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!