Carly & Jim’s wedding at Shiplake College

A rugby couple’s perfect wedding, and an appearance from NZ rugby legend Dan Carter.

I had last seen Jim and Carly a couple of months earlier, when we did their pre-wedding shoot down by the river and at Henley Rugby Club, where Carly is Captain of the Henley Hawks Women’s Team, where her Dad is Director of Rugby, and where Jim used to play. Rugby was therefore always going to feature in their wedding, but this was subtly and beautifully done in the form of their table centrepieces, the cake and the speeches, but more about that later. 

Getting ready

At their pre-wedding shoot I had also met Jim’s daughter Evie, who, alongside Carly’s niece Chloe, made the most beautiful flowergirl. Carly also had 6 bridesmaids, as well as one of her best friends Adele Colby doing her make-up, so the morning wasn’t short on girlie fun. 

The Church

It’s said to be lucky for it to rain on your wedding day, but fortunately for Carly and Jim the rain only seemed to fall while Carly was still at home getting ready, and during the ceremony. One minute the sun was streaming through the doors at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and the next there was an almighty clap of thunder signalling the start of a brief storm. Luckily it didn’t happen just as the priest had asked ‘Does anyone have any objections to this couple marrying’, otherwise he may have seen it as a sign of divine intervention and cancelled the whole wedding! 

The Reception

Shiplake College provides the most beautiful backdrop for a wedding reception, as the grounds are just lovely and lead all the way down to the River Thames.  One of the more random moments was the appearance of a large quantity of blue sunglasses, apparently advertising the ice-cream company Joe’s Ice Cream. A request was made for a photo of everyone wearing the sunglasses, and who was I to say No! 

The Wedding Breakfast and The Speeches

I love the light in the great hall at Shiplake College, particularly when the top table is placed in front of the fireplace, as it was here. Speeches by Jim, Carly’s Dad Nigel, and the two Best Men Nick and Matt were brilliant, with a perfect balance of comedy, emotion and tales from the past. 

However, possibly my favourite moment of the day was the video slideshow put together by some of Carly’s bridesmaids. Carly’s tears and show of emotion started early when the lady who used to look after Carly as a 4 year old sent her love all the way from New Zealand. It must have taken months to get access to some of the people in the video, who left their messages of congratulations to Carly & Jim. These included international rugby legends Jason Leonard, Ben Foden, James Haskell, Lawrence Dallaglio, & …. Dan Carter – the look on Carly’s face said it all when his message played at the end of the sequence. Well played ladies, well played. 

Cake Cut & First Dance

I loved the cake made by the couple’s friend Jo, showing the bride rugby tackling the groom. Their first dance was quickly followed by a full dance floor of their guests ready to dance the night away. 

Carly and Jim are clearly made for each other and I know have a wonderful life ahead of them. Jim’s daughter summed it up during the video when she said ‘This is the best family I have ever belonged to, I can’t believe I’m related to almost everyone in this room.’ Congratulations to the three of you. 

To view the full collection of photos from the day please click here and enter Carly’s maiden name as the password. 


Make-up (Carly) – Adele Colby (friend)
Make-up (Others) – Alison Oswald
Hair – Tash from Renaissance, Marlow
Bridal dress – Stella York from Confetti, Wokingham
Groom’s suits – Moss Bros
Flowers – Charlotte Cavanagh, Time for Tea
Car – Christopher Cars
Ceremony – Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Henley
Reception Venue – Shiplake College
Cake – Jo Roberts 
DJ – Gareth from Eight Ray Music


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