Toni + John | Bruisyard Hall wedding
It was nearly two years since Toni and John had booked me to photograph their wedding at beautiful Bruisyard Hall in Suffolk, so it’s fair to say I’d been waiting expectantly on this one for a while. When I’d viewed their date in my calendar, mid-late October, I’d always had visions of a chilly Autumn day in the Suffolk countryside, so imagine my surprise when their wedding day turned out to be one of the warmest, sunniest days of the whole year!
I was super excited to get cracking on their wedding day, as they’d told me in advance they were planning on having a ‘first look’. If you’re not familiar with the first look concept, it’s something frequently done in places like the US, where the bride and groom actually see each other for the first time on their wedding day away from everyone else, before the ceremony commences. I’ve been wanting to do a first look at a wedding for ages, so I was mega pumped to know I’d get the chance here, especially when they said it’d be on Bruisyard’s bridge with the grand country house in the background.
Toni and her girls were doing their prep upstairs in the house, and John and the gents were carefully cordoned off into the lower levels of the house whilst they also got ready. All morning the girls were really chilled and everyone seemed to be having a relaxed time, especially since they’d given themselves plenty of time to get ready. Once Toni was in her dress and her bridal party was set to go, the girls headed down towards the ceremony in Bruisyard’s barn. As all the guests were patiently waiting inside the barn, they probably didn’t know John was waiting on the bridge for his bride, with his back turned, nervously anticipating Toni as she headed towards him. We’d joked during their pre-wedding shoot a few weeks before, that Toni was really hoping John might cry when he saw her – something guys rarely want to own up to – and she gave us a celebratory fist pump when John turned around and was overcome with emotion once she’d reached him! The reactions were brilliant and their first look was everything we hoped for, I’m sure it was something they’ll never forget.
Their day was one of those where everyone just wanted to concentrate on having a laugh and a good time, which is just my sort of wedding. During the ceremony, Toni had mistakenly put John’s wedding ring on the wrong hand, which seemed to break the nerves a little when everyone broke out in laughter, and during their confetti poor John pretty much got pelted with the stuff (see below)!
But the best was yet to come during the speeches, started off with Toni’s maid of honour Sarah, who gave quite possibly the best speech I’ve heard all year. Sarah, who was expecting a baby and obviously not aided by drinking alcohol, bravely sang a speech to Toni which covered their many years together as friends – managing to reference Toni’s previous love life and generally being fairly savage to the bride, all to the tune of Rod Stewart’s Maggie May. Honestly it was incredible; everyone was up on their feet clapping along, Sarah’s adapted lyrics genuinely hilarious. Once Toni was suitably embarrassed, it was John’s turn to receive the musical speech treatment from his Best Man, where Sam too adapted a song to let John know that even though he was a scouser, he was Sam’s scouser, and they shared some non-romantic man love. Good times.
After the speeches the party kicked into top gear, with a live band and shots ahoy, and I really didn’t want to leave as we’d had such a wicked day. The new Mr and Mrs celebrated their marriage by heading off on an enviable honeymoon to Australia and beyond, and once they’d returned these photos were waiting for them. Scroll below to see this absolute beaut of a wedding in the glorious Suffolk sunshine: