An summer outdoor wedding ceremony, with surprise mealtime antics at the Mill Barns, Shropshire

"Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for being such awesome photographers, amazing editors, and just all round fab people! We are so so happy with the photos, and everything you did for and with us on the big day. We have just watched through our highlights video and giggled through the photos of so much that we missed that you guys captured – a fab way to spend our one month anniversary (that s a thing right?) You are amazing! Love James & Paul."

Earlier this summer we met with the very tall James and Paul for their wedding pre-shoot in the Lickey Hills’ woodlands, where before we knew what was happening, they’d both shot up a tree! Phil and I instantly saw that we would have a really fun, informal wedding day to look forward to at the Mill Barns in Alveley, near Bridgnorth.

There are rooms at the purpose-built Mill Barns for both getting ready and accommodation, so it was here that all the guys got dressed together. They’d gone for clean-cut, comfortable suits, with open collared shirts - a great idea for keeping as cool as possible on a warm summer day.

Some simple, but stylish and fun extra touches had been laid on: a “medicine bar” sweet table (I had my eye on a sugar mouse!), and elegant floral arrangements by Richards Floral Design of Wolverhampton. These included ecologically friendly table centrepieces of potted mini olive trees that will be re-used again and again. The whole venue had been adorned with some astounding paper flowers folded from Ordnance Survey map print. These had been hand-made by friends of James and Paul, and must have taken ages, because there were hundreds of them, and they were everywhere! The map theme was evident in quite a few places, from the table plan, to the confetti cones, and place settings; even a quiz to keep guests entertained during the wedding breakfast.

The ceremony itself took place outdoors on the terrace cantilevered over the lake that used to feed the old mill that has passed the venue its name. The still water and mature trees of the Barns’ gardens make a wonderful backdrop to say your vows and exchange rings, with all those summer colours to drink in. There was lots of opportunity for me to discreetly move around to get different points of view during the ceremonial proceedings: from the edges, and the balcony above, even the other side of the lake. It’s one of the many reasons why if you’re getting married at the Mill Barns it makes so much sense to have two photographers during your big day!

The fab Shropshire registrar Yvonne declared James and Paul to be husband and husband, with a massive cheer and round of applause, and lots of hugs from everyone. Strawberry prosecco and tasty canapés were served, before we headed back out into the sunshine of the terrace for a massive group shot and confetti-chuck, where once again Phil and I got two different but both awesome points of view!

The Mill Barns have a huge amount of outdoor space to enjoy during a summer wedding day, and James and Paul’s guests spread out to relax, chat, and enjoy themselves. Phil spirited our happy couple away into the gardens for some quick portrait shots before everyone gathered back indoors for the wedding breakfast. I’d glanced at the menus earlier in the day and noticed that for main course there was just a cryptic “WAIT AND SEE…!” It was worth the wait, for after the starters had been cleared away, one guest from each table was presented with their own unique apron, and a carving knife and fork! There was a Wonder Woman apron; a R2-D2, a Chewbacca, a Spiderman, and loads more! Each of these people then had the responsibility of carving a big roast joint for their respective tables. I was impressed with how well everyone did. This was followed by some hilarious speeches, with James making some very good reaction faces!

An amazing woodland-themed cake with a mini James and Paul was cut, with a fearsome Japanese sword, no less! (Paul is an accomplished martial artist) This was followed by one of my absolute favourite wedding things: a ceilidh! Lead by Rabscallion Ceilidh Band. I love the chaos and laughing that accompanies all that complex interweaving of dancing guests. Phil and I had a ceilidh at our own wedding, and have very happy memories of it. At James and Paul’s I couldn’t resist going right in and ducking under some of the arches myself, with camera on a wrist strap and hand-held radio flash! Outside the reception room there were video games provided by Gaming4Weddings for the kids both small and large, and also the cut-above-the-rest Made You Look photo booth!

The Dignum boys offer their congratulations to two amazing, lovely guys who totally rocked their wedding day! Here’s a peek at just a few of your pictures!

Currently planning your wedding at the Mill Barns, or anywhere really, and want fun and relaxed wedding photography? Get in touch!

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Venue: The Mill Barns -
Flowers: Richards Floral Design -
Entertainment: Gaming4Weddings -
Photo booth: Made You Look -
Band: Rabscallion Ceilidh Band

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