A couple of weeks ago I was in West Sussex to photograph Claire and Tom’s Knepp Castle tipi wedding.
Not having been there before, I stopped by at the Knepp Castle estate on my way to Claire’s and found these wonderful tipis being dressed for the day. I call them tipis but actually they called ‘Giant Hats’ and are provided by Beautiful World Tents. They looked amazing and were a nice change from the white marquees that are normally used at weddings.
The location was really lovely with the tipis nestled between the wooded area and Springwood Pond with great open views all around.
The atmosphere at Claire’s house was nice and relaxed. Claire was taking it all in her stride and I loved the way she had time to prepare a lunch for their little daughter Imogen in amongst the bouquets of flowers sat on her kitchen worktop. As we chatted and she gathered the lunch together, I carried on shooting. It’s all part of documenting the wedding day. It may seem mundane, but when they look back in years to come, it will all have meaning to them. I think little moments like this are worth recording and that’s why I’m a documentary wedding photographer.
The formal part of the day turned out to be a very informal Humanist ceremony conducted by Ginny Collins. It kept with the outdoor theme, surrounded by nature with everyone gathered around on the grass by the waterside and it made for some lovely pictures.
I wanted to make sure I got lots of shots of Claire, Tom and Imogen together on the day as I felt this was important. It reminded me of my wedding day and the fact that we had Olivia, our first daughter there too (at the same age – about 18 months). Sadly, I wasn’t doing wedding photography back then and got a photographer mate to shoot some pics at my wedding, but there’s not much there. Let that be a lesson to you if you’re thinking of getting either Uncle Bob or some other perfectly good photographer to do the job. Like every branch of photography, shooting weddings is a speciality and something I would have done differently had I known back then.
As the day went on, the wind got up a bit. A familiar sight during the wedding was people standing around the giant heaters generally warming themselves up. When the meal started, those on the open side of the tipis got the full brunt of the wind. Those inside were more sheltered and each time I looked, the ‘outsiders’ were applying more and more layers and there seemed to be a rush for the heaters in between the courses.
The speeches were very amusing and Claire’s brother made reference to something else that adults do outside in nature with everyone watching. You just don’t expect this activity to be mentioned in a wedding speech! Quite often, I heard most things in wedding speeches before. I do listen in and like it when I hear something new and amusing. If I’ve got the camera in front of my face and it starts bobbling up and down because I’m chuckling so much, that’s all good.
As the day came to a close, I knew I wanted to get a nice shot of the tipis glowing in that hour just after the sun’s gone down. I’ve stopped trying to shoot this hand held, bracing myself against a tree at about a half a second, wide open at ISO3200. No, that’s what tripods were invented for and mine now comes out at the end of the night for a venue shot if it’s going to work.
Knepp Castle tipi wedding
If you’re planning a Knepp Castle tipi wedding and would like an unobtrusive documentary wedding photographer, please get in touch.
I’m a documentary wedding photographer based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent offering reportage coverage of your wedding and I travel anywhere in the UK and overseas.
If you’d like to see all the pictures from wedding, click on this link http://craigprentis.zenfolio.com/clairetom. You’ll need to get the password from Claire and Tom, not me!
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