Susan and Callum’s Summer Wedding at West Tower Manor House, Lancashire

June 29 2018

Venue – West Tower Manor House, Lancashire

Flowers – The Flower Studio, Manchester

Ice Cream – Ice Cream Dub

The weather in June in the UK can be anything really – cold, wet, sunny, warm – take your pick.  I guess I probably thought that the warm and sunny option was unlikely when I first met with Susan and Callum to discuss their plans but as the heat wave continues in the UK, it turned out to be a very warm and a very sunny day.  On this occasion my camera bag packing list included sun screen… It’s not often that makes the cut!  I’ve still not figured out if booking the ice cream van (Ice Cream Dub) was as a result of the bride and groom’s sixth sense for what the weather was going to be like or if they also understand (as I do) that there is in fact no bad time for ice cream and it would still be appropriate if it was cold and rainy.

West Tower is a lovely place for a wedding – no wonder it has won so many awards.  For six years in a row it has been voted the County Brides North West Wedding Awards Best Wedding Venue.  I love that Susan and Callum and their family and friends had the place to themselves and were able to wander around the grounds (in between the ceremony, dinner and dancing) finding ice cream, shade and thirst quenching beverages at the bars. Apparently air conditioning was one of Callum’s *mustcriteria when they were searching for a wedding venue and I have to admit, that was a welcome relief throughout the day from the sun and warmth.  Well done Callum.

Susan is probably one of the most organised people I know so the day ran like clockwork.  I enjoyed my time with the girls while they got ready in the beautiful bridal suite watching the guests arrive on the lawn downstairs.  The ceremony was simple and pretty with bright yellow flowers from The Flower Studio injecting a real summertime vibe.  Another highlight for me was Callum and his speech – that little waver in his voice when he turned his attention to Susan gave me goose bumps… even in the heat.  The sunset was also something pretty special.

Here are a few of the pictures that we took– Simon was very capably shooting with me throughout the day again.  I am always grateful for his perspective and  company.

Susan & Callum-4142Susan & Callum-4200Susan & Callum-4077Susan & Callum-4227Susan & Callum-4139Susan & Callum-Susan & Callum-4308Susan & Callum-4337Susan & Callum-4205Susan & Callum-4211Susan & Callum-4384Susan & Callum-4255Susan & Callum-4497Susan & Callum-4522Susan & Callum-29019Susan & Callum-4620Susan & Callum-4738Susan & Callum-4752Susan & Callum-2Susan & Callum-4526Susan & Callum-29313Susan & Callum-4644Susan & Callum-9642Susan & Callum-9682Susan & Callum-9683Susan & Callum-9706

Winter Wedding at Chester University

The 2017 wedding season finished for me in a very special way with the wedding of Natalie and Jamie.  It was Nick from www.crystallogicphotography.com leading the day in his most capable and chilled out way with me taking up second shooter duties.

Natalie and Jamie did it their way.  They got married in a very simple early morning service  at Chester Registry Office… with just two witnesses.  After the ceremony, we spent a couple of hours with the newlyweds wandering the city centre and hanging out in a pub.  Then Jamie left Natalie so she could get ready for a second time…. for their humanist service at Chester University.

It was the first wedding that Chester University had ever hosted but Churchill House on the Queen’s Park campus was an amazing wedding venue.  The ceremony was in a room with glass on three sides overlooking the River Dee.  Natalie entered the room to a James Bond theme tune looking amazingly sparkly and elegant – what an entrance.  Jamie’s use of a phone book to reach his new wife for a kiss was a hilarious and endearing touch and their  reenactment of their first web chat had everyone giggling away with them.  The speeches involved audience voting and a quiz and fajitas for dinner went down a treat.   The band was still rocking when I snuck away once I’d got what I needed to…

I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling so privileged to be part of someone’s wedding day. Hope you enjoy having a look through some of my favourite pictures from the day.

