Just over three weeks ago, I photographed my first wedding of 2013. Although, I’m based in Kent and only live 16 miles away from East Malling, I had never photographed a wedding at Bradbourne House before.
I usually like to have a little look around if I’m unfamiliar with the venue, so on that morning I stopped by at Bradbourne House before making my way up to the Bromley area for Philippa’s getting ready photos.
Bradbourne House is set in 20 acres and you approach it via a long drive. It was originally built in Tudor times and then was extended in the 18th century. On that bright Spring morning, it looked very much the ‘magnificent country manor’ house, as described in the brochure.
David was there with his best man doing last minute arranging-type-things and a fantastic cake was being lovingly placed by the window in the Breakfast Room. I mistook these four cake handlers as the professional cake makers but they were in fact, members of David’s family. I think I’m right in saying that David’s mum had done most of the work and she’d done a fantastic job.
I did a second stop off at St Joseph’s RC Church in Bromley before heading to the house for Philippa’s preparations. As I was in such good time, I decided to knock half an hour early and was duly invited in to have lunch. Philippa’s family were a really friendly, welcoming bunch and the lunchtime conversation went from The Grand National (which was running today) to white Wotsits – you know, that packaging material you get around fragile things in cardboard boxes.
The beautiful bridal bouquets had been laid out on the table. Philippa had gone for seasonal tulips in a range of vibrant colours that had been superbly put together by Broadview Florist in Hadlow.
Brides before the wedding usually range from the utterly nervous to the laid-back-almost-horizontal. You never know what you’ll find when you get there; I just try to keep calm myself, chat a little but keep my intrusion to a minimum. There’s enough to-ing and fro-ing going on. My job as a documentary wedding photographer is to work around this, record what happens in front of me and add whatever I can to the capture of this important day.
Philippa was in the slightly nervous camp but like all weddings I go to, I always find that once the ceremony is over, the whole atmosphere changes. It’s like a weight has been lifted from the shoulders once this formal part of the day has taken place. Of course, this also means that emotions are running high and without being cruel about it, outpourings of emotions = nice picture oppotunities. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying but David’s father was ‘joyfully happy’ outside St Joseph’s RC Church, Bromley and again during the speeches and I thought this was lovely. It’s what weddings are all about – a coming together of a couple who love each other in front of their friends and family. Although I’m there on an official capacity, I do feel priveledged to be part of so many couple’s special day, as a sort of invited guest to photograph it all. What a great job!
So the day went off splendidly. The truly horrendous weather that had been going on all week (and it seems for the past six months) had cleared up. Nobody could quite believe that Philippa and David’s wedding at Bradbourne House was going to be celebrated outside in the sunshine. It was just about warm enough to be out there without wrapping up too much. And although they were about a month behind, even a few daffodils were out.
Planned just right, we had enough time for Philippa and David to do a little stroll around before getting back inside for 4.15pm. Why 4.15pm? Well, as I said earlier, this was Grand National day. It seemed as though it was a big deal for Philippa’s family in particular and a TV had been set up in the Committee Room to show the race. I’m not sure anyone had any money on Auroras Encore ridden by Ryan Mania though. If I’d have had money on a 66-1 winner, I’m not sure I could have contained myself, wedding or no wedding.
The wedding breakfast was held in the Great Hall which is a lovely, painted blue room, full of hanging portraits with three long tables for the guests and a top table at the window end. The entrance of the bride and groom can often make for some nice pictures but again can be a little hit and miss with guests often obscuring the view as the couple make their way in. This time though, they came straight towards me in between two of the long tables. I’ve got a lovely sequence of about ten pictures with Philippa leading the way being clapped in by the guests and in every picture she is beaming away and looking so happy.
So all in all, it was a lovely wedding to photograph for a great couple and I must thank the families for making me feel so welcome on the day.
To view all the pictures from the wedding, click on this link to view Philippa and David’s wedding at Bradbourne House.
If you are planning a wedding at Bradbourne House or anywhere else for that matter, why not get in touch. I’m a documentary wedding photographer based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent offering reportage coverage of your wedding with minimal fuss and interuption. I also travel anywhere in the UK and overseas.
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