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Trish and David chose the lovely St Marys Church Beddington Park Wallington Surrey for their marriage ceremony. The church is very photogenic both inside and outside and - unusually for the area - parking is pretty straightforward. The adjacent park is available for photography if you find that the churchyard itself is not quite right for larger groups.
Our officiant for the day was fairly new to St Marys. He has plenty of experience of conducting weddings where professional photography coverage is required, acquired in his previous posting, and so had none of the petty hangups that can sometimes be encountered. A joy to work with. Unfortunately the same could not be said for our "church lady" on duty on the day. All professional photographers encounter these strange creatures from time to time, who take it upon themselves to try and dictate what the photographer can and cannot do - with the emphasis on cannot of course! And turning upside down perfectly good arrangements for unintrusive photography previously agreed. Much marching about and stage whispering during the ceremony is the stock in trade of these unwelcome busybodies. However I was still able to shoot a decent selection of ceremony images despite her best efforts. If you are considering St Marys and you do want photos of your actual marriage (and who wouldn't?) do ensure you obtain unequivocal agreement beforehand to avoid disappointment on the day.
A photographer friend recently reported that a petty official insisted a guest delete images from their digital camera memory card. Well I can't beat that!
From St Marys Church we headed the few miles south to the Surrey Downs Golf Club Kingswood for the wedding reception. Surrey Downs has avoided the pitfall many clubs fall into when hosting wedding receptions - that of providing a decent outdoor area that will not be also used by club members. The club has a dedicated area for formal photos that has loose slate chippings underfoot so the ladies do not need to worry about their heels sinking into grass, and the backdrop is landscaped. There are a few moments when club members teeing off can feature in the background to shots but with a little care this can be avoided.
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