Chris & Gillian's Wedding @ The Old Barn, South Causey Inn in Durham

 

{Mark} Chris & Gillian’s was one, that I thougt I knew what to expect, then you get there and all the planning goes out the window… but in a good way.

I hadn’t met this couple before the wedding day, as Lisa had been there port of call before the big day. But, I did know the venue well, or so I thought. I’d photographed 3 or 4 weddings there over the years as well as been for food and always loved it. So I parked up and headed for the reception. At this point the staff told me the wedding was at “The Old Barn”. What Old Barn? At this point I was introduced to the South Causey’s new venue. It’s brand new, self contained, wonderfully styled and completely different to the main pub. The owners are doing a great job at slowly developing the site. They have little cottage units now for guest to stay in and have there own mobile photo booth.

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 {Mark} Chris & his brother met me as I was finishing some location/storytelling images so we used the quiet time to get some of the two of them and then as if by magic the rest of the lads & chris family arrived with perfect timing. I didnt need to chase around finding everyone. Bonus! 

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{Mark} The Old Barn has a wonderful, shabby chic style without it trying too hard. But it is dark with no naural light which makes it really cosy and intimate but a alot tougher for a photographer.170707_baker_5092.jpg

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After the service we were met with another surprise, some amazing doves that had been arranged buy Chris & Gillians family in secret.

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{Mark} The main room is also beautiful and a great size but a challenge for Lisa & I. It’s dramatic with wood beams and what looks like a tree growing through out the roof. The top table is spot lit and backed with mirrors. Imagine trying to get a balanced exposure. Of course, muggins also didn’t bring the tripod because I thought we were in the bright naturally lite main pubs function room. 

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{Mark} It may have not have turned out as planned but the combination of a new venue and a fun family & couple really made it a wedding day to remember. We massively over shot and post editing was long winded but it was worth it. We hope you liked this small selection of photos from the wedding.

Kirsty & Alan's Alice in Wonderland Wedding @ Eslington Villa in Gateshead

{Mark} - All weddings are special. Sometimes it’s being at a great venue makes a wedding.Sometimes it the people and often it’s the moments that happen throughout the day that makes them stand out. And then there are those when everything comes together. Kirsty & Alan’s wedding was one of those.

I first have to mention that Lisa & I used to work with Kirsty before Halo. We knew she was as mad as a hatter, but never realised she would plan a day so full of wonderful memories. She had hinted at what she had in mind during our meetings running up to the big day but she didn’t tell us half of the things she had planned and by the look on the groom’s face on the day, he was just as surprised as we were.

The day started as we start most weddings, Lisa meeting the girls at their venue Eslington Villa in Gatehead, and I meet the lads at St. Andrews Church in Lamesley , Lowfell.

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{Lisa} - This lot would have eaten Mark alive if he had been in the room. The vodka was flowing, the dressing-growns very short and this part of the day was a hoot. The girls had obviously been practicing thier scream faces.

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{Mark } - Although we have known Kirsty for over a decade, we hadn’t met Alan even during our pre-wedding meetings. I arrived at the church early only to be mobbed by the amazing church choir. It’s not often I get serenaded while I take my detail shots of the church. The lads arrived via camper van and we soon got to know each other.

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{Mark} - As often happens with churches we were limited in what we could do and where we could shoot from. It only takes one disrespectful photographer to knock a priests or vicars confidence in the profession. So quite often you’re told, no flash and don’t move from the back of the church. It’s always disappointing as we never run around a church distracting the service. If we can’t get at the front of the church we tend to get as much as we can before the service or at least insist we can be there for the bride walking down the aisle. Kirsty looked amazing in her wedding dress and couldn’t stop beaming.

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{Mark} - So far…. a fairly traditional wedding. Even after getting back to the reception we didn’t know what was going to happen. We had our concentration on getting everyone on a group shot.

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{Mark} - We’ve been to weddings at EslingtonVilla in the past and we know it’s a beautiful venue, even without much effort. As we walked through to their reception room though, we were blown away. Kirsty’s Dad had made an amazing table centre of the Blue Caterpillar and the rest were made by Maria Ward & Rosie Ribbons from Beginning 2 End Occasions. Each were different creating was a huge tea party ready for the guests. The cake was made by Dave Glass at Symphony in Sugar, cake maker to the stars. He has made cakes for Vicky Pattinson, Ant & Dec, Newcastle United players Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba, Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne, and rapper Example.

