew if the weather was good the ceremony would be outside, conducted by an Italian Sea captain. I didn’t know a florist wouldn’t be delivering flowers to the house that day instead I photographed the place where the flowers grew, Claire’s mum and dads garden. I didn’t know that there would be beautiful handmade wooden signs Claire’s dad had made around the wedding. Nor that the bunting would be made of old sacks. That all hands on deck and not a wedding planner’s team would decorate the tipi. The guests would drink champagne from china cups and jam jars; there would be no cake to cut just a table of help yourself to as much cake as you like from what looked like the competition cake stand at a village fete. Food would be served from a pizza van, a paella tent and later a crepe van. Guests would picnic on the hard bumpy field, well trodden by the horses chilling out in the adjacent field for the day. There were old-fashioned games strewn around the place. Everyone wore unique button badges Claire had bought online and her closest girlfriends and both mums wore beautiful beaded bracelets Claire had made herself.
There was so much I didn’t know about this wedding, which made for the best kind of wedding photography, spontaneous, creative and natural. It was like being invited to a picnic in the park that turned out to be a festival. Knowing less is definitely more.
Claire and Neil thank you. Your tipi wedding was truly epic and you were amazing to work for and with. xx
‘We cannot thank you enough for all you did for us
from our first amazing meeting to the final production of such a stunning album.
You made our day so relaxed and captured that perfectly too.
Everyone commented on how wonderful you were.’
Claire & Neil