The wedding of Alicia and Denys set at the magnificent Eltham Palace was one of my biggest wedding photography jobs of the year.
I love international weddings. They have their own unique flavour, and the fusion of different cultures and customs is amazing and very photogenic. As many of the guests have travelled to Eltham Palace having not seen friends and relatives for months or even years, these weddings can feel especially poignant and emotional, and the wedding of Alicia and Denys was no exception to this rule. The families of both the bride and groom flew into London for the ceremony – his from Lebanon, hers from Chile – and as you can see from the wedding photography they were a very stylish group.
Wedding Photography at Eltham Palace
I began photographing Alicia getting ready in the bridal shop where she had bought her dress. She had chosen a traditional style with a big veil so having the bridal stylists on hand really helped put her at ease. I used the mirrors to create a shot where she saw herself ready for the first time from three angles – you can see how relaxed and radiant she looks. We then headed to the wonderful St James’ Church, with its magnificent Gothic architecture. I took some shots of the guests and groom as they mingled outside, before capturing the bride walking to the church in a reportage style. The church is built from stone and with its wide arches and colourful stained glass windows, it conveys a real sense of majesty so it’s a great choice for a large, elegant wedding – the 180-strong wedding party fitted easily into the spacious interior. I went up to the gallery to capture the bride and bridesmaids walking down the aisle, and these photos convey the scale of the church and allowed me to create a glamorous, unstaged photographs. I then hot-footed it back down to capture the traditional Catholic ceremony, which included prayers, readings and the Holy Communion, with violinists and singers providing beautiful harmonies.
Wedding Photography with 180 guests
After they were married, I got some great shots of Alicia and Denys leaving the church with bubbles being blown. I really recommend this as an alternative to confetti as they look great aesthetically – and there’s no clean up either!
The fun continued on two classic red London buses, where there was a real party atmosphere. The bride, groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen went to the historic Palace of Westminster and Big Ben to capture more formal photos against an iconic backdrop. We had a lot of fun, mixing up more staged photos with funny poses, before hopping back on the bus to the former royal residence of Eltham Palace, now a popular wedding venue. On arrival, we took some group shots before going into the great hall, where dinner was held and moving speeches were made in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.
Eltham Palace Wedding Venue
We then went back outside for the formal couple shots in the beautiful gardens. It was a lovely, sunny evening so the natural light cast a lovely glow, and I used a wooden bridge as a romantic setting for these intimate portraits.
Then it was time for the partying, which I was really looking forward to considering the cosmopolitan character of the guests. The first dance was very lively – this couple knew how to dance! And then the Lebanese influence kicked in with Fez hats and belly dancing. The bride and groom were hoisted up on shoulders, like a king and queen! The bride then threw the bouquet, and one of the bridesmaids caught it. I love the shot I got of her and how ecstatic she looked.
Finally, we took some more romantic photos as the sun set before the happy couple went back in to enjoy the rest of their big day.
Congratulations Alicia and Denys – the wedding was brilliant. Enjoy your honeymoon!