Sharon & Raph Allard’s Wedding at Holy Cross Church Greenford

This was a wedding that took me to an unfamiliar area and away from my normal commissions in and around my local county Surrey.

I’ve never been to Greenford before, and or even Uxbridge in all honesty – Heathrow was the only nearby area that I vaguely knew and that’s only because of the airport!

So, it was to prove an interesting adventure, and so like with all my bookings I conducted a pre-wedding meeting a month prior to Sharon and Raph’s wedding date to view the church and the reception venues.

I was pleased to discover that Holy Cross Church was a marvelous historic Grade I listed building with originals parts dating from the 14th century – it had plenty of character and delightful textured timber rendering on the exterior, all of which gave me some really nice options for some of the bride & groom portraits.

It was just as well that the church and it’s surrounding yard offered a healthy array of photographic options, as the reception venue at Uxbridge Football Club was naturally never going to be conducive to photography with it being exactly what it was; a football club!

I did also stumble across another potential area on that same day of the consultation meeting when traveling from the church to the football club; there is an extraordinary newly built public park/open space called Northala fields based upon the A40 Western Avenue.  This is a relatively newly constructed park, and it boasts two impressive man-made mounds that offer viewpoints across central London (apparently an interesting fact is that the mounds were created using rubble from the demolition of the original Wembley!), plus also a natural lake area for wildlife as well as recreational play areas for children.  It could have offered some really unique photo opportunities for portraits, and I did ‘frame up’ some potential shots when I scouted the area – sadly we didn’t have the time available to utilise the area on the wedding day, and in all honesty as fab as it would have been to have gone there it was never going to be an easy nor practical operation!  Shame, maybe another time…

Anyway, back to the wedding day – this was an all day affair with full coverage, and so I set off to start shooting the bridal preparations at Sharon’s mum’s house to start with, before then moving onto the church an hour before the ceremony to then meet Raph the groom for some portraits of him and his best man.

Raph is of Caribbean origin, and let’s just say that he’s a very chilled and laid back guy – and this was reflected in the respect that he was meant to have met me at the church at 2pm, but didn’t arrive until around 12.35pm!

He had instead been sinking a couple of pre-ceremony beers with his cousin at one of the local pubs.

Fortunately we still had enough time to capture some shots of him and Vas his best man, before everyone then headed into the church to await Sharon’s arrival.

Sharon arrived shortly afterwards and everything went according to plan with regards to the ceremony, or at least pretty much everything apart from one small hiccup when Vas was called upon to give the rings to the reverend – he could only find what appeared to be one of the wedding rings!  This cued some nervous laughs from the bride and groom as well as some of the congregation whilst Vas desparately searched his pockets and inner-lining of his suit for the missing ring… after a couple of minutes of frantic searching it then came to light that Sharon’s wedding ring had lodged itself within Raph’s ring so it had been there all along albeit not obviously!

Fair play to Neil the reverend, he made very light humour of the situation and I have to say that he is one of the most relaxed clergy that I’ve had the pleasure of photographing under; he was so accommodating and understanding, practically allowing me a free reign (within reason) which isn’t normally the case with some churches.

Once the missing ring saga had been resolved the remainder of the service ran without a further hitch.

After the ceremony we quickly conducted all the formal group shots to then allow the guests to then head onto the reception venue and leave us alone to photograph the bride & groom portraits.

Sharon and Raph were great, as at this point with it being a late service (3pm) time was getting on and the sun was withdrawing on us along with the temperature, so it wasn’t the ‘warmest’ of environments for posing for pictures but we got through them as efficiently as possible and I’m sure that they both would agree that having seen the results it was well worth it.

With the formals then in the bag we headed onto the reception venue, just leaving me the speeches, detail shots, cutting of the cake and the first dance to navigate.

The speeches provided various speakers – I’d go as far as saying that I’ve never attended a wedding with so many speakers in fact!  That not being a negative thing, as it was nice to see so many people willing to give their own personal reflection on Sharon & Raph and wish them well for their future together.

There were certainly some characters amongst them, and these always create great pictures – their expressions whilst delivering their lines and memories and then the reactions of the engaged audience.

All in all it was a long but good day, and I was pleased with the images that we captured throughout, some of which I have added below.

If anyone wishes to view the full wedding reel then please feel free!

