An Autumn Wedding in Belper, Derbyshire
Six months before they were due to get married, Jane contacted me to see if I was available to photograph their Autumn Wedding in Belper, Derbyshire. In her e-mail there was talk of Star Wars, a beer festival and a rock band. Needless to say, I was sold! One of the other things Jane mentioned was that they were only having a small number of guests during the day. I’m seeing this more often at weddings, and it’s something I really enjoy. It’s great to see the couple able to spend plenty of time with the people who are really important to them. Jane and Mark had less than 30 guests during the day. They had the chance to spend quality time with each and every one of them.
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I arrived at the venue at lunchtime, after another great drive through the Derbyshire countryside. One of the things I love most about this place as a venue, is that thanks to the ivy-covered front, it looks totally different from season to season. I parked up and made my way to the bridal suite. As it’s an exclusive-use venue rather than a hotel, there are no guests or rooms to stay, just a huge, bridal suite. It’s more like a swanky apartment than anything. It’s here that I found Jane having her hair and make-up done, and she was as calm as you like. There wasn’t the usual happy chaos of bridesmaids, parents and kids. Just a few of Jane’s close friends and Lizzie, the wedding dress designer (https://www.elizabethmalcolm.co.uk/), who was on hand for minor dress adjustments before the ceremony. Now THAT’s a good service!
Intimate Wedding Ceremony
I joined Mark downstairs as he was greeting his guests, and he too seemed a picture of calm. Maybe the smaller weddings keep your stress levels down, too! As the guests took their seats, Mark and his best man laughed and joked at the front of the smaller ceremony rooms. This is a great room, at least from a photographers point of view, as Jane and Mark would be stood facing a lovely big window. All that natural light! It wasn’t long before Jane walked down the aisle, and Mark’s face lit up. The short ceremony included a couple of readings. Rather than friends or family reading, Mark and Jane chose to read them to each other. A lovely personal touch that I’ve not seen before.
It may have been Autumn, but it was warm and dry enough for everyone to gather on the patio for mini fish & chips. It wasn’t long before everyone was called into the dining room for the wedding breakfast. The room had been set up with one long table, rather than a number of small ones. For a wedding party this size, it’s a great choice, and made the day feel all the more special.
As we got to the evening do, the main room was opened up to reveal three barrels of gorgeous local ale that had been settling there for a couple of days. A queue soon formed, with guests all keen to try a drop. I hope this becomes a staple at wedding receptions. Much better than that fizzy yellow stuff you usually get. With beers in hand, and plates full of buffet food, the guests watched Jane and Mark on the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife, before it turned into a proper beer festival evening with pints of ale and a 5-piece rock n roll band.
Congratulations, you guys! It was a fab day to be a part of.