Sometimes magic happens
Last Summer I heard of Fforest in West Wales. I kept thinking to myself why have I not heard of this venue before. It has a spiritual festival atmosphere which has its guests sleep in pods, tipi’s and hang out around camp fires all set in acres of serene Welsh countryside. I wanted to shoot a wedding there, I had to shoot there. Well skip forward 6 months and an email that I’ve been waiting for landed, it was from Lauren & Dan and went something like this……..
“We love your work and think your
iconic style can capture our woodland, enchanted theme wedding at Fforest
we hope you are available….”
Well I was available and now I’ve photographed a Fforest wedding.
Fforest has a wonderful calm it’s very difficult to describe the atmosphere as it’s so unique, fill it with 100 wedding guests and this energy and vibe becomes amplified and it has a soul. This wedding was special in so many ways, the commitment, artistic approach, creativity and most importantly the love that Lauren, Dan and their families have is magical. I get to see many beautiful venues. Fforest has something very spiritual and unique about it, only when you have visited do you know and sense this.
I can’t wait to photograph another wedding at this magical place
WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS HIT PLAY
AND READ BELOW ABOUT THIS 2 DAY WEDDING
Weddings at Fforest are a two day event
The signature red tea pots of Forest and camp fires welcome the guest as they arrive. The pizza ovens are lit and the dough bases gets kneaded, they make the most delicious pizzas, you know the ones! They have an ultra crisp base that just crunches when you bite into them, all topped with the finest of local ingredients, as darkness falls the candles and oil lanterns twinkle under the clear sky. The old stone Bwthyn opened its doors, the ales started to flow, candles everywhere. The small pub is scattered with old pews, antique chairs and cushions made from Welsh blankets, huge sets of antlers on the walls and a roaring wood burner. As more guests arrived the bwthyn fills. The Ceilidh band took a corner and started to play Welsh folk music. It was like a movie set, people dancing, the clink of bottles as cheers was shouted roars of laughter from people surrounding the fire pits, when more touching songs were played moments of silence fell and an occasional tear dropped. It was an amazing experience and such a perfect build up to the wedding day.
Sleeping in a tent under stars and with the thrill of photographing the wedding meant an early rise, It was the perfect opportuity for me to take a shower outdoors, enjoy the calm Spring morning air and have a nice cuppa, toast with homemade jam in the lodge. Daniel was getting ready in one of the dome tents and Lauren in the Crog lofts with large wedding parties there is alway an element of organised chaos during these times and a wonderful energy ferments. I need to tell you about Mama Shirl as she is known. Shirley is Lauren’s mum. She has incredible talents, she made Lauren’s dress, head dress, all the bridesmaid dresses, grooms neck ties and even her own dress. Weddings can occupy a family for many months leading to the wedding but I can honestly say I’ve never seen such devotion, commitment, creativity and skill that Mama Shirl put into her daughters wedding.
The ceremony was Pagan and set outside in a quarry with chairs circling the stone alter, Jude the druid officiate was amazing her cloak blowing in the light breeze that circulated around the quarry, she welcomed everyone after making the space sacred, oaths were said and songs sung – Tom from McBusted dedicated a special song to them both, hands were bound with the special hand fasting ribbon and the ceremony was concluded with jumping the broomstick the symbolic boundary of crossing between their old lives and their new, shared one. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the ceremony as this was my first experience of a Pagan wedding – I loved it, being outdoors with nature, the lovely words spoken was a totally different feeling to a church wedding and I would encourage couples to consider it if it’s their belief.
The afternoon tea party was all laid out, rows of benches around long trestle tables filled with vintage teacups, cake stands loaded high with the sandwiches and cakes and of course several pots of tea, it looked and tasted amazing. The room was decorated in a woodland theme all designed and created by Mama Shirl, the amount of hard work and effort she had put into this day was incredible – table centres, runners, name stands, table plan, room decor venue dressing and she even made the cake …everything. It’s hard to believe that even one person did it all and this person was the mother of bride!
The Bwthyn doors opened, tea pots put away and the champagne and ales flowed the Ceilidh band played the fire pits roared and the sun set.
Here are some of my favourite bw frames