Here are my favourites from Emilia and Paul’s recent wedding day at The Archbishop’s Palace Maidstone, followed by a reception at their local pub, The Duke of Wellington Ryarsh

Bride & Groom Prep

Emilia and Paul’s day had a really laid back vibe – so much so that both the bride and groom were getting ready at home, without any hiding from each other! I started the day at their house, meeting Paul, his dad (also on best man duties) and Emilia’s relatives over from Romania for the wedding. After documenting the details, whilst we waited for Emilia to come back from the hairdressers, the international feel of the wedding was added to as Paul spoke to his brother in Australia via Skype.

Once Emilia came back from the hairdressers I set to work photographing bridal makeup, Paul getting changed and the general preparations going on. After Emilia had been helped into her dress, the advanced party made their way over to the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone – surely the most impressive Register Office in Kent!

The Ceremony

Paul and Emilia’s family made the short walk over the Medway to the Archbishop’s Palace to welcome further family and friends at the venue and get the button holes on. The laid back feel to the wedding continued as the bride arrived before a lot of the guests, so most people had a sneak preview of the dress while Emilia waited in the car – unusual, but some lovely moments!

Once everyone was inside, Paul’s dad handed Emilia over to her dad for a quick hug and then to be accompanied into the Solar Room for the ceremony, which was the perfect mix of emotion and laughs, and again lovely and laid back.

After the ceremony, bride and groom were congratulated outside by their guests, before I whisked them off into the lovely private garden area for some quick portraits.

After photographing the group shots, it was then time for everyone to head over to the Duke of Wellington!


After the ceremony we made the short trip to the Duke of Wellington in the lovely little village of Ryarsh. Having done the groups at The Archbishop’s Palace, I could now concentrate on really documenting the spirit of the day. The pub looked fantastic and the reception details looked stunning – I love photographing details so it’s great when there’s so much to capture.

Once everyone had arrived and enjoyed a few glasses of bubbly in the sun, it was time for everyone to be seated for the wedding breakfast. As usual, between courses I captured some great documentary moments, before it was time for the speeches!

In a slight change of order, bestman was up first, including a great gag with some keys, followed by Paul (detailing the story of how the newly-weds met), followed by an emotional Emilia.

Evening Reception

As Emilia and Paul had such a relaxed day and relatively small daytime reception, we had plenty of time in the schedule for a quick 20 minute portrait session at a local spot I’d scouted on the venue visit previously – so we captured some quick portraits in a local wheat field in the glorious evening sunshine before heading back to the pub. This is always a great thing to do if possible – this is the best time of the day for light and actually gives you a sneaky break away from the guests for an unwind, and just to be together (well, with me at a distance obviously!)

Back at the pub, a quick impromptu bouquet toss (with the most accurate over the shoulder aim I’ve ever seen!) before the evening guests arrived to congratulate the couple.

Before long it was time for the first dance – the compact dancing area was actually a bonus as the couple were really surrounded by their nearest and dearest, who then joined them to get the party started!

As is often the case in these early summer weddings, I then split my time between the dancefloor and those still out enjoying the evening sunshine. I’d been keeping an eye on the skies, hoping to get a lovely sunset. It started to develop, but the only problem was I couldn’t really access it – the sun was going down over the back of the houses opposite the pub – so close but so far. On my walk around the village, I longingly looked through the house opposites open gates, just as the home owners came out. Not wishing to come across as some weirdo, I explained what I was doing and they generously allowed me access to their lovely paddock – so I raced back to the pub, broke out my flash, adjusting settings as we quickly marched back across to the garden. I had about 30 seconds to setup and grab some frames – these things develop so quickly, so as I say to all my couples – ‘if I come running in saying we need to go now, it means now!’

Congratulations once again to Emilia and Paul – a stunning, relaxed family wedding day!

All wedding photography copyright Kent Wedding Photographer David Burke Photography 2018