A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

Waiting with a cup of tea at Starbucks in Hooley, I was excited and slightly anxious about my consultation meeting with Lee. I knew we were there to discuss a winter wonderland wedding in Dorking, the problem was that I had never before met with someone to discuss wedding photography where we were less than 3 weeks away from the big day!

Even more significant was that as huge as planning a wedding is, it was actually one of the smaller items on Lee & Christopher’s to-do list. In the process of moving house and applying for 11 school places, as well as the little matter of Christmas, I just wasn’t sure what to expect when we’d arranged to get together.

I’d say that within about 5 seconds of catching Lee’s eye as she walked in, I knew she was an exceptionally special lady and after sitting her down with a cup of highly caffeinated coffee, we started chatting and didn’t come up for air until an hour and a half later!

Lee & Chris have a remarkably touching story. Both were sadly widowed around 4 years ago and had met through a church support group for widows. From there friendship and love blossomed. After just a year of dating, Christopher popped the question (this was only in September 2014) and so the start of a chaotic couple of months began. With both sides of this family coming together in a new house, in a new town and with both of them having four children, they were all facing a huge adjustment and period of change.

As I sat and listened to Lee, I was blown away by her positivity, her determination and her obvious love for her family. Instantly I wanted to photograph their special day and I was over the moon when she called me later that evening to confirm.

With the date set for 30th December, time was of the essence and as a result we didn’t have the opportunity to do our usual pre-wedding shoot. I didn’t actually meet Christopher until the evening before the big day, when we stopped in on their rehearsal at St Paul’s Church, Dorking.

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

On the 30th December we woke to a crisp, clear and cold winters day. Knowing we were unlikely to get to the reception venue until after sunset, we decided to shoot up there first thing in the morning to capture some images of Denbies Wine Estate, where the celebrations were being held.

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

A Winter Wonderland Wedding in Dorking, Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

We got to the house around 10am to find all the girls in a crazy haze of hairspray with curlers and straightening irons being passed around the room. With the help of Lee’s lovely hairdresser, the girls were all mucking in, doing each others hair and make-up whilst the boys were just chilling and hanging out, playing on their iPads before heading out with Nick to go and get ready themselves.

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

I stayed with the girls and got plenty of reportage pictures of them hanging out and getting ready. Nick took the boys for a bite of breakfast and up to Boxhill for some slightly ‘different’ getting ready shots, namely jumping off walls and rolling down hills!

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

The day itself was just fantastic from beginning to end. Charged with emotion, more than few tears were shed (including my own!) and the church service was incredibly meaningful, Christopher and Lee read promises to the children in addition to their traditional vows to each other which we thought that was so touching.

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

It was a really cold day so we didn’t hang around too long after the ceremony with everyone making tracks to Denbies for the reception and a glass of warm mulled wine. All of the children made speeches and guests were treated to a feast of a meal, a candy table and a fantastic DJ for them to party the night away to. Lee’s friends had pulled together to help with lots of small details, from toasted marshmallows to a basket of flip-flops for weary feet, and blankets for those wishing to sit outside, it was all so well thought out and added to the incredibly personal feel of the day.

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

We took Lee & Chris for some photos outside once they had eaten and had had a chance to say hello to their guests, and the kids piled in for some family shots too. We then took them into the basement of the winery for a couple of romantic shots, without the kids, which gave them a few minutes to stop and take in the day too, very important!

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

As we made our way around the reception capturing lots of pictures of their family and friends, we were just about to leave when the newlyweds broke into a brilliant jive! Out came the cameras, and we have since pulled them up on this, we would have been gutted if we had missed it! Ha!

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

Wedding Photography Surrey

We went to visit them a couple of weeks ago to show them their highlights video and all the pictures. It was quite possibly the best reaction we have ever had, with us going through each image at least twice, and Lee plunging us into darkness so we could see the TV screen better and her even taking photos of the TV with her phone so she could share some first glimpses with her friends right away! More tears were shed, laughs were had and from a photographer’s perspective, it was wonderful validation of our work and emotional investment in the day, which enabled us to capture such special moments.

Christopher & Lee, we’d just like to say a HUGE thank you for having us there, letting us in and allowing us to share your day. You are a very special family, and a gorgeous, lovely one at that and we wish you many, MANY years of love, laughter and happiness.

(slideshow below, please ensure you are watching in HD and have the sound turned up!)