Pavilion Hotel Wedding, York – Derek and Fiona
Located in the Fulford area of York and developed from a small, Georgian House that was originally a 17th Century farmhouse, the Pavilion Hotel has a fascinating history. When owned by York entrepreneur Xavier Prendergast, it was known as Fulford House, and thanks to his theatrical connections, it hosted Jack Buchanan, Duke Ellington, Gracie Fields and Adam Faith, among others. In the 60s, Prendergast was responsible for bringing The Beatles to York. His son was the highly renowned film composer John Barry, who is best known for creating the theme music for the James Bond movies and the Oscar winning score for Dances With Wolves. In the late 80’s, the house changed hands and it’s present owners set about converting it into a 3 star hotel.
Derek and Fiona’s wedding ceremony was late afternoon on what turned out to be a gloriously sunny, early day in July. I started out with some scene setting and detail shots of the hotel exterior and also the John Barry Suite, where the ceremony would be held, which had had it’s windows shuttered against the intensity of the afternoon sun. I then began to circulate amongst the arriving guests, getting reportage shots out front and in the bar area in particular and also getting some formal shots of a couple of highly photogenic bridesmaids. I noticed that yet again at a wedding, purple was the dominant colour, from the violets used in the flower arrangements, to the dressing on the chairs in the ceremony and reception rooms, to the bridesmaid’s dresses and the icing on cupcakes. With a little more than 10 minutes to the ceremony start time, Fiona’s ribboned wedding car eased into the Pavilion’s drive off Fulford Rd. A visibly excited and smiling Fiona soon emerged accompanied by her father. I followed them inside and got a nice series of portraits of the two of them together, as well as capturing detail shots of her necklace and colourful bouquet.
The processional posed some considerable technical challenges on this occasion. Fiona wanted the ceremony room completely shuttered and all lights out when she entered, which meant near complete darkness. She obviously wanted a certain mood which I couldn’t interfere with by using flash, so it was really a case of doing the best I could in the circumstances. As it turned out, the processional shots were unsurprisingly highly grainy (or noisy, to be more digitally accurate) and so really only worked as black and whites. Usually clients have a choice of whether they want any specific photo in colour or black and white. But not in this instance… Once she was in place, I was able to signal for the lights to be turned on. The ceremony proceeded with a couple of speeches and the usual formalities. I got one portfolio worthy shot of Fiona reaching for the ring on a cushion to place on Derek’s finger, which I was particularly pleased with. Following the kiss, I got some nice close up reaction shots of the guests. Then I took my formal shots of the signing of the register before stepping aside to let the guests take their own pictures of this moment.
Following the recessional, the wedding party moved to the rear courtyard of the hotel where a gazebo had been erected for the drinks reception. Everyone seemed in a fine mood and the newlyweds happily received congratulations from their guests as well as a liberal sprinkling of confetti. After 15 minutes or so of enjoying the now more party mood of the wedding, I took the couple aside for the formal portraiture. Lighting was proving to be something of bug bear on this particular wedding as several of my choice places in the Pavilion’s beautiful grounds for portraits meant the couple would be squinting into heavy direct sunlight. Not at all ideal. But these on-the-fly challenges are there to be met and mastered and I ended up with a series of shots I was sure they would be happy with. Again with light an issue, fill flash was necessary in the group shots to help counteract the mottled shadows that fell on the guests from tree foliage. The guests returned for a while to the drinks reception before moving inside to the hotel’s Sandy Richardson Suite for the wedding breakfast. The cake cutting was the next key moment to be captured. Then once everyone was seated, the newlyweds made their entrance to a round of applause before taking their seats in the pride of place at the main table. I continued to circulate getting shots of both the couple, guests and details of the cake and table layouts before congratulating and thanking the couple and taking my leave.
18th October 2018