Mark & Marie’s Wedding with a London Theme

Wedding reception Baker Street underground table sign.
Last week I blogged about Annette & Francesco’s intimate wedding where I spoke about what beautiful photos you can get from just a small wedding with limited time. So, this week I thought I’d compare that experience, both for the photographer and the client, with a full wedding, following the bride and groom right from the preparations in the morning, to the first dance at the reception.
Mark and Marie are a lovely couple from North London who met 15 years ago. They were good friends for a while before finally getting together, and they make for an easy-going, friendly, and beautiful man and wife. It was a pleasure to work with them.
I arrived at Marie’s parents’ house at 10 in the morning to capture the bridal preparations. Marie was in good spirits and didn’t seem nervous at all. She had a friend, who is a professional hairdresser, to do her hair, and was doing her own make-up. She also had lots of help from her Maid of Honour, and her teenage bridesmaids.
There was of course some Champagne doing the rounds and Marie’s Mum had some food out for everyone too.

The party had started!

I immediately got busy getting some initial shots of everyone, and some nice details of the wedding bits and pieces which were dotted about the house.
The jovial mood at the house was infectious and everyone made me feel welcome and comfortable. Being kind to your wedding photographer, and giving him or her nice things to eat and drink, is an excellent way of getting some great photography.
I proceeded to get some lovely shots of Marie having her styled, whilst she applied her make-up. She was clearly going to make a lovely bride.
The ceremony was to take place at The Church of the Transfiguration in Kensal Rise, at 2pm. Having got some beautiful shots of the morning (as well as some funny ones), I left Marie’s parents’ home at around 12:30 and made my way to the church. I always aim to be at the ceremony venue with lots of time to spare. I like to have chat with the minister or celebrant so I can find out where I can and can’t go to get my shots during the wedding ceremony itself. Some parts of churches, for instance, are sacred spaces, and are not to be trespassed on. It’s important that I get to have a chat with (in this case) the priest, so I know about these details and can prepare accordingly. Kizzy and I shot shot a wedding (which will be a future blog) where the Father restricted us to the balcony way up high at the opposite end of the church (he also barred the use of mobile phones during the actual ceremony, which I thought was awesome – see my first blog. We got some nice, unusual long shots from up there, but without time to prepare we would have had difficulty and potentially not got the shots of the ceremony the clients were expecting.
Having had a nice talk with the priest at the church before anyone else had arrived, I then took my time to assess the light, find a few good spots that I could move between without being too distracting, and have a look around for some good places to take some post-ceremony photos. Having prepared in plenty of time, I then got myself ready to start getting some shots of Mark and his best man John arriving, along with some of the guests.
Finally the moment arrived when a black cab pulled into the car park and our bride Marie emerged, looking gorgeous.
The bridesmaids made their way down the aisle first…

…and then it was finally time for Marie’s Father to walk her down the aisle. They both looked full of joy as they walked towards a slightly nervous looking Mark.

This was a quite a long ceremony as Catholic ones tend to be in my experience. This is no bad thing for a photographer as it means a little more time in which to get some great shots.
The wedding ceremony was beautiful and Mark and Marie looked relaxed and happy throughout, from walking down the aisle, to signing the register. Following that it was time for the family photos outside. I mentioned that I’d had a look around the church in preparation, to scope out some nice spots for photos; there were none. The church was gorgeous on the inside, but had no gardens or trees or other nice spots, so I set my tripod up in the car park and use the church itself as a backdrop, which turned out to be just fine.
After this part of the day was done, we were all loaded onto a big, red, Routemaster London Bus, a great way to transport everyone to the reception at The Marriott MarbleĀ arch.

Having arrived at the Marriott, everyone had a drink or three in the bar before being shown in to the ballroom where the tables where set out in keeping with the London theme.

The food was served buffet style and looked amazing, but not as amazing as the tall pyramid of profiteroles, which was the kind of food presentation which can render a person powerless to prevent themselves from perpetrating a Homer Simpson style drooling.
The tables looked great, adorned with candles and table cards designed using the London Underground logo. Marie and Mark did some mingling around the tables once everyone had eaten, until soon it was time for the speeches.
Marie’s Dad went first and made everyone laugh by coming out onto the dance floor to deliver his speech and making some jokes before he finished off by announcing his joy at the joining of his daughter and Mark.
This was followed by Mark’s best man John (who’s wedding to the lovey Emma we subsequently photographed) who, in true traditional style teased and berated Mark, who found it entirely hilarious, and at one point held up a t-shirt with some delightfully embarrassing photos of the happy couple printed on it, which went own a storm, the guests laughter filling the hall.
The final speech from Mark was full of love and and smiles and made Marie giggle a couple of times, as well drawing laughter and applause from the guests.

The speeches served as a mirthful introduction to the party that was to follow, and which began with cutting the cake. Rarely have I seen such fun at a wedding reception whilst the guests were still relatively sober.

At this point, the time for me to leave our newlyweds was approaching, and it only remained for me to get some nice shots of the first dance, and a handful of photos of people dancing, before wishing this lovely couple a wonderful life together, and leaving them to their party.

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