Alice in Wonderland Wedding Photography
Andrea & Paul told me early on that they planned to have an Alice in Wonderland wedding theme. Every wedding I have captured has a ‘theme’ but this is the first one where the theme was based not on a colour scheme or time era, but on a classic novel and film that is almost a rite of passage for every child (or at least my two would have me believe, what with the number of times I’ve had to celebrate their “un-birthday”!) To say I was excited about capturing this wedding is perhaps a slight understatement, but even I was bowled over when arriving at Merewood Country House Hotel on the morning of the wedding. When Alice in Wonderland was made into a stage productions the stats included:
33 individually designed sets
66,508 jam tarts
92,400 playing cards
And countless man hours…
… and I can only begin to guess the stats for Andrea & Paul’s Alice in Wonderland wedding at Merewood Country House Hotel although I imagine the numbers are fairly similar to be honest! Andrea & Paul’s Alice in Wonderland wedding had been fully endorsed by the venue and between the couple, the wedding co-ordinator Helen and the fantastic team there it really was like falling down the rabbit hole (but more on the details later!)
Both Andrea & Paul were getting ready at the venue and it was a hive of activity during the preparations. There was not an opportunity lost to add to the Alice in Wonderland wedding theme, from Andrea’s awesome nail art, to the bright and colourful bouquets everything had been clearly thought through to add to the theme. Contrary to what Disney will have you believe, the original Alice was a brunette and both Andrea and her daughter fitted perfectly with the Alice in Wonderland wedding theme. Andrea, with a stunning dress and pretty flowers in her hair, and her daughter, dressed in the signature blue dress were just too cute together! With Andrea’s mum there too, three generations of the same family, it definitely felt like a very special and emotional time. Paul won ‘fiance of the year’ award too with his gorgeous gift to his wife-to-be of a limited edition Alice in Wonderland book. In a blink of an eye (or should that be in a blink of a jet fighter – so many go over Windermere!!) it seemed like all the preparations were complete and it was time for the ceremony.
Not being local to the area (but always willing to travel, particularly to the Lakes!) I had never captured a wedding at Merewood Country House Hotel but it is an absolutely stunning venue. Wood panelling, detailed carving and grand staircases only begin to describe how majestic the place is, and definitely felt like we were in some kind of film set! The ceremony room was full of Andrea & Paul’s closest family and friends and the wedding service was beautifully conducted and emotional throughout. Over too soon, it was time for the happy couple to welcome their guests with a drinks reception (summer wedding = Pimms!) After capturing lots of natural as well as group shots, I used this time to have a proper explore of the reception venue and boy, I wasn’t disappointed. Literally nothing had been left out, Andrea & Paul had really gone to town for their Alice in Wonderland wedding – there were different editions of Alice in Wonderland, playing cards aplenty, teapots, teacups, table names for different characters, top hats, potion bottles as favours…..I could go on and on but really, my words can’t describe just how awesome it all looked (so check out the photos below!!)
Wedding breakfast and speeches followed and it really was just like a huge tea party, or should that be an un-birthday party. The props and decorations made everyone’s inner child come out and a quote from the book itself sprang to mind “you’re entirely bonkers…but I’ll tell you a secret…all the best people are!” as Andrea & Paul and all their family and friends really just had the best time ever! Following the speeches I was able to escape with the newlyweds and go for a walk around the grounds of both Merewood Country House Hotel and their sister hotel, Cragwood Hotel for some epic shots right by Lake Windermere. Andrea & Paul really wanted to get some ‘out in the wilderness’ photos (Andrea’s helpful email of “hope you have some comfortable shoes” did make me wonder just how rural we were going to get!) but anyone who has been to the Lake District knows just how easy it is to find the wilderness. This was my first prolonged stay in the Lakes and honestly I can’t believe how stunning it is. The backdrops to the photographs were like the most amazing painting by talented artists…and luckily the models themselves weren’t too shabby 😉 