Hampshire Wedding photography at Old Arlesford House by Ayesha Rahman Photography
I’m so behind with blogging but I’m finally starting to catch up. Here’s a little gem of a wedding from last year. I had the absolute pleasure of heading down to Hampshire to capture the stunning wedding of Sophie and Mike. It was great to be involved in such a special day. I first came across Sophie and Mike when they entered my competition to win their wedding photography and I just had to choose them because of how cute they are together and I was blown away by their awesome venue, Old Arlesford House. Sophie and Mike were so lucky to be the first couple to get officially married at this stunning house which unfortunately is no longer a wedding venue. Such a shame given the house is so beautiful, the owner at the time Mike is an absolute star and so generous sharing his very own english sparkling wine from the vineyard in his back garden with us over dinner. I even had the pleasure of having a tour of his awesome wine cellar. I’m telling this is what my dreams are made of! Sad times.
I also had the pleasure of working with the uber talented and lovely Jay from Jay Archer Floral Design who created the most prettiest of floral arrangements, Ross Chapman who created a stunning video and was so much fun to work with and Vanilla Catering who put on the most delicious spread.
Enjoy the pics and scroll down to read a bit more about the bride and groom themselves. x
What Sophie and Mike had to say….
We officially met in a field where a mutual friend was having a party, just a few miles down the road from where we got married. It was a cold March night, there was a bonfire and lots of stars. Mike had just turned 16 and I was 15…
Unofficially, we had met a couple of times before this at our local community centre where we both enjoyed going to gigs (I only remember being introduced to Mike once before but he assures me differently)… I was recounting an evening to Mike where I was crushed in the mosh pit and a boy rescued me and pulled me out from underneath all these people. Mike turned around and said “yeah, that was me. I saw you and knew I had to help you”. I still can’t quite believe it was him.
We were in Yosemite National Park (one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring places I’ve ever been) and it was about 7.30 in the morning. We were walking up a track to a viewpoint, somewhere so secluded with no-one but us for miles. We love messing about and just having a laugh with the camera and in particular we love a good jumping shot. Mike set up the camera and we attempted several times. After getting a pretty good shot Mike made the suggestion that we had to take another one. He didn’t think it was good enough. It was perfectly good enough but I (never one to turn down a jumping picture) agreed wholeheartedly and merrily bounded back into position to jump again. And that was when he proposed. You would have thought after 10 years I would have seen it coming a mile off, but he still knows how to surprise me.
About the big day…
Without sounding too much like Goldilocks… We wanted a fairly formal day with a relaxed atmosphere: Not so formal that it felt stuffy and people weren’t being able to relax and have fun; not so informal that it didn’t feel like a once in a lifetime occasion.
The ceremony was at 3pm. We chose this time as weddings can be really long days with awkward meal times. We wanted it to be as easy and uncomplicated for our guests as possible. It also meant that we could get away with just having snacks and cake in the evening and that we had plenty of time to get ready in the morning… a much more relaxed and enjoyable timescale!
We also had a open bar. Not only because it was easier for us, because of the venue and acquiring a bar license, but again it was a way to make the formal occasion feel more relaxed and homely, as people could help themselves to whatever they wanted. We had loads and loads of all our favourite drinks. As Mike and I don’t drink alcohol we probably had the biggest variety of soft drinks anyone’s ever had at a wedding!
The boys wore tails to keep that formality we wanted. Mike wears a smart suit to work everyday so it was nice for him to wear something different that he probably won’t really wear again.
I wore a family heirloom veil, first worn in 1846 by my Great Great Great Grandmother and passed down and worn by many generations in between. The last person to have worn it before me was my Granny, who was married to my Grandad on the same day (31 May). I also wore a bracelet that Mike’s mum leant me that was Mike’s Grandma’s. It was so amazingly lovely to have these things that meant a lot to each family.
We had beautiful English Garden natural looking flowers. I didn’t want anything too “put together” and they smelt heavenly!
I suppose the colour scheme was dusky pink with gold sparkles: fairly girly but soft and classic.
We had garden games for people to play during the reception including a wooden skittle alley.
We were worried about doing a receiving line as this is usually the part that takes a lot of time, with guests queuing and really hungry for food. I’m so glad that we had one in the end: It was a great way to make sure we thanked everyone in person for coming and we made it through in record time – Our caterers said they’d never seen such a fast receiving line!
