Langley Priory is probably the best-kept secret wedding venue in the East Midlands! Set in a secluded hollow on the Leicestershire/Derbyshire border and fronted by a magnificent lake and grounds, Langley Priory is simply spectacular. Matthew and Lucy chose their wedding venue well, rich in history and photographic opportunities, it is one of my favourite venues in the UK.

On a beautiful May day for their wedding, I arrived at Langley Priory two hours before the ceremony to join Lucy and her bridesmaid and sister, Stephanie, as they prepared for the day ahead. Informal and detail photographs of Lucy’s dress, flowers and jewellery etc as the hair and makeup artistes were completing their work. Lucy was helped into her bridal dress by her Mum, Elaine, and Steph. It was immediately clear that they are a very close and loving family, calm reigned supreme and Lucy was enjoying every moment of her wedding day from the start.

Formal photographs began when everyone was dressed and ready and after these were completed I met Matthew downstairs, along with Best Man Steve and usher, James. Matt is a confirmed petrol-head and had driven himself to Langley Priory in his Aston Martin, so naturally he wanted photographs with his gorgeous car!

Working with young and confident professional people is one of the highlights for me in my role as a wedding photographer. Matt is a very confident young man, but it was both very touching and amusing to witness his expression when Lucy was escorted into the marriage room by her dad, Colin. It could have been mistaken for an expression of panic, but it was most definitely one of a young man holding back tears of joy when he saw his beautiful bride walk into the room! Fortunately, Matt held things together and his grin of pride remained throughout!

Following their civil ceremony at Langley Priory, The new Mr & Mrs Smart held their drinks and canapes reception on the patio. The setting is wonderfully exclusive, secluded and private, every wedding I have photographed at Langley priory has been a reminder of the privilege I enjoy. I always make a lot of documentary wedding photographs immediately after the ceremony because emotions are open and the couple’s and guest’s expressions are perfect at this time. When it comes to the formal family photographs, everyone is relaxed and smiling, as can be seen here with Matt and Lucy’s families.

Here’s a tip for anyone reading this who might be considering booking a wedding photographer: The formal family groups are a key indicator of the photographer’s ability and confidence. Look at the care that has gone into selecting an appropriate location for the photographs, look carefully at how the groups have been arranged, they should be tidy and symmetrical. The lighting should be even and above all happy expressions will indicate good communication between the group and the photographer and ensure that everyone’s attention is focused on the camera.

It sounds so logical, doesn’t it! The formal family group photographs are your family archive and they should reflect the personalities of your close relatives for generations to come. Hiring a good wedding photographer will ensure it is done well!

I have a good working relationship with Tim & Teri-Lee Wagstaff, the owners of Langley Priory. They know how I love and respect their home and one of the privileges I enjoy is exclusive access to the Old Wing, the oldest part of this magnificent house. The Old Wing is largely untouched, dates back to mediaeval times and is incredibly atmospheric. A careful look through my wedding photography will reveal that I do not use flash, my preference is to use available light for the qualities of softness and modelling it brings to images. The Old Wing is perfect for this, it’s ancient windows produce the right quality of soft and gentle light that I love to work with. Lucy enjoyed being the subject of her wedding photography and we spent some time in the Old Wing creating wedding art with that wonderful window light and ambience.

The final photograph is my customary group photograph of the couple with all of their guests. I think this makes a perfect finale to my option of up to six hours of coverage.

Matt and Lucy’s wedding at Langley Priory was quite simply a perfect day!

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