A Stunning Wedderburn Barn Wedding
2021 was a funny old year. It felt like we'd been released from lockdown but still had the shackles of restrictions on. There was an uneasy tension. Throughout 2020 and half of 2021 I watched as wedding after wedding was put on hold and over 18 months I shot 3 weddings. Finally in May 2021 I dusted myself down and got back to shooting weddings when the restrictions around guest numbers was lifted. It was a frantic 6 months from May onwards as got my head back into wedding photographer mode. My year would finish North of the Border near Duns at Wedderburn Barns. A short drive from my other base in Berwick upon Tweed where my parents live it was great to be back doing some Wedderburn Barns Wedding Photography after 3 years away from there. And what a day it would be!
Jen and Phil came over from their home in Dubai to get married. We'd had a couple of "Zoom" meetings in the run up to the big day and a few texts back and forth between Phil and myself....mostly about football (Celtic 2 - West Ham United 6) so by the time it came to the big day I felt like I was amongst friends.
I bumped into Phil inside the Barn as he put the finishing touches to the day. Here was a groom who was heavily involved with the prep work and was ensuring that everything was just right. Eventually he began dishing out jobs for people to do as he needed to get ready. Asking where I could find Jen, I was escorted by one of the bridesmaids from the Barn down the drive to Wedderburn Castle. In the mindset of our conversation as we walked it turned out that we both live in Ashford in Kent and drink at the same pub (Shout out to the Doghouse!!). A very small world!
Jen was getting her hair and make up done. Music was on. Bridesmaids poured bubbly. It was all very relaxed. Everyone was helping out with little jobs here and there and also showing me around where different bits were such as Jen's dress and jewellery. I'd arrived a good 2 hours ahead of "Zero hour" but that 2 hours shot by. By the time Jen was in her dress we had about 10 minutes to go before the ceremony up at the Barns.
Up at the Barns Phil was doing the usual Groom stuff; welcoming guests, chatting to his groomsmen and just generally keeping busy. We were now 10 minutes late but I assured him all was good and that we had some delays down at the castle. As I was going from the Barn to the drive to ensure I captured Jen arriving I was able to keep Phil and the Celebrant up to date with things. Eventually Jen arrived. Late but with all the time in the world. There was no hurry today.
The bridesmaids entered the Barn, then Phil turned as Jen glided down the aisle with her dad. All smiles. Now, that word is prominent today! Smiles! And laughter! These two things would be the key ingredient of the day. I'll say it now, I've not laughed at a wedding so much in a long time. It was that sort of day where everyone just had fun. We had hymns which isn't something I often come across at a non-religious venue. Now, we had some great singers. The laughter started when everyone was singing "Shine, Jesus, Shine". Using a backing track everyone sang along loudly along with the track which you could just about hear. But the tempo suddenly shifted up a gear in the chorus catching everyone by surprise. It was choral chaos as the people at the back could hear the change in tempo. Puzzled looks turned to laughter. Eventually though everyone got the hang of it all and by the end were singing it like real pros!
We had a couple of readings including the Lovely Dinosaur with the inclusion of Celtic and shopping to reflect our couple. The vows were very personal to both Jen and Phil and this was also reflected in everything the celebrant on the day said.
Back to the laughter. Certificates had been signed and we were at the part where the happy couple make their exit. So I headed to the top of the aisle to capture them leaving. But we had one last hymn to go. I really wasn't paying attention to where I was standing. But as it turned out I was right in front of the speak stack. Keeping in mind that we had problems hearing the first hymn, the lad looking after the music whacked the volume up. So when the opening bars of Jerusalem blasted out, I, along with the back 5 or 6 rows jumped out of our skins!!! I forgot I was there to capture things for a while whilst I composed myself.
With the ceremony done, there was some mingling outside before a confetti showered couple made their way to the castle for the drinks reception. Whilst they were there getting photos done, the barns were quickly turned around ready for the wedding reception. We got the photos done we needed and then I made my way up to the Barns to get the detail shots of the room and all the table decorations.
The wedding party and guests were then piped to the barns from the castle before taking seats for what would be an absolutely superb meal! As I reclined, letting my dinner go down, I could have done with a half hour snooze! I was stuffed! But there was no rest for the wicked as we had 4 speeches to listen to, delivered with precision, whit and humour and a splash of sentiment and emotion. I have to admit I was wondering where Jen's dad was going in his speech as he talked about the English crushing the Scots at the Battle of Flodden down the road in Northumberland. But here we had families from both sides of the border joining as one. Similar to England and Scotland after such battles living in harmony.....unless it's the football!
By now nighttime had come and the barns were lit in warm light by the hanging bulbs across the rafters. Our band for the evening were set up and waiting. Jen had deftly changed into her Evening dress ready for the first dance and disco. After a few minutes swaying together under the coloured lights provided by the band, the guests joined Jen and Phil and from that point on, the floor was filled!
And with that my day (and wedding year) was done. We hugged and said our goodbyes and I left the newlyweds to party the night away. I drove the short distance back to Berwick satisfied with a superb days work and reflected on the past year of weddings; well, 6 months more like. I had found myself back doing what I love. I'd found my style and shot the sort of imagery I've been striving to capture for a few years. Maybe lockdown and time away from it all had been a blessing in disguise! Whatever it was, I was back. And this wedding was the perfect finale to the year.