Unlike most of the weddings I photograph, Jess and Ben were actually already married by the time the day of their celebration came round. They had decided to shoot off, just the two of them a week before their celebrations to officially tie the knot Vegas style!
Ben and Jess had a whirlwind few days in Vegas, getting married in the Chapel of Love, trying out the casinos and going up in a helicopter, literally ticking things off their bucket list and getting the whole experience. At the point when most couples would then be relaxing on their honeymoon, this lovely pair were back in the UK writing speeches, arranging tables, collecting the cake and all the other more traditional wedding preparations…except this would be far from a traditional wedding celebration. Labelled as Wedstock, this mega party was half wedding half festival.
Jess had taken a qwerky Vegas inspired handmade bouquet with her to Vegas and also had a second beautiful fresh one made by Jill at Back to the Fuchsia flowers in Stony Stratford. Jess explained to me that she needed 2 bouquets because she needed one to throw and one to keep… although I have a feeling she kept both in the end 🙂
Driving through the beautiful green fields in Shutlanger on a sunny August afternoon, I reached the top of hill and was met with the view of a large teepee in the distance. As I drove closer to park up, the full beauty of the scenery and all the effort this couple had gone to became apparent. The perfectly still lake, hay bales dotted around the field, a bouncy castle, face painting, an outdoor bar and even flip-flops for guest’s tired feet made this wedding a spectacular experience.
The environment inside the teepee was warm and cosy, with each table made up with a collection of pretty jars with a selection of fabrics and furs on benches to sit on. There were Vegas themed cupcakes and jugs of flowers. This whole scene being lit from tea lights, fairy lights and the sun beaming in from vents at the top of the tepee.
Ben met Jess 5 years ago while she was working in a shop not far from Ben’s house. He knew it was love when he found himself popping in to buy a load of stuff he didn’t need on a regular basis, just so he could see her again. It took him a year to build up the courage to ask Jess out but it seems to have been worth the risk as here they are, a few years later, just a smitten with each other now as they were then.
Jess and Ben’s guests were treated to proper fish and chips from a van on site and later an icecream van arrived to cool everybody down before the speeches and first dance. This couple chose Bob’s Marley’s Stir it Up as their first dance because it was the first song they ever danced to. Ben wasn’t sure it this was an unusual choice for a first dance but liked it for its sentimental reasons. As someone who had Bob Marley songs feature in my own wedding day, I can say it felt like the perfect choice!
As I took Ben and Jess for some pictures together the Peartree Bridge Family set up to play the first set. This warmed every body up and by the time The Defekters arrived the whole teepee was vibrating. Smoke machines puffing, disco lights whirling and illuminating the sky above.
Talking to guests throughout the day, many remarked how they hadn’t seen each other for years, with people commenting on what a small world it was as they bumped into people who they had no idea shared Ben and Jess as mutual friends. “It just feels like a massive reunion” I heard mentioned more than once.
This was such a lovely wedding to capture, not just because of the weather, not just because of the fun guests or the beautiful environment, but more because I don’t think with Ben and Jess, having already gotten married a few days earlier, expected the after party to feel quite so moving and wonderful as it did.
So many glorious images to chose from, so here is a selection to share with you. Thank you for a lovely day Ben & Jess xx