One of our very favourite places to photograph is our home town of York. It’s hard to pin it down to one thing – it’s a combination of the wonderful architecture, the higgledy-piggledy streets, the expanses of greenery and the beautiful river. That’s why many of our engagement shoots take place within the old City walls and it’s why we love to photograph weddings there. One of the best spots in the City is the Museum Gardens containing the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey and one of the most hidden away, wonderful little wedding venues you can hope to find: The Hospitium. It’s a stunning 14th century building with gorgeous medieval stone walls and latticed windows. If it’s a fine day then you’re right in the middle of the Museum Gardens and guests can enjoy their Reception drinks on the lawn. If wet or cold then The Hospitium provides a cosy, atmospheric, fairy light-lit interior. All in all it’s an ideal wedding venue and we were very happy to be working there again for Ruth and Alistair’s fabulous wedding earlier this month.
The wedding morning (and the night before) were not without their mishaps. Alistair and his best man managed to get themselves locked out of their hotel and ended up spending the night partly in the car and partly crashing on the hotel room floor of another member of the wedding party. Ruth meanwhile, in an attempt to glue a sixpence to the bottom of her shoe for good luck, ended up using a bottle of nail polish remover and a nail file to prise her fingers apart having glued them together (this was just as she was planning to get into her wedding dress)!
So – to the wedding morning – and Ruth and her bridesmaids getting ready/gluing themselves together at a friend’s house whilst Alistair and the boys blew away the travails of the night by whizzing around in a Porsche that Ruth had hired for the weekend. As Caroline was as round as it is possible to be with our baby girl, my very good friend and super-photographer Nicky Chadwick joined me for the day and hooked up with the guys pre-service.
The wedding service took place in the beautiful setting of St Olave’s church which backs directly on to the Museum Gardens and is literally a two minute stroll to the Hospitium. It’s always nice to see a groom get emotional and Alistair struggled for a while to stem the flow as Ruth walked down the aisle. There are some services where the bride and groom, mainly due to nerves, spend most of the service looking resolutely ahead, and there are those, as on this occasion, where they cannot take their eyes off each other. From my position I had the perfect view of Ruth’s face and – well, I don’t think I need to describe it for you. Take a look….
After what was a beautiful, emotional service, Ruth, Alistair and guests headed down to The Hospitium (Ruth partly carried!) and we soon headed out into the Gardens and around the Abbey for some lovely, intimate bride and groom photos. You wouldn’t think we were actually followed by an army of ushers and guests at the ready with umbrellas, champagne glasses and of course the odd camera!
We then had time to take plenty of shots of the guests mingling – mostly inside due to showers and cool temperatures – and also take plenty of detail shots of the layout in the wedding breakfast room, which in this case was one of my all time favourites. Not only was it beautifully rustic and under-stated, but the antipasti style starters were already laid out on the tables and looked mouth-wateringly good. If that wasn’t torture enough there was the “cake” table. I say “cake” in inverted commas because it looked more like something out of a Great British Bake-Off Display (the finalists as opposed to the initial rounds). It was SO time for dinner.
After dinner we had a few minutes before the speeches began to nip back out for a couple of photos down by the river in the dusk – it would have been a travesty to waste that light! Then the speeches. I have included a few more photos than normal in this post of the speeches because they were so good, as was the reaction around the room. I love speech photos – even if you don’t know the people it’s impossible to keep the smile off your face when you look at the expressions.
And finally……the dancing. Ruth and Alistair had decided to do their first dance surrounded by fairy lights in a nearby grove of trees. It was beautiful, atmospheric but most of all DARK!! This has to be one of the most challenging first dance scenarios I’ve faced but it was worth it as the band strummed their guitars and sang into the night. We then all headed back inside for some more lively shape-throwing before Nicky and I left everyone to it.
Love and congratulations to Ruth and Alistair. It was a brilliant wedding – a shining example of the reason I love doing this job!