Few things give me more pleasure than shooting weddings at venues that are new to me.
It’s that feeling of adventure, of everything being new and untried – I just love it! I was delighted when Hazel and Jim asked me to photograph their wedding in July of this year and even more so when I met with them at Cheshire’s beautiful Willington Hall Hotel. Situated at the top of a hill, the views are panoramic and simply stunning. The day dawned bright and clear with temperatures climbing relentlessly as the hours passed. As someone who is, shall we say, follically challenged myself, I always ensure that I’ve applied plenty of sun screen before leaving for a summer rural wedding, but something told me I should pack the bottle in my camera bag for this one. Having mentioned to some guests that I’d brought some with me, I happily handed it over. I didn’t see it again as the bottle did the rounds of guests relaxing in the scorching sunshine, but at least no one got sunburnt!
The day is sure to stay in my memory as one of the most wonderfully eccentric weddings I’ve had the privilege to photograph. The opportunity to get married out-of-doors doesn’t happen too often here in the Merseyside and Cheshire regions so naturally Hazel and Jim jumped at the chance when the weather was so good. Willington Hall’s outdoor weddings are as much a victim of the vagaries of British law as any other wedding venue – the bride and groom have to be under a roof to make their vows and sign the register. Willington has a lovely little ‘temple’ for this purpose but its size meant that there wasn’t anywhere for me to stand whereby I could actually see what was going on. The only hope was the tiny aperture window behind the desk – perfect! Yes, I had to climb through a bramble hedge to get there, but it was worth it! As the day progressed, more craziness occurred: Hazel’s family are cricket-mad, hence the unlikely sight below of a bride preparing to take a fast bowl from her own dad! A caricaturist provided much hilarity before the speeches, as if any were needed. Although Hazel and Jim eschewed a first dance, I wasn’t worried, as we spent the time enjoying the sunset views over the Cheshire countryside. A simply fabulous summer wedding.