A Newcastle upon Tyne wedding full of glitter with Beth and Lee
Beth & Lee's DIY, glitter infused, disco inspired, do-it-your-own-way-without-being-beholden-to-tradition Newcastle wedding was one of the best I've ever photographed.
It was also my first time at As You Like It and I hope it won't be my last.
As You Like It is a fantastical wedding venue, filled with an eclectic mix of shabby chic furniture, exposed brickwork, stripped floors and a secret garden. All this in the midst of grey, sixties office blocks which only adds to the feeling of individuality and nonconformity.
I was there the night it opened and I could see it was offering a genuinely unique experience in Newcastle, and it proved to be wildly popular for food, drink and weddings in the following years. The ceremony took place in Frangipani, in what is effectively the basement. It's dark, with the ceiling strung with fairy lights, and very strong spotlights creating intense pools of light. It's a very challenging and exciting venue to photograph, and I really enjoyed testing my photographic skills to the limit at Beth and Lee's wedding.
Look out for the first dance photos for an example of my take on photographing in lowlight environments. There's a particular photo I call first dance looks. You'll know which one it is when you see it. I know that this photograph could be technically better - it could be a tad sharper and there could be a little less grain - but I captured the moment, and that's always the priority for me.
How gorgeous is Beth's dress? I think it has a hint of Sailor Moon's alter ego Princess Serenity. Beth was actually mistaken for a princess by a young girl in fancy dress while we were out taking portraits. You can see their encounter in the photo below. 'Are you a princess?' she asked, eyes wide.
Right from the start Beth and Lee had an idea of having bridal photographs taken on Armstrong Bridge above Jesmond Dene. It's wrought iron cross bracing is reminiscent of Pont des Arts bridge in Paris - the one that used to be covered in love locks. The location made me think Beth & Lee were channeling the French New Wave and I'm particularly fond of the black and white photos from that part of the day.
When we got back to Jesmond the guests had discovered the glitter station and were getting beautified. It was at this point I decided not to swap the lens on my camera for the rest of the night. Glitter and camera sensors do not play well together!
Lee is a music recording, mixing and mastering engineer, and an accomplished DJ. The wedding therefore was heavily infused with music imagery and ideas. You'll see the gold boogie box, the seating plan made out of records and vinyl place settings in the photographs. It also meant that they had one hell of a party in the evening. With an overt Studio 54 influence to proceedings I added a rider to my contract - that at least one Blondie song had to be played on the dance floor. I then got on the dance floor with my wide lens and flash and captured the action!
I was exhausted by the end of the day, physically and emotionally, and left the party as it was winding down to pack my gear in my car. I looked up to see Beth & Lee, sneaking away from their own wedding to head to the pub over the road. Beth was wearing her leather jacket.
I can't think of a more rock 'n' roll end to the day than that.
Wedding venue: As You Like It
Wedding Dress: San Patrick
Florist: Caroline Morris
Cake: Sam and Mam
DJ: Ross Duffy