A few weeks ago I made the long drive down from Birmingham to rural Suffolk to photograph Elizabeth and Raj’s epic fusion wedding at the wonderful Alpheton Hall Barns. From the outset it was important for Elizabeth and Raj that their wedding was a true reflection of them both as a couple. By having two ceremonies, an English civil ceremony and a Hindu vivaah sanskar, they ensured that the day featured a mixture of both of their traditions. This was so much more than a wedding; it was a celebration of different cultures, a declaration of love, a commitment to the future, oh . . . and a bloody good party too.
I met with Elizabeth and her three bridesmaids on the morning of the wedding for the bridal preparations at the Northgate Hotel in Bury St. Edmunds. For the English civil ceremony Elizabeth wore a stunning lace detailed Melissa Sweet wedding dress which was from David’s Bridal in Birmingham. All of the girls all looked stunning with their purple bridesmaids dresses, also from David’s Bridal, and their mehndi decorated hands. The slight drizzle which started to fall as we left the hotel for Alpheton Hall Barns couldn’t dampen the excitement for the day ahead.
Whilst I was with the bride my second shooter for the day, the rather awesome Winston from Norfolk Wedding PhotographerWinston Sanders Photography, was with Raj and his groomsmen as they prepared themselves at The Swan at Lavenham. Raj looked very dapper in a blue TM Lewin suit which was complemented with a grey waistcoat from Next and white shirt from Charles Tyrwhitt.
Alpheton Hall has a long and interesting history which dates back to the 10th century. In the late 900’s it’s believed to have been the former home of Aelfflaed, sister in law to King Edmund 1st (Edmund the Magnificent) of England. In fact the village of Alpheton is a corruption over the centuries of “Aelfflaed’s tun,” tun being the Saxon word for estate or lands. Parts of the barns themselves are believed to date back a far as the at least the 13th century. The venue is run by the tartan trouser toting Nick who is part farmer, part raconteur, part wedding co-ordinator, part photographer and a fully-fledged pizza oven ninja!
The civil ceremony, held in the limestone floored West Barn, was a joyous occasion in front of 150 friends and family. Once the formalities were completed the guests headed out for a popcorn and prosecco drinks reception whilst Elizabeth and Raj got changed for the Hindu ceremony. I’ve got say that they both looked absolutely amazing in their red and gold traditional Indian outfits as they entered underneath the mandap. The Hindu ceremony was conducted by Chanda Vyas who is the UKs (possibly the worlds) first female Hindu priest / mahraj. This was the first time I’ve shot a Hindu ceremony and there were probably many family members and guests who’d not been to a Hindu wedding before either. Chanda did an amazing job, spending time throughout the ceremony to explain what the various rituals symbolised so us Hindu wedding novices could understand what was happening.
With both ceremonies completed the guests then made their way into the adjoining grand South Barn for the speeches which were swiftly followed by a wedding breakfast including some amazing vegan delights, slow roast lamb and chicken which were prepared by the Secret Dumpling Club. As the evening drew in the South Barn was readied for the evening reception where everybody got chance to throw some shapes . . . especially when Punjabi MC’s Mundian To Bach Ke hit the decks. For the evening food the Secret Dumpling Club and venue owner Nick were kept busy manning the barn’s wood fired outdoor pizza oven until the small hours.
Whilst you’re here you should also take some time to check out Elizabeth’s blog too. She’s a multi-award winning lifestyle blogger and writes on a whole variety of different topics including; travel, fashion, food, wellbeing etc. You can find her at http://www.rosalilium.com/
So, once again, a huge thankyou to Elizabeth and Raj for letting me be a part of their amazing wedding, it was a real thrill to have been their wedding photographer on such a unique and joyous occasion, here’s a few pictures from their big day . . .