Bridal wedding preparations in Greenford

Groom & best man portrait at Holy Cross Church, Greenford

Bridal march during wedding ceremony at Holy Cross Church, greenford

wedding guest at wedding at Holy Cross church, greenford

Bride and groom exchanging their vows during wedding ceremony

Inside of Holy Cross Church, Greenford during a wedding ceremony

Bride and groom portrait photography at Holy Cross Church in Greenford

Bride portrait photography at Holy Cross Church in Greenford

Bride and groom wedding portrait photography at Holy Cross Church in Greenford

groomsmen at Holy Cross Church in Greenford

Bride and groom wedding portrait photography at Holy Cross Church in Greenford

Bride and groom wedding portrait photography at Holy Cross Church in Greenford

Groom reportage portrait photograph taken at Uxbridge Footbal Club

Bride and groom's first dance at the wedding reception at Uxbridge Football Club

Vanessa & Peter Carson-Frost’s Wedding, St Mark’s Church, Staplefield

Exactly one week prior to Christmas, and a tonne of snowfall ensured that this was to be a festive wedding!

I have to admit that I was incredibly nervous come the Saturday morning, with forecasts of snow on the cards and a journey to Staplefield (just past Horsham) from Carshalton, I was keeping my fingers crossed that hopefully the snow wouldn’t arrive until I had at least successfully made it to the venue.

With reservations regarding the weather, I decided to leave at 10am to allow myself a healthy 2hrs 30mins to make it to St Mark’s Church.  It indeed proved to be a very wise decision, as the snow began to fall heavily no sooner than having left my home!

The weather was treacherous, and as a result traffic grounded to a stand still on many occasions.  The worst part of the journey was traveling on the M23, the visibility at that point was only what I can describe as a “white-out”, and many cars were struggling to cope with amount of snow that was then steadily building up on the roads.  Fortunately I had borrowed the mother-in-law’s 4×4, which was a God-send given the conditions that I had embarked upon.

After all the stop-starting, and the slow crawling pace throughout, I ended up just making it with 10 minutes to spare; having taken me 2 hours 20mins to travel all of 23 miles!

I was due to meet Peter, the groom at 12.30pm in preparation to take some portraits of him and the best man prior to the start of the service at 1pm – unfortunately the snow impacted Peter’s timings, and for the first time in my experience, I witnessed the groom keep the bride waiting (sorry Peter!)!  In the end, poor Peter was in fact a whole 1 hour and 30mins late!!!

Once he finally arrived, the show went on, and I have to say that Vanessa had remained incredibly calm and understanding throughout, which given the fact that she had initially arrived at 12.30pm meant that she had been predominantly sitting in the car for just shy of 2 hours (aside of coming out for some pictures with the bridesmaids). She was a model of patience without offering a whimper of frustration.

Due to the overrunning schedule, upon completing the wedding service we had to change the plans for the bride and groom portraits – originally we had penciled in a specific location just down the road, but there was not going to be sufficient time nor quality of light to continue with that agenda.  As a result we had to improvise with what was available to us within the Church grounds, and to be fair it wasn’t the end of the world as there were a couple of surrounding elements that offered some nice features for pictures.

It was disappointing that we didn’t have the opportunity to have visit the original location for additional shots, but I think we still achieved a nice balance despite the limitations.

I have added a handful of select images below as a taster…

Some people adore the magic of winter weddings, and it is easy to see why people love the romance of a beautiful snow filled landscape – it is indeed a thing of beauty and tranquility and can offer some stunning images.  However, for all it’s beauty on the flip side it can reap havoc, and that was evident at Vanessa & Peter’s wedding in the respect that it thwarted quite a few of their relatives to attend thanks to what was an impossible journey from Essex. A great shame, and you do feel for the couple – all the month’s of preparation and money spent on planning and booking the venues and the catering – and then the weather robs you the opportunity to enjoy and share your big day with some of those you hold dear.

It must be said that despite that and the events of the day, Vanessa and Peter were great fun to be around – a truly happy and jolly couple – they were constantly smiling, laughing and beaming throughout, and that rubs off on you the photographer.  I thoroughly enjoyed their company, and I think that many of their images reflect the happiness that I speak of.  Thank you for being great sports!

Please feel free to view Vanessa and Peter’s full wedding images here should you wish to have a further look.

St Mark's Church, Staplefield

St Mark's Church, Staplefield

Vanessa Carson-Frost waiting in car

Vanessa awaiting in the car

Vanessa on her mobile

Vanessa remained incredibly calm and in good spirits whilst waiting for Peter!

