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!

 

Carly & Joe’s Wedding, Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex

Recently I managed to get my own piece of the  ‘Only way is Essex‘ experience when I was given the priviledge of photographing Carly & Joe’s wedding at ParklandsQuendon Hall, in Essex.

This was a special wedding; a stunning bride, a grand venue, and an amazing marque!

With the weather remaining dry after initially threatening to rain the ceremony was conducted outside, which made a nice change to have the freedom to roam without the constraints of a room and it’s walls.

Following on from the ceremony, I had found a corn field to the rear of the venue’s grounds and persuaded the couple to head over to it to capture some portraits of them standing within the waves of corn.  I was surprised when the videographer informed me that he had been commissioned many times before at the venue, yet none of the other photographers on those previous jobs had bothered to take their couples to the corn field for some pictures – to me they had certainly missed a trick!

The venue lent itself well for many photographic opportunities, so we were spoiled for choice.

The wedding breakfast was held in an incredibly lavish marque – definitely the most glamorous I have had the pleasure to either photograph at and or even attend as a guest come to that matter!  It even had a brand new white carpet!  Wow, I mean, white carpet – not a practical colour, but it looked absolutely gorgeous, and I have to say it was also helpful for me too as it helped aided the light levels within the marque (white reflects light to those who might not know).

The dance floor was another stand out feature – shiny white reflective tiles, but more impressively they had LED lights embedded within the tiles too!  Fantastic.

It was a great day, and it resulted in some great images throughout too.

You can view a handful of the images here below, and for those who are intrigued to view the complete set please feel free to browse them via this link.

 

Bride getting ready at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride getting ready in room at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride walking down the aisle in an outdoor ceremony at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride and groom during outdoor wedding ceremony at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride and groom walking through corn field at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride and groom posing for wedding photographs in a cornfield at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride and groom kissing at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride and groom sitting on a bench during their wedding at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride and daughter at wedding at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride and groom posing for wedding photographs at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Wedding cake in the marque at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Boy posing with a pencil during a wedding breakfast at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Three young bridesmaids in the marque at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride posing within grounds at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex
Bride and groom performing their first dance in the marque at Parklands, Quendon Hall, Essex

M&S Wedding at Buxted Park Hotel, East Sussex

Due to privacy I have agreed to not name the couple of this wedding, and shall refer to them as M&S.

This was another new wedding venue for me, this time based in East Sussex, M&S held their wedding ceremony at 13th century St Thomas A’becket Framfield Church in Uckfield.

This was slightly further out from my normal haunts in Surrey, but it was a delightful embark into the beautiful East Sussex countryside, and the church lived up to the classic stereotypical old English village church.

The ceremony all went to plan smoothly and without a hitch, and with the weather in true top form it was a perfect setting for M&S.

After quickly grabbing a couple of portraits of the bride and groom utilising the church yard’s gate way, we then headed off to the amazing reception venue; Buxted Park Hotel.

Wow, what a venue!  I absolutely loved this venue, it had stunning and vast external grounds – which provided us with so many photographic opportunities.  We were truly spoiled for choice.

Whilst we captured quite a selection of portraits of the couple, there were still so many more that I could have gone on to photograph – but you have to draw the line somewhere; after all there is a balance to be made between capturing enough photos for your client and not keeping them away from their wedding party for too long!

All in all I think there was a fab selection throughout the day, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable, even though it was hard work in the hot sun – but we got some great images.

You can view the images from the day here, and or scroll down below to a selection for an insight…

Bride getting ready at Buxted Park Hotel, East Susex
groom and best man at St Thomas Becket Church yard in Framfield in East Sussex
Bride arriving at St Thomas Becket Church in Framfield, East Sussex
Bride walking down the altar at St Thomas Becket Church, Framfield in East Sussex
Bride saying her vows at St Thomas Becket Church, Framfield, in East Sussex
bride and groom at chancery step in the St Thomas Becket Church, Framfield in East Sussex
Bride and groom kissing in St Thomas Becket Church, Framfield in East Sussex
Bride and groom outside St Thomas Becket Church, Framfield in East Sussex
Bride and groom celebrating with champagne outside St Thomas Becket Church, Framfield in East Sussex
Bride and groom walking through a shower of confetti at St Thomas Becket Church, Framfield in East Sussex
Bride and groom sitting at the gates at St Thomas Becket Church, Framfield, in East Sussex
Bride and groom posing at the gateway of St Thomas Becket Church, Framfield in East Sussex
Bride and groom in a wedding car wing mirror at Buxted Park Hotel, East Sussex
Bride and groom portraits on rear steps at Buxted Park Hotel by the pond, in Uckfield, East Sussex
Bride and groom kissing by the pond at Buxted Park Hotel, Uckfield, East Sussex
Bride and groom posing on steps at Buxted Park Hotel, Uckfield, East Sussex
Bride showing off the back of her wedding dress on the steps at Buxted Park Hotel, Uckfield, East Sussex
Bride and groom embracing at Buxted Park Hotel, Uckfield, East Sussex
Bride smiing during speeches at Buxted Park Hotel, Uckfield, East Sussex
Groom smiing during speeches at Buxted Park Hotel, Uckfield, East Sussex