Rhiannon & Jamie’s Wedding at Pentre Mawr Country House, North Wales

Wow.  What a venue.  What a lovely couple.  What a beautiful day.
I think a good judge of the success of a wedding for me is if I end up wishing I was a guest at it… And I definitely did at this one.  The whole day was at Pentre Mawr which is a boutique country house hotel in the North Wales Countryside http://www.pentremawrcountryhouse.co.uk.  The bride, Rhiannon and groom, Jamie got ready at the venue, got married there and then celebrated with family and friends there.  They even spent their first night as a married couple there!  I love this country venue and how it is self contained, intimate, and slightly less formal than some venues choices.  The people that run it were super friendly and helpful as well which I always appreciate.  The weather was perfect for this sort of venue – lovely, sunny and warm.
I was second shooting with Nick www.crystallogicphotography.com again – I do enjoy working with him although I am still trying to convince him that Nikon is better than Canon. 😉 I knew I was going to get lens envy again though, as he flashed his sigma art lens around while raving about the pictures it was taking.  That 85mm prime can seemingly do no wrong (although I’m sure the competence of the photographer has something to do with it!)…  That’s one on my list for purchase next year – if I can wait until then. Ha!
The ceremony was at 4pm which gave us loads to time to get the prep and venue shots we wanted.  I arrived about noon and Nick was already busy shooting the bridesmaids getting ready and some bridal details.  Shortly after I arrived, he headed off the pub with the guys to get some shots of them “getting ready” while I stayed on with the girls.  I love hanging out with a close knit group of girls and feeling for a few hours like I’m part of their group – that’s one of the privileges for me in doing this job! In between hair and makeup and female bonding, I was able to get pictures of the marquees and the details inside where the ceremony and the wedding breakfast were going to be.
The girls were actually getting ready about 30 yards from where the ceremony was going to be… taking advantage of this with a little trip down the aisle in their dressing gowns made me howl.
Rhiannon’s dad and step dad both walked her down the aisle – that was really special.  The service was followed by a little drinks reception in the garden.  Nick grabbed the group shots and we got some confetti shots before heading across for dinner.  Unbeknownst to us, a wood fired pizza oven had pulled up on the back of a trailer and pizza was being prepared for dinner… Yes please! Nick and I sat outside eating pizza and looking through some of the pictures that had been taken – they were looking really good!  The speeches followed dinner and were met with lots of laughs, heckles, as well as some “head in hands” moments.  There was no official first dance but instead one song was selected that everyone danced to kicking things off.  So mandatory dance rather than first dance I think!? Rhiannon danced first with Jamie, then her Dad and then the best man.  After capturing some pictures of the first few songs, we packed up leaving Rhiannon and Jamie to continue to laugh, drink and dance with their guests.
A very big congratulations to the happy couple and two thumbs up for Pentre Mawr.

Cathy and Neil’s Wedding at Wallasey Town Hall and Sheldrakes Restaurant, Wirral

July 1st was Canada Day – and a special one at that. The country is now 150 years old so it was a bit of a milestone for the mother land.

I was very happy to spend the day photographing the wedding of Cathy and Neil. I feel so privileged every time I am invited to be a part of the most special of days in two people’s lives in such a unique way.

I met Cathy to discuss their wedding photography a very long time ago now and at the time I didn’t have much of a wedding portfolio to show her… We talked about the type of shots she liked, the venues, the timings of the day and we had a look at some of the pictures I was able to show her. Thankfully she trusted in me enough and I met with both Neil and Cathy a couple of times as their wedding day approached.  They are such a warm and friendly couple.

On the wedding morning, I arrived with Cathy for some prep shots about the same time Denis arrived with Neil. The buzz in the house increased as the morning progressed with the progressive arrival of family and friends. The weather was warm, sunny and dry and Cathy’s grandson, Casper, kept everyone amused with his honesty, laughter and recorder playing.

