Did you hear the one about the two vegans who wanted to get married at a centuries old castle on Valentine’s Day? They got their wish.
It was slightly unusual to be at a wedding on a Monday but Monday was a very special day (and a great day for a wedding – after all it was my 11th anniversary…). It was also a genius piece of planning. Sunday – torrential rain. Tuesday – grey dull and significant rain. Monday? It was for a few brief hours spring in Kent.
[BTW, settle in, there are a lot of pictures in this one]
Hever Castle is an amazing wedding venue – especially in winter. Guests gather in one of the more historic looking rooms in the Astor Wing and talk about their journey and how nice it is to be in a castle. Pretty much nothing prepares them for the view as the walk over a small bridge, turn a corner and there’s the real castle! Even better if it’s looking gorgeous in the sun.
Like most castles, photography by the general public is restricted at Hever Castle. Partly that’s so the flash doesn’t damage the priceless works of art, partly I suppose it’s in case disreputable types are casing the joint for a burglary.
Anyway, we’re going to fast forward a little through Gemma and Ben’s wedding (you’ll see why in a minute).
Here’s Gemma and her father John walking into the ceremony room.
And shortly afterwards….that moment. The one when you glance down and realise. It’s real. You really are married. And the rest of your life is just beginning.
There are lots of reasons people choose wedding venues. It may be close to their home, or awaken childhood memories, have a great room for dancing or just be the one that you feel most comfortable with.
I asked Gemma and Ben why they had picked Hever Castle for their winter wedding. “Pictures”. OK, I can work with that. I was even more delighted with their next question. “Do you think 2 hours will be enough for portraits?”.
Often I get pushed down to 15 minutes or even less and that’s never a problem but it’s a genuine pleasure to meet a couple who want nothing more than beautiful pictures in a fabulous setting. Especially when it’s one of those magical days when the light changes from shot to shot but looks amazing and all you have to do is try your hardest to capture it with a camera.
And you have a bride who trusts you not to make her fall in the water…..
…and a groom ready to look like this at a moment’s notice….
….and a couple so much in love that the sun smiles on them all the time….
Now, I use some pretty expensive equipment for a wedding. Nikon have spent years perfecting their nano coated glass to avoid unwanted internal reflections (or something, really I just read that somewhere) but sometimes you really want flare in a picture. Which can be awkward.
No worries, Ben has a PhD in optics. So he has two roles in this shot. (1) Carry his new wife out among the snowdrops and (2) explain to me which angle is going to give us just enough flare. Teamwork.
In fact, Gemma and Ben asked me to spend so long out in the gardens that they almost missed the fabulous vegan canapés the castle had made for them. Fortunately, there were a few left…
And then just time for one more picture before we left for the reception. Any regular visitors to the castle who can figure out where this beautiful room is? Hint: gents would never find this….only ladies know about this room….
So then….on to the reception. It’s possible that Gemma and Ben had thought of sneaking quietly into the Ramada in Tunbridge for a peaceful evening. Nah, that was never going to happen.
Yeah. There was quite a lot of confetti. And bubbles.
Then it all got a bit technical. Invite a load of physicists and your wedding speeches are going to contain jokes about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Fact.
But attend a wedding hosted by a couple of vegans and your wedding cake is going to look (and taste) totally awesome. Also fact.
Remember the bit earlier when Gemma looked down at her wedding ring and realised she was actually really properly married to Ben?
It just hit her again.
And then there was the dancing. Ah the dancing. Many words could be used to describe the dancing. “Crazy”, “70s” and “potentially dangerous”. Fun too. LOTS of fun.
And plenty of it.
Now you probably think that after a couple of hours at a castle I’d be bored of photographing Gemma and Ben. How little you know me…
Hear the one about the two vegans who wanted to get married at a centuries old castle on Valentine’s Day? Dreams come true.
Get in touch is you want me to take pictures of your dreams.
I know Gemma and Ben will be thrilled to read your comments below.
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