Stephanie and Gareth’s Chandos House wedding a couple of weeks ago was full of love, warmth and giggles. Â The giggles were mostly coming from Stephanie, although not far behind was her father’s more manly laughter. Â During their getting ready they play-acted some of their father-daughter roles: walking down the aisle to a 1-2-3 beat, him kissing her on both cheeks (Mwah! Mwah!) and giving Stephanie’s hand to Gareth. Gareth simply beamed throughout the day.
I started with Stephanie in the latter stages of getting ready, while make up artist Melanie Crump was adding the finishing touches and putting on Stephanie’s veil.
Stephanie’s bridesmaids see her for the first time in her dress.
Stephanie’s father has a last-minute traditional touch – a coin for her shoe – what a gallant gentleman he is.
Stephanie and her bridesmaids pick up their bouquets from their layers of tissue …
… and after a last bit of lip gloss, we’re off.
At this point I should explain how much I love Chandos House – it’s incredibly pretty and the paintwork and other features have been kept in great repair. Â The flowers were byÂ Scarlet + Violet, which apparently did Kate Moss’ bouquet for her Gloucestershire wedding – and one of my favourite designersÂ Celia BirtwellÂ is also a fan. The floral arrangements, buttonholes and bouquets were perfect: the buttonholes exquisite and not too large, the bouquets looking generous without overpowering Stephanie and her bridesmaids and the arrangements around Chandos House were stunning and in balance with the colourful paintwork.
Stephanie and Gareth’s cake was from Cakes 4 Fun – and chosen after an arduous tasting session sampling orange, banana, cinnamon and chocolate. (One of the lesser-known hazards of being a wedding photographer is that chatting with clients about their plans can often make you hungry).
Now – back to Stephanie and Gareth – we took about 15 minutes for some portraits about Chandos House.
All too soon, it was time for Stephanie and Gareth’s wedding breakfast – starting with a grand entrance.
Stephanie and Gareth had spent many hours putting together their detective themed table plan with a book from each of the featured authors on each table.
Stephanie’s father had everyone in stitches with his speech.
Hull couple Jenny and Phil chose London’s Westminster Register Office and Notting Hill pub The Mall Tavern for their wedding reception because it was where they first met. Â Or rather, Phil chose it as he organised all the wedding – all Jenny had to do was choose something to wear and turn up (in his words). Â Jenny and her bridesmaids started their day by getting ready at the Grand Royale Hotel, which was once the home of actress Lilly Langtry. Â The hotel had offered the use of the hotel’s ornate theatre for make-up and hairdressing, so it was rather grand. It was also an area for storing luggage, so alongside the opulence, there was a huge assortment of suitcases surrounding us.
Back in Jenny’s room, we looked at some fabulous shoes: hers in black and her bridesmaids’ in red.
Not often you see four brides at once – and certainly not ones wearing such a fabulous birdcage veil. Jenny’s necklace was a birthday present from Phil.
Jenny and her father just before they headed for Old Marylebone Town Hall.
When Jenny arrived at Westminster Register Office, one of their registrars Amanda asked her to twirl – it seems Jenny’s skirt DOES swirl out a long way.
Â It was time for Phil to see Jenny in all her loveliness – he and the guests had been waiting patiently in Westminster Register Office’s Blue Room.
The boys had made sure their socks matched the day’s red theme.
As well as the legal part of their ceremony, Jenny and Phil added their own wedding vows, with Phil promising to keep Jenny in shoes, vintage dresses, holidays and mocha coffees and Jenny promising to look after Phil even when suffering from man flu, accept his being late and to make him a cup of tea every morning for the rest of her life.
After a couple of photographs of Jenny and Phil and their bridal party on the famous steps of Old Marylebone Town Hall, they and their guests hopped onto a Routemaster bus for a tour of London.
When we got to the London Eye and South Bank Centre, the bus stopped for a break and some wedding portraits on the South Bank. Jenny and Phil were thrilled with the idea of riding on a carousel for a few portraits.
If you see Mickey Mouse, you just have to, don’t you?!
And an ice-cream!
Upon arriving at The Mall Tavern, Jenny and Phil had a few drinks then a couple of portraits nearby.
My part of the day finished while everyone sat down for a delicious looking menu in the late summer afternoon sun.
Michi and Chur’s Oaks Farm wedding was a really thoughtful day with a bringing together of European and Chinese customs and showing off Chur’s design talents and patience.
The day started with Michi getting ready at Oaks Farm in the cottage with her family and friends.
Michi’s parents chose to sit calmly outside in the sunshine while most of the getting ready was going on.
Meanwhile, in the Victorian barn, the harpist was practising Michi’s entrance music and Chur’s family were putting finishing touches to the floral arrangements.
Everything was in place for the ceremony – a nervous groom and a nervous best man, who is also getting married this summer.
After their ceremony, Michi and Chur went outside for confetti and family congratulations.
Chur’s Hong Kong family heritage came into play as he and Michi took part in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Â In this, the couple show their respect for their elders by serving tea to their parents and grandparents. Â It’s also a time for the older generations to give gifts – traditionally in red embellished envelopes and sometimes precious items – in this case a necklace and bracelet for Michi.
Chur’s mother mentioned at this point that she would like a grandchild – and a few seconds later, this wish expanded into wanting perhaps four grandchildren – hence Michi’s giggles.
Another of the Chinese traditions at Michi and Chur’s wedding was a red tablelcoth that guests signed as well as a more traditional message book.
Michi and Chur took time out for champagne and chatting to their guests while I captured reportage photographs of their family and friends. Some of the youngest guests were especially keen on the garden games that had been organised for them.
Michi’s mother had made endless metres of bunting for the wedding, using many materials that were familiar from her childhood. Â It was strung around the Oaks Farm grounds for drinks and the orangery throughout the day.
We spent about 20 minutes around Oaks Farm for some wedding portraits.
Michi and Chur had spent countless hours working on their details, including a birdy table plan and using a combination of circus-style fonts for signage. Table names had a theme of childhood desserts.
Chur’s mother put together this array of cakes and wedding cupcakes – teaching herself how to cook and decorate them especially for the occasion.
The day had its speeches before the wedding breakfast.
Throughout the meal, Michi’s father kept a close eye on his sleeping grand-daughter.
Chur jokes with his friends – he had written the Chinese part of his speech phonetically so he could read it easily.
The day was also Chur’s father’s 60th birthday – so it was time for more cake.
Michi’s brother and sister-in-law sang “More than Words” as their contribution to the day.
It’s the end of a very long day at Sibyl + John’s wedding at Dartmouth House and there was no doubt this had to be the single. Â It’s such a sweet moment between Sibyl and her mother putting on a bracelet that was Sibyl’s ‘something borrowed’ from a long-time family friend.
On a day when it seems most eyes of the nation are on another couple getting married, I wanted to blog the rest of Vanessa and Richard’s photographs – their ceremony at Westminster Register Office and wedding reception at 51 Buckingham Gate, SW1.
Vanessa looked stunning when she arrived with her father, late because of traffic.
Vanessa’s Italian parents and friends were so sweet and emotional throughout the ceremony, as well as Vanessa.
After some well-aimed confetti and rice, Vanessa and their guests hopped on a red Routemaster bus for a tour of London including Regent Street, bedecked in union jacks in readiness for today’s royal wedding.
And finally – 51 Buckingham Gate for drinks, a scrumptious meal and speeches.