Fun Packed Wedding at the seaside in Whitstable, Kent
One of my favourite things as a wedding photographer is shooting at new venues. If it means travelling to the seaside, even better! Whitstable is a beautiful coastal town in Kent and was the setting for George and Mark's wonderful wedding in May. Having recently moved there, it was the natural place for them to celebrate their big day. The East Quay Venue on the beach was the perfect setting.
I arrived at their home first thing just as they were getting ready with Mark's mum and George's best friend who would be walking them down the aisle later. Champagne was opened, ties were straightened and then there was just time to practise walking down the aisle in the kitchen - a really fun moment to photograph! The vintage campervan arrived and they all hopped in and made there way to the wedding venue.
The East Quay Venue is a lovely restaurant and bar with stunning sea views and direct access to the beach. It used to be an oyster grading house and still has a very nautical feel. George is an interior designer and Mark a branding expert. Their expertise had transformed the venue into something very special indeed. From table settings to signs leading the guests through the day, lighting, cocktails and even oyster shuckers, the place looked amazing.
The guests arrived and made their way to the upstairs' space where the ceremony was to take place. As a documentary photographer, I love this moment at weddings. With friends and family coming together, catching up and excitedly waiting for the day to begin, this is always such a great time for me to capture some really magical moments.A close harmony trio danced their way up the aisle singing Chapel of Love followed by the wedding party. George and Mark made their vows in front of a gorgeous display they had arranged themselves with olive trees and candles - a hint to George's Greek heritage. After a beautiful ceremony, the couple led the way downstairs and the party began! The trio, now in sailor suits, sung from the stage; cocktails were served and guests helped themselves to freshly-shucked oysters. As everyone mingled George, Mark and I popped down to the beach for some quick informal portraits.Everyone was then called through to the dining room. Guests found their places at the tables by looking for polaroids of themselves - a fantastic touch which I'd never seen before. The wedding breakfast was served family style with big boards of lobsters being passed around the tables. Afterwards, there were some hilarious speeches and songs by family and friends. A highlight was three friends performing highlights from Les Mis with new lyrics about the happy couple! George is Greek so instead of champagne, the speeches were toasted with shot glasses of Ouzo - a lovely touch.
After the meal, the evening guests arrived. Everyone gathered on the dance floor for the first dance done Greek style! All the guests joined hands and danced in a circle - raucous and so much fun. People started spilling on to the beach to see the sunset. A photo booth was set up upstairs with lots of props whilst a Greek food van served guests outside. As the DJ started to fill up the dance floor, I could tell the stage was set for one almighty party that would go on long into the night!