All Saints Church Wedding, Settrington – Charlie and Vicki
One of the things I enjoy about my job is in the consultation stage, I get to hear couple’s stories of how they first got together. Often it’s the case that the meeting happened through work, but with Vicki and Charlie, I discovered they met through an online dating service, something that’s worked for increasing numbers of people. And is also something that doesn’t have the stigma attached that it used to.
This wedding cast me further afield than my usual stomping ground of York. Charlie and Vicki were getting married at All Saints Church, in Settrington, which is about halfway between York and the coast, near Malton. I arrived in good time on a slightly overcast early June morning. I spotted Charlie and went over to shake his hand. “You’re someone I’m glad to see” he said, smiling. He seemed understandably somewhat nervous, but generally jovial and upbeat. After a few words I left him to continue welcoming the arriving guests and got started with some scene setting shots of the church and of various family members. I then headed into the church to have a word the vicar who would be officiating the ceremony. She seemed a little concerned about my presence, having had a bad experience with a photographer at a previous wedding who it seemed had been not exactly unobtrusive during the ceremony, jumping up to take photographs from his position in the pulpit and drawing attention to himself in an embarrassing way. Being official photographer at a wedding is certainly an important job, but it seems some people’s egos run away with them. I did my best to reassure her I would be discreet.
As the church began to fill I got word of Vicki’s imminent arrival and headed outside to make sure I got those key shots. She arrived with her father in classy fashion in a ribboned, white, classic Triumph sports car. I got some great shots of them walking up to the church and then from inside, a wonderful shot of the vicar in semi silhouette, greeting the pair at the church door. Next, I hurried to the front of the aisle to get the shots of the processional, which is a somewhat more leisurely task in a church setting than in most hotels or registry offices. Then I took up my position to the left of the united couple for the duration of the ceremony. Being particularly careful to keep a low profile, I used both cameras on me as per usual to get a good selection of wide shots of the overall scene, close-ups of the couple, those making speeches and reaction shots of guests and family members in the pews. The ceremony was followed by the signing of the register and then I took up position at the back of the central aisle for the recessional. As the couple approached, accompanied by the celebratory sounds of chiming church bells, I kept taking shots, backing out into the June sunshine.
Outside, the rest of the wedding party soon joined us and were offering their congratulations to the newlyweds, plus showers of confetti. Next followed a particular wedding tradition that so far has remained unique to Charlie and Vicki’s wedding amongst those that I’ve photographed, called The Untying of the Lych Gate. The gates at the end of the path leading to All Saints had been tied shut with twine. From what I understand, this is a Yorkshire tradition, I believe originating in the Dales, where the bride has to give coins to the children in exchange for having the gates untied. There are various theories as to the origins of the tradition – perhaps it is seen as the last payment to be made to children of the village who are losing a “big sister” to marriage. Anyway, it was all good fun and made for some unique photo ops. Charlie did the honours cutting the twine with a pen knife before opening the gates and ushering Vicki through.
Next, we all made our way to the adjoining grounds of Settrington House where we would do the group shots and formal portraiture of the bride and groom. The facade of the Orangery – a beautiful building within the grounds – provided an elegant backdrop for the groups. Following this I made full use of the attractive ornamental gardens for the portraiture, which included a statued avenue, a Tempietto, a Rose Colonnade and the Millennium fountain. All picturesque and romantic settings that were a gift to formal wedding photography.
Charlie and Vicki had decided to hold their drinks reception in a marquee they had erected in the grounds of their home address in Pickering, which was about a 20 minute drive from Settrington. It made for a homey, bright and airy venue for these relaxed festivities which also included speeches and the cake cutting. Quite close quarters, but it still produced some good photography. With my time up and everything I needed “in the can”, I thanked and congratulated Charlie and Vicki and made my way back home to York.
4th July 2018