Shottle Hall Wedding Photography – Nicola and Alan

My first real winter wedding of the year was the latest in a run of very local venues taking place at the lovely Shottle Hall about 10 minutes drive from my house on the edge of Belper in Derbyshire. However, I first headed to the other side of Derby for Nicola’s preparations at her parents’ place. Once hair and make-up were complete the dresses were loaded into the car and everyone relocated to Shottle Hall.

As the girls put on their dresses upstairs, the guys were mastering the bow ties downstairs, and after a quick swig from a hip flask the ceremony got underway. Afterwards we had some champagne-ruining confetti, and a very early bouquet toss, before everyone took their places for the wedding breakfast. The couple had laid on a quiz and some mini-canvases for the guests to do self-portraits, and we were joined by some famous faces that share the couple’s surname during the speeches.

The evening began with the arrival of a raft of evening guests who were greeted by fire-eaters. Then followed the cake-cutting, the first dance and later on the premiere of the music video that was made on the hen party.

Frederick’s Islington Wedding Photography – Greg & Michael

The autumn included a couple of the year’s smallest weddings, both involving return visits to Islington Town Hall, the first one being Greg and Michael’s bash. The ceremony took place in the small but grand Mayor’s Parlour, after which we were treated to a German wedding tradition I’ve not come across before. A large sheet with a heart drawn on it is held up, and the couple have to cut out the heart with scissors and pass through the hole.

With the formalities out of the way the small gaggle of guests headed down Upper Street to Frederick’s Restaurant on Camden Passage. After a drinks reception on the decking area in the garden the wedding party headed upstairs for dinner including a speech by Michael’s brother that triggered the tears!

Yorebridge House Wedding Photography – Linzi and Paul

After that brief interlude, back to the last few 2014 weddings. Yorebridge House is nestled in Wensleydale on the edge of the village of Bainbridge in the North Yorkshire Dales, and surrounded on all sides by beautiful open landscape. On top of that it’s right next to a pretty bridge over the river Ure and makes the ideal setting for a wedding. Linzi & Paul set up camp at opposite ends of the building, with Paul’s young daughter working as a go-between. Lines was focussed on her hair and make-up, Paul may have been distracted by the Formula 1 qualifying session. Good for me as I got a rare opportunity to watch it live!

Once ready there was an emotional ceremony in the orangery, followed by drinks in the bar and out in the gardens. The happy couple went for a little wander over the bridge, and got cheered at by some passing dirt bikers. Then everybody got comfy in the marquee for dinner and speeches. After that it was time for dancing, and with the first dance (and second dance to ‘Let It Go’) out of the way Paul took to the wheels of steel for the best 80’s disco I’ve heard in a long time.

Barmbyfield Barns Wedding Photography – Cat & Ali Pt.2

So the wedding of a thousand speeches continued along the same lines during the wedding breakfast. As well as the bride, father of the bride and the groom (who managed a 50 minute speech himself!) we had a toast from one of the groom’s uncles, complete with Finnish vodka on dry ice. Then it was the turn of the maid of honour, bloke of honour (or chief bridesbloke?), best woman and finally the best man! I know!!

Joking aside, it made such a pleasant change for the wedding to be filled with genuinely great stories from the friends and family of the couple rather than the ramblings of a registrar or vicar that the couple barely know. Or the same readings that I hear week in, week out. I love it when a couple make it personal and treat their wedding day as a celebration of the events and people that have made them what they are.

The guests had brought their own booze, which resulted in a lot of shot-downing. This resulted in a full and bouncing dance floor overseen by yet another friend on the decks. The perfect end to a fantastic day.

Click here for Pt.1

Barmbyfield Barns Wedding Photography – Cat & Ali Pt.1

Cat & Ali’s DIY wedding at Barmbyfield Barns in Yorkshire holds the title of my first ever wedding ceremony without a celebrant of any kind. A week or so after their legal ceremony at Lambeth Town Hall they chose to have a ceremony conducted by their family and friends, so we had four speeches from the bridesmaids and another four from the grooms people. These were followed by some emotional vows, a sing-song and the cutting of the cake (made by the maid of honour).

After the ceremony everybody gathered outside for drinks and a piece of the aforementioned cake. Back in the barn a group of guests got stuck in with rejigging tables and chairs before the guests returned for the food and speech marathon that awaited. Click here for Pt.2!

Peckforton Castle Wedding Photography – Caroline and Dave

I’ve been keen to work at Peckforton Castle for some time, so it was great to hear from Caroline and Dave just a few weeks before their wedding at this amazing venue in Cheshire. Caroline got ready separately from her bridesmaids, collecting them on her way to the ceremony.

After the civil ceremony they enjoyed a slighty precarious tandem ride over to the chapel for a blessing. They then made the most of the autumn sunshine during their drinks reception, and found time for a quick wander in the woods surrounding the castle.

After the wedding breakfast we were treated to speeches, including from three of the parents. Then the cake was cut (with a sword as is only right and proper at a castle) and the dancing began. More castles please!

Humanist Wedding Photography in Shropshire – Holly and Rich

The arrival of September brought with it some of my favourite weddings of the year. Holly and Rich’s big day combined a number of my favourite features of a wedding. The venue was a field adjoining Holly’s parents’ house, there was a Humanist ceremony, the couple had taken a completely DIY approach to everything, there were fireworks, and Rich is a big heavy metal fan. The stars truly aligned!

