© 2012 Cat Hepple. All rights reserved. 2012-10-16_060

A First look wedding- Stu and Lou at Swinton Park.


A wedding at 5pm. It’s unusual here in the UK to be married so late in the day, but Lou and Stu had left it a little late to book a registrar for their big day,  so 5pm was chosen from the few slots left on the day.

When I met Lou, she told me she was disappointed that she’d not be able to make use of the stunning gardens of Swinton Park because their wedding was so late in the day. I really wanted to help the couple make the most of their fabulous venue choice and so I came up with a plan.

I suggested a ” First Look” wedding, quite popular in the States, this has yet to take off massively here, but the idea is the couple meet somewhere romantic and private BEFORE their ceremony, spend time alone, have some photographs taken and then head off separately to meet once more at the top of the aisle.

It didn’t take Lou and Stu very long to agree to this idea, infact they quickly fell in love with the chance to meet alone, privately, spend time together away from the hustle and bustle of the wedding and have their photographs taken.

If you’ve ever wondered what a first look might be like, if you’ve thought it might take away the romance of meeting at the top of the aisle, I think you might be about to change your mind. This was something really very special indeed, an utterly romantic, swoon worthy moment, and so very precious.

So this is their day, sit back and relax as one of the most romantic weddings I’ve ever covered, unfolds….

Firstly the preparations were leisurely and relaxed, as Lou and her girls enjoyed time in their resplendent suite at the hotel.

I just adored Lou’s choice of pink sparkly bridal shoes. Obviously.






Once Lou was ready, just before 3pm she climbed into a landrover which took her across the estate to the side of a Lake. There, surrounded by the trees, shrouded in bird song, stood her husband to be, waiting patiently for her. His back turned, only the sound of her footsteps told him she was close by…




So incredibly moving, they giggled, hugged, smiled at one another and at times just stood in silence taking the moment in. It was truly romantic.

After a while we then headed off to take some beautiful portraits for the couple, in the grounds which Lou loves so much.











All too soon it was time to head back to the house and prepare for the 5pm ceremony. For those who wonder if seeing one another before the ceremony spoils ” the ” moment, let me assure you, it most certainly does not. Stu’s face tells you all you need to know when he saw Lou walking down the aisle on the arm of her father, towards him.

He was still overcome with emotion, still so thrilled to see her and to know this was the moment they were to be married, and they both also knew they had just spent an hour together, caught up in one another, and that felt like a very precious secret..





Lou and Stu always said they wanted a big party after their ceremony, and they certainly had that! Papakata   provided the perfect space for a bash and the wonderful Blush Bespoke decked the tents out with the most incredible floral blooms. 





and then of course there was dancing, what’s a party without dancing oh and Rockeoke?!




This was such a lovely wedding. It was a total joy to be a part of it and the first look is something I will never, ever forget. What a moment to record for a couple. Utterly wonderful.

The very lovely and hugely talented Adam Johnson from ARJ Photography assisted and 2nd shot this wedding alongside me, and Id like to take this chance to thank him for everything he did. Adam is a real creative force, totally gets my style of photography and is a real giggle to have around too. I’m indebted to him for everything he did.

Many congratulations to Lou and Stu, thank you both for being brave enough to go with the first look idea, I know you are both thrilled you did so. May your lives be filled with much love and fun and lots more dancing.









  1. Posted 16 Oct at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Fantastic work as always Cat, your colours are always so perfect. Great stuff.

    • Cat Hepple
      Posted 16 Oct at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Chris. It was such a lovely wedding.

  2. Posted 22 Oct at 8:11 am | Permalink

    These images are so beautiful. You can just see the emotion between the bride and groom intensify!
    To have such an intimate moment before your wedding… Wow! Xx

    • Cat Hepple
      Posted 22 Oct at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Thank you Toni, I really appreciate you taking time to comment. It was really something special x