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{Mark} - While I was photographing the reception room I heard a commotion out in the hall. The wedding had some gate crashers… the mad hatter, the white rabbit, alice& the queen of hearts. They didn’t come out of character once and were a total surprise to everyone except Kirsty. Her idea was to have a character at each table as if they were guests. Each got a meal relevant to their character. As nice as jam tarts, carrots and jam sandwiches are, I think they would have rather had a guests meal.

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{Mark} - As the meal finished and the characters took a break, we thought speeches were about to start. Instead, two of the waiters started a scuffle with each other while serving. Guests were dumb struck until the two of them burst into song. The Singing Waiters had the whole room on their feet with swing songs. At one point a conga line stretched out of the villa into the carpark and out on the main road!

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{Mark} - As you can imagine speeches were short… I don’t think anyone had any breath left. We grabbed the characters and the bride & groom for some images together. We had to make them all up on the spot. Remember we had no idea they were going to be there but we weren’t going to miss such a great opportunity.

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{Mark} - As the sunset, the dance floor came alive and we headed in doors for the first dance and Kirsty’s Mad Hatter, hat.

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{Lisa} - Demi, Kirsty’s daughter then settled into the characters shoes when they left. She changed into the Caterpillar and had everyone entertained with her hookah. We were in fits!

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{Lisa} - We have never laughed so much at a wedding. It was an honour to photograph Kirsty & Alan’s Wedding and we wish them every happiness. We hope you liked this small selection of photos from the wedding.

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Emma & Andy's Wedding @ Brinkburn Priory in Northumberland

{Mark} Lisa & I had been looking forward to Emma & Andy’s wedding all year. We don’t do many winter weddings as it’s our busiest time in the studio for portrait sessions but the date was just after our cut off point for orders before Christmas. It was also at a venue we hadn’t even heard of before. Brinkburn Priory looks and feels like a secret garden. Hidden away, Brinkburn Priory was a medieval monastery built on a bend of the River Coquet, some 4 miles east of Rothbury. I scouted it in the Autumn and fell in love with it instantly. The question was, would it be as inviting at the end of December?

Emma & Andy’s wedding was going to split, registry office at sunrise in Newcastle then a Blessing at the Priory and reception in a wonderful double “Tepee” tent. The registry office was to be very informal and low key and Andy & Emma weren’t even sure if they wanted any photos taken there but I thought it would be great if we did it as a “Wizard of Oz” style documentary black & white style at the registry office then bursting with colour at Brinkburn.

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{Mark} It was a very cold and crisp morning and as with all registry office weddings, it was short and sweet. It is my first wedding with the groom getting married in jean’s though and it was the start of a day of firsts. I was also very aware that as far as this great couple were concerned this was a formality that would lead to a much more romantic afternoon and evening, so I had to stop myself rattling off loads of images. It was going to be a 14hour day so pacing ourselves was going to be important.

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{Mark} While I covered the registry office Lisa headed to Brinkburn to meet the bridesmaids who were already there. There was frost was on the grass and the champagne was flowing. The girls looked cosy though in their pyjamas. 

161217_Hall_5028 (1).jpg{Lisa} Arriving at this beautiful place, Brinkburn Priory, the feeling of cold sensations and chills ran through me. I knocked on the door to be greeted by the Bride & Bridemaids who were full of smiles, excitment and emotion.

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161217_Hall_5030 (1).jpg{Lisa}What a great venue for their wedding day!!

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{Lisa} As soon as I got inside the girls opened the champagne and made me feel so welcome. They could not have been more helpful. The girls looked so amazing, elegant and beautiful as they prepared for the big day ahead.161217_Hall_5040 (1).jpg

161217_Hall_5043 (1).jpg{Mark} So after a quick change at home I took a beautiful drive to the Priory, just in time for the lads to arrive. I think Andy had a beer open in about 30 seconds flat. I was extremely jealous of their suits. It was a great time just to take in the venue. The river running right next to us created a wonderful atmosphere and at this point of the day the sun was just starting to rise over the woods that surround the whole area. The frost was just starting to thaw, sheep were bleating on the opposite bank of the river and apart from it being cold, it was a perfect morning. The bride & groom are self-confessed bookworms and a couple of months previous we had shot their pre-wedding photos in Barter Books in Alnwick, their favourite place to be. Andy was excited to show off his handmade book arch which stood proudly in the entrance to the Tepee. Evil as I am, once the groom’s father & brother joined them, they had to put their beers down and we set off around the grounds to get some group shots of them. The yellows of the stone with the green of the moss and algae you get at that time of year made the perfect backdrop for them. We were so spoilt for locations to shoot in but as always, time is the best limiter and I had to cherry pick what I thought would work best. I was also aware that we wouldn’t have any light later in the day so chose areas we wouldn’t be able to use then.

