Monday, 26 November 2012


Stef and Chris were married at Saint John the Baptist Church, followed by their reception at the Harte & Garter Hotel next to Windsor Castle a few weeks ago.

They were blessed with perfect blue skies for their wedding day, which was great for lots of pictures in and around the centre of historic Windsor of their guests. In fact after the church ceremony we all went en masse to the Long Walk for some family pictures. As you can imagine Windsor is pretty busy on a sunny Saturday, so picture if you can an additional 75 wedding guests dressed to the nines walking through the town centre. All the tourist cameras were clicking away, a lovely English wedding next to Windsor Castle doesn't get much better for picture opportunities. After the wedding guests had walked the best part of half a mile to the church, Long Walk and back to the hotel, the drinks reception provided a well earned rest for their tired feet!

The big surprise for most people coming to this hotel is the very unexpected Grand Ballroom,  the most amazing high ceilinged room with massive chandeliers for the wedding breakfast. I've been working in Windsor for many years, yet I never knew about this stunning ballroom until recently!

I was booked through until the start of the meal, and the drinks reception provided the ideal chance to capture lots of reportage pictures of the couple with their wedding guests. I finished with a few pictures of Stef and Chris on the hotel balcony overlooking Windsor town centre and the castle. I was keen to work at this hotel as it has just had more than £7.5 million spent on it, I was not disappointed.

The Harte and Garter is an amalgamation of two 14th century inns; The Garter Inn, named after the Most Noble Order of the Garter, which was founded by King Edward III and The White Harte, named in honour of the Royal Emblem worn by King Richard II. In the late 19th Century they were joined together to form The Harte and Garter Hotel, a building in the Jacobean style, much loved by the Victorians and reflecting the Shakespearean connections. Shakespeare makes the Garter Inn one of the settings for a play, with the Host of the Garter one of his characters. On the inside staircase of the hotel there is a Victorian stained glass window with pictures of Falstaff and other characters from the Merry Wives.

Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Victoria & Mark were married at Hampden Church, followed by their reception next door at Hampden House. The locations do not get any more stunning than these, both have been used in countless films and TV productions over the years. There isolation also made it a perfect location for John Hampden (the owner) and his cousin Oliver Cromwell to make plans for the English Civil War. Hence why this was such a perfect location for some scenes in the 1970s film Cromwell. In more modern times Hampden House was used extensively by the Hammer Film Studios as the perfect gothic backdrop for many of their films.

Fast forward to 2012, Hampden House is now one of the area's finest wedding venues. It offers period charm in abundance, with high ceilings, huge windows, chandeliers and the most stunning gardens. It's so nice to see a venue that hasn't modernised the amazing historical interiors or exteriors; thankfully this privately owned property has been kept out of reach of all the big hotel chains!

The start of Viki and Mark's wedding was memorable for the wrong reason! After photographing the guests arriving, then the groom with his ushers and parents, the tranquil setting of Hampden Church was interrupted by blaring sirens. Most of the guests were seated in the church, and the ushers and I all looked down the long driveway open mouthed to see a fire engine racing towards us, with the bridesmaids car tucked in close behind. Maybe Viki was surprising her fiance and guests with her truly unique style of transportation! Watching it then fly past us and turn right into Hampden House was quite worrying it has to be said. The ushers and I were all looking over towards the house just as Viki arrived one minute later, she was looking as radiant as could be and totally oblivious to what was happening. A few moments later the fire engine pulled out of the driveway of Hampden House, it stopped directly beside the bridal car that was now blocking the driveway. Obviously Viki was looking a little concerned by now, but thankfully news from the ushers had filtered through that it was a false alarm, phew! I'm pleased to report that my job never has a dull moment, though this was one of those occasions I'll never forget.

I'm pleased to report the rest of the day ran very smoothly. I captured the usual mixture of reportage and classic poses and stayed for the whole day. I cannot praise Viki and Mark enough for their excellent wedding planning, choice of wedding dress, colour coordination of bridesmaids, flowers and their overall colour scheme. All of this contributed hugely to the success of their wedding pictures. A big thank you to their bridesmaids and ushers who were so helpful on the day. Especially since some of my pictures involved the bridesmaids running through the gardens, or sitting in feature windows just as the light was perfect!

I'm back at Hampden House for two more weddings before Christmas, a big thank you to Sue Passaro at Hampden House for so kindly recommending me to her brides. Next week I'll be blogging about a wedding at the Harte & Garter Hotel in Windsor.

Enjoy your week!