Old Down Manor wedding in the stunning Bristol countryside.
I joined Becky and Ollie as their Old Down Manor wedding photographer on a chilly but beautiful March day. From bridal prep at Becky’s parents house, to their wedding at St Peter’s Church in Portishead, then onward to Old Down Manor Estate. The day was full of laughter and love and I captured some award winning wedding photography. Thank you Becky and Ollie for inviting me to be part of your day!
The day began at Becky’s parent’s home in Portishead, I admired the beautiful high ceilings, sweeping wooden staircase and enormous windows as I set up and waited for Becky, her Mum and her bridesmaids to arrive back from having their hair done at the salon. As Becky arrived back to continue getting ready she was sporting some unusual headwear… the hairdresser had meticulously finished Becky’s hair and attached her veil on quite a blustery day, so had also added a quite striking giant white plastic bag over Becky’s head to keep everything in place, which did a brilliant job keeping out the wind and rain.
Becky and her Bridesmaids began getting ready, and once we’d been safely inside the house for a while, I suggested it might be time to remove the plastic bag headdress so we could see Becky’s stunning hair and veil, we weren’t disappointed! We did have a bit of a giggle about the ingenious plastic bag idea first though!
My Associate Photographer Claire was with Ollie getting ready at their home a short distance away.
The dresses were all hung from the huge arched windows, with a sign on the door to remind everyone to keep the doors shut to protect the dresses from the ever-watchful tabby cat who was very keen to be part of the action.
The Bridesmaids got ready first in pastel pink dress from TFNC London and Becky lovingly helped with the finishing touches, sharing a few laughs and smiles to calm the nerves. Then it was Becky’s turn to get ready, she climbed a ladder to retrieve her dress from its hanger and with the help of her bridesmaids all wearing white gloves, Becky was transformed into a bride. The dress perfectly suited to her petite frame, layers and layers (seriously this dress was impressive!) of fabric and perfect detailing lit up by the windows of Becky’s parent’s home. The pastel toned floral arrangements with lush green foliage from Bijou Florals tied the details together and looked spectacular.
Becky’s Mum gave her a hand decorated pebble for good luck and then along with the Bridesmaids, headed off in the vintage Sunbeam Limousine to St Peter’s Church in Portishead giving Becky some time with her Dad before the car returned to take them to the church.
Wedding Ceremony at St Peter’s Church in Portishead
Ollie was waiting at the church for Becky to arrive, along with their gathered family and friends, Ollie had the additional support of knowing that his uncle was conducting the ceremony and they waited together for Becky’s arrival.
The ceremony itself was touching and emotional, with Ollie’s uncle marrying them adding to how special this day was for the couple. Candles were lit and the choir and organist added to the atmosphere in the church which dates back to the 1300’s.
A confetti line up of friends and family outside the church greeted Becky and Ollie after the ceremony with pink petals gathering in the train of Becky’s dress. The Sunbeam limousine then whisked Mr and Mrs Marshall away to their wedding reception venue at Old Down Manor and Estate.
Old Down Manor Wedding Reception in Bristol
Old Down Manor is set in 66 acres of spectacular grounds in the rolling hills of the South West. With landscaped gardens and views across to the River Severn, we wanted to make the most of the changeable weather as we arrived so took five minutes to have a mini photoshoot with Becky and Ollie next to their wedding car in front of the stunning country house.
We went inside to warm up and mingle with the guests, taking in the elegant floral arrangements and table decorations. With everyone warm and happy we captured some group portraits indoors as it was getting quite chilly outside in the March breeze! The superbly renovated rooms of the Manor House provided the perfect backdrop for some slightly more formal and also relaxed and fun group photographs.
As the guests chatted and sipped their drinks we went outside for five minutes for a little photoshoot with Becky and Ollie, the breeze definitely adding to the atmosphere of the shots, and at one point Becky’s veil was swept up and blown away, swiftly pursued by Ollie and a bridesmaid! The landscaped gardens and impressive hedges at Old Down Manor feature in some really snuggly moments with the new husband and wife.
Back inside and the couple were announced in for their wedding breakfast, surrounded by their lovely family and friends. I’ve got quite good over the years at identifying the ‘naughty table’ at weddings (it’s where they have the most fun!) and this one was no exception with a tray of shots arriving fairly early on!
Just as the meal was finishing a beautiful sunset fell emerged through the clouds and over the grounds. With a view of the Severn estuary, and sunrays lighting up the bridge in the distance. We made a quick dash to the roof terrace to capture some shots with this stunning backdrop. On our way back we found a peacock wandering about, so of course he featured in some portraits too.
Heartfelt speeches followed dinner, with a particularly hilarious and brutally honest one from Ollie’s sister who described what it was like growing up with him and left us all in stitches!
The evening party kicked off and I could tell it was going to be a wild one, with a wedding casino, sweets and many more drinks, shoes were kicked off in exchange for dancefloor flip flops, with friends and family dancing the night away together and throwing some impressive shapes on the dance floor.
Everyone braved the cold March darkness outside and had some fun with sparklers which finished a perfect evening after a memorable day in the countryside and a huge party to celebrate Becky and Ollie’s Old Down Manor wedding day!
The Old Down Manor Wedding Dream Team
Photographer: Rich Howman (with help from Claire Duggan), Flowers: Bijoux Floral, Bridesmaids Dresses: TFNC London, Wedding Car: Trigolls Vintage Cars [Searching for suppliers? Check out my wedding vendor hot list here]