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We love the photos!!!! Cant wait to see the video!
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Sharon and Eric
Claire and Tom chose an all day photography and video package starting with the latter stages of Claire's getting ready and finishing shortly after our couple's first dance.
St Marys Church Caterham Surrey hosted the marriage ceremony. The church is of the Victorian Gothic style and is handsome and spacious inside. The churchyard is quite large and there is adequate parking alongside the main building. St Marys should not be confused with its "rival for attention" on the opposite side of the road. That is St Lawrence Church and although it is used for some functions it may not be the venue you think you are due to attend. This did cause some confusion with another photographer on the day who thought that St Marys was the correct venue for the christening he was due to shoot! Oh and satnav users should be aware that the church's postcode takes you to a location about 500 metres north of the actual church. Find your way to the junction of Manor Avenue and Church Road and you will be able to see the two churches just to your south.
Professional photography and videography are restricted during wedding ceremonies at St Marys Church Caterham. Our couple's day illustrated the gulf that can exist in understanding between celebrants and couples regarding the recording of the wedding in any form. Claire and Tom had explained to Peter in a meeting prior to booking him that they did not expect to encounter any restrictions (other than the obvious) particularly as the celebrant is a personal friend. However on the day our celebrant sought to restrict all coverage to be from a single position at the very rear of the church. Not good. Valuable time which should have been available for pre-wedding equipment placement and coverage was lost whilst the groom was located and hurried negotiations conducted. The more so as the church opened less than thirty minutes before the ceremony was due to start. It was agreed that Peter could shoot from an additional position at the front to one side and this made a huge difference. "Alls well that ends well", but couples are reminded that if coverage of your actual ceremony is important to you then you really must hammer this out with your church's authorities (or local register office if a civil ceremony) well beforehand and preferably before even booking your ceremony venue. Restrictions are thankfully quite rare nowadays but you should always check. There isn't time for these turf spats on the day!
From the church we made the short hop to the reception venue, the delightful Hartsfield Manor Betchworth Surrey, which is just west of Redhill and Reigate and just east of Dorking. Oh and close to the M25 and M23 motorways and so easy for travelling guests.
Hartsfield Manor is a Victorian country house in sixteen acres and a part of the De Vere group of venues. It is definitely one of the best of the many De Vere locations. The house is very well maintained and has a sort of large rambling charm about it. There are extensive lawns to the front and rear plus varied gardens and some shade for the all important posed group photos of friends and relations. And the staff were very much on the ball. Impressive.
It seems one never knows what the weather will bring from one hour to the next these days. On Claire and Toms' day we had bright sunshine from early on. Readers of Peter's many wedding day reports will know that professional photographers dislike that in equal measure to how much brides love it! The reason is that portrait photos seldom look as nice as they could when shot in strong sunlight because the conditions are too contrasty for lots of detail to show throughout the compositions. Plus its just not flattering! We were short of time in the afternoon and so most of the posed photos were completed after the wedding breakfast in the more forgiving mid-evening and this worked great. Lots of strong colours, lots of detail, no squinting, no perspiration ..... perfect!
Peter popped in to Claire's pre-church location for a few minutes to shoot some of the preparation. The framed photo on the table has obvious significance, and if you look closely you may be able to see the personalised wine label!
Peter shot the "usual" dress shoe and flower photos which are always popular at the start of wedding albums. Then there were a few specials such as the next photograph with our bride checking herself for perfection:
St Marys Church Caterham has a lovely photogenic interior. The next photo shows the main altar and the high altar in the background. It has been shot with a special extreme wide-angle lens which is great for giving a real sense of being there:
And a view of St Marys Church Caterham from the rear, shortly before the processional starts:
And that wide-angle lens again, this time to give a sense of anticipation as Claire, her dad, and her bridesmaids prepare for their grand entry:
There is plenty of room at the front of the church for professional photographers to take up shooting positions without causing any distractions, and then to obtain priceless wedding photos such as the exchange of rings:
It is also possible to shoot a good selection of candid photos of the guests when positioned at the front - if shooting from the back of the church then its all backs of heads!
This sort of photo is of course impossible from the rear of the church:
Some wedding photos do work best when composed from the back such as the final blessing at the high altar:
The signing of the civil register is usually right at the end of church wedding ceremonies and this was the case on our couples day. It can make for some very evocative wedding photographs:
Claire and Tom had an unexpected "mob" of wellwishers from their school:
The vintage wedding car was quite a sight; its good to shoot some unusual compositions as well as the setpiece car photos:
This is one of the hardest wedding photos to pull off, what with fast moving cars, reflections, tinted windows, guests jumping into shot, facial expressions needing to be just right; but when it works its great!
Then off to Hartsfield Manor Betchworth, and you really must have a setpiece wedding car photo with such a terrific car and picturesque venue!
And a photo showing the front of this lovely wedding venue shot later in the day when the wedding breakfast was in full swing:
Another view of Hartsfield Manor from the rear:
To the right of the camera position is an extensive well-maintained rose garden with a large Italianate pond. This made an ideal location for the posed photos after the wedding breakfast once the sun was not so fierce. Here we see our bride and groom with all the parents - a must have wedding photo:
The front of the building gave us a further variety of backdrops for the essential family photos:
Back to earlier in the day and the receiving line in the delightful main foyer at Hartsfield Manor:
Receiving lines are hard to shoot as timing is critical. But the results can make it all worthwhile:
The speeches are a great photo opportunity ..... and even better on video. Here we see our groom being draped in a Watford Football Club scarf by the father of the bride - something Tom seemed very adverse to (you should see it on video!):
The traditional cake cutting took place in Hartsfield Manor's very posh hallway. The guests filled the hallway and the stairs for this important moment. Here we see Tom reacting to the many impertinent comments!
The first dance is yet another great photo opportunity:
And a final closing photo from the late evening. By this time rain had arrived but Peter being the true wedding professional lay down on the ground to compose this photograph:
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