Ali & Nic’s Ramster Hall Wedding was the third time I’ve shot for this crowd and each and every time it has been a complete blast. Back in 2012 I shot Ellie & Matt’s wedding at Cain Manor near Churt and then in 2015 it was Abi & Dave’s turn to tie the knot at Preston Court down in Kent. Ali & Nic’s go at the whole wedding extravaganza was no less successful. Their wedding featured beautiful floral crowns, music from Ali’s incredibly talented aunt and a crazy incident involving surreptitious thievery of the bride’s veil!
Everyone got ready at The Crown Inn Chiddingfold, a lovely pub virtually opposite the church. Ali was in a suite with Nic down the corridor in a separate room. Ali was looked after by the fabulous Alison Smith, one of my favourite makeup artists with Louise looking after the bridesmaids next door. Chiddingfold is a pretty, quintessentially English, village in the Surrey Hills and The Crown is a wonderful ancient pub full of dark beams, low ceilings and bags of character.
St Mary’s Church Chiddingfold, where the wedding ceremony took place, is clearly visible on the other side of the road from the room in which Ali got into her dress. Cue lots of peeking at guests arriving and trying to avoid being spotted! Ali was the most resplendently chilled bride imaginable, all style but zero drama, and the proximity of the church made the ‘commute’ an easy amble on foot. Ali’s aunt is a professional cellist with the Brandenburg Orchestra and accompanied the organ throughout the ceremony to great effect. I rather wish I’d have known her when I was married! Reverend Sarah Brough who married Ali & Nic was a delight. Anyone who’s read my blog before knows that I go to great lengths to try and remain really discrete during church ceremonies, including attending the rehearsal, and it’s always a pleasure to work with members of the clergy who are keen to be team players. Thank you Sarah for being a pro! Confetti always makes wonderfully dynamic photographs but the setup at St Mary’s lent itself particularly well to this. Needless to say the confetti moments are some of my favourite ever.
Following the wedding Ali & Nic made their getaway in a gorgeous burgundy Bentley while the guests boarded a Red Routemaster for the short drive to Ramster Hall. This was my first Ramster Hall Wedding and I absolutely loved it. Ramster is family run and it feels it in the best possible way. No corporate identity (yuk) but instead a straightforward and down-to-earth sincerity that made Ali & Nic’s day feel very special. As the weather was very mild, the drinks reception was held outside and after some group photos, once we’d located Nic’s Dad (a dog relocation situation – don’t ask!), we stole away for a few portraits in the beautiful and extensive gardens. Nic & Ali were really keen to make the most of the autumnal colours and they were out in force. We also got treated to a well-timed hot air ballon flypast by a colour congruent red balloon!
Speeches were hilarious. Like so funny I was concerned about keeping my camera stable due to the extreme full-body paroxysms I was suffering! Nic had three best men and, as they explained in their opening gambit, each ratcheted up the tone from family-friendly to outright toilet, via moderately risqué. Finding the devastating, but not crowd-alienating, tone is always a tricky task but Chris, Ed and Marcus nailed it. Ali’s family are Australian and I think that helped! Half-Aussie myself, I am hoping I can get away with that gentle aspersion…
The dancefloor antics were as good as I’ve come to expect from weddings involving this prodigiously riotous bunch. Filled from the get-go with no shortage of questionable shapes being thrown. At some stage in the evening, I found Ali’s friend Holly and her accomplices in the Drawing Room having pinched the veil. Hilarity ensued as Holly channeled her inner model for a few high-fashion poses (part of the forthcoming Miss Havisham lookbook) before the booze took hold again and she cantered off like a veil-topped loon. I jest, she was lovely. Thanks guys for being excellent fun! Come the end of the night I had a certain sympathy for the driver who had the unenviable task of trying to corral this wonderful, yet motley crowd off the dancefloor and onto his bus.
Ali & Nic are the most incredibly charming pair. My thanks to them for having me along, and to their families for being so warm and welcoming. The Ellie-Warwick crowd (as I am now christening them) have delivered some truly spectacular weddings and I hope that there may be some more yet to come. Anyway, enough from me, time for some photographs. I look forward to my next Ramster Hall Wedding!
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