This weekend saw Beeches Images covering our first wedding since I proposed to Louise in New York. Each wedding we are involved in now takes on an added interest in terms of planning our own. I think every wedding I have attended has thrown up at least one idea or a feature which grabs the attention, but the marriage of Matt and Hayley at Blake Hall in Essex (http://www.blakehall.co.uk/) was almost spooky in reflecting the types of things Louise and I love.
I covered the event with Joe Gilbert, an impressive photographer from Gatwick in Sussex (www.joegilbertphotography.co.uk). Regular readers may recall I worked with Joe before at the Priory Barn in Herts. I’m not sure if Joe gets some masochistic enjoyment from the challenges of photographing in low light, but Blake Hall is also a barn. Joe is a master of off-camera outside flash, so I did look forward to the day with some relish. I was a bit concerned for the couple in terms of the weather. With Autumn in full swing there is amazing scenery to be had………….. outside. With forecasts all week of heavy rain, it didn’t look as if the impressive gardens at Blake Hall would be much use to us. Whilst the barn hosting the service and wedding breakfast was incredibly atmospheric it would not be the same as getting the outside shots.
In fact it proved to be a great day. As soon as I arrived I noticed that the theme was the Rat Pack. Louise absolutely adores that style of music, and the old single records on each table was a lovely touch. I then found out that Hayley’s full name is ‘Hayley Louise Carter’. Louise asked to see an order of service when I got home so that she could see what her own name “Louise Carter” would look like in print. Even odder was that Matt’s surname is Turnbull, the same as an ex-boyfriend of Louise. Actually maybe I shouldn’t have shown her how the names looked !!! Even the cake was a tower of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, I was tempted to ‘liberate’ one for the drive home, but managed to hold out.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I found out that the main meal was going to be Pie and Mash, with obligatory liquor. For those uneducated in fine cuisine, Pie and Mash is a London delicacy. Historically there is a great rivalry between South and East London. Millwall and West Ham, the Richardsons and the Krays, and most importantly, who serves the best pie and mash. You can’t reproduce pie and mash, it has to come from a specialist shop. So specialist in fact, that all they usually serve is one type of pie, mash, liquor and eels. The only variation being the number of pies and scoops of mash you want. Fortunately Matt had seen the light, and despite being from East London, had turned to Manze’s, one of South London’s finest Pie and Mash houses. We are fortunate to have a branch just round the corner in Sutton, and as I sat down to my double pie, double mash my day was nearly complete. I almost had to brush aside an emotional tear as I tucked in. I sent Louise a text to tell her about the co-incidences falling all around me, like autumnal leaves, and her reply was a request to get out fast, as she believed I had entered a parallel universe in Essex, and that I may never return.
Of course there were photographs to be taken, and Matt and Hayley didn’t let us down. Matt had ushers, lots of ushers. In fact at one point I thought he had allocated one to each guest. Hayley and the bridesmaids looked amazing, with the dresses carrying through an autumnal theme. Blake Hall has wisely expanded the size of the windows in the barn, so it was surprisingly light compared with other barns I have shot in.
Perhaps most importantly, whilst the clouds didn’t really lift, the rain didn’t come down either. It meant we could have a stroll around the gardens taking full advantage of the backdrops it had to offer. Blake Hall certainly has a lot to offer in that respect, and if you have your wedding planned there you are in for a treat.
I really enjoyed the speeches too. They hit the mark on being not too long and fusing a blend of humour and sentiment, with guest wiping away tears of laughter and emotion in equal measure.
I didn’t stay around for the sparklers, although I’m sure they would have made a great ending to the day, especially with the wedding falling on Bonfire night. I enjoyed an easy drive home round the M25 watching various firework displays and listening to Heart’s club classics, included the track ‘Flawless’ by the Ones, it pretty much summed up the day.