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Thanks very much for our photos, we're so pleased.
Jessica and Michael chose a short duration photographic package for their intimate wedding. Coverage started shortly before the ceremony and ended at the start of the wedding breakfast. There were plenty of guests shooting away with their cameras throughout so there is bound to be a comprehensive collection of pics from later in the day!
The location our couple chose was the Mercure Farnham Bush Hotel in FarnhamSurrey. Or to give it its full title the Mercure Farnham Bush Hotel. Shame that the corporate types give lovely old venues such unwieldy names! Farnham is of course very well located being a short distance from the M3, M25 and M4 motorways, London, the airports, and of course the south coast; so guests should have a straightforward journey from just about anywhere in the south of England.
The Bush Hotel Farnham has a characterful interior and good sized well maintained gardens to the rear. There is also a good amount of onsite parking - however finding access to the car park for this town centre hotel is a bit of a brain teaser so do allow some extra time just in case! The entrance to it is in South Street NOT in The Borough. Have a look on Google Satellite view and you'll get the idea!
The registrars who are responsible for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies at the Bush Hotel Farnham are extremely easy to work with and professional photographers should have no problems shooting a good selection of photos throughout the ceremony - with just the quite common restriction that the register itself should not be photographed whilst it is being signed.
The weather was kind to us for our couples low season wedding day and guests were able to relax outside with drinks whilst we worked through Jessica's short list of essential family and friend group photos.
The hotel itself does not have a distinctive facade as it is in a town centre location and some of the frontage is occupied by shops and other businesses. However as soon as you enter the main courtyard its character shines though. Centre stage is a fountain as seen in the photo below, and the whole courtyard area is a good location for photos especially if you need a little shelter from the elements:
Later in the day Peter completed some formal posed wedding photos with our couple in the courtyard, among other places:
The Bush Hotel has a second entrance (the Courtyard is entered via The Borough) in South Street and this has a nice olde worlde feel as well:
The room in which Jessica and Michaels' marriage ceremony took place has lots of old wood panelling and is quite dark. The registrars do not prohibit the use of flashguns as such but professional photographers will want to avoid their use whenever possible in order not to cause unnecessary distractions. Peter uses specialist equipment for both stills and video which can produce great results without the use of auxiliary lighting:
Our groom Michael catches his first glimpse of his new wife as the ceremony gets underway. The Guildford registrars who work at the Bush Hotel Farnham as very easy going and so lots of great "in progress" photos can be obtained:
The next photo is the kind of shot that can be very difficult to pull off without high end professional equipment, software, and of course an intimate knowledge of the necessary techniques. Our bride and groom are in the dark room but are backlit by bright sunshine streaming through the windows. It would be a shame not to capture such important moments:
The all important exchange of rings is a great moment to capture. Many registrars are now familiar with this photographic "must have" and subtly manoeuvre themselves or the couple so to provide a clear view to the cameras without it being obvious to the guests. Some registrars even stop the ceremony at this point for a photo, but Peter prefers that they do not do that!
Our couple had arranged for musicians to play at various points during their ceremony. This makes a lovely addition, especially as civil ceremonies can be quite short and plain if you just stay with the basics. If you do plan to have musicians it can be helpful if you let your photographer and / or videographer know beforehand in order that suitable shooting positions can be thought through - it can get quite crowded at the front if you have musicians, readers, celebrants, photographers, and videographers! Peter nearly always works alone at weddings even when shooting both stills and video and so this is much less of an issue than might otherwise be the case:
Most registrars still restrict photography during the actual signing of the civil register but always set up a photo opportunity for the guests afterwards:
There are large gardens to the rear of the hotel adjacent to the car park (fences prevent the kids from venturing into the carpark), with a variety of sheltered tree and shrub backdrops and a terrace. The little guests seemed to enjoy themselves running off some excess energy on the lawns:
Jessica and Michaels' coverage ended shortly after everyone was seated for the wedding breakfast. Speeches were scheduled for the end and so were not covered by Peter. Many couples now do have their speeches at the start of their wedding breakfast, partly to spare the nerves of those due to speak, but with the added benefit that the speeches can be shot and still stay within a short duration more affordable package. The next photo shows guests seated ready for the meal in the larger function room at the Bush Hotel:
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