Thursday, 22 September 2011

Christina and Steven's Wedding in Sunderland and Ramside Hall (aka the one with the amazing first dance)

This was the second wedding of a very busy weekend.  Having spent the day before running up and down the staircases of Langley Castle for Kate and Andy's wedding (images to come in a week or so once they're back from honeymoon), I woke on the morning of Chrissy and Steven's wedding feeling like I'd run a marathon.  

At Chrissy's parents house there was the usual pre-wedding mayhem.  The young bridesmaids Raegan and Lola were excitedly running around, while pageboy Matthew kept a beady eye on baby Luke, who was decked out in the cutest dinner jacket and dicky bow.  Meanwhile older bridesmaids Kathryn and Natalie helped Chrissy get ready.  The wedding dress was a stunning Amanda Wyatt gown.

The wedding ceremony would be held at St Matthew's Parish Church in Silksworth, Sunderland with a backdrop of blue skies...something the weather forecasters hadn't predicted!        Steven and his "entourage" arrived, looking remarkably calm and collected, and as the guests arrived, he joked with friends, family and colleagues.  

With Steven taking his place in the church, the wedding car arrived...a magnificent vintage Bentley which the driver had tirelessly polished earlier that morning, only have to re-polish after a short sun shower at lunchtime.  

The emotions began to kick in as Chrissy entered the church.  Fighting to hold back the tears she followed the bridesmaids down the aisle to be met by Steven who was grinning from ear to ear. 

As the service began and the vicar started to speak a tissue was deftly past from hand to hand to Chrissy, who never took her gaze from the vicar as he spoke.

With early nerves set aside, Chrissy and Steven sat back to listen to a long sermon in which he gave various definitions of what love is from people such as Albert Einstein and the Love Is... cartoons.

All the while, little Lola played on a magna-doodle and then danced to each hymn.  

With the ceremony done, and confetti thrown, everyone made their way to Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham.

With the sun low in the sky, everyone congregated on the lawns outside the hotel for photographs before heading back inside the ballroom for an informal reception.  Andrew, the best man, though was looking pale.  Nerves had got the better of him and he was starting to worry about the best man speech.  I could relate to this as I had been in a similar situation earlier in the year.  No words of advice from myself or anyone else was helping.  

Both Chrissy and Steven's dads gave short speeches, before Steven took to the floor to give a heart-felt and at times cheeky speech.  With the dinner jacket on and microphone in hand you half expected him to start crooning like a member of The Rat Pack.  And then it was Andrew's turn...his speech was simple and to the point.  "To the bride and groom".  And with that, the speeches were done.

Now, one of the first questions I ask when a couple book me is, "What will your first dance song be?"  I'm a big music lover so I take great delight in listening to peoples musical ideas and preferences.  Sure, I see a lot of dances done to Take That's "Greatest Day" or Lonestar's "Amazed" so when somebody throws a curve ball like Chrissy and Steven did, it makes for a pleasant surprise.  I was expecting Elbow's "One Day Like This".  So when Eclipse "Makes Me Love You" started banging out of the speakers I was blown away.  

It was a refreshingly different, ad-hoc first dance and was great to watch (and photograph).  And with that, my day was done.  With the disco in full swing I left everyone to dance the night away.

A big thank you to Christina and Steven for a superb day and the amazing reaction to the images.  Have a great honeymoon!

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