I just knew that Lucy and Jay’s wedding at Read’s Restaurant was going to be good to photograph. We had met up beforehand when they came to see me to discuss the day. I’m sure they won’t mind me pointing out that the are a little older than my usual wedding couples and their wedding was going to be a grown up, sophisticated do. The ceremony took place at St Clement’s Church in Sandwich where they live and then on to a reception at Read’s Restaurant in Faversham where a fine-dining experience awaited them.
The wedding also happened to be taking place on a special day in Tunbridge Wells’s history. Yes, Tunbridge Wells Football Club (my home town club) had made it all the way to the FA Vase Final at Wembley to play Spennymoor Town from the Durham area. I had been to see many of the previous rounds in the competition and the further we got, I always had it in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t be able to go if we did make it. That day, there was a mass exodus of of supporters going up from Tunbridge Wells and they made up the majority of the 1,700 crowd. Not bad for a team that usually plays in front of a crowd in the hundreds.
I started at the church where Jay was greeting the guests. The vicar was welcoming and accomodating and was happy to let me get on with my job discreetly. Why aren’t more vicars like this?
When Lucy arrived she had an unexpected greeting party. A coach load of French tourists were having a look around the outside of the church and were very impressed with the arrival of this English bride. Lots of extra cameras got shots of Lucy walking up the path to the church door and she even got a large round of applause.
Once the ceremony was over, they exited the church to bright sunshine, confetti and a couple of shots by the church door. When I got back to the car to make my way to Read’s Restaurant, I switched on Radio Kent (well, it sometimes comes in handy) who had live commentary from Wembley. There was only five minutes left and we were 2-1 down and that’s how it ended. Still, they did fantastically well in getting there and certainly gave the town a lift. Our local paper the Kent & Sussex Courier milked it for all it was worth with lots of thumbs up pictures of excited children as only a local paper could.
The wedding reception at Read’s Restaurant started off with drinks and a few shots of Lucy and Jay walking around the grounds of this elegant Georgian manor house. The main speeches were done informally in the lounge, first by Jay then his best man and then there was a lovely surprise ‘speech’ in the form of a video message sent by Lucy’s brother’s family all the way from Sydney, Australia. You could tell that this touched Lucy very much. In fact, lots of the guests had travelled in from all over the world to celebrate with them.
At around 7pm the guests were seated for a special tasting menu prepared by Michelin-starred chef David Pitchford. I counted eight courses on the menu and each and every one that came out of the kitchen looked superb. In between courses, a different guest would get up and do a little speech which was a nice touch. With such a lovely meal in prospect, the evening disco didn’t get started to late but the dancefloor looked pretty full from the start.
I never did ask the staff why there were so many Ronald Searle drawings, prints and faxes on the walls. He was a British artist and satirical cartoonist perhaps best known as the creator of St Trinian’s School. I expect he was good friends with the owners as each picture had a lovely personal messages wishing them a Happy Birthday or Christmas.
Lucy emailed me the other day, from their boat as they cruise around on honeymoon, to say that they love their photos. “Thanks again for a great job – I personally hardly noticed you were there (sorry!)” said Lucy…….” Don’t worry”, I said, “I take that as a compliment.”