And the winner is…

You might remember that I ran a little competition on Rock N Roll Bride to offer free wedding photography to one lucky couple.

The standard of entries was amazingly high and I had so much trouble deciding. I could have picked every single wedding for one reason or another and I really am so sorry that I couldn’t pick everyone.

It was so hard that I narrowed it down to three winners. I then narrowed it down to two. And then I got stuck – I am in love with both of the couple’s weddings but for very different reasons – so I decided to choose them both.

So here are my first winners and I’ll be announcing the second couple next Friday.

Give it up for Alison and Dan. Please leave them some love in the comments.

Here’s what Alison had to say in her email:

I just wanted to enter our wedding into your contest. My partner Dan (29) and I (28) are getting married at Folly Farm near Bristol ( The picture of us was taken at a family wedding this summer – Dan did start the day with his bow tied, but it was quite late in the evening by this point…em>

We actually live in London. However, when it came to picking a venue for our wedding we were originally at a bit of a loss. We couldn’t afford the kind of wedding venue in London we would have liked (we really like Wilton’s Music Hall), and hotel costs for our guests would have been huge.

As far as home towns go, Dan is from the far north of Scotland (Durness) originally, which although beautiful would have been a logistical nightmare for the majority of our guests (and us!). My Dad moved away from where I grew up a couple of years ago so that wouldn’t have been straight forward either.

We trawled around plenty of places with the help of the internet, and even booked another venue at one point – but when we found Folly Farm we knew it was the right spot. It’s beautifully restored, but also fresh and modern. We really liked that it is surrounded by woodland with paths for walks.

Best of all it has masses of accommodation for our family and friends, which means the party can go late into the night. It’s set to be a very emotional event, as Dan and I are emigrating three weeks after the wedding; this will be the last time we see many of our family and friends for some time.

If your looking for a “quirky and alternative” wedding to photograph I think we’d fit the bill. We set out not wanting a “theme” in particular, just wanting to include the things that we love: great music, the handmade, plenty of colour, nature and each other. We’ve been engaged about 10 months now and we’ve been enthusiastic planners.

Believe it or not, our non theme gradually and naturally evolved into “Psych-Folk-Horror”, which makes us laugh every time we think of it.

We’ve been into folk music and particularly psychedelic folk for a while, so that was always going to be part of the music element of our day.

The tipping point into full blown theme though was when Dan gifted me “The Owl Service” by Alan Garner, a Folk Horror classic from 1967. After I read it, it became the inspiration for the invitations and RSVP cards I designed.

Decoration is something I’ve always been obsessed with – for a typical tiny one bed London flat I have an unreasonable amount of Christmas decorations.

We wanted to be surrounded by natural seasonal decorations and we’ve been collecting lichen covered branches and interesting natural objects all year. Currently we’re collecting the falling Autumn leaves to make into garlands for decorating the venue.

We’re both research scientists by day, and we’ve also accumulated old lab equipment for decorations as well. I would love to actually wear antlers in my hair, but that might be slightly too eccentric even for me; I’ve compromised with pheasant feathers instead. There will be antlers around though, that I can promise.

As you can imagine at four weeks before the wedding, we have most of the details in place, and some of these are in the mood board. The dress is the one I’ll be wearing and Dan will be wearing a kilt very similar to the one shown (the swatch of his tartan is in there too).

Our wedding cake was made by Dan’s Grandma and we’re decorating with plain white icing and chocolate leaves. My bouquet will be put together by Charlie Ryrie of the Real Cut Flower Garden and will be composed mainly of seed heads to look suitably wild.

Two of our readings are the Marriage of Psyche – the inspiration for A Ring of Bright Water – and The Owl and the Pussycat. We designed our rings with Precious Jewelry Design, based in Athens.

Our favours to our guests will be seasonal violas planted up in jam jars, complete with secret seeds and bulbs so they get a surprise in spring.

I’m an avid knitter and I’ve knitted shawls for my flower girls to wear, and a jumper of owls for my page boy. Dan got handmade kilt socks too and I made myself hand warmers to protect against the inevitable November cold.

Our ceremony will be followed by a dinner of pie and mash from Pieminister in the evening and we’ve got a lively bluegrass/folk duo to play music late into the night.

I could go on forever, but that’s probably enough! no doubt you have an inbox heaving with over excited brides telling you every detail of their day.

Alison and Dan

Are you as excited as I am? They’ve put so much thought into their day and all of the details are there because they mean something to them as a couple. From Alison’s vivid description of their vison for the day I really feel as though I’ve got to know them a bit.

Here’s their amazing moodboard. I may have made a little squeeking noise when I first saw it.

And Alison even made me this reference grid so that it’s easy to see where the images should be credited too. Alison, I love you a bit.

The image references:
1. The Owl Service Plate, from Griselda Greaves’s drawings
2. The Owl Service, by Alan Garner
3. Print by Graham Sutherland
4. Original water colour and ink artwork of an ‘assembled’ owl by myself (used for our RSVP card)
5. Plant skeleton photograph we took on a Boxing Day walk
6. Leaf bunting and snowflake lights from our mantle last Autumn
7. Psychedelic Deer digital art, by TEVR:
8. Original water colour by Ola Liola,
9. Monster drawing on a Post-it by John Kenn,
10. Original illustration by Sandra Diekmann,
11. Wild Catalope illustration by Sarah Barrett,
12. Original water colour by Ola Liola,
13. The MacMillan Hunting Ancient tartan from Lochcarron of Scotland
14. A man in a kilt, seen on (, photographs by Elemental Photography (
15. Our save the date card, drawn by myself
16. Our invitation, also made by myself
17. A Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell
18. Woodland table spread, seen on (
19. Autumnal wedding cake, Andies Specialty Sweets,
20. Lichen covered twig centre pieces, StudioChoo for (
21. Our wedding rings from Precious Jewelry Design,
22. Album cover for “A Garland of Song” by The Owl Service
23. Album cover for “Too Long in this Condition” by Alasdair Roberts & Friends
24. The Green Man from the Green Man Festival 2010
25. My wedding dress, from BHLDN
26. The Owl and the Pussycat, original mixed media illustration by myself

3 thoughts on “And the winner is…

  1. I read The Owl Service as a child, and it’s one of those books which seeped into my subconscious such that I’m constantly reminded of it. What a great source of inspiration for a wedding! Laura, you’re going to have such fun photographing this!! Alison and Dan, congrats, Laura’s ace, and you’ll have some brilliant pics to remember your day with.

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