The weather looked decidedly dodgy as I drove towards Hastings for Steve and Debbie’s wedding at Park Road Methodist Church, St Leonards East Sussex. Sure enough we experienced two major thunderstorms during the course of the day. It was to be an odd day during which I would not get to take any photographs of the wedding itself and furthermore I would photograph a wedding in a Chinese restaurant!
I have photographed in Hastings a number of times before. Tanya and Shane’s windswept wedding at Beauport Golf Club was also a wet and windy affair, whereas both Ben and Emmas wedding at Bannatynes Spa Hotel and Brad and Stacy’s wedding at the Church in the Wood were a beautiful warm and sunny days.
Bride Getting Ready
I arrived at Debbie’s mother’s flat where the bridesmaids were getting prepared. I like these sessions before the ceremony. The nervous energy is often expressed with lots of laughter and playful behaviour. There are a variety of shots one can capture at these times too.
I usually begin by getting shots of the dress, the shoes, flowers, jewellery, makeup table, cards etc. These small details can often be missed but add greatly to the overall set of photographs in the end. I do like capturing silhouette images of the bride as she has her hair or makeup done. Close up shots of eyes and lips are nice too.
Park Road Methodist Church
We spent longer than we should have perhaps before leaving for the church and Debbie ended up fashionably late for her wedding.
Unfortunately I was not allowed to take any photographs of the ceremony itself, which I feel is such a shame. As a wedding photographer it also defeats the purpose of my job somewhat! The reason given on this occasion, by the minister, was that she is easily distracted. I must say I’d be a little miffed if the most important day of my life could not be recorded on camera at the whim of one individual. If it was a rule from a central body that was the same at every Methodist church say, or every Catholic Church, then I’d be ok with it. But it seems to be so arbitrary.
Wedding Day Thunder
It was during the ceremony we experienced the first thunderstorm if the day which, luckily, ended before the ceremony finished and we were able to take photos with some sunshine outside the church and in the park behind the church. It’s always a fun challenge to organise large groups of people, often including small children, to smile and stay in position whilst I take the main photos. I don’t mind at all and I think my personality suits these situations.
St Leonards East Sussex
I have photographed weddings in Hastings before. St Leonards East Sussex is essentially part of Hastings. Just to the west of Hastings, sandwiched between it and Bexhill, St Leonards is often forgotten by tourists and yet the beaches are just as pleasant. Perhaps the choice of shops is not as great. I photographed Brad and Stacy’s wedding at the Church in the Wood and I filmed Ben and Emma’s wedding at Bannatynes Spa Hotel. Both in Hastings.
Wedding in a Chinese Restaurant
Well, ok, not exactly a wedding in a Chinese Restaurant but the wedding breakfast was held in the The Double Dragon, which is indeed a Chinese Restaurant. It is in the same beautiful old building as Churchills Hotel and seems to have been a restaurant of some description for many years. There are old photos of the building dotted around which look like they date from the early 20th century. Suffice to say I had Chinese for lunch!
The second thunderstorm of the day rolled in as we made our way from the Double Dragon to the Kings Head pub in Ore for the evening reception. The buffet was laid on the covered snooker table and the rain battered the conservatory roof, but Debbie and Steve’s first dance went without a hitch (no pun intended) and a congratulations message flashed up on the huge LCD screen normally reserved for Sky Sports Premier League coverage.
There were quite a few teenage guests and once the drink began to flow I did something a wedding photographer should never do. I gave my camera to a rather inebriated group of adolescents! To be fair they took some interesting shots and my camera was returned to me undamaged, perhaps more by luck than judgement! Once the cake was cut, I took a final few photographs of dancing and general merriment before heading home.
Did you enjoy reading about my wedding in a chinese restaurant? What’s the most interesting wedding venue you have attended? If you’re a wedding photographer, have you ever given your camera to the guests? Leave a comment below, on Facebook or our Google Plus page. You might now like to read about Rebekah and Joseph’s wedding at the Bannatyne Spa Hastings.