Stephanie & Jack’s Wedding at Woldingham Golf Club

Steph and Jack’s wedding at Woldingham Golf Club was a particular booking that I had been quite excited about taking on; a very photogenic couple and a lovely new venue to explore!

Further add to that the groom to arrive in style in a red Ferrari, and a rather cool weathered groundsman’s lock-up in their Church’s graveyard… I was always going to be relishing this wedding from a creative point of view.

Woldingham Golf Club Wedding

Bride and groom portrait photograph captured on the grand stair case at woldingham golf club

Bride & groom portraits on the grand staircase at Woldingham Golf Club

Woldingham had been another local venue that had eluded me until this particular wedding, and again it was one that I was keen to photograph at.

I’d been there once before in an ‘off-duty’ capacity as a guest in the past, so had seen first hand the lovely natural landscape that it boasted, as well as the grand external stair case to the clubhouse.

I have to admit that the staircase had grabbed my attention immediately, it was big, grand and I knew straight away that it would offer a dynamic backdrop for some striking bride and groom portraits.

I’m sure the staircase has been used to death in the past by other photographers for group shots and the like, but I just knew that it offered something far more than just an option for some formal group shots, and I think that we nailed some pretty cool portraits that I’d like to think possibly haven’t been shot there before.

No doubt someone may well come back to me informing me that I’m wrong, I certainly don’t say it in an arrogant way to suggest that my images are better than anyone else’s, I merely imply that I’m aware that I have quite a ‘qwerky’ style that is a little bit different. Thankfully there are couples out there who like it, and of whom hire me purely for that exact reason :)

A red Ferrari

Wedding rings placed by the badge of the red ferrari wedding car

Funky wedding cars – a red Ferrari

Being a typical guy, it’s always interesting when the groom arrives in a trendy sports car.

They don’t tend to come more trendier than a red Ferrari!  Now, that is arriving in style, and always grabs everyone’s attention without fail.

Such cars are great for me, as they double up as a useful prop for the groom portraits; it looks great, it’s stylish/iconic, it’s masculine and it’s just damn right cool.

Funnily enough this wasn’t the first wedding that I’d covered that featured a Ferrari, as I’d covered Matt & Daniele’s wedding from back in 2011 and also Sam & Stacey’s wedding last year.

I know that Jack certainly enjoyed the Ferrari, and I definitely enjoyed photographing him with it.  Great fun.

St Mary’s Church in Caterham

Unlike the golf club, I had photographed at St Mary’s Church before, so knew it well.

If I’m being brutally honest, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the wedding ceremony itself… nothing to do with Steph and Jack, nor any concerns with the interior of the church itself or low lighting conditions (that said it isn’t the brightest in there!).  No, the thing that was worrying me was being refused permission to photograph the ceremony – just as I had been four years back for a previous wedding there.

I held some hope when my bride and groom informed me that it was a lady vicar carrying out the ceremony, and i had recalled that the previous time had been with a man, so a different personnel might have meant a change in parish rules?

Those hopes were soon dashed when I approached the lady vicar prior to the start of the ceremony and she then informed me that I would only be allowed to take photos from the back of the church and nowhere else (aside of signing of the register).

Now, this is a subject that always both disappoints and frustrates me.

Fortunately it doesn’t happen all that often, and most churches are incredibly reasonable and grant us photographers and videographers permission to stand somewhere at the front of the church through the ceremony to capture all those tender moments during the vowels and throughout the whole service.

I accept that maybe in the defence of a church that refuses, that they might have had a bad experience(s) in the past with photographers, and I bet that there is a good chance that a photographer may have neglected the trust that was shown to them to photograph discreetly and within certain areas.  In which case I can understand why a stance may have been adopted.

The problem is that by restricting the photographer, they aren’t punishing the photographer, they are in fact only punishing the bride and groom as it is their photos and not ours that we are capturing.  This is the same people who are paying the church a healthy sum for the occasion.

It ironically in fact makes the photographer’s job easier in stark contrast, as they can’t capture as many images as they normally would, so are technically working less, and will have less images to edit as a result afterwards!

Whilst that is the case, I certainly would always prefer to be be allowed to do my job and ensuring that I capture all the shots that I normally would at the front of the church, resulting in giving my couples those natural documentation images that they want and will cherish.

So, sadly, I had to do as I was told and remain at the back of the church for the duration of the service, although I did manage to persuade the vicar to allow me to at least stand at the front of the altar briefly at the very beginning to capture Steph walking down the aisle.

The best man plays a prank on the unsuspecting groom

Fantastic and original best man prank

One of the positives that I did take from being sentenced to the back of the church was that I was able to capture a brilliant visual prank on the groom that had been enstowed upon him by his best man.

Frank had managed, unknowingly to the groom, to use tippex to write ‘HE’ on Jack’s left shoe sole and ‘LP’ on the right one.  Basically this meant that when the groom knelt down at the altar alongside his bride for a blessing, his two feet were placed together with the soles united next to each other and facing back towards me which spelled out the word ‘HELP’!

