It’s not that often that I get to the actual week of a wedding without meeting the groom, but such was the case on this occasion, when at the church rehearsal I was greeted by the very large grin (and the enviably flawless tan) of Jonathan. My first impression was that this was a man who was spectacularly happy with his lot, and I have to say that that initial ‘pleased-with-myself’ smirk never left his face for the entire rehearsal or wedding day.
Having met his bride-to-be Bridget on a number of occasions leading up to their nuptials, I could certainly see why. A calmer, kinder or more modest lady I have rarely met, and Jonathan, quite rightly, had clearly worked out that he had bagged himself a winner when she had agreed to marry him.
I arrived pretty early on the morning of the wedding, expecting to find the usual small, badly lit room crammed with a thousand people all in various states of undress and chaos. Not a bit of it. Bridget and her daughter Caroline were serene, sober and alone, rattling around in one of Newby Hall’s stately and capacious bedrooms. What a dream! We three only became four when hair & makeup arrived in the gorgeous form of Amy Craig, who delicately enhanced Bridget’s beautiful features with a light, natural touch. Like I said, classy.
Flowers were carefully curated by Stems Design from Huddersfield, and the soft pastel pink roses smelled divine. Mum and daughter seemed very content in each other’s company, and there were no obvious jitters or panics. Like the location, all was calm and elegant.
Bridget’s gown was a two piece, combining a strapless simple but figure-hugging ivory dress with a lace over-blouse, and came from The Harrogate Wedding Lounge.
I must admit to running out of superlatives when I hijacked the bride for her solo portraits. Newby, in Ripon, North Yorkshire, still a privately owned stately home, is rammed with incredible history and all manner of atmospheric nooks and crannies for photographers to play with. The staircase is just one of these, and the domed statue room (which has graced the small screen on several occasions in Peaky Blinders) offered another unique portrait opportunity.
Now, whilst all this unbridled elegance was going on, the groom was arriving in slightly more flamboyant style about a mile away. By helicopter. A red one.
Actually, it wasn’t planned. The Best Man had cooked it up as something of a surprise for his former training partner and gym owner, Jonathan. Beats a limo though! Praise be to my second shooter, Caroline Johnston at this point, who, despite nearly having her head blown off, was mercifully able to capture it all for posterity.
And so to church. A private church, I might add, in the grounds of the Newby Hall estate. And a beautiful church at that.
Three generations walked down the aisle as Bridget was accompanied by both her dad and her son, James. An excitable groom looked thrilled to see her, and 30 minutes later it was done.
Time to let loose, and the champagne celebrations took place in the shadow of the Hall and its grounds, with live music and sunshine. The call of ‘All Aboard’ at 5pm signalled that the bridal party were ready for their scheduled miniature steam train ride around the estate. Now that doesn’t happen every day! It proved too good an opportunity to miss, so I squeezed in beside the wedding guests and off we trundled. As you can see, Bridget found the whole thing thrilling!
Once disembarked, we managed to steal a little quiet time for the newlyweds to appreciate the gardens (and each other), and Newby has no shortage of interesting corners to explore. At practically every turn there was a spot too good to miss for couple portraits, so full advantage was taken.
Speeches went without a hitch (no pun intended), highlighted by a Playboy magazine, a Heineken-related toast, and a tearful father of the bride reading a letter from his once 11 year old daughter, which he still proudly held in his possession.
Now, it had been clear since the helicopter (and the train ride) that the day was not going to pass without event. The guests, however, had no idea that the best was yet to come. Lights down, first dance….
This wedding was never going to be boring. Both bride and groom are full of character, and their day reflected both their lust for life, and for each other.
The whole shebang was orchestrated with efficiency and aplomb by Lucy Wright Events.