As guests deposited their contributions to the cake table, and set up their tents to the side of the house, inside the wedding party were preparing hair and make-up, and making headwear. In the garage some friends were putting together the wedding cake and decorating it with flowers picked from the garden. In the camper van that had been his and Holly’s home for the last few months (as they travelled around Europe) Rich was writing his speech, only emerging to give the freshly constructed ceremony stage a sweep.

Soon it was time for the ceremony, and like all Humanist ceremonies it was carefully crafted and very personal. I (and the guests) always enjoy these ceremonies immensely, and hopefully if current machinations in parliament are successful they’ll get the same legal status that they have in Scotland. After a brief detour to the bottom of the field with the congregation in tow we all headed to the garden for drinks, etc. then it was time for food, speeches, cocktails and a bit of football.

As darkness fell there was a bonfire for a bit of warmth, before the dance floor opened and the shape-throwing commenced. Holly and her sister took to the decks (well, the iPad) for a short set before my night ended with a splendid fireworks display, courtesy of Holly’s dad of course.

Moreves Barn Wedding Photography – Laura and Neil

So, lots of Suffolk weddings in 2013, and this wasn’t even the last one. With the wedding a few days before Hallowe’en, there were pumpkins a plenty and lots of autumnal colour.

One obvious thing missing from this set is shots of the ceremony. It’s thankfully rare to be told that I’m not allowed to take any photographs at all during the ceremony, the last time being in 2010, 120 weddings ago! I’d had prior warning that this would be the case at St. Lawrence’s in Great Waldingfield from blog posts by fellow photographers, so it wasn’t a surprise when the law was laid down, but obviously unfortunate for Laura and Neil.

A short drive down the road to Moreves Barn, and we had bagpipes, wellies, a plethora of polaroids and not only a top table, but a cake in the shape of a top table. And dancing. Crazy amounts of dancing.

Mitton Hall Wedding Photography – Laura and Simon

This was one of my favourite weddings this year. Not because the father of the groom photographed the group shots (I’m free!), or because I had my own place setting and three course meal with the guests (never requested, but always gratefully received), or because the venue was very nice (it was), or because the female vicar was accommodating (more on that later), but because Laura and Simon are two lovely people who were very excited about their wedding photography and had surrounded themselves with lots of lovely friends and family who helped make my day very enjoyable.

Belle Epoque Wedding Photography – Liz and Dan

Since moving to Belper, the little town in Derbyshire that I call home, two and a half years ago I’ve managed to meet and work with a whole load of people who come from here, despite them having moved away. Liz is another one of those, and it was quite strange to be all the way over in Cheshire and see a ‘Belper’ table on the plan!

After getting ready at the home in Didsbury that she shares with Dan, everything moved down the road to St. James’ Church for the ceremony, then on to Knutsford to the Belle Epoqué for drinks in the autumn sunshine, feasting, speaking and shape throwing.

The Olde Bell Wedding Photography – Rachel and Gareth

I get the odd weepy bride, and even more weepy grooms, but Rachel and Gareth are easily my most tearful couple crying through most of their ceremony. My third wedding at The Olde Bell in Hurley, it was my first time at nearby St. Mary the Virgin Church, with one of the most accommodating vicars of the year!

With autumn quickly turning to winter everyone returned to the Olde Bell and stayed tucked up inside with ale and winter Pimms the drinks of choice.

Islington Town Hall Wedding Photography – Reika and Martyn

It’s always nice to do a small wedding at least once a year, and with Martyn’s family having emigrated to Australia, and Reika having left her family in Japan, a small wedding is exactly what they got. Martyn is close friends with Hannah & Alex whose wedding I photographed in 2010, and appeared to know most of their friends and some of their family as I recognised nearly all of the guests!

After getting ready at home, Martyn left Reika in the capable hands of her sister, and they met again shortly afterwards at Islington Town Hall for their ceremony. Then came a short walk through Islington to The Drapers Arms for drinks and lunch.

Spring Grove House Wedding Photography – Jenny and Paul

If you sense a wildlife theme in Jenny and Paul’s wedding images, that’s because Spring Grove House is right in the middle of West Midland Safari Park. Although the animals were well contained well away from the wedding, they feature prominently in the house, from the animal print carpets to the huge mural on the staircase and as numerous ornaments all around the place.

The park also contains a small fairground, with a carousel that the happy couple were invited to have a go on. Unfortunately due to ‘health and safety’ the ride wasn’t allowed to be moving (!), so understandably they quickly lost interest and headed back to the party.

With the wedding breakfast complete (at tables named after Jenny and Paul’s favourite bands) and the speeches enjoyed, the party relocated downstairs in the basement. Great day, great venue and no wild behaviour until after I left.

Islington Metal Works Wedding Photography – Lucy and David

London weddings always offer up a variety of venues from the traditional to the contemporary, but I can honestly say this is the first time I have shot a wedding at a venue that now houses a goth nightclub.

Following the ceremony at nearby St James’ church, everyone was shipped off to Islington Metal Works where they were greeted by a tube train as a bar, enough mirrorballs to decorate a giant Christmas tree, umbrellas hanging from the roof and an extensive gallery of framed family photographs, all contained within a converted Victorian stables.

It was also my first contact with cake pops (much to my wife’s amazement) as the wedding party had created a forest of them in all manner of colours and sparkly bits. It’s the future!