Sarah and Mike live in London but the story of ‘them’ began back at St Chad’s College at Durham University, where they met when they were both studying there. They decided to get married back at St Chad’s and the more we heard about the college during discussions with Sarah and Mike, the more excited we became about photographing their wedding as we realised just how special a wedding venue St Chad’s would be.
I started the day with photography of Sarah’s bridal preparations in the very lovely penthouse at the Fallen Angel Hotel, which I thought was a great name for a place to spend your last night as an unmarried woman.
Sarah’s dress, shoes and flowers looked stunning.
Sarah was impressively relaxed and didn’t stop smiling all morning.
Finally it was time for the wedding dress to go on.
And the final touches of makeup.
Sarah’s father arrived as one of the bridemaids, Michelle, was reading some touching words to Sarah.
Meanwhile, Mark was with the boys and by this time they were all suited and booted and had made their way to the college.
The groom Mike greeting guests.
One of the reasons St Chad’s is such a special place to get married is that the college has its own gorgeous white clapboard chapel in its grounds.
The vicar, another Mike, is a friend of the bride and groom and married to one of Sarah’s bridemaids. So groom Mike looked at ease before the ceremony laughing and joking with him.
Back at the hotel, Sarah was preparing to leave.
The hotel was only a 5-10 minute walk through the historical heart of Durham to St Chad’s College, and Sarah had decided she wanted to walk to church. I thought this was a great idea: I walked to my wedding and remember fondly all the calls of ‘good luck!’ and ‘congratulations!’ from passers-by. The walk was a lovely time for Sarah and her dad to chat and there were lots of well wishes from people in the street.
The bridesmaids had gone ahead and I love their expressions in this next shot as they saw Sarah and her dad arriving.
Inside the lovely chapel, Mike was waiting.
A final check of ‘are you ready for this?’ and then Sarah walked in with her dad to her waiting husband to be.
The married couple.
While the guests headed inside the college to start the drinks reception, we sneaked Sarah and Mike off for some shots of the two of them. With the college having so much meaning to the couple, we wanted to incorporate all the familiar aspects into the pictures. We started outside the college front on North Bailey.
Then headed into the lovely college gardens.
It started to rain, but we had our trusty umbrellas with us.
Inside the college, the quadrangle has been glassed over and so provided a beautiful setting for the drinks reception.
The amazing cake had been made by Sarah’s very talented dad.
There were lovely decorations and personal touches everywhere you looked at Sarah and Mike’s wedding.
An all guest shot on the lawn just before the wedding breakfast receiving line.
The college dining hall looked gorgeous set for the wedding breakfast.
The receiving line.
The speeches were fantastic.
After the speeches and meal, the guests moved back into the quadrangle for Sarah and Mike’s lovely first dance.
We left Sarah, Mike and their guests dancing the night away. Sarah and Mike’s wedding was very special and we felt honoured to be the ones to photograph it for them. After we had posted the images to them, it was so great to open our emails the next day and receive this message from Sarah: “We have just received our wedding photos and – wow – we absolutely love them! The pictures are so natural and really capture all the little details of our wedding that we put so much time into planning. Looking through them really brings back so many happy memories – you really did manage to record all the emotions of the day. Our families are also delighted to have such beautiful photos to treasure. But what really stood out for us was the help that you provided before the wedding in thinking about the images we would like and, most importantly, how relaxed you made us both feel on the day itself. THANK YOU so much for everything.”
We also received a lovely email from Mike’s mum, saying “Thank you so much for the photos you took at Sarah and Michael’s wedding. I have had a first look through them and they are stunning. The brilliant shots of the wedding and the celebrations afterwards bring back many happy memories of a wonderful day. I have never seen such intimate and happy photos of a wedding. Thank you both so much.”