I’ve often dreamt of a retirement life (far in the future!) filled with tea-and-crumpet afternoons as horses linger afield in a place like Yorkshire or Devonshire or some other “shire” in England. Jess Petrie and her husband Rodrigo were able to transport me to such a setting recently via theses images of couple Clare and Dan’s Bolton Abbey Estate wedding in North Yorkshire.
“I am a Yorkshire girl,” Petrie says, “and the Bolton Abbey Estate was a place I visited often with my family as a child. It’s such a beautiful place right in the heart of the countryside, with so much history—it’s the ruins of a 12th-century Augustinian monastery in Skipton. It’s a famous landmark and provides the perfect backdrop for any photograph. Located on the banks of the River Wharfe, it has a small sandy private beach, and a woodland walk—it’s a piece of paradise.”
“When working at a wedding my husband (lovely Rodrigo) lends a helping hand,” she continues. “He is my assistant and second shooter, and I’d be lost without him. When I’m with the bride for the morning preparations, he is with the groom; when I’m taking the couple’s portraits, he’s with the guests capturing candids, and throughout the day he is capturing everything from a whole different angle and perspective, and (for us) it works like a dream. We both love working together; we are very calm-natured and relaxed people, and our style is a big reflection of this.”
“We capture a wedding day from the morning preps to the first dance from an observer’s perspective,” Petrie says of their approach. “We would rather not interfere with the organic flow of the day, but just capture the story as it’s naturally told. Our imagery recites sensitivity and emotion, and our color palettes and tones are quite muted and dreamy. We also only use prime lenses, and we use a variety of aperture settings depending on the particular frames that we are shooting.”
Some of Petrie’s favorite images include those of the bride getting ready. “The room she was in was quite small but the natural light coming through the window was just beautiful,” she says. “Right before Clare headed to the ceremony, I closed the glass door to her room and she had a moment, which I was able to capture discreetly by looking through the glass. It’s emotional and private and tells a story—I love photos like that!”
Photography of the actual ceremony was prohibited, according to Petrie, but she and Rodrigo were able to take photos in the entrance right at the back. “Thank goodness for long-distance lenses,” she says. “It was also very dark inside the Priory so it helped (a lot) by having prime lenses, which meant we could go to very low apertures to allow in as much ambient light as possible. It’s always very disappointing and disheartening to learn that the ceremony cannot be photographed up close and personal. For my couples, and for us who are documenting it, this is the most sacred and important part of the day—it’s the binding of vows, exchange of rings and kisses, it’s the marriage deal, it’s the photos that couples want to be captured and placed in their album, it’s the biggest part of their wedding day story. This was the biggest challenge we faced on the day.”
Email Jacqueline Tobin for Wedding of the Week submissions.