Congratulations Matt & Caroline!

I’ve had an awesome start to the Bank holiday weekend which kicked off documenting Matt and Caroline’s wonderful wedding day along with their lovely family and friends.

I never actually met with the couple until a month or so before the day arrived as Matt was unavailable to meet to discuss their photography requirements due to work commitments being stationed down south with the Army Air Corps. When we did meet it was really nice to have a good chat about what they had planned already and where I was going to fit in with it all. Timings were the main talking point with it being very important to get these close to spot on as it helps keep the flow of the day’s events run smoothly.

The day arrived and I was to head to Caroline’s Mum’s home in Aughton to document the build up with the Bridal party. I started off capturing a couple of photos of make-up being applied and the final part of the hair stylist doing what she does best 🙂 I then went upstairs to get those all important shots of the little details that make the Bridal preparations all worth it. Unfortunately I wasn’t around to get the photos of Caroline in her beautiful white dress as I had to head to the venue to prep for the ceremony. This sometimes happens and it’s actually nice because this part can be intimately enjoyed by Parents and Bridesmaids.

After battling through the Ormskirk and Southport traffic I arrived outside of the entrance to the stunning venue that is Meols Hall. I didn’t go in as Matt and his mates from the Army were having a tipple in the Hesketh Arms which was located just outside of the grounds. They checked each other over making sure that their uniform was spot on and after downing their drink and a quick shape of the iconic blue beret they made their way down the path to meet guests and a then a quick discussion between Groom and registrar.

Caroline arrived early with the Bridal party which resulted in a covert operation of ensuring Matt wasn’t seen by his soon to be Bride. With Matt safely out of view Caroline then prepped herself ready to walk down the aisle with her very good friend and Bridesmaid who was giving her away.

The ceremony was lovely and after a reading, rings exchanged and the kiss to seal-the-deal it was on to the signing of the register. I got my official photos and then made my way to the back of the room where the new Mr & Mrs Marshall were to walk hand in hand up the aisle. We had a couple of moments before they were to head back inside so Matt passed the time by chasing a couple of chickens around the yard with his ceremonial sword… Don’t worry there were no chickens harmed during this period 🙂

With the Guard of Honor in place and guests ready with confetti they walked outside to be presented with crossed swords. With a quick kiss before the last man family and friends were ready in the wings to throw their confetti. We cracked on with the formal group photos afterwards whilst everyone was enjoying canapes and fizz. The happy couple even had time to mingle with their guests before the meal which is what I like!

After a quick look over the decorations in the room the wedding coordinator invited everyone inside to then congratulate Matt and Caroline by cheering and clapping them into the room. Speeches were conducted after the wedding breakfast which gave me time to look over what I had captured so far and also photograph the cheeseboard which was being created in the barn next door.

Caroline’s Mother spoke a few words of her love towards her Daughter whilst sharing a couple of humorous stories. Matt then took over including thanks and gifts before then passing on the mic to his Best man. The next 10-15 minutes were, as usual a respectful slating of the Groom but made sure everyone knew how strong their friendship was by sharing funny stories of their childhood.

After the reception it was the time me, Matt and Caroline headed outside to finish off the final photographs of them both together around the the stunning grounds that Meols hall offered to us. It was really nice chatting to them whilst walking around to various spots for these more intimate photographs.

The day soon became evening and night time guests were arriving which resulted in Matt and Caroline heading inside where the party was in full flow. The couple booked a live band to entertain everyone for the night and a photobooth in the barn was also on hand with props 🙂

The time soon came where I was to leave everyone and let them enjoy the time without a photographer around. I was sad to leave and could’ve easily stayed and chatted to guests whilst capturing more memorable moments but as always after a very tiring and mentally draining day my bed was calling me.

Before I leave any wedding event I always say goodbye to the newly weds and on this occasion I was very much taken aback as they offered me a very kind and thoughtful gift to say thank you for my service. I always put 100% effort in every wedding day or event I am part of but this is because I love what I do and respect that people pay a lot of money to create a day of their dreams. I don’t ever expect to receive anything but Matt and Caroline gave me a decommissioned 30mm Apache machine-gun round which they had made into a shot glass and engraved. This was from an exercise Matt was part of and they thought it would make great gifts for family and friends who were part of their wedding day.