Bride's bouquet

Vanessa's bouquet

Vanessa and her wellies

Vanessa dons the wellies - a much needed bridal accessory in the snow

Vanessa big smile

Vanessa is all smiles during the ceremony

St Mark's Church interior

The fabulous interior of St Mark's Church

Peter and Vanessa at the sheltered gate

Peter and Vanessa at the sheltered gate entrance to the chuch grounds

Intimate Sheletered gate portrait

Tight crop of intimate portrait under the sheltered gate entrance

Peter and vanessa at the front side of the church yard

Vanessa and Peter in the church grounds

Vanessa & Peter at the main entrance of St Mark's church

Vanessa & Peter at the main entrance of St Mark's church

Elizabeth & Chris’ Wedding, The Royal Terrace Hotel, Edinburgh

Happy New Year to all!

This is my first post for 2011, and following getting back to work after all the festivities, I have now finalised the editing of Elizabeth & Chris’ wedding photographs as taken on Saturday 8th December 2010.

Elizabeth and Chris were married at the Royal Terrace Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland – with the civil ceremony and the reception all taking place within this splendid four star facility.

The Hotel is part of an impressive terrace of prestigious Georgian townhouses, overlooking Scotland’s historic capital.  It was a lovely hotel rich in character and various visual elements that offered many opportunities for capturing some lovely shots throughout the big day.

I arrived in Edinburgh a couple of days prior to the wedding (flew up from Gatwick), and was welcomed to a snowy wonderland – despite the fact that we here in Surrey had just recovered from our first batch of snow, the weather had still been hitting Edinburgh hard.

I recall someone claiming that it was the largest amount of snowfall that they had received for some years throughout the month of December, and or if not ‘the‘ most on record as apparently it rarely snows there in December – a claim that did surprise me as it is Scotland, but I was assured that whilst it was not abnormal for snow to hit other areas of Scotland at that time of year, it was still fairly rare for Edinburgh…

Anyhow, I wasn’t too upset that there was snow, yes it is a pain at times but if you have a ‘game’ bride and groom then it can offer some lovely seldom and peaceful looking shots. Fortunately for me both Elizabeth and Chris were real stars and embraced the conditions, allowing us to capture some fabulous shots.

Despite the snowfall, it was incredibly mild and ironically it had been colder back home in Surrey than it was there in Edinburgh!

As a result of the mild temperatures, the snow did start to thaw and slowly reduce in the build up to the wedding day, but there was still enough present in the hotel’s gardens to capture some ‘winter’ themed images.

Anyway, I have added some images below for reference from the wedding shoot for all to view, so please do scroll down to have a look.

There is also the option for anyone to view the images from the full wedding day should they wish to look on in further depth…

I will be posting again shortly, I have to finish editing another wedding shoot that was captured the week prior to Christmas, plus I’ve also conducted a couple of portrait shoots over the festive break – so please do check back again soon, or best still why not subscribe to my RSS feed; it’s very easy to do and you will be kept up-to-date with any new posts as they happen…

Elizabeth's wedding dress

Elizabeth's wedding dress

Elizabeth's Wedding Jewellery

Elizabeth's Wedding Jewellery

Elizabeth McWilliams bridal preparations

Elizabeth's bridal preparations

Elizabeth & Chris McWilliams Wedding Ceremony

The wedding ceremony

Chris McWilliams & best man

Chris and his best man

Elizabeth & Chris McWilliams bride & groom portraits

Elizabeth & Chris post ceremony portraits in gardens

Elizabeth & Chris post ceremony portraits in gardens

Elizabeth & Chris post ceremony portraits in gardens

Elizabeth & Chris post ceremony portrait by pond

Elizabeth & Chris post ceremony portraits in gardens

Elizabeth & Chris post ceremony portrait on stairs in the gardens

Elizabeth & Chris post ceremony portraits in gardens


The men and their Kilts!

Elizabeth and her bridesmaid

Elizabeth and her bridesmaid

Royal Terrace Hotel sign and wedding cake

Wedding cake and Royal Terrace Hotel signage

Elizabeth and Chris internal staircase portrait

Elizabeth and Chris internal staircase portrait

Chris' neice

A candid natural portrait of Chris' niece

Elizabeth and Chris' first dance

Elizabeth and Chris' first dance