In July I was the videographer for Emma and Ben’s wedding at Bannatynes Spa Hotel in Hastings. I have photographed weddings in Hastings before. In fact, the day before Emma and Ben’s wedding, I photographed Debbie and Steve’s big day which included a reception at the Double Dragon Chinese Restaurant! I also photographed Brad and Stacy’s wedding at the Church in the Wood whose reception was at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Hastings. Next door to Bannatynes Spa Hotel is where I photographed Tanya and Shane’s Windswept Wedding at Beauport Golf Club
The Battle of Hastings
Both those weddings had their ceremonies in a church and we then moved on to the reception venues. Ben and Emma chose to have the whole day at Bannatynes, which I prefer. Staying in one place allows for a much more relaxed atmosphere, without the stress of travelling between venues, potentially getting lost and parking. Furthermore, if you choose the right venue with the right open and covered spaces it can be a divine experience.
So it was for Emma and Ben’s wedding at Bannatynes Spa Hotel, set in sumptuous, quiet grounds just north of the East Sussex seaside town of Hastings. Otherwise known as 1066 Country. You’ve heard of the Battle of Hastings? Ironically enough, the battle itself didn’t take place in Hastings, but some miles inland, on a field where there now stands an Abbey and the small village of, Battle. But I digress…
A Perfect Summer Wedding
Of course, you can have a gorgeous venue but your wedding day is made all the more special and beautiful if the sun shines. Emma and Ben were very lucky as the weather was perfect for them all day. The ceremony took place outside, which did make recording the sound a little difficult. My equipment is good, but as a result of this wedding at Bannatynes Spa Hotel, I have decided to purchase a remote audio recording device which I can place anywhere. I can then move away and capture shots at distance without fear of losing voices in the wind.
Ben’s mother played the violin as Emma walked down the aisle with her father, and Emma’s sister read a poem entitled ‘Love’ by an unknown author.
Love is enduring, And patient and kind,
It judges all things With the heart not the mind,
And love can transform The most common place
Into beauty and splendor And sweetness and grace.
For love is unselfish,Giving more than it takes,
And no matter what happens Love never forsakes,
It’s faithful and trusting And always believing,
Guileless and honest And never deceiving.
Yes, love is beyond What man can define,
For love is immortal And God’s gift is divine!
Yes I’ll Marry You My Dear
There was also a reading of Pam Ayres poem, “Yes I’ll Marry You, My Dear‘, before Emma and Ben exchanged vows and rings faultlessly. They were showered with confetti as they bounced down the aisle at the end of the ceremony. Despite staying at the same venue for the reception, Ben and Emma had a vintage car at the front of the hotel to drive them the 200 yards to the room where the reception was to be held. I think the car had sentimental value and was owned by a member of the family. It was certainly a grand old thing.
I usually travel with my camera regardless of whether I am shooting video or photographs. Often when I am shooting video I take a few photographs. However, on this occasion the official photographer, Jason Fry had an assistant with him and I felt that three of us taking photographs would be overkill. I am a little disappointed in hindsight as I don’t now have any nice photographs of the day.
The Montgomerie Suite
The wedding breakfast was in the purpose build Montgomerie Suite function room. Ben and Emma have been together for 10 years and there was a table laid for each of those years, named accordingly, save for 2009, which they apparently don’t talk about! I did not venture to ask why, but it didn’t seem to b an uncomfortable point as it was referred to in a lighthearted way during the speeches.
As I say time and time again in these blog posts, unless you are a seasoned public speaker, the only way to give a successful speech is to write it down people! I know I repeat myself every time on this but the number of people who think they can make a speech off the top of their heads with just a few mental notes will almost always come unstuck. The speeches become laboured and boring. They are not funny and often embarrassing. I am delighted to say the speeches at Ben and Emma’s wedding at Bannatynes Spa Hotel were exemplary. The father of the bride, Ben and his two best men were coherent for one, entertaining, funny and well planned, not to mention touching and emotional at times. All were meticulously written and read out.
Some people feel that if they read a speech out, somehow it is less personal, lacks emotion and looks amateurish. This is simply not the case and in my experience is a hundred times better than speaking without notes. In fact, even professional public speakers at least have bullet point notes. Politicians almost always read their speeches word for word. If they are not reading then they have learned every word of the pre-written speech and deliver it like an actor delivers a monologue. I’m going to write a separate post on this one subject I think.
My First My Last My Everything
The weather remained perfect for the entire day in Hastings. After the wedding breakfast, Emma took the single ladies outside and did the traditional throwing of the bouquet. I began recording messages from various friends and family which I usually edit on to the end of the film. The evening reception was in the same function room as the meal so there was a short turn around time during which guests milled about on the lawns outside in the evening sunshine. I managed to film most of the important people during this time.
Ben and Emma cut the cake at the beginning of the evening celebrations and immediately took to the dance floor for their first dance, which was Al Green’s ‘Let’s Stay Together’, followed by the Barry White classic, “My First, My Last, My Everything’. I filmed for a little while afterwards and left around 9pm.
Wedding at Bannatynes Spa Hotel
All in all I was very happy with how filming went. I captured all the important moments of the day. My only technical concern was the sound quality, which I will rectify for future outdoor weddings. I just need to be able to move around without having the sound affected. It’s an easily solved problem. As far as the event itself goes, I don’t think Ben and Emma could have asked for a more perfect day in terms of the weather, the organisation and the atmosphere. Everyone seems to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The friends and families are obviously very close and have known and loved each other for many years. Ben and Emma are still relatively young but have been together since they were sixteen. It is obviously a match that was meant to be and I am delighted to have been part of such as special day for such a lovely couple.
If you are planning to get married in the Hastings area then a wedding at Bannatynes Spa Hotel is certainly worth considering. The grounds are beautiful. It has a very relaxed atmosphere and has an air of opulence and grandeur without being fantastically expensive, although it is certainly not a budget option. Occasion Photos would be delighted to film or photographs your wedding in Hastings or at any location in Sussex or further afield. Do contact us using the contact page form.