Winter Wedding Photography – Christmas at the Wellington Arms

T’was the night before Christmas…Eve!

Winter wedding photography can be some of the most beautiful! 2020 certainly provided more than its fair share of surprises. But this late December wedding was certainly one of the best!

Picture the scene – it’s 6pm on 23rd December and my phone rings. “Chloë! Boris has just announced that we’re going into tier 4 on Boxing Day. We’re bringing the wedding forward – please say you’re free tomorrow?!”

Under COVID-19 wedding restrictions, tier 4 would mean that Harry and Mia’s special day couldn’t go ahead. In that moment, the only thought in my mind was ‘we need to make this wedding happen!’. Harry would shortly be deploying on military duties. So if not tomorrow, who knows when they’d be able to have their day.

“Yes! I’ll be there! Go and sort everything else and I’ll call you later to discuss the finer details.” With that, I ran into my office to prepare my kit, giddy with the excitement of knowing I’d be shooting their Christmas Eve wedding the next day.

Basingstoke wedding photography – Christmas day at the Wellington Arms

We awoke to winter wedding photography perfection. Blue skies, a chill in the air and glorious sunshine sitting low in the sky. I started the day with a flying visit to Old Basing where the groom was getting ready alongside his family. The stress of the day before had melted away, and there was a lovely, relaxed atmosphere. Albeit one with a hint of ‘is this really happening?!’

I was greeted by a wave of laughter when I arrived at Mia’s family home in Bramley. There was no mention of the C-word here, only excitement and anticipation for the day ahead. Family and friends who couldn’t be there video-called throughout the morning, each spending a few precious moments with the bride.

Mia’s bridal details were exquisite. An embroidered garter, embossed clutch bags and, of course, her sparkly Jimmy Choos – bridal heels to die for! The most meaningful detail, however, was the small memento delicately threaded into her bridal bouquet – a photo with her late father. It really was the most thoughtful of symbols.

As Mia departed in a classic Bentley (a surprise from her groom, no less!), family, friends and neighbours lined the street to wave her off, flutes of bubbly in hand and tears of happiness in their eyes. This was perhaps the most poignant moment I’ve witnessed during my time as a Basingstoke wedding photographer. In a year which brought sadness to many, it was proof that love really does conquer all.

Winter Wedding in Hampshire

A festive winter wedding ceremony in Basingstoke

Arriving at the Wellington Arms, Stratfield Turgis, Mia was the epitome of a relaxed bride. You’d never have known that just 12 hours before she’d been reorganising every element of her wedding! Vows were exchanged in an intimate ceremony beneath a canopy of fairy lights and in front of the glistening tree. It was the most festive of fairy tales.

Cheers and laughter soundtracked the couple’s confetti exit, shortly followed by the clink-clink-clink of champagne glasses. Despite the odds, they’d done it. They were husband and wife.

The late afternoon gifted us the most magnificent winter golden hour. The warm light cast a beautiful, fiery glow on everything it touched, including Harry and Mia as we captured their stunning couple’s portraits. Before we re-joined the wedding party, the couple let me into a little secret – Harry was planning to change into his military uniform. A surprise met with delight from their guests when they entered their reception, hand in hand.

The reception was one of mixed emotions – outbursts of uncontrollable laughter alongside emotional tributes to absent loved ones. The speeches truly were the most heartfelt I’ve ever heard; there certainly wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Sparklers under the stars

The evening wrapped up with a sparkler exit under chilly clear skies – a befitting finale. It really had been the perfect winter’s day. What’s even sweeter is that their original date a few days later brought grey skies and drizzle. If you ask me, Christmas Eve was always meant to be Harry and Mia’s forever date. I feel so honoured to have been a part of it.

I wish Harry and Mia (and their newest family member, cocker spaniel Nelly) all the love and happiness in the world. We’ll see each other in the muddy fields around Basingstoke very soon, I’m sure!

Love Chloë

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