Favourite parts of the day…
I really loved the ceremony. Before the day I just thought of it as a formality and that afterwards was when the fun would start, but it was so much more than that. Mike and I aren’t very gushy in front of other people but it felt very natural to have all those people who mean so much to us all together in one room sharing those meaningful moments with us. The ambience of the room and the smell of the flowers all added to it.
Ayesha Rahman Photography (obviously – see testimonial below)
Jay is lovely and works very closely with you to get the look you are after perfectly. She works with what’s in season and tries to source as much as she can locally. I think the flowers made the day feel extra magical and the smell was absolutely incredible! Jay brought lots of lovely touches to all the flowers with different vases and bottles and gorgeous ribbon.
Sally and the team at Vanilla were fantastic they really were the overseers of the event and made sure everything was running to time and smoothly. Their staff are lovely and charming and made the event feel even more relaxed and under control at all times.
Ross was great fun and produces a really fab video! We only wanted something fairly snappy that captured the essence of the day and really took you back and he delivered that spot on. We watch the video on a regular basis as its under 5min long. It really captures the day and has me in tears every time! We also got copies of all the speeches which is lovely.
Old Alresford House – Venue
What a beautiful setting! Both hosts and venue were so welcoming making us feel at home all weekend. Mike, the owner, worked very hard to get the ceremony licence in time, we were the first official ceremony held there and it felt very special.
Mike the owner moved house last summer and as far as I’m aware the new owners are currently not hosting weddings.
The make-up was wonderful, Sam did a great job: she knew instantly that I didn’t want anything too over the top, just subtle and natural. She really understands how make-up enhances your features and will work looks that she knows will personally suit you and work with you to create the look you want.
Jon was great, running the music all day from ceremony, reception, dinner and dancing. We met with him a couple of times and talked through the sorts of music we like and what we wanted from each section of the day. We left dinner and disco completely up him as he knows what goes down well and he did a fantastic job.
Advice from the happy couple…
Enjoy it. Take moments throughout the day to stop and really take everything in, it will go so fast!
Do all your planning before the day: We planned meticulously before the day how it would run, with contingency built in. That meant on the day we could just enjoy it. We didn’t have to worry if X or Y was happening in the background.. Everything ran like clockwork even though I didn’t check the time once after meeting the registrar before the ceremony.
We thought a lot about how the day would flow and what the guests would be doing. Mike hates waiting around so we were always planning for the guests to make sure that they were always entertained with the least amount of hanging around as possible.
Our favourite photograph taken by Ayesha…
This was soooo hard! there are so many amazing ones!
We’ll have to go with the jumping shot (so much fun)
What was your first dance?
Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac
Sophie and Mike sum me up in 3 words…!
Fun/enthusiastic (this definitely counts as one! :D)
Finally, here’s a lovely testimonial from Sophie and Mike. Thank you so much!!
We were lucky enough to win Ayesha’s competition to have her as the photographer at our wedding. After having admired her work on the blog, we couldn’t believe it!
We first met about a year before the wedding and we went up to Manchester to talk through our day and get to know each other. Mike and I were pretty nervous as we’re both fairly shy, but as soon as we met Ayesha she instantly put us at ease: She’s so lovely and friendly.
We kept in contact throughout the year, touching base every now and again to keep each other updated about various things, which was reassuring to know that she hadn’t forgotten us in all that time. She is really flexible in making sure you get what you want and finding out what shots are a priority to you.
About a month before the wedding we went north of Liverpool to have our pre-wedding shoot. We were both slightly sceptical, but we were both so pleased we did it in the end. We had so much fun messing about with Ayesha on the beach and it was great to get to know how she worked. She is brilliantly enthusiastic always aiming to get the best shot: getting stuck in the mud as the tide flows in and climbing dunes.
She is not intrusive at all with her camera, but still manages to get all the great shots. She was actually mistaken for a guest as she blends in so well. Ayesha is one of those people you feel like you’ve known for ages and it was really reassuring seeing her throughout the day. She’s so calm and bubbly always making you feel great. We were worried about coming across as awkward in the photos but they all look so natural and she really captured the un-staged look we were after beautifully.
The images are so stunning, they really captured the feeling of the day. Everytime I look at them I’m instantly transported back. They have that beautiful whimsical quality full of laughter and love.
They came beautifully packaged in an amazing printed box with some prints and a personalised USB. We were really impressed and I would recommend her wholeheartedly.