Georgina & Matt - Aynhoe Park

The thing I love about wedding photography is that they come in all shapes and sizes. None are better than the other, each one has its own distinct personality and feel. It doesn’t matter if it’s a registry office, a stately home, a pub or a local church. But sometimes, just sometimes along comes a wedding so off the wall, so different, so….bonkers that you would give your right arm to be just a fly on the wall, let alone photograph. 

This was one of those weddings. 

I must say firstly, the nicest thing that has been said about my photography recently, perhaps ever, was by Matt, the lucky groom the subject of this blog, who said that he and Georgina chose me above other photographers because I wasn’t all about the portfolio - that other photographers they had spoken to only wanted the wedding because of where it was, not because they were interested in them.

I never really considered it before - but I see their point. I couldn’t be a portfolio photographer if I tried! It is my strong belief that people are the heart and soul of what I do for a living; the setting is incidental - of course the setting can set a mood and tone but emotion tells the story. If you only take a wedding because it’s pretty or whatever, all you get is some pretty pictures, not an emotional connection to what you are shooting. If you get some great pictures along the way though, it is always a bonus!

Anyway, I digress - this isn’t about me, it’s about Georgina & Matt. They are just lovely people. Just my kind of couple. Warm, funny, engaging and accommodating to any whim thrown at them. They were brilliant from the first time I spoke to them over the phone and wanted to shoot their wedding even before I knew where it was. 

Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire is in a word: Mad. 

A stately home owned by an art collector who made his name in the rave and dance scenes of the late 80s / early 90s, it is stuffed with all manner of insane and beautiful objects and works of art you would usually find in a museum or a gallery somewhere. A life size Tin-Tin in a space outfit? check. A stuffed polar bear in a Union Jack hat? Of course. How about a crocodile with a serving tray? Who doesn’t have one? I could go on - A toilet that looks like a dungeon, a giraffe floating in the orangery - the place is a photographer’s dream. I could spend a week in the place and still not have managed to photographed everything.

Aynhoe Park has been the setting for all manner of grand occasions; Liam Gallagher’s wedding (he left his jacket and it is now hanging in the library), a Vogue cover shoot with Kate Moss, more celebrity parties than you can shake a stick at and formula one end of season parties. What a dump.

The week beforehand wasn’t looking good - rain, cloud and wind. Lots of wind and not all of it mine. Thankfully, as tends to be the way (not a guarantee) the weather brightened up no end for Easter Weekend. A bit of cloud, but no great shakes - while our couples are doing sun dances, us photographers are cancelling it out with our own cloud dances - natures soft box! Sshhhh - I never told you.

Each bedroom has been designed by a different designer, so are totally different to the next and the room the girls were getting ready in houses what must be the biggest mirror on the planet. I’m not joking, the mirror is bigger than my house. 

For all of the quirkiness of such a venue, Georgina and Matt were themselves the perfect counterbalance to the madness and exuded grace, style and sophistication. I could see that having such a unique setting could tempt couples into going really OTT risking tackiness of epic proportions. Georgina and Matt wisely went quite traditional ensuring that the surroundings served as a very nice quirky backdrop rather than taking over proceedings and becoming the sole focal point of the day.

The only thing I had in my head for the day was to recreate a picture of Liam Gallagher that was taken in the toilet (it’s that kind of place) which Matt was more than happy to indulge in - both being proud Mancs, how could he not? All I can say is try setting up a shot in the loo while people are…going to the loo. Not as simple as it seems!

As ever, I had the best support I could wish for in the amazing Rob Ball (check him out at who, probably for the first time I beat on points because of his awful first dance pics! Booom - take that Ball! He aced a shot in front of the house though. I sat for a couple of hours playing with the file trying to see how he got it looking so epic before he hinted that the sky may not have been entirely as it seemed. Touche….the only reason it’s not in the gallery on the site is because it’s not representative of my work - but with Rob’s kind permission, I’ll post it here. See if you can spot it…

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