Turns out that through a chain of friends she knew a couple of my previous brides and was given my name, however, hadn't realised initially that I was the same Jamie that used to irritate her when I was younger! You see, her parents used to manage the Sun Hotel in Warkworth, Northumberland. My mum was their receptionist and my dad their barman in the evenings. Gayle was a couple of years above me at school but used to keep an eye on me while mum and dad were working. After mum and dad moved on to pastures new we fell out of contact....until this summer when she sent me a message out of the blue.
She started telling me about her plans for her wedding; relaxed, low key, no fuss. Simple church ceremony at The Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Amble followed by a get together for family and friends at the recently refurbished Wellwood Arms. She wanted images that reflected the mood of the day, very few formal shots and mainly shots of the guests enjoying themselves.....oh and there'll be kilts too! And it will be at night. Now, if you've read previous posts, you'll know that Amble is my old stomping ground, it's where I grew up and eventually got married before moving down to Tyneside. I couldn't wait to get back to the old surroundings.
As usual with all my couples, Gayle, Iain and I met several times to go through the plans. But invariably we ended up talking about old times, our parents and my father in law....who it turns out plays darts with Iain!
Come the big day, the skies were clear of cloud but it was bitterly cold! I really didn't envy Iain and his party wearing kilts! I had a quick look in at The Wellwood and was completely blown away by the old place. It had completely changed from the last time I was there about 10 years earlier! It was stunning! Real ales on the bar, wooden floors, beautifully decorated. And the wedding decorations were gorgeous too...I know it's a term that makes a lot of people shudder but verging on the vintage style.
Over at the tiny Sacred Heart Church, I was firmly put in my place by the priest. "You stand there, you don't move! I don't want any of that flash stuff in here and I certainly don't want you moving around!" Picture Father Jack mixed with Father Ted....but I warmed to him. An old school priest, set in his ways BUT with a wicked sense of humour. "I can promise you, there'll be no Runrig in here today" he confidently told Iain!
Gayle arrived and looked amazing. Her dad wowed everyone by walking her down the aisle despite being a double leg amputee. And that, for Gayle was the most nerve wracking moment. Iain was emotional throughout the ceremony (although he claims he had something in his eye). A nice, simple ceremony to match Gayle's wishes for the day.
Iain's brother, playing the bagpipes, led the guests out of the church and across to the Wellwood Arms where they were greeted by my old friend Pete Brown, crooning away in the back lounge. I first met Pete at a wedding I did down in Bishop Auckland and have remained in contact since. A seriously talented singer!
For the rest of the evening, Gayle and Iain mingled with their guests who were served fish, chips and mushy peas in cones followed by sticky toffee pudding (Pete and I can confirm the sticky toffee pudding was amazing!). Iain's son, Jamie, was superb in his role as best man and kept everyone entertained with his speech, calling Gayle "the evil stepmother"!!!
The first dance.....think Neighbours!!
There were a lot of familiar faces from my past there. Some people I recognised but couldn't put a name to the face...and one person I completely didn't recognise who was a great friend from when I was small and walked passed several times without realising who they were! But I can't be blamed for that as we hadn't seen each other for over 20 years! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
For me, it was the perfect end to a perfect year. A nice way to finish my year with.....my first as a full time photographer. I couldn't have dreamt of a better way to conclude 2011 and I cannot thank Gayle and Iain enough.
Until next time....
|Sacred Heart Church, Amble|