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{Lisa} When the last touches were getting put in place nothing was too much trouble, erything just fell into place.161217_Hall_5093 (1).jpg

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161217_Hall_5125 (1).jpg{Mark} - The Bride & Groom had always kept in mind that this wedding was going to be in the middle of December and even on the best of days, Northumberland is brisk. They were given the option for the blessing to be held in the Priory itself but Emma & Andy were worried it would be impractical with the temperatures so instead used the “White Room”. Located within the main house it’s a wonderful space. To be honest I was glad it was winter, as I could imagine the light in there would be so bright in the summer. I normally stay with the lads at the front of the service and Lisa covers the back after the bride enters. The service went well for the second time that day but this one was far more aesthetic.

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161217_Hall_5172 (1).jpg{Lisa} From the moment of the amazing service the guests couldn’t be happier for the beautiful couple.

{Mark} - So after a lovely service, we let everyone grab a drink and mingle. Lisa and I had a plan to take everyone around for a big group shot with the priory behind them. It was stepped and kept everyone on solid ground. The catch was it was about 100 yards away (which doesn’t sound far, but in wedding clobber and heels it might as well have been a mile) and we had a guest in a wheelchair. Thankfully everyone was willing to brave the cold and joined in. I think I was the only one to get wet on the now defrosted long grass, but I’m used to it. At least I wasn’t in a fountain or a rose bush this time.

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{Mark} - After letting most the wedding guests head back to get warmed up and grab another drink, we took the wedding party into Brinkburn Priory itself. I’ve seen less impressive Cathedrals. It is stunning. English Heritage chaperoned us in this part of the venue and had it all lit really for us. I hate using a tripod… really hate it. It limits you so much but this was one situation that we couldn’t get away without it. One little note, we always prepare a bride for just how cold it can get. Brides always get to call time on this part of the day but Emma was a real trooper. It was probably only 2 or 3 degrees inside as there was no heating. Again, we could have spent hours here. Instead we had about 20 minutes and it flew over.

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{Lisa} The atmosphere was fabulous. The bridal party came through to the Priory, it was so cold, but the smiles and the laughter from the kids to the adults was truly warming.  The staff were commended on what a fantastic service they were doing, not only for the guests but for us, the photographers too. 161217_Hall_5190 (1).jpg

161217_Hall_5199 (1).jpg{Lisa} To see how much these two are in love was adorable. Just beautiful. I could go on and on.

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{Mark} Next to the priory is the Manor House. It’s stripped right down to plaster but has great charm and I’ll keep it in mind for a fashion location. Again we could have spent all afternoon in this one building. There are so many great areas to explore and textures to use.

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{Lisa} Working with Emma & Andy was such a pleasure. The Priory was so cold but the feeling of warmth shines through in our images161217_Hall_5206.jpg

{Mark} So although we were all buzzing from a great time in the old buildings, we were freezing. The sun was setting so we headed back to the Tepee for the wedding breakfast. Thankfully it was warm and toastie and felt like a completely different world.

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{Mark}  After the speeches, one of which from Andy’s brother really tugged the heart strings, we left family & friends to their meal. Meanwhile, the white room was being prepared by the priory staff for the night time reception, including setting up their unique cake.

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{Mark} Winter weddings seem to have less of a definition between the day time reception and the night time party. It was dark before they started their wedding breakfast. We then had to finish grabbing some family groups in the dark with only the cottage lights and some fairy lights to help us along.

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{Mark} Back in the party tent everyone joined in on the dance floor after the first dance. It’s great when everyone is up to dance, we can just let things happen and catch the great times.

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161217_Hall_5390.jpg{Mark} We called it a day at about 10pm. It had been a 14 hour day but was worth it. Note to self… wear warm thermals next December. All the best wishes to Emma & Andy.

About

Halo Photography provides outstanding wedding or civil ceremony photography whatever your budget may be. You can have the choice of one or two professionally qualified photographers on the day that put you first, catching all of the important moments of your wedding. We want to tell the story of your big day through fantastic, fun photos. Helping you remember the details like your cake, flowers and guests as if it were yesterday.