Rachel & Lucy's wedding at The Old Barn, South Causey Inn in Durham

Rachel and Lucy's wedding included a couple of firsts for me. My first same sex wedding, and my first wedding in the Old Barn, South Causey Inn in Durham.

The South Causey Inn is one of the most popular wedding venues in North East England and one I'd been to previously several times. It's a rustic country venue, nestled within 100 acres of the picture-perfect Beamish Valley. It's an independent boutique hotel, with a restaurant and bar, and a variety of luxury courtyard bedrooms and deluxe cottages that all boast private hot tubs.

The Durham Suite hosted it's weddings for four years, and was converted from an old, stone built stable block, but the demand for weddings had outgrown it. That's why I was confused when Rachel and Lucy asked me to photograph their wedding at The Old Barn at South Causey Inn...because it hadn't been built yet!

The Old Barn is a completely separate building to the Inn and has its own designated car park area and a stunning garden area overlooking the Beamish Valley. It is a purpose built area for wedding ceremonies which can seat from 50 to 200 guests, dressed splendidly with old features such as original timbers and wooden floors.

Rachel and Lucy were laid back and relaxed and wanted their wedding to be the same. Neither of them wanted to be the centre of attention and my brief for the day was to photograph them in an entirely documentary style, with no long list of group photos, no posed portraits and no first dance. One of the advantages of a same sex wedding is that couples feel they can abandon the traditions that sometimes burden other marriage ceremonies, in favour of having the day reflect their needs, wants and personalities. More couples should do this in my opinion, same sex or otherwise.

Photographing a wedding in a 100% documentary style can sometimes make getting good detail shots a challenge, so was happy to capture a stunning bouquet shot at Rachel & Lucy's wedding.

I also love, love, love the first dance photos below. Rachel and Lucy hadn't planned a first dance and were dragged up to the dancefloor which meant I had to scramble to get the images. If I wasn't prepared for anything all the time, at all my weddings, I might have missed the moment. That adrenaline turns lots of photographers off wedding photography but I love the challenge.

Another favourite photograph from this wedding is mother and brother looking on during the ceremony. Sometimes, it's all about the emotion. No tricks, crazy camera angles or funky editing. Just capturing the feeling.

I can't remember a wedding with more smiles, laughter and happy tears than Rachel & Lucy's.

Supplier Shoutouts

Wedding venue: The Old Barn, South Causey Inn, County Durham

Florist: Zoe the Wedding Florist

Cake: Susan (a friend and former colleague)

Hair: Faye at Urban Hair UK

Makeup: Amanda Make Up Artist

Thanks so much for these, we’re so pleased with them. Natural and fun as we wanted :) a true reflection of the day!
— Rachel

To see more real Durham weddings, and couples sessions, visit my Durham weddings page.