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Clearwell Caves wedding, Gloucestershire

Real wedding photography - Gemma and Sean's Wedding at Clearwell Caves

Capture this Moment had a great start to 2017 to their wedding photography, photographing Gemma and Sean’s wedding


Gemma and Sean’s wedding was... well, it’s pretty hard to describe. Let’s put it this way, there was two wedding dresses, 5 bridesmaids, one cave, two range rovers and, oh yes, a pair of baby pink wellies. As I said it was pretty indescribable. However, this is the biggest compliment I think I could give. Sean and Gemma’s wedding was neither typical nor predictable [by any stretch of your imagination,  I mean they had their reception in a cave], but by it being so indescribable it was also completely unique to them. Everything to the last details was a reflection of them as a couple. 

The day started for me by going to Gemma and Sean’s house, to take bridal preparation photographs with Kathryn. We arrived and began photographing the flowers, brides dress, bridesmaids dress, shoes and jewellery. Kathryn and I set up Gemma’s shoes, veil and jewellery on her old floorboard floor. This created a really great photograph, as all the items were in the shot and the brown wood floor and the delicate items made for a very natural contrast between the two. Afterwards, the brides and the bridesmaid’s dresses were photographed, and when photographing this dress we had to try and show all the little details, such as the lace on the tulle skirt and the beautifully stoned waist band. 

Once the dress and details had been photographed, we went down stairs to photograph the bridal party getting ready. Downstairs, the bridal party were all in one room together with music in the background and make-up all over the floor, as they did their own make-up and sometimes others. The atmosphere was full of excitement and they began swapping make-up tips and having a few pre-wedding drinks. Half lined lips were stretched into laughter, mouths were open as they precariously applied mascara and foundation was applied, whilst they belted out a few lines of a song.  

Later Gemma put on her wedding dress, her mum and sister-in-law helping to lace up the back of her corseted dress. Her maid of honour talking to her as she finally became a bride. Then her veil was put on and the transformation was complete. She became a beautiful bride and it became obvious that it was time to walk down that aisle. The Father of the bride and the Bride got into the wedding car to make their way to the church where her groom was waiting.

During the service I was positioned at the back of the church. Using a 70-200mm zoom lens, I was able to capture the little moments between the bride and groom from far away. Such as the exchange of glances, Gemma turning and laughing to those behind her and both of their reactions to the heartfelt poems of both their mothers. The light in the church cascaded upon the couple angelically as they exchanged their vows and rings. After the service the newly married couple came out of the church followed by the guests. Then it was time for group shots with their parents and family, as well as all of the wedding guests. 

Once the group shots had been completed and most of the guests had gone to the local pub to warm up on that crisp wintry day, the bridesmaids and grooms-men had some photos taken with the bride and groom. Then Gemma and Sean had some photos taken together as well. The lighting was perfect, it lit Gemma’s veil hazily and them evenly. They were both really relaxed and playful with one another, which helped to create some really natural and beautiful photos of the couple. At the church there was a sort of aisle outside, which had been created by two lines of yew trees, which is where most of the photos of the couple were taken.

Then it was time to go to the reception venue, which was a cave! They had their reception at Clearwelll caves in the Forest of Dean, but the caves didn’t look as they normally do. The cave had been decorated with fairy lights and candles to give it a beautiful ambient glow. As a photographer this provided a few challenges, to keep the ambient light but still properly exposing the photos. Kathryn and I both used 50mm lenses as they provided us with a bigger aperture, which meant the ISO on our cameras wouldn’t have to be increased too much, which would have made the photos grainy. We also used flash to illuminate our photographs because it was quite dark in the caves. 

In the evening it began to rain, most bride’s nightmare, but not Gemma’s. Kathryn and Gemma had previously talked about taking some photos outside in the rain, so we took this opportunity to take some more creative shots. Outside of the caves there is some old mining equipment and the big doors to the mine, which we positioned a light in front of, and Kathryn and I took some photos of the illuminated couple here. The rain became heavier, and so the umbrella shots began. These photos looked amazing with the umbrella illuminated and the rain glistening around the couple. In the caves there is a lake, which is lit with blue lighting. This was another place we took some more photos with the use of a movie light, once again the outcome was stunning… you would have never of guessed that really it was me holding the light and another guest frantically breathing in front of them to create the misty look, which was achieved in these photographs. 

Gemma and Sean’s wedding was very unusual and unique, but it was also very beautiful and special. They seemed to have a great day and thoroughly enjoy every part of it and honestly so did I. It was a joy to photograph. The laid back attitude of the couple along with their enthusiasm meant that there day was so easy to capture, as they provided so many priceless moment to do so.


flower girl dress


baby pink wellies


getting ready


Finishing touches

In church


getting married


Just married


yew trees at Clearwell Church



 wedding car


Clearwell Caves


For more information on Wedding photography by Capture this Moment please contact me





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