Of course the congregation just like myself noticed this, and there was much laughter and giggles as a result, much to the bemusement of the bride and groom.

It was very funny, and a prank that I’ve not seen before.  It went without saying, of course I obliged to take a photo of it!

You can view all the mentioned photos and references in the slideshow video at the top of the page.

See what you make of the Woldingham stair case… please let me know your thoughts :)

Antonina & Dale’s Wedding at Ravens Ait Island in Kingston Upon Thames

Is it me, or are top hats coming back into fashion for weddings?

You’re probably wondering why am I asking such a random question at the beginning of a blog post?

Well, fear not, I’m not mad!

Over the 7 years of shooting weddings I had not photographed one where they featured, then come 2014 and bizarrely I photographed three weddings within close proximity of each other that did!

Our groom, Dale, in this particular wedding made the conscious decision that he and his groomsmen would indeed go very traditional and don the hat and tails – and I thoroughly enjoyed his decision as it meant that I had an extra few props for photos.

Anyway, getting back to the real point of this blog post – the wedding itself…

Antonina and Dale’s wedding was always going to be a large affair – Antonina has Italian roots and a large family to boot, so when she told me that there was going to be 200+ guests I wasn’t particularly surprised.

It’s always interesting to be involved with a wedding where there is a mixture of two different nationalities and cultures, and this wedding was no different – if anything I was more intrigued as Italians are renown for being a passionate bunch.

I was even more intrigued as to what the atmosphere would be like at their wedding, as ironically enough it just so happened that England were playing Italy that evening in their World Cup game!

Rest assured, despite the mix of English and Italian guests the football never threatened to take away the focus of the wedding, nor any problems amongst the guests themselves – if anything it added some playful banter to the day. This being underlined during the speeches when the father of the bride handed Dale the groom a present after welcoming him into the family – yes you guessed it, it was an Italian football shirt!

St Teresa’s Church – the ceremony

Antonina coming from a Catholic background and living in Sutton, was going to marry at her local Parish – St Teresa’s Catholic Church in Morden.

If you know of the church, you’ll know that whilst it is quite nice inside, there isn’t a great deal of scope for many photos outside.  That said, we still managed to get some nice shots of Dale and the groomsmen before the ceremony within the grounds utilising the limited options around us.

Ravens Ait Island – the reception

After the ceremony itself we conducted the traditional group shots outside the main church entrance, and then made our way to their reception venue Ravens Ait Island in Kingston Upon Thames.

This was another new venue for me, and one that certainly was very unique and different to anything else.

Basically, it’s a venue that is situated on it’s own island in the middle of the Thames.  It’s based between Kingston and Hampton Court.  The only way that you can actually access it, is via a boat!

The logistics mean that all guests were ferried over in batches of 15-20 people at a time (its only a two minute journey from one side to the other) by a boat supplied by the venue.

Whilst this went on, Antonina and Dale were provided a small boat of their own and were taken for a ride down the Thames whilst enjoying a couple of glasses of champagne and some canapés – a very nice touch!

The venue itself is quite versatile, it can provide weddings a choice between an internal function or a marquee – Antonina and Dale opted for the latter.

I have to say I was extremely impressed with the marquee, when I went in there to take some photos of it all set up, it looked absolutely stunning!  They had a yellow colour theme, and their decor throughout was impeccable with amazing floral designs, table arrangements (featuring lots of real lemons I add!) and lanterns suspended from the ceiling.

The photo opportunities for the bride and groom portraits on the island might not seem obvious on first impressions, but when you start to look closer there are quite a few qwerky options – some of which really suit my style and reflect the way that I like to introduce interesting elements into my composition of portraits.

If you watch the slideshow below, you’ll be able to see some of the shots that feature such qwerky backdrops and elements.

It was a fun wedding – probably the largest one that I’ve photographed in terms of the number of guests.

The only downer was the result of the football – although I’m sure that the Ribaudo family certainly enjoyed it, unlike the English contingency!


Alexandra & Vishal’s Wedding at Nonsuch Mansion in Cheam, Surrey

I thought that it would be an appropriate time to post this wedding up on the blog as Alexandra and Vishal have recently just celebrated their first year’s anniversary of marriage!

They tied the knot at Nonsuch Mansion in Nonsuch Park in August 2013.

Ironically enough, whilst Nonsuch is a local venue to me, it had been elusive one that I’d been waiting a long time to receive a commission for a wedding.

Anyone who also lives locally to Cheam, will most likely be aware of Nonsuch Mansion and what a marvellous Georgian periodic venue it is.

It had been a venue that I was very keen to explore with a real wedding, and so, naturally, I was delighted when Alexandra and Vishal booked me to capture their big day for them there.

