A totally rockin' (smash your cake with an axe) country house wedding day at Gorcott Hall, Warwickshire

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Gorcott Hall is a wonderful 16th century timber-framed country house near Redditch, full of atmosphere and history. Sometimes venues like this can be a little intimidating, but that’s not the case here: it’s such a welcoming and friendly place.

As soon as Phil and I arrived there nice and early we met Beth’s mum, Bev, who was putting some finishing touches on the table decorations in the reception barn. Bev had been instrumental in the decision to book The Dignums to shoot Beth and Shel’s wedding, so we already knew her to be a lady of perspicacity and good taste!

Bev was very quick to show us the absolutely amazing wedding cake that had been beautifully made by Beth’s brother Jonathan. Jonathan is an absolute delight, and Phil and I thoroughly enjoyed his entertaining company throughout the day. More on his cake in a bit…

It was charming to discover what a close-knit affair this wedding was to be, with Beth, Shel, and loads of family and friends all bringing their considerable talents to make the day even more special. Flowers, hairdressing, table decorations, stationery, even the sound system for the evening were all provided by the couple and their guests. Beth is a talented seamstress and had made her own stunning wedding dress, and those for her bridesmaids. Not forgetting Jonathan’s cake - more about that in a bit…

Even the ceremony was led by a family friend, Jess. Phil and I have been present for A LOT of weddings, but Jess’s personalised ceremony blew us away with its originality and warmth. There were two lovely readings, then Beth and Shel read their own vows to each other, which included promises about who has control of the thermostat at home! Jess presided over the exchange of rings and gave a short, emotionally charged, but also really entertaining talk about the importance of family, and the special cementing of Beth and Shel’s relationship that was taking place. She then declared our very happy couple to be husband and wife!

We all exited the beautiful Tudor room to let the celebrations start in the gardens outside. Even the formal group shots were a really good laugh, with bridesmaids picking Beth up for one of them! There was bubble confetti, and a big group shot of everyone taken by me hanging out of a little window upstairs! Prosecco and canapés were served by Gorcott Hall’s lovely staff, who also made Phil and me feel really welcome - thank you, if you’re reading this. The Dignums never demand to be fed at weddings: we’re always happy to bring our own little picnic, but Beth and Shel had very generously insisted. So I had a delicious stuffed chicken breast with summer vegetables, and Phil’s vegetarian option was a rich butternut squash and beetroot Wellington. It was all really, really good, and meant that all we had left to hope for later was maybe a little bit of Jonathan’s cake. I haven’t forgotten to tell you the cake story in a bit…

Everyone’s speeches were great, from Beth’s dad Robin (a natural), through Shel (who had been dreading his turn, but needn’t have worried: he smashed it), to Shel’s three cool groomsmen. The barn-style reception room was a great celebration space, with beams to attach our off-camera flashes for some celebrity-style starburst shots, and plenty of room to move around to get some unusual points of view!

Finally it was time for Beth and Shel to cut the amazing cake that had been made by Jonathan as a labour of love over three days. Jonathan is extremely talented, and his wooden log-themed cake was genuinely jaw-dropping in all its detail. For this reason, Beth’s dad Robin had provided an AXE for the cutting, rather than the usual silver knife! Yes, it looked really cool as Beth and Shel held it aloft, but an axe doesn’t offer the highest level of precision compared to more conventional cutlery. It was for this reason that Jonathan’s three-day labour of love got knocked off the table onto the dance floor! There were gasps, followed by laughs, followed by cheers. The cake was scooped back up, and everyone grabbed a fork!

After a quick wipe down, the dance floor was ready for its intended function, and it was certainly put to good use! Phil and I had a great time getting shots of all the fun, as well as joining in! I’ll never be on Strictly, but as I’ve said before: The Dignums shoot weddings from the inside rather than meekly hiding at the edges!
We both feel very lucky to have been a part of this friendly, fun, family wedding, and know we made some great friends that day. Thank you, Beth and Shel - YOU ROCK!!🤘
Here’s a selection of some of your pictures!

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CREDITS
Venue: Gorcott Hall - http://www.gorcotthall.com
Seamstress: Beth
Hair Stylist: Kelly Fideo-Benson
Flowers: Bev (Beth's mother)
Cake: Jonathon (Beth's brother)

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