Any bride and groom can tell you that one of the most challenging aspects of planning a wedding is making both families happy. As much as it is “their” day, a marriage also represents the joining together of two families, and it is important to incorporate appropriate customs to respect both the bride’s and the groom’s backgrounds, as Natalie and James did when they wed in Kingston-Upon-Thames.
Natalie’s family is British-Greek Cypriot and James’ is British, and their special day was very much a fusion of each heritage. The service took place at St George Greek Orthodox Church in Kingston-Upon-Thames. The early summer weather was the sort to make my wedding photographer heart sing, with just a few fluffy white clouds punctuating the azure blue skies.
Natalie was a natural in front of the camera and she and her three bridesmaids made the most of their time together as they got ready for the ceremony. Natalie was a breathtaking bride, and it was a delight to witness the clear pride her parents had in their beautiful daughter as she prepared to step into the next stage of her life. Natalie’s parents’ garden was the perfect backdrop for some photos of a remarkably relaxed bride who was more than ready to meet her groom and tie the knot!
An essential part of top quality Greek wedding photography and videography is understanding the symbolism and importance associated with different faiths. For example, the two floral crowns linked with a white ribbon which are presented by the best man “koumparos”, the couple taking sips from the same cup, and the couple’s first steps as husband and wife which are taken around the altar. All of these images were included in the couple’s album reminding them of their faith and the promises they made to each other.
The sun continued to shine as the happy couple were showered with confetti by their family and friends before making their way to the Great Fosters Hotel in Egham where they were hosting their wedding reception in the Tithe Barn. James and Natalie could not have chosen a more lovely venue for their wedding photography in London. The gardens of Great Fosters Hotel were in full bloom and the barn’s rustic interior contrasted wonderfully with the pristine white linen and twinkling fairy lights.
One of my favourite parts of any wedding is getting to photograph the couple after their ceremony and before their reception. The mood is always romantic but light-hearted, as if the “hard work” is done and they can now get on with the celebration. The photos are a brief oasis in a day of activity and I always feel privileged to be allowed to be there as they share their first hours together.
The rest of the afternoon and evening passed in a blur of delicious food (including an incredible six-tier wedding cake), speeches filled with sentiment and humour, and dancing. In a twist on tradition, James and Natalie entertained their guests with an energetic rock ’n’ roll number instead of a slow, romantic song for their first dance. Their dance was followed by hours of great music from Diastello Greek band who knew exactly what to play to get everyone up on their feet. I think James surprised many of his friends with just how well he danced the customary Greek dances, including the Cypriot money dance.
Natalie and James’ wedding was everything a wedding should be and I am grateful they chose me to capture their big day.