I was extremely fortunate that I had a perfect wedding to capture; a stunning venue and a brilliant couple – they were willing, enthusiastic, and just as importantly they shared my humour so I had an amazing time, and I’d like to think that we got some pretty cool shots too!

An amazing venue, and a likewise couple always guarantees great results, as a photographer you can’t ask for more.

One thing that also stuck out for me for this particular wedding was that I don’t think I’ve shot a wedding that had so much raw emotion between the newlyweds – the tears flowed regularly throughout the day, which again provided me with some beautiful natural photos.

Anyway, I shall leave you to have a look for yourselves.

Happy Anniversary Alex & Vish, I hope that your first year together as man & wife has been amazing – best of luck with your new arrival in the Autumn! :)

Rachael & Rob’s Wedding at The Grange, Beddington Park

Here’s a slideshow video to showcase a selection of the official photographs from Rachael and Rob’s wedding at The Grange in Beddington Park, Beddington Surrey.

I’m a recommended supplier at The Grange, and do quite a few weddings each year there as a result – one thing that I have to say, is that I never tire of this venue… the surrounding park offers a wealth of photographic opportunities that continue to entice me to try new things.

It really is a delight to work at, and everything is all nicely located closely to each other, that we can jump from one portrait location to another.

I’m also pleased to say that one of the images from this wedding was entered into The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographer’s Traditional Wedding Photography Competition for July, and it received a ‘Highly Commended’ award – a testament to the quality of location at my disposal for composing a striking bridal portrait.

Please feel free to play the embedded slideshow below and have a browse of the backdrops that I mention, I think that you’ll agree that The Grange does lend itself as a picturesque location for a wedding…


Sophie & Jimi’s Wedding at Addington Palace, Croydon

Sophie and Jimi’s wedding was a nice and local affair, with the ceremony taking place in my hometown of Wallington at the Holy Trinity Church.

I started off with the bridal preparations at Sophie’s parents house, before then meeting Jimi at the church for some quick portraits of him and the groomsmen.

Unbeknown to Jimi, Sophie had planned him a little secret – he was to be driven to the church in a replica 1980’s A-Team van! Being of that generation myself, I was pretty impressed with his transportation as it delivered a healthy dose of nostalgia from my own childhood.

Sadly there was no Hannibal, Mr T, Face or Murdock to join the celebrations on this occasion, but Jimi was flanked with his very own group of men! Despite being a Wallingtonian, I’d strangely not photographed at Holy Trinity before.

I was quite pleased to alas be commissioned for a wedding there, as I’ve always eyed up the unusual blue painted doors at the front side of the church – they’re such a lovely vibrant blue that it just pops, and so I of course made sure that we captured a couple of portraits of the happy couple by these after the ceremony before departing for the wedding reception.

Moving onto the reception, Jimi hadn’t been the only one treated to transportation on the day – the couple had hired an old routemaster bus to transfer their guests from Wallington to Addington Palace in Croydon.

Sophie and Jimi meanwhile travelled in a modern Rolls Royce – I don’t think that Sophie fancied a ride in the A-team van as her wedding vehicle!

If you’re not too familiar with Addington Palace, it’s an 18th-century mansion set within 163 acres of land based in Croydon, and is steeped in history – apparently Henry VIII once had  a hunting lodge there.

As you can imagine, it therefore is a very grand venue, which boasts some fabulous decor, all of which we took advantage of when capturing the bride and groom portraits.

Why not have a look at a handful of images from their big day here below…

Bride getting ready at her home in wallington, surrey Bride's wedding dress hanging up in her bedroom Holy Trinity Church in Wallington - Groom posing with an A-Team van as his wedding car Wedding bands being held in the hand of the best man outside the Holy Trinity Church in Wallington, Surrey Bride arrives in her wedding car outside Holy Trinity Church in Wallington Bride walking down the aisle with her father at Holy Trinity Church, Wallington, Surrey Wedding ceremony being held at Holy Trinity Church, Wallington Bride and groom signing the register during their wedding service at Wallington's Holy Trinity Church Bride and groom congratulated outside Holy Trinity Church in Wallington by their congregation Bride and groom posing by the blue doors of Holy Trinity Church in Wallington, Surrey The double decker bus of wedding guests arrives at Addington Palace in Croydon for the wedding reception Rolls Royce wedding car outside the front of the Addington Palace building in Croydon, Surrey Bride and groom pose for some wedding portraits within the external grounds of Addington Palace in Croydon Bride and Groom wedding portraits and posed photos as taken inside Addington Palace in Croydon, Surrey The main room in Addington Palace fully decorated ready for the imminent wedding breakfast Bride and Groom are introduced to the guests by the toastmaster during the start of the wedding breakfast at Addington Palace, Croydon, Surrey Wedding breakfast details shots of the cake and room An aerial shot of the main room at Addington Palace in Croydon Guests enjoying themselves during the wedding breakfast Bride and groom take to the dance floor for their first dance during their wedding reception at Addington Palace in Croydon