Tithe Barn Wedding | Melissa + James | Bolton Abbey Wedding Photographer

Tithe Barn Wedding | Melissa + James | Bolton Abbey Wedding Photographer.

Tithe Barn Wedding. Another beautiful September wedding at the Tithe Barn! Melissa & James both got ready at The Devonshire Arms so my second shooter Freya and I joined them there a few hours before the ceremony.

When I found Melissa preparations were in full swing; Emily Hawkes was in charge of hair for Melissa, her mum and her bridesmaids, and Amy George was on make up duties. We were also joined by fab videographer Barney Shortman who was brilliant to work with – highly recommend him! I started off as I usually do with detail shots of Melissa’s dress/shoes/flowers, before entering “stealth mode” to get lots of shots of Melissa and her bridesmaids getting ready, chatting and having a drink or two.

Meanwhile Freya was with James and his best man (/brother!) Alastair in another suite where they were donning shirts, ties, cufflinks, and trying to figure out buttonholes! They then headed out to the terrace to join the rest of the groomsmen for more buttonhole confusion, a few team shots, and a little Dutch courage before they headed to the church.

Back upstairs hair and make-up were complete, the bridesmaids were ready, and it was time for Melissa to get into her incredible Pronovias gown. She looked amazing! We brought her dad in to see her and as she predicted there were no tears, but some classic “dad” jokes to break the tension!

I headed off to the Priory Church at Bolton Abbey to catch up with Freya and the guys and to chat to the vicar about photos during the ceremony. Rules often change with the vicar, and even though I’ve been to the Priory a few times I wanted to make sure I was aware of any new guidelines! And I’m glad I did as we were only able to shoot the ceremony from the back and side of the church this time.

I waited outside for Melissa and the girls to arrive and then happily was allowed to get some shots of her walking down the aisle to a very nervous James! They were both clearly so overwhelmed, and though Melissa’s dad did his best to break the tension again by standing on her veil and pulling it out of her hair it was still a bit too much for James who had to sit down before he fell down! OK, so I may well joke, but it was actually so wonderful to see the depth of this pairs’ feelings for each other, and reminded me what a privilege it is that I’m able to share these moments.

The rest of the ceremony went off without a hitch and soon Melissa and James were husband and wife and walking back up the aisle with the most enormous smiles on their faces! They waited in the huge entrance to the church to say hello to everyone as they filed out and grabbed a ribbon wand (great idea for a confetti substitute by the way!). The guests all lined up outside and Melissa and James exited to huge cheers and mass ribbon-waving! They spent a few minutes chatting to their friends and family and then we took them off into the abbey ruins for some photos of the two of them whilst everyone else headed up to the Tithe Barn for canapés and drinks.

We spent a lovely 20 minutes at the abbey getting some shots in the afternoon sun and then Barney and I made our way up to the barn leaving Melissa and James alone for a few moments. Up at the barn Freya was capturing loads of lovely candid shots of everyone enjoying the drinks reception (major bonus of having a second photographer FYI!). I waited at the front for Melissa and James to arrive and then we quickly went through their group photo list so that they could then relax and spend some time with their friends.

The barn looked incredible inside as always! The simple arrangements of eucalyptus in glass bottles, the grey table runners and tableware by Oakleaf Weddings, and the bespoke table name signs by Here’s To Us all complimented each other perfectly. And I loved the hanging foliage balls by Plantation Addingham.

We managed a big team photo of everyone in the garden and then it was time for people to be seated for the first two speeches. Two things stood out for me during these speeches – the first is that James absolutely nailed his despite some serious nerves (and a mild skin colour change!). The second was Melissa’s dad’s opening anecdote about baby Melissa. Which sadly I can’t repeat here but I can safely say that nobody was expecting to learn so much about Melissa and her mum!

They saved best man Alastair’s speech for after the meal – just to drag out the torment, you know?! Just after mains the sun started to sink down behind the trees so we quickly grabbed Melissa and James for a quick photo session in the fields next to the barn before it disappeared altogether.

Soon it was time for Melissa and James to cut their cake and to start the party with their first dance. I stayed for a few songs to fill my memory card with embarrassing photos of their friends and family throwing and shapes and then left them to party.

Thank you Melissa & James for asking me to document your beautiful wedding day, it was an absolute pleasure! If you’re looking for a photographer for your wedding at The Tithe Barn please do get in touch and tell me more about your day! x


Venue: Tithe Barn Bolton Abbey

Second Photographer: Freya Raby

Videographer: SP Wedding Films

Florist: Plantation Addingham

Make Up: Amy George

Hair: Emily Hawkes

Dress: Pronovias from Bridal Rogue Gallery

Styling: Oakleaf Weddings

Cake: James’s mum!

Place names & table signs: Here’s To Us

String trio: Event Music Company

LOVE Lights: Elizabeth James Events

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    Oh, hey!I'm Laura.





    I live near Ilkley with my slightly* nutty 4 year old Rose, and I have had the honour of photographing weddings and families for 6 years now. I genuinely cannot believe how lucky I am that I get to call this my job.

    *I say slightly, she recently told me that traffic lights are the bane of her life, and she names everything "Cantameen". Send help!

    I love photographing people. Whether it's your wedding day, you're expecting or have just had a baby, or you simply want to capture your loved ones the way they are right now, my aim is to document unique moments in time to create a beautiful set of images that you will treasure for many years to come. My style combines photojournalism with beautiful portraits, and my fun and relaxed approach makes you feel comfortable and at ease in front of the camera – I want you to actually enjoy having your photograph taken!

    Although I’m based near Ilkley I cover all of Yorkshire and I’m actually happy to travel anywhere for weddings and portrait shoots. So if you have any questions then please get in touch using one of my contact forms. In the meantime, grab a cuppa and browse through my wedding or portrait galleries, or take a look at my most recent work on the blog

    I can't wait to hear from you x