An absolutely lovely couple to deal with and I hope they had a fantastic and memorable day. I can’t wait to edit the remainder of the big day photographs but for the time being enjoy these sneak peeks 🙂

Thank you…

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Congratulations Neil & Joanne!

Firstly I hope everyone is having a fantastic Easter and has eaten plenty of chocolate 🙂 I also hope that you all had just as a wonderful bank holiday as I did especially as I was part of such a great wedding day on Saturday.

It all started last year when Joanne contacted me asking for my availability. Her and Neil both had a good look on my website and were happy to meet to discuss things further. After meeting with them at Neil’s mum’s home and showing them the storybook albums on offer they decided to book me for their big day.

A few conversations later during the build up and we had reached the week before the their special occasion and so I contacted Joanne to finalise every detail I had on record as I always do to ensure things hadn’t changed. All systems were go and I was prepping my gear along with charging many batteries!

On the morning I headed to the wedding venue which was to host the Bridal Preparations, the Ceremony and the Reception celebrations. This was of course the stunning Briars Hall Country House Hotel in Lathom, Lancashire. It was a pleasure to document another wedding here and I was looked after very well by the team from start to finish.

Joanne was getting her hair done as I arrived whilst her 4 bridesmaids were sipping champagne and enjoying good music. Joanne’s friends also helped with hair and make-up during this period and then her friend, Emily who had a keen interest in Videography offered her time to capture the days events as they unraveled. It was good fun documenting the girls together along with capturing all the smaller details which included her beautiful wedding dress.

Time soon flew by and both myself and Emily headed downstairs to meet and greet Neil whilst getting those natural shots of guests arriving and enjoying a drink before the ceremony began. The wedding coordinator then invited guests into the ceremony room before the arrival of the Bridal party.

Joanne walked behind the Bridesmaids with her Father who looked proud as punch as they both smiled away. The ceremony was lovely which included some nice readings spoken by the registrar, the exchange of rings and of course the official signing of the register. As guests finished getting their photographs I got ready at the end of the aisle for the newly weds. As they walked outside for a quick refreshment their family and friends were right behind ready to congratulate them and as the last person finished I then grabbed the opportunity for a confetti shot.

The formal groups were next and even though this can seem a daunting task for many I do try and keep it as fun and interactive as possible. Firstly were the families and then onto a large group of everybody there which was fantastic!

Neil and Joanne quickly posed with a picture of them next to a very nice white Lamborghini which was borrowed to Neil’s Brother for the day. Neil and the Groomsmen were next up and we went for a more interesting shot beginning with a serious look and then a more relaxed and smiley look, I obviously preferred the latter 🙂

The happy couple then checked the wedding breakfast room which gave me a good opportunity to get some shots of the beautiful decorations along with a mock cutting of the cake. They then went out of the room to have another quick refreshing beverage before guests were invited in to take a seat and then welcome the new Mr & Mrs Rigby back into the room officially. They took a seat and began the speeches.

First up was Joanne’s Father who had some lovely words and stories to say about his daughter. Neil then stood to thank everyone along with thoughtful gifts before passing on the microphone to his Best man Gary. Neil was obviously hesitant as Gary enjoyed sharing hilarious stories of their childhood along with more recent moments together.

The evening soon arrived and before evenings guests started to arrive for further celebrations I walked around the grounds of the venue to capture the more intimate shots of them together. It was fun but a little chilly towards the end which resulted in getting them both inside to warm up.

I got my lights ready for the first dance and captured some really moving moments of them together before the family and friends joined them on the dance floor. Soon afterwards I left them to enjoy the final hours of their big day together with a great DJ playing some tunes and a Photobooth.

I hope they had a memorable day and I wish them the very best in their married lives together. I also hope they have wonderful time in New York for their Honeymoon!

Thanks and enjoy these sneak peek shots from the day…

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Congratulations David & Louise!

Yesterday’s wedding was a recommendation from Mr & Mrs Mclean who’s wedding I documented back in 2014…Wow how time has flown since then! I soon met up with David and Louise soon afterwards to discuss their photography requirements after they were very interested in my style work. As all of my clients know I offer a very relaxed and unobtrusive approach to any project or occasion I’m included in. It certainly gets the best results when I’m taking snaps of people being themselves! 🙂

So the big day soon came around and as I arrived at Heskin Hall to meet and greet David and his 5 Ushers it darned on me how many times I had made the local trip to this stunning Lancashire wedding venue although this time was a first for me. I had never actually photographed a civil ceremony in the Tudor room and with this in mind I was very excited!

