Friday, 8 March 2013


Becky & Chris chose the beautiful Monkey Island Hotel in Bray for their February wedding. I'd not been to this pretty venue for several years; it really is the most enchanting hotel. Its location on a private island in the middle of the River Thames is so unique. Once you cross the Victorian cast iron footbridge onto the island, you really do enter into another little world from a splendid past era! The stunning riverside Georgian buildings are surrounded by manicured gardens and colourful peacocks. The Monkey Room and Wedgewood Rooms at the hotel have been perfectly preserved for guests to enjoy.

The island may not have progressed but for the Great Fire of London in 1666. To help in the re-building of the City, Berkshire stone was shipped down-stream to London in barges which on their return carried rubble to be dumped on many of the islands in the Thames, thus providing Monkey Island with a solid foundation for building whilst raising the level to eliminate serious flooding.
In about 1723 the island was purchased by Charles Spencer, the 3rd Duke of Marlborough. The Duke obviously enjoyed angling: it was he who erected the first two buildings on the island described as a fishing lodge and fishing temple.
By 1840 the pavilion had become a riverside inn which could be reached by ferry from the South bank. Visitors have been staying in various parts of the two buildings ever since. It became particularly fashionable after the turn of the 20th century when Edward VII and Queen Alexandra often had afternoon tea on the lawns with their children. Rebecca West and HG Wells and other notable authors are known to have visited the island on occasions.
Fast forward a few hundred years, and Becky and Chris's wedding was really special too. The wedding was a joy to photograph; the couple and their guests were up for any of my picture suggestions. Amazingly there were no complaints when we all went outside in the freezing temperatures for 10 minutes, although poor Becky was shivering like a leaf!  She was clearly very determined to get some great pictures; the natural smiles were non-stop all day! Becky chose fabulous vibrant blues for her bridesmaids, then she added a bold splash of colour with the flowers too. Sadly the sun stayed away, though it did come out fleetingly for a few nice dramatic poses inside the hotel. I stayed through until the dancing in the evening, plus I took a few of my trademark floodlit poses before heading back over the cast iron footbridge, for a well earned relaxing evening and Sunday off work.
This past weekend I was at The Dairy, Waddesdon for a wedding; my blog will follow shortly.
I'll be exhibiting at the Missenden Abbey (Bucks) & Hartwell House (Bucks) wedding fairs on Sunday 24th March. I hope you can make it to the shows.
Enjoy your week!