Shotton Grange Wedding Photography: Natalie and Paul
So we're now a couple of months into some sense of normality and the wedding industry is slowly getting back on it's feet. I feel like I've gone from 0-100mph in a nanosecond with weddings and bookings coming thick and fast. And in the middle of it all was a wedding at a new venue for me: Shotton Grange in Northumberland. And it would be a wonderful day with one of my best friends as he married the wonderful Natalie! And I've been itching to show off some Shotton Grange Wedding Photography for what feels like an eternity; 909 days to be precise!
With the pandemic taking hold this wedding had been rearranged twice before we managed to get to the day. And the day, known in the press as "Freedom Day" would be blisteringly hot, whilst Paul joked that we all got our freedom back when he lost his! But I tell you what, this was one day worth waiting for.
I've known Paul for about 10 years. We met through an old friend and hit it off immediately, and over the years we've gone through a lot together. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for Paul. So to capture this day for him was an honour and the least I could do after what he had done for me.
On the day before the wedding, I arrived at the hall to spend the evening with the main wedding party, relaxing in the evening sun and talking through the plans for the day. I was going to be staying at Shotton Grange for two nights. So I was right in the thick of it all!
We'd not had a summer basically up until the few days before the wedding. I drove up on the Saturday from Kent and the thermometer peaked at 29 Degrees C. When I arrived at the hall, it wasn't much cooler and the following day, the wedding day, it would be around the same temperature. This would cause me a few problems which I'll come to later.
On the morning of the wedding I met Paul and one of his best men, Jason, for breakfast. Paul was in good spirits! After our continental breakfast we went our separate way, I got ready, got my kit together and then heading to the cottage where Paul was getting ready! One of the other best men, Steven, was stood in his shirt and boxer shorts. I mean it would be rude not to get a photo for the collection! Jason, Steven, Paul and I took it easy as they got ready and I captured the event.
By now, the temperature was properly rising and with all the running around I was doing, I was working up a sweat. Not a great look! In the bridal suite Natalie was pottering about whilst her bridesmaids were getting ready. It was here that my encyclopaedic knowledge of the Eurovision Song Contest was revealed.....I'm not going into this on here though! All I'll say is I looked up and saw a lot of shocked faces!
At Midday, Natalie got into her dress and then her dad came in to see her. He just stood there looking at her with a big old smile! We were ready to go!
Downstairs Paul dished out presents to the groomsmen; a hip flask each containing some whisky which he'd found at his Grandad's soon after he passed away recently. They toasted him, had a sip, popped the flasks safely away in jacket pockets for later and then took their positions. By now, another best man, Jon, had arrived and prepared for his big part; the rings. The blinds of the ceremony room came down so nobody could see Natalie walk past. I stood looking up the aisle. Paul looked skywards. I looked at him. He welled up. I welled up! So I hid behind my camera and concentrated. 5 bridesmaids entered, followed by Natalie.
As has been mentioned in previous posts, the ceremonies since lockdown have become shortened. And on a blistering day like today, that wasn't a bad thing! They were married and walked back up the aisle to Tina Turner's "Simply the Best"; a nod to Paul's beloved Rangers FC.
From here on the day zipped along. A few group shots in the walled garden with time for me to burn my nose on the black case of my camera which got red hot on it's tripod and then we dashed into the cover of the woods to capture some shots. By now, I looked like I had run a marathon! So I dashed upstairs, got changed into my "wedding guest" clothes and prepared for the speeches.
Ahead of the wedding breakfast, we had four speeches and unsurprisingly Jason and Steven's were hilarious! But they both echoed what I said at the start. Paul is one hell of a bloke. And he will always do what he can to ensure his friends are ok, well and happy. I can speak personally about this.
The food at Shotton Grange is amazing. I'd worked up an appetite so my food didn't touch the sides. Before we knew it though it was almost 6pm! Where had this day gone!
So to help cool Paul and Natalie down we went for a walk in the shade and captured some more shots. But by the time we were getting ready for the evening fun, I resembled a man who had gone swimming with all his clothes on! With everyone disappearing off to their rooms for some time out I dashed upstairs, had a cold shower and then got into shirt number 3!!! A record for me at a wedding!
Dancing to "You Make My Dreams Come True", Natalie and Paul kicked things off for the evening before waving everyone onto the dancefloor before moving onto "Live it Up" by Mental as Anything; another nod to Rangers FC and in particular their return to the top of Scottish football and a 55th league title!
Outside people were sitting at tables taking in the last of the evening sun. Paul and Natalie hunted me down and instructed men to finish working, put my kit away and enjoy myself. Spirits were high. This was a wonderful end to the day. As part of the close knit group of friends, it was great to sit down and catch up with everyone. It's the first time we'd all been together for ages.
Paul and Natalie; I want to wish you the happiest life together. You are so brilliantly suited for each other. Natalie, thank you for being there for my mate. I've never seen him this happy before. Look after each other. Paul; Love you buddy!! x
Flowers by Charisma Flowers