Guests arrived and were enjoying drinks outside before proceedings began. The weather was absolutely glorious with the sun beaming down, temperatures close to 20° at 12.30pm and not a cloud in sight. Louise soon arrived with her parents, bridesmaids and daughter and after speaking with the registrars they were all ready to make an appearance. The Bridesmaids walked in first followed by Louise and her proud Dad who enjoyed the moment together. The ceremony was lovely with plenty of smiles and two superbly spoken readings by one of David’s Ushers and a wedding guest. After rings were exchanged and the signing of the register was complete the newly weds were ready to walk back down the aisle together as Husband and Wife.

As soon as everyone officially congratulated the happy couple I swept in to get David and Louise inside before setting up the confetti shot which included all of the wedding guests. This was followed by the formal groups which I like to get out of the way as quickly as possible as it keeps the atmosphere lively and happy 🙂

I got some snaps of the wedding breakfast room including the wedding cake which looked very yummy but also beautifully decorated. Everybody was invited into the room by the wedding coordinator around 3.30pm to take their seat and to also prepare themselves to formally introduce the new Mr & Mrs Cooper. David and Louise stuck with tradition and included the wedding speeches after they had their meal.

First up was Louise’s Dad who offered a very ‘short but sweet’ speech to kick things off. David followed with the Thank you’s and the lovely story on how they first met and then finally onto David’s Brother for the Best Man speech. I always look forward to this part because you get some cracking stories but mostly because from these stories you get all kinds of reactions and facial expressions from those listening 🙂

I grabbed the opportunity to get outside with the couple as soon as they were ready as I could see the sun was falling towards the horizon by the minute. This part of the day is where I walk around with the couple for the more intimate photos of them together taking our time and having fun! It’s very important that they feel at ease as it helps create natural emotions in front of the camera.

After we enjoyed the gorgeous sunset and the little walk around the grounds it was time to head inside for David and Louise to greet evening guests and more importantly get ready for their first dance.

They were to spend a little time in each other’s company during the first dance enjoying the fantastic vocals of a singer who they booked for the evening. He also played the acoustic guitar offering a vast array of music. I packed up afterwards and left all of their family and friends to carry on the celebrations which I’m sure went on well into the night!

As I left I couldn’t help but look up into the star-lit sky and take in the breathtaking view. I decided I was going to try something I hadn’t done before and capture this moment which you can see for yourselves in the sneak peek shots below. I hope you all enjoy looking through them and I can’t wait to get the remainder of David and Louise’s special day’s memories to them very soon 🙂

Until then, Enjoy…

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Congratulations John & Joanne!

A nice Monday treat for you!

When I met up with the happy couple last year we discussed many things and one being the preparations before the ceremony began. Now if the Groom is close to where his soon to be wife is I will certainly make an effort (if requested) to pop along and get some documented shots of the lads getting ready themselves for the day ahead. Most of the time however the two locations can be some distance apart so I recommend a second photographer who will be present when I’m otherwise engaged! The advantage of having two photographers is for the mere fact that different shots will be captured throughout the day and the chance of missing out on those more unusual and comical shots becomes minimal. So, after running through everything with John and Joanne they were very keen on including my good friend and pro-photographer Kirsten along for their big day!

The day finally arrived and even though the weather didn’t look anything striking I knew it wasn’t going to dampen anyone’s spirits for what was going to be a fab day! I prepped my gear, ironed my clothes and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee before leaving the house to arrive in Lydiate for 10am sharp! The door was open so I walked inside to be greeted by the whole bridal party who were having their hair and makeup done so I proceeded to document the build-up.

After a fun morning of laughs between the girls and the last-minute ironing from Craig (Joanne’s Brother) it was time to leave for the ceremony although this time I knew Kirsten was with the boys and was also capturing shots of the guests arriving so I had time to stick with Joanne to get every moment on camera.

