Friday, 4 November 2011

Victoria and Darren's Wedding in Gateshead (aka The One on The High Level Bridge)

"It's going to be quite low key, informal but special" said Darren when we first met up and he started describing his vision for his and Victoria's wedding.  Darren was taking a very hands on approach with the wedding.  They were both taking the lead with the arrangements and every question I asked was answered by both of them in unison.  

My idea for the wedding photography was to use the inner city setting and give an industrial meets romantic theme.  I had no idea though where to do the bridal shoot until a week or so before the big day.  Darren and Victoria were happy for me to make the suggestions but I was stumped....that was until I saw Get Carter a week before the wedding.  Everyone knows the car park scene, and God knows I've spent enough time at the now demolished structure taking photos.  That would have been an ideal spot. But there is a scene where there is a chase along the High Level Bridge.....and that's when it hit me.  The architecture of Stephenson's masterpiece was perfect....almost cathedral-like.  I was going to use the lines, the arches and the changing light patterns to create something a bit different.  I ran the idea past Darren and Victoria...."Go for it".  

The day before the wedding I made a comment on Metro Radio's Facebook Page in response to their question asking what people were doing at the weekend.  Next thing I knew I was live on air talking about wedding photography and my plans for the wedding the next day.  "The High Level Bridge?  Well that's different" was the response from DJ Brian Moore.

The big day arrived and at Victoria's mum's house there was the normal chaos you expect pre-wedding.  Bride and bridesmaids ran around the house frantically looking for things that had gone missing, putting hair in place and "generally flapping" as Victoria's brother put it.  He sat quietly, completely aghast at the commotion going on around him.

At St Patrick's Church, I was in for a real surprise.  From the outside, it looks like any normal run of the mill inner city church.  I ascended the stairs to enter the church, walked through the doors and was completely blown away by what lay before me.  It was simply stunning.  The church warden was there and said "Impressive isn't it?".  The interior did not match the outside!  

The priest then came over and gave me strict instructions about what I could and couldn't do. "And you only take two pictures of the register.  Two and two only.  No more!" he said.  Well, you can't say fairer than that!

Darren paced about outside before coming in, joking with guests as they arrived, before he was told off by the priest for handing out the Order of Service.

I always talk about the emotion of the day.  There was something electric here.  Darren's jokiness soon changed to quiet calm....but underneath it all, you could see he was nervous.  Victoria arrived and likewise, although very quiet, was clearly nervous.  

As soon as Darren turned to look at Victoria, his face lit up and the emotion got the better of him as he read his vows out.  Nothing a shoulder rub from his best man wouldn't sort out.

At the High Level Bridge, the sun shone through the ironwork.  It was a cloudless day and strangely warm for October.  The shadows were perfect and there was hardly a person in sight.  Darren and Victoria, just like every couple before them, admitted they were a bit nervous about getting their photos done.  You wouldn't have known it.  They were naturals and were more than happy to pose for shots.

The reception was at The Elephant on the Tyne in Gateshead with great views over the River Tyne.  The guests relaxed in the lounge before the wedding breakfast which was followed by the speeches.  Darren's speech goes down as the longest Groom's speech I've witnessed. I thought he was joking when he showed me a folder full of paper, but nope, that was the speech.  

45 minutes in, the manager came over to me "We need to tell him to wind up soon.  We've got the band here waiting to set up!"  The speech was straight from the heart, and didn't just acknowledge his love for Victoria, Darren acknowledged his love for Victoria's daughter, his parent's and his friends.  At the same time though, it wasn't lost on anyone how long his speech was taking and the laughs and giggles got louder and louder as the speech went on.  Eventually, the manager passed a note via the best man to give Darren a nudge.   I've never seen a best man so relieved to be told he had to get his speech done quick sharp!

And with that, everyone retired to the bar and riverside while the main room was transformed and the band warmed up for the evening.  

The first dance was to Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars and afterwards Darren and Victoria admitted it was the most nerve-wracking part of the day.  However when the band started up with Wilson Pickett's Land of 100 Dances, Darren stood on the edge of the empty dance floor.  He looked at me.  I gave him a nod and he was off like a man possessed.  Before she knew it, his mum was being dragged onto the dance floor!  And that's how the night continued. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and I hope Darren and Victoria had a blast in Gran Canaria for their honeymoon.  All the best for the future guys and keep in contact!


  1. I just stumbled on this whilst looking at #NEFollowers tweets.
    I thought the post you've written was beautiful, so personal and captures the day perfectly. the photography seems to capture the emotion, the high level bridge is a lovely photogenic structure - excellent choice, and the arches work so well with the bridge and groom - walking into the distance.

    if I hear of anyone looking for a really personal touch to their wedding, I'll recommend they look at your blog :)

  2. Thanks. For me it's more than just capturing the day. I do this because my wedding photographer was so poor and I know what it's like to not have the memories or the images that reflect the day.

    So I blog every wedding, not just to showcase the images but to give the couples an account of their special day that they can share with their friends and family.

    As I say to all my lovely couples, I like to make them all warm and fluffy :o)