Ellie & Rick: A Family-filled DIY Peak District Wedding (with bonus Didsbury Wedding Party!)

Okay so I've been hanging onto this wedding for months for a couple of reasons: the first being that it was accepted to be featured on the amazing Love My Dress wedding blog and I wanted it to bask in it's own glory there for a bit (you can check out their feature HERE!) and the second because it was a quintessential summer wedding with that perfect not-too-hot but sunny weather and a bit of wedding magic that you can only dream of.  Of course you'll recognize the photos: they are literally splashed all over this website and my social media.  Every detail of this wedding was so carefully chosen and so perfectly complementary.  Also it makes it even easier that Ellie & Rick were just two of the loveliest humans I've been lucky enough to meet in this wonderful job.  As it was a fairytale, let's start as the best ones do, at the beginning. 

Once upon a time...

okay maybe we won't go that literal.

But in all seriousness, this wedding came to me from the likeliest of sources: the husband and wife duo responsible for giving me the kick up the butt I needed over the last year and taking Kate McCarthy Photography to the next level - Mr. & Mrs. Jonny & Emma Draper.  When I began my mentorship with Jonny last year and began re-vamping what was then known as Squid & Pearl Photography, Emma took time out of her insanely busy schedule running Love Bridal Boutique to get her nails done at Elegant Touch in Didsbury.  Seemingly an unremarkable event but Emma's beautician was none other than bride-to-be Ellie.  As the two were chatting about Ellie's upcoming August wedding, she mentioned that they'd decided against having a photographer for the two day event.  But as they talked more and Ellie described the extraordinary Jenny Packham 1930s-style gown, the intimate ceremony planned to be perfomed by Rick's dad in front of only immediate family, the floral arrangements by award winning florist Sian of The Flower Lounge and the epic house party planned several days later at the Parsonage in Didsbury, Emma knew that this was going to be an unbelievable event and a photographer's dream.  At this point I was only a few weeks into my mentorship with Jonny.  Until I went full-time as a wedding photographer, I had been working part time around my job and last year was still building up my clientele.  This was the opportunity to shoot an incredible wedding that wouldn't have been photographed otherwise and even better it was to be over a couple of days. 

When Jonny came to me with Ellie's details and the background on the wedding, I didn't even need to think about it, I was sold.  We began emailing, had our Skype chat and got on like a house on fire.  Once the boring bits of paperwork were out of the way and Ellie & Rick confirmed that they'd like to go ahead with booking me, we immediately scheduled their pre-wedding engagement shoot for a few weeks time at the start of June.  We spent a gorgeous afternoon wandering the grounds of the Parsonage, veering off to Fletcher Moss gardens with their bouncy lab Lola and chatting all things wedding. 

The day of their wedding, August 31st 2016, I was picked up by my second shooter Amy and we headed off for Castle Cliffe, a private residence just outside Bakewell in the Peak District.  With stunning views and clear blue skies, we knew we were in for an epic afternoon.  When we arrived, the whole place was buzzing, Sian had filled the space with the most stunning lavender and blue bouquets and table dressing; Rick's neices were running around in their party finery whilst Ellie, her mum Debbie and sister Katie calmly sipped champagne and were dolled up by the lovely Samantha Green.  What followed was a day filled with laughter and happy tears and dancing and beautiful food and SO. MUCH. LOVE.  Seriously this day was just one perfect haven of love.  When Amy and I had finished documenting our part of the day, we left as the family was settling in with cakes and fizz in the most magical golden light...

Three days later I arrived solo to The Parsonage and was greeted by an ever-relaxed Ellie dressed back up in that unreal dress setting out food and glasses and hanging bunting, arranging Sian's flowers..Rick was checking the sound and lights in one room, making sure the beer was chilled in another.  They had hired an ice cream cart, the ceremony had already happened and they were heading off on their epic North American honeymoon the next morning so there was just ease and excitement and anticipation for the night of dancing and drinking ahead.  We even managed to sneak off for a 10 minute shoot in the Parsonage Gardens which, despite them being in the same outfits, ended up a bit dreamier, a bit sexier than our shoot just three days earlier. 

I cannot tell you how much this wedding has meant to me, how encouraged and embraced I felt by Ellie & Rick's wonderful family, how it reminded me over and over again how lucky I am to do this job.  Because it doesn't feel like work...it feels like such an honour.  And I still get nervous and I still have so much to learn but what a joy it is documenting love, capturing all those moments you miss because you're so wrapped up in the chaos and excitement of the day.  Love is imperfect and sometimes messy but it is also honest and patient and builds families and is the force for good in this world.  Thank you again guys for having me along, here is the story of your day.

Photography by Kate McCarthy Photography with additional second shooting and assistance by Amy Louise Photography

Venues Castle Cliffe and The Parsonage

Florals by The Flower Lounge

Dress by Jenny Packham 'Harlow' from The White Closet Didsbury

Hair & Makeup by Samantha Green

Accessories by Donna Crain & shoes by Emmy London

Suits by Kenneth Cole with waistcoats by Next

Cakes by Cocoa Cabana and Lord of the Pies