I arrived at the stunning West Tower in Aughton and I immediately liaised with the registrar to confirm any pet hates and rules they had before the ceremony began. With guests inside and the Groom ready and waiting at the front of the aisle it was time for the beautiful Bride to make an appearance but not before the Bridesmaids. The ceremony was lovely with the hand over from Craig to John and then some moving vows before the exchange of rings and the kiss! I did my usual formal of the signing of the register before the newlyweds walked hand in hand back up the aisle and out to the car for a casual drive around the area.

John and Joanne soon came back and we cracked on swiftly with the formal group shots starting with a boy’s shot and then a girl’s shot to get the atmosphere going and to also break the ice between photographer and guest 😊. It was perfect timings as we finished our last group it started to rain so we headed inside.

There was time to photograph the wedding breakfast room which was dressed absolutely beautifully by Suzanne at Premier Party Events and the team. It also meant I could get my ‘mock’ cut of the cake done before we lost the day light but also because I like to do it before the official cutting as it makes for a good shot of guests having their moment with the happy couple later in the evening!

All family and friends were invited inside as they got ready to applaud the new Mr & Mrs Dowell into the room. As everyone finished their starters and mains there was an unfortunate moment where a waiter fell over and dropped a wine bucket which obviously made everyone aware as it made a massive clang on the floor! The waiter got onto his feet grabbed a chair, stood on it and apologised before singing a Robbie Williams classic. Yes, you guessed it…. John booked a duo of singing waiters from Silver Service Singers as a surprise for Joanne and the guests to enjoy! The atmosphere was buzzing and everyone got onto their feet and danced away. Some even got a little more than they bargained for 😊

Afterwards John, Joanne and myself walked around the venue and grounds to capture the more intimate shots of them together before we retired back inside and enjoyed the evening unravel. Me and Kirsten documented the occasion up until the first dance where we then set the lights and prepped our kit. The moment was lovely between Husband and Wife as they enjoyed a nice slow song together for their first dance. Joanne also had a really great moment with her Brother as they danced to a Dance classic afterwards.

The time soon came where we packed up and left the party in full swing to carry on celebrations into the night. We hope everyone had a memorable day and we wish John and Joanne all the very best in their new chapter 😊

Enjoy these sneak peek photos…

Thanks!

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Congratulations Matt & Sophie!

So, my first wedding blog of 2017 and what a way to start! Matt and Sophie met me a while ago to discuss their big day plans whilst looking through the wedding storybook albums on offer in each package. We spoke about many things one of which included ‘trap doors’ which we’ll get to a little later. They both loved my work and wanted to book me for their wedding day at the absolutely stunning Stockport Plaza. I documented Mark and Wayne’s wedding here back in 2015 and shortly afterwards I became preferred supplier to the venue so I couldn’t wait to get back!

The wedding day soon arrived and with it being a late ceremony I thought I’d arrive nice and early to capture the build-up whilst getting some photographs of the beautiful surroundings both inside and outside of the building. I quickly said hello to Matt and Sophie to let them know I had arrived and then I cracked on with setting my gear up for the beginning of proceedings.

Matt was in position after speaking with the registrars and Sophie was with her father and Sister ready to take a trip down the aisle and then onto the stage. The ceremony included a couple of readings one from Matt’s father and one from Sophie’s Mother. After rings and handshakes were exchanged they sat to officially sign the register.

I took the shots needed and then made my way through the maze of doors to find myself at the top of the aisle ready for the newlyweds to be congratulated by their guests. The backstage staff were ready with the confetti trigger and as soon as they turned the corner they found themselves covered in shiny confetti which made for a gorgeous photo.

We got straight on with the group photos as there was over an hour worth of short films ready for everyone to enjoy along with popcorn and choc-ices! I headed upstairs to photograph the restaurant decorations as this is still as important as any other shot on the day especially with so much time and effort that goes into the planning of dressing the room.

After the films had finished they were invited upstairs by the master of ceremonies and then waited to greet the happy couple into the room for speeches and the wedding breakfast. There were 3 fab speeches made by Sophie’s Father, Matt and then the Best man.

In between the poor weather, me, Matt and Sophie managed to get a couple of shots throughout the day both outside and inside the venue and then before evening guests arrived. They prepped themselves before the first dance behind the curtains ready for the big reveal. It included a fun variety of dance moves along with a classic 80’s song to finish off what was a fab day. I then left them to enjoy the evenings celebrations with their family and friends.

I hope they had a memorable day and I look forward to hearing all about their honeymoon on the slopes.

