Treowen House - Elin & Matt

Nutcracker Ballet Wedding

I first met Elin and her family at the Bride & Groom Show at the Cheltenham Town Hall back in January 2017. We hit it off immediately excitedly chatting about her vision for their wedding, discussing some of my photos and what I can do to perfectly capture their day. We met up again a few weeks later where I got to meet Matt and most importantly Mali, their gorgeous little Cockapoo! My approach is tailored to the couple, some don’t want any specific shots of them together others have loads of ideas and love for me to plan a few things out for them, which is exactly what I did for Elin & Matt

Even at this fairly early stage Elin had a clear plan which took in wedding prep and the ceremony in Ebbw Vale, then the reception at Treowen House in Monmouthshire. A geographic factor which had put of a few photographers but not me. I love visiting new locations and relish the challenge of finding something to throw into the mix for my couples to consider!

So with that in mind a few months later I put a day aside and set off to Ebbw Vale to have a look around the church, then scope out a mountain road I had found between there and Treowen House. And what a road! I took a few snaps to send to Elin and Matt of the amazing scenery and they loved it, and factored it into the proceedings! I finished at Treowen House and again took a few snaps of areas I thought would be a nice back drop.

The ceremony was at 11am, and with a 90 minute drive from my home and the chance of snow, I preferred the lower risk option of staying near the church. When I mentioned this to Elin, quick as a flash she offered me a room at her auntie’s house! So after a very hospitable stay with Babs & Peter, I made the short drive around the corner to Elins parents to start what would become one of my most enjoyable days of shooting of 2017.

The beautiful low winter sun bleeding in through the windows allowed for some great shots of the team getting ready, and the snow still hanging around from the deluge the weekend before made for some great photo opportunities.

​The ceremony was held at St Davids Church Ebbw Vale, a mammoth 30 second walk from Elin parents’ house, and met at the gate by Mali to give a good luck lick

The Reverend was wonderful, actually asking me where I’d like to stand and where shall he go to not be in the way of Elin entrance. I am always so grateful for this approach, as it allows the couple to get the best possible images of such an emotional moment.

​As a result of my recon trip, the plan next was to head over to Treowen house via a mountain road that I had found. The temperature was sat at around 1 degrees, with fairly strong winds and snow on the ground but we soldiered on!

I had to work extra quick to keep the time out of the car to a minimum, and thanks to Elin & Matts trust in me we got some great images in a very short time. I love them!

Treowen Manor House is like a 17th century time machine! Well a time machine turned into a Christmas wonderland by Elin and her band of merry helpers! What a transformation, and attention to detail. Below are just a small selection of detail shots, along with everyone relaxing into the drinks reception.

Couples have loads of ideas for entertainment for the guests, some go for magicians, caricaturists, garden games to name just three. However Elin being a dancer, elected for a professional dance class for all the guests ran by Finestep!

Now changed into a variation of her main wedding dress, Elin led the way as the party tackled the dance moves. Great fun, and highlight recommended!

And that was pretty much that. Honing in on my 14th hour of shooting, I started to pack up my gear and consider a job well done, not only an incredible wedding day of shooting, but an incredible wedding year, truly ending on a high.

2018 is shaping up to be at least a match too. A few weeks off from shooting whilst I exhibit at 4 wedding fayres(!), get on top of some admin as well as keep on top of a busy time for bookings. Oh and as I write this I have just had a wedding book back at Treowen House later this year! I can’t wait to go back!

Thanks Elin & Matt. I was truly welcomed into the family and had a wonderful weekend.


If you have enjoyed this blog, you can read more here and to see my latest work you can see loads on my galleries page

Suppliers and people of note in creating Elin & Matts day:

Dress – Coco Couture
Hair – Rhiannon Bethen
Make up – Emma Foote
Catering – Sarah Baker (Sarah Ebenezer)
Sweet trolly, post box, cloths – Welsh chair company
Flowers – Alison Withey
Cake – Babs Paulson & Sarah Behan
Logs – Steves logs
Drawing of St Davids Church – Ffio Hopkins
Dance classes – Finestep

Special credit to the entire Withey & Hopkins family for working until 3am finishing of the amazing décor

Lee really captured the magic

lee hawley photography creative candid natural wedding photographer gloucestershire nutcracker ballet christmas themed

Matt and I met Lee at our first wedding fayre and from the moment we saw how natural and honest his photos were we knew we had to book him for our wedding. We couldn’t believe how much prep work he did before our big day, visiting all the venues and possible locations for photos (even doing a little dancing before hand to ensure he gets the perfect shots). On the day Lee was amazing. He managed to capture every special moment that was shared at our wedding without stealing anyone away from the action. Even my very camera shy bridesmaid was captured in some beautiful photos without her even knowing the camera was there. Matt is very shy and because of Lee’s thoughtfulness and general demeanour he felt comfortable all day, without the pressure of having to pose for photos. As for me, I had lots of ideas but Lee (with his create mind) made them a reality and I can’t thank him enough. All our family and friends have commented on how lovely Lee was and comments like “I didn’t know he was there then” have been the response to many photos. Matt and I would highly recommend Lee as I don’t think anyone else could have truly captured our magic like he has!

Elin & Matt

Photography As Unique As You Are

This is not formal wedding photography

I tell your wedding story naturally and creatively. No awkward poses, no saying cheese. My goal is for you to feel like you have a friend as your photographer, and by doing that I capture you at your most you.

I truly invest in my couples, spending time to understand what makes you tick. Even if you don’t really know what you want, in a brief chat over coffee I will understand how best to approach your day, resulting in you being relaxed and able to enjoy your wedding and resulting in a set of images tailored to you.

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Posted by Lee Hawley


Elin Paulson

Thank you Lee. The pictures are fantastic and Matt and I cant thank you enough for being such a huge part of our big day x

Thanks guys. This was a very easy blog to put together with so many great moments to comment on! Just wish we could do it all again!