A few weeks ago my lovely friends Caroline and Tom got married in Manchester. Caroline only booked me for a couple of hours just to cover the ceremony and couple shots, as she was very kindly insistent that I should relax and just be a guest for the majority of the day, so it was a very quick but immensely enjoyable burst of photography, followed by a much lengthier and immensely enjoyable burst of drinking rum and dancing.
It was very strange for me to only shoot a couple of hours as I’m so used to covering the whole day. With needing to cover the ceremony, groups and couple shots in that limited time, I knew there wouldn’t be much time to get the usual wide range of candid shots of guests, so I really wanted to make sure that I got some amazing couple shots for them. Luckily for me, everything conspired to make sure that it wasn’t difficult to do this – a combination of Caroline and Tom being so damn gorgeous and loads of fun, the beautiful architecture of Manchester Town Hall, the absolutely amazing interior of the Deaf Institute, the fantastic routefinder bus, and the most heavenly, hazy, late afternoon September sunlight (yes that’s right – Manchester… and sunlight) – all meant that inspiration was springing up all over the place and I was in complete photographic bliss.
We started off at Mr Thomas’s Chop House for a few drinks, then ambled over to Manchester Town Hall, where the ceremony was held. It’s such an incredible building, Victorian neo-gothic, and the architecture and interior are so striking and atmospheric. Caroline looked breathtaking – I absolutely loved her hair, and the dress was one of those rare amazing dresses that look not just beautiful but really comfortable too, completely stunning.
The ceremony was VERY emotional and really happy. Then everyone piled onto a lovely red routemaster bus (a really nice way to pile everyone together and break the ice between people who hadn’t met before) to whizz them down the road to the Deaf Institute. The Deaf Institute did used to be, as its name suggests, a Deaf Institute, but is now an incredible nightclub, live music venue and cafe in a beautiful and unusual listed building in the middle of Manchester. The interior is just brilliant – loads of different kinds of the most amazing wallpaper you’ll ever see (my hands down favourite is the ‘Good Dolly / Bad Dolly’ Dolly Parton one – see pic below!); an incredible Music Hall room which is like a cross between a theatre and a dance hall, with a glass balcony, stepped pews and an enormous disco ball; amazingly creative decor throughout – walls of speakers, reclaimed doors, signposts, cattle skulls, chandeliers, murals, vintage furniture; one of the best stocked and varied bars you’ll come across and the most delicious food… it’s got bags and bags of character and it was really lovely to celebrate such a wonderful occasion in such a memorable place which for many of the guests, also houses so many happy memories from lots of fun nights out.
I loved how much of the wedding was a collaborative and creative effort from loved ones. Tom’s mum Sue baked the wedding cake (bottom layer was her famous chocolate rosie cake, middle layer carrot and top layer fruit), which Caroline decorated with fresh flowers. The something borrowed and old was Caroline’s beautiful chainmail bag which she borrowed from Tom’s mum and which used to belong to Tom’s grandmother. It was no surprise that Caroline got stuck in creatively – she is an amazing fashion designer and also sings in a brilliant band (check them out – the 1,2,3,4s) so I knew that the aesthetics and the music were going to be great. Caroline recycled their engagement cards to make little cut-out-heart table decorations, and personally made little mother of pearl button hearts for favours and strings of mock polaroids of lots of old family photos. She collected lots of other bits and bobs for decorations over months of bargain spotting and left them with Ruth, the events manager at the Deaf Institute, who did an amazing job of getting the place looking great. Caroline designed the ‘order of events’ posters herself. Lots of Caroline and Tom’s close friends DJ’d, which meant that we all got to dance to everyone’s favourite songs.
After grabbing a few shots at the Deaf Institute (including spying through the window at everyone loading their plates up – winners for this are undoubtedly Rob and Wes you greedy pigs… photographic proof below), my camera got safely packed away leaving me free to enjoy rum, cocktails and dancing until 3am. An absolutely brilliant day. Congratulations Caroline and Tom!
For more of my wedding photography, see my wedding gallery
For more information about my wedding photography, see my wedding photography pages