For now, enjoy a couple of sneak peek shots…

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Congratulations Ashfield House!

Recently Ashfield House in Standish, Wigan was awarded the ‘Best Wedding Venue of the Year (Town or City) at the Wedding Industry Awards 2017. I feel very blessed that this stunning venue is on my doorstep and that I have had the absolute pleasure to document several weddings since I began the business.

My first wedding was back in 2011 and what a transformation it has gone through! I remember the dark oak furniture and large pillars in the dining area and bar, and the very classic looking wallpaper which together with the large golden frames created an elegant feel. Now following it’s renovation it is certainly a Luxury Country House in which offers a vintage/quirky theme throughout it’s corridors and rooms.

I thoroughly enjoy travelling the couple of miles up the road to photograph a wedding day here as it offers everything I need overlooking the Douglas Valley. There are stunning gardens with flowers that bloom throughout the year especially the lavender at the front which gives off a gorgeous scent.

A huge congratulations again! Here’s a recap of the weddings that I have been lucky enough to be part of over the years 🙂

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Congratulations Scott & Hayley!

On Saturday I had the pleasure of being part of such a lovely couple’s wedding day at the stunning Ashfield House in Standish, Wigan.

I spoke with Hayley on the build up to the big day and we spoke about many things but one subject in particular…the weather! Now when it comes to the good old British weather you can never guarantee a specific outcome, you can only have a good look at some weather reports but mainly just cross you’re fingers and hope for the best.

As I woke on Saturday I knew it was going to be a glorious day as I saw a clear blue sky and frost settled on the ground. I packed my kit and headed up the road (literally 2 miles away) to Ashfield House and when I arrived I made my way up to the sitting room where Hayley and the Bridal party were getting their hair and make-up done. There were plenty of photos of Prosecco being drunk, pancakes being eaten and hair spray being…well sprayed as the ladies enjoyed the build up. I finished photographing the Brides beautiful wedding dress along with her shoes and flowers when it hit me that we had only 45 minutes to go before Hayley had to be downstairs. I left the room and headed downstairs to meet and greet Scott and the Groomsmen.

Whilst looking for the main man himself I came across Liz Hendry who is a good friend of mine and was to play the piano during the ceremony and wedding breakfast. After having a brief chat with Scott I left him to discuss official matters with the registrar as I documented guests arriving and having a chat.

Everyone was soon asked to head inside and take a seat as proceedings were not far away. I waited for Hayley to walk down the stairs with her father by her side as it does make for a lovely photo. Hayley smiled away as she saw Scott very smartly dress and eagerly waiting for his soon to be wife.

The ceremony was full of emotions and went by so quickly but I always make sure I document every moment as I know for 99% of couples it ends up complete blur. With vows said and rings exchanged it was time for them to sign the register to make it all official. The new Mr & Mrs Touhey made their way back down the aisle as husband and wife and with a glass of fizz in their hands they enjoyed a moment with their family and friends for the confetti throw.

We cracked on with the formal group shots as we lose the sun this time of year very quickly. I even advised we get some of the more intimate shots of them together outside especially as it would’ve been pitch black after the wedding breakfast and speeches. The venue’s grounds always offer a variety of areas to capture stunning photographs of the happy couple and Saturday was no exception.

There were 4 lovely speeches read by Hayley’s Dad, Scott, Scott’s Mother and of course not forgetting the best man! As always a mixture of tales and stories offering plenty of laughs and tears which made for great photos.

After the meal we managed to finish off with around 20-25 minutes of photos inside the bar area, on the stair case and upstairs. I then left them to it to enjoy the remaining hours with their wonderful family and friends. As the evening progressed with classic music being played by the DJ I set my gear up for the first dance.

The newly weds were officially introduced into the room to cut their wedding cake and then get close for the first dance as husband and wife. It was a lovely moment as their close family and friends watched them smile to one another whilst celebrating such a special occasion. I hope everyone thoroughly had a memorable day and I wish Scott and Hayley all the best in their married lives together

I also hope they enjoy every second on their honeymoon to Barbados and for the time being please enjoy a couple of these sneak peek previews 🙂

Thanks…

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Luna the Old English Sheep Dog!

