My first wedding of the 2020 season started at Iscoyd Park in Whitchurch, just on the border of North Wales and Shropshire about 15-minutes from where I'm based in Wrexham.
Iscoyd has been in the Godsal family since 1843, before Phil and Susie Godsal took over the running of the house in 2009 and began a much needed restoration project. They live in the stunning Georgian country house today with their three children and run it both as a wedding and events venue and a family home. Iscoyd is not stuffy or formal but relaxed and welcoming - a classical Georgian house with a modern attitude which suited Chris & Sophie perfectly!
Earlier in the year, I paid my first visit to the estate (...unbelievably my first visit here after nearly a decade shooting weddings!) with Sophie, Chris and their parents to look around the house. There are an abundance of gardens to explore, hidden paths and quirky additions including an old piano, headless mannequins and even a disco ball hanging in the trees!
On the day (29th February) - the last day of 'winter', we started with sun, hail, sleet and snow all in the first hour...tricky if you're a wedding photographer - however things settled down and despite some wind, we were able to have a great day with outdoor photographs and our much anticipated walk around the gardens with Sophie & Chris as planned. It was only later in the evening when the rain started but by then the party was in full swing and night pictures with rain thrown in are always pretty epic - especially if you're brave enough to go with some of my ideas!
Coming back to the bridal preparations though and the dressing room at Iscoyd was wonderful to work in. Sophie had natural light in abundance whilst Linda Minshull was able to spend time on the girls hair with Sarah Jones make-up. When Sophie's Dad entered the room, he was near tears as he saw Sophie for the first time - the photo is below and it's one of my favourites from the day.
Meanwhile, Chris got ready in the estate cottages with his best woman - who both looking exquisite in matching blue Marc Darcey suits from Groom in Chester. Iscoyd is ideal for both the bride and groom getting ready on the estate as the rooms all provide adequate privacy and access to the main hall without any risk of seeing each other!
The ceremony itself was beautiful. The main wedding ceremony room is painted in neutral colours, with large windows allowing plenty of natural light. Afterwards, guests enjoyed canopies in the library upstairs and then Sophie & Chris exited the house to a brilliant confetti shower! As with most weddings, we did some brief family photos - before Chris & Sophie had chance to escape for 15-minutes and explore the gardens, chat about their day so far and enjoy some fun photos on the swing and by the old piano. The gardens were in full bloom with spring daffodils and the golden light flooded through the trees on the estate for the most brilliant ambience to shoot in.
After dinner in the grand marquee at the rear of the house, we had a room full of laughter as Chris' best woman incorporated a game of "Mr & Mrs" into her speech which went down a treat - I think you can see how much Sophie is laughing at one point in the photos!!
Then, once darkness fell - Chris & Sophie asked for some more family photos in the beautiful library and I also used the interior of the hall for some backlit photos - before we braved the heavy rain which had fortunately left us alone for most of the day for that epic photo with the hall lit-up in the background.
Singer Mathew Roberts got the party going later in the evening after Chris & Sophie's first dance and by then, the dance floor was full, the inflatables were bouncing around and the evening guests were having a ball!
I'll leave the typing there and leave you with the story of how this beautiful day unfolded...