The Boathouse Wedding, Sutton Park Birmingham Charlie and Yanan | the VOW
The Boathouse – Sutton Park | A Summer Evening Wedding
Dear Raphael, thank you and your babe so much for helping us keep such an important day! I have spent hours browsing the photos and refreshing the day while at work. Haha! They are amazing! You are our heroes!
The Vow, Photographs and Wedding Breakfast – The Boathouse, Sutton Park, Birmingham
5pm – 2nd August 2018
A summer evening wedding for Charlie and Yanan. It was one of those unusual summer days in 2018, where it progressively got hotter as the day wore on. No one expected 27 degrees at 5pm, but that’s what we got! An ideal time then for a summer evening wedding!
The Evening Ceremony
The groom, Charlie, arrived first. Like many grooms he wasn’t looking forward to being photographed. I assured him he wasn’t alone in this and things would get better as the evening continued. Charlie told of his fondness for the Boathouse in Sutton Park. Charlie relayed how growing up and visiting the park, he would search, find and hide the park stones, which is a local custom. He and his friends would also walk around to the other park pools. This was a special place for him and he always wanted his wedding day to be held here. The Boathouse itself, was transformed for the wedding. Every inch of space was allocated for seating in readiness of the arriving guests. Some of Yanan’s family had flown over from China and although the language was a barrier for one or two, it was good witnessing two cultures united in their support for the soon-to-be bride and groom.
Yanan arrived looking radiant. Almost immediately both her and her bridesmaids were whisked off into a backroom with the registrar. The guests then came into the venue thick and fast and began to fill up the seats for the ceremony. Have I already mentioned how hot it was?! The room felt like 35 degrees -It was roasting! As the ceremony began the bride and groom stood in the window and in direct sun, with no filter. It made for some great lighting for Yanan’s veil when signing of the register. The ceremony itself, was good fun and there was a great rendition of ‘Ode to the Oak‘ a Chinese classic poem by Rachel Gao, recited by the youngsters in Yanan’s family. The English rendition doesn’t seem to capture the rhythm and sync as when spoken in Chinese but both editions featured before the vows were made. It was lovely to see how happy the couple were and their natural laughter made for some brilliant images.
Summer Evening Wedding Photographs
After the Vow, all made their way outside for some informal photographs by Bracebridge Pool. The direct sun was proving tricky with the groups and positioning was important, in order to combat the harsh light and shadows. As time moved on, the light started to turn wonderfully golden and with the location of trees, water and sun, it felt more of a summer evening wedding on the Med than in Sutton Coldfield Birmingham!
Following the wedding breakfast, I took the bride and groom back out for some pictures in the evening light. I wanted to ensure Charlie and Yanan had plenty of fitting photographs for their special day. I was really happy with their feedback for the images we produced. Those earlier nerves were nowhere to be seen. Charlie and Yanan allowed themselves to focus on each other and I think they did a great job. We closed out with some silhouettes as the sun set in the distance. A fitting conclusion I felt to a wonderful wedding.
The Skinny on Shooting a Summer Evening Wedding
I really enjoyed shooting this summer evening wedding. I know the time slot of 5pm for a wedding ceremony is unusual here in the UK but it proved a great choice and worked really well for the location. Managing the long shadows and harsh light is always a challenge with summer weddings so good positioning is essential. Using my Magmod for flash, lighting up subjects when their back was to the sun was also important. I think shooting the ceremony without my trusty MagSphere would have been a disaster without the control to my flash that it gives me.
The Boathouse Sutton Park
The Boathouse is in an idyllic location looking over the 16 acres of Bracebridge Pool. Access is via a winding tree-lined road through the Four Oaks entrance to the park. The restaurant is on the site of what was originally a hunting lodge for the Earl of Warwick and supposedly Henry the VIII. Initially the pool was full of bream but I am not sure of it’s content nowadays. We did see some fishermen when we arrived late afternoon for the start of the ceremony, but I conveniently cut them out of the shots. Fran and Edward were managing the Boathouse and Fran looked after my wife and I with a meal which we were very grateful for. This was our first time shooting at the Boathouse. It is a really quaint venue in a brilliant location. Hopefully we get the chance to shoot there again!