Hi all…

Okay so after a mad busy weekend I want to firstly share a couple of sneak peek shots from a more unique photo session I did just over a week ago with a furry little friend called Luna. Now I hope this brightens up your Monday because it certainly did for me 🙂

Luna is an Old English Sheepdog who is just a puppy and their owners who are good friends of my wife and I asked if I could capture some photographs of her whilst she’s…well small!

We traveled over from Wigan looking forward to meeting her and as we walked through the door there she was bouncing all over the place just like a new born lamb. I got straight into it taking some snaps around their beautiful home and as requested a few props with the iconic ‘Dulux’ paint tin along with Luna’s personalised paint brush 🙂

It was so much fun and I enjoyed every moment. So I hope you all too enjoy a couple of puppy pics and with Christmas just around the corner I’ve included a shot of Luna wearing something very festive!

Thanks…

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Congratulations Martin & Anna!

Good friends of my wife and I Martin and Anna decided they wanted to tie the knot abroad under glorious sunshine and near the sea, so they flew out to Cyprus with close family and friends who witnessed them say their “I do’s”. We were keen to hear all about the wedding day but in the meantime we were looking forward to post celebrations at the reception!!

We offered a couple of hours of photography as a gift so they could get some formal/documented shots of the occasion with family and friends who couldn’t make it to the ceremony. My wife and I arrived at The Queen Elizabeth Hall along with those that the newly weds wanted in the formal group photographs. We got straight on with them and before everyone knew it the party had officially started!

I documented up until the first dance capturing the more intimate shots of Martin and Anna, a cake cutting shot and finally the first dance. It must have been great for Anna being able to get back into that beautiful white dress whilst Martin being suited and booted celebrating such a momentous occasion a second time. We are both very happy for the new Mr & Mrs McSorley and I’m sure along with their family and friends we wish them a lifetime of happiness 🙂

I hope you all enjoy the sneak peek shots and I look forward to sending the remainder to Martin and Anna soon!

Thanks… sam-sanders-photography-wigan-photographer-anna-martin-oldham-wedding-reception-web-024sam-sanders-photography-wigan-photographer-anna-martin-oldham-wedding-reception-web-027sam-sanders-photography-wigan-photographer-anna-martin-oldham-wedding-reception-web-060

Congratulations Mike & Kay!

Yesterday was the wedding of Mike and Kay of whom I hadn’t even met before the day and was a referral from two people. Kay contacted me a short while ago asking for my availability and after speaking with her about the 12 week wedding planning process she was happy to include me in the list of her chosen suppliers 🙂

I arrived at the Hallmark Best Western Fir Grove Hotel in Warrington for the bridal preparations where Kay and the girls were having their hair and make-up done. It was a lovely morning for them of fun and excitement towards what was to come. I captured all the smaller details as I always do before capturing the documentary shots. Time soon got away from me and after a couple of snaps of the dress being buttoned up I headed downstairs to greet Mike and speak briefly with the registrar.

Kay walked down the aisle with her brothers by her side and was lovely to see her beaming smile as she saw Mike. The ceremony was made even more special as Kay knew the registrar. It went smoothly with a beautiful reading read by a chosen member of the bridal party and after rings were exchanged and the register was signed it was time for the new Mr & Mrs to come together and get ready to walk hand-in-hand back down the aisle as husband and wife.

I cracked on with the formal group shots along with a brilliant confetti photograph outside in the courtyard where the ceremony had previously taken place. I then left the newly weds to mingle with their family and friends before heading into the wedding suite for a couple of snaps of the room decorated.

Everybody then made their way inside to take their seat before the wedding coordinator formally announced Mike and Kay back in. The head chef constructed an amazing master piece of a desert which they enjoyed immensely.

I prepped my gear ready for the speeches and with Mike and his son offering fab words of love, jokes and thanks the guests were finally introduced to their entertainment for the evening. Pier Fun Casinos and a magician were on hand to create a memorable time for everyone whilst I headed out with the happy couple to capture the more intimate shots of them together. Mike soon admitted that he wasn’t as keen as Kay on having a photographer for their big day but felt that I had helped offer a relaxing yet professional atmosphere which I obviously was made up with hearing 🙂

The first dance then soon arrived and after I sorted out the lights ready for an unusual introduction Mike, Kay and a couple of close family danced away in front of everyone. I hope they had an absolutely wonderful day and I wish them all the best in their married lives together.

Please enjoy these sneak peeks shots…

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