Emotions started to bubble over in the house once Cathy was dressed and everyone saw how amazing she looked.  I got myself to Wallasey Town Hall (https://www.wirral.gov.uk/about-council/contact-us/council-offices/wallasey-town-hall) to give me some time to get sorted ahead of the ceremony  and found Denis with the groom and his two best men (his son’s Chris and Conner) and groomsman (Cathy’s son Ste). A few of the guests were starting to arrive by then as well. We got a few candid and group shots outside the hall and then Neil and the others disappeared inside before Cathy turned up in the VW Beetle with her brother, Dave, at her side.

I do love Wallasey Town Hall. It is such a grand venue with a fabulous central staircase and views of the river at the back of the building. Cathy’s dress looked amazing as she walked up the staircase. I really liked how the ceremony room was set up with formal chairs in the middle and couches around the edges – it felt really chilled but with still a bit of formality befitting the occasion. My favourite part of the ceremony was when Casper had to help out with the exchange of rings. Ahhhh… The bride’s Mum, Dot’s poem about the couple also had everyone in a mixture of laughter and tears as it was read out.

After the ceremony, we all headed outside to the back of the hall for some group shots and time in the sun by the river. Denis and I had a little time with the bride and groom after the other guests had gone before we moved rivers from the Mersey to the River Dee and the reception at Sheldrakes restaurant (http://sheldrakesrestaurant.co.uk). By the time the wedding breakfast rolled around, Denis and I were ready for a sit down and a bit of a reconnaissance of where we were up to with the group shots and a quick flip at the back of our cameras to see how the story was unfolding there.

After dinner, the fabulous, fruity cake got cut followed by some speeches. Cathy’s brother Dave kicked things off, followed by Neil. Then a video prepared by Chris and the speeches finished with addresses from Conner and Laura. Laura had a little help from Casper though which gave us all a chance to see what a happy and loved little boy he is if we hadn’t figured that out already… There was time for a few more Candid shots before the evening entertainment started. Cathy’s daughter, Laura was a guest singer in the band.

I was really hoping for a sunset shot from the balcony at Sheldrakes but as the evening advanced the clouds came in and the mist came down and I realised it wasn’t going to happen…. But we got some great shots along the way so hopefully the lack of an amazing sunset shot wasn’t too disappointing for Cathy and Neil.

A very big congratulations to Cathy and Neil.  I hope they enjoy getting used to that kind of surreal but wonderful feeling of calling each other husband and wife.

I’ll leave you now with a few highlights from the day…

the day before….

This is the first of a three part wedding blog trilogy…. Make sure you keep reading to get the “full” story!

This day felt like the *real* start of things.  We drove up to Cumbria in the late morning of the 16th of March.  Frank was packed with all sorts of stuff required for the wedding and honeymoon (including one night camping!).  On the way up, he had a pre-photo shoot *bath* in anticipation of his stardom to come the following day.

Paul dropped me off at the hotel where I was staying on his way to our honeymoon cottage with Frank.  We decided it was worth the effort and cost to stay apart the night before.  I think it was a really good decision, because it gave us both time to think about what we meant to each other and to be filled with anticipation about seeing each other the following day.

I felt emotional as Paul was leaving the hotel as I realised that the next time I would see him would be waiting at the alter.  So many strong emotions all at once – feeling thankful, happy, nervous, lots and lots of love and anticipation – it was all just a bit overwhelming!

After he left, I had a good cry Crying and then I explored a little goody bag Helen had given me for “the night before”.  I enjoyed the chocolates, pink champagne and the other lovely goodies too.  There was also a card from Brent with a little book of friendship and a cameo pin.  I was also getting texts and messages on my phone throughout the evening – everyone was thinking of us.  Very touching indeed.

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The hotel was lovely and the owners really looked after me.  They knew why I was there and were so excited for me.  I now can’t imagine having stayed anywhere else.  The hotel became part of it all.

That evening, I had a lovely meal in the hotel restaurant and was back in my room pretty early reading through the wedding service to prepare myself to say (and more particularly) hear the vows the following day.   I also started to write a wedding journal to preserve my thoughts and feelings about these special few days.

“Tomorrow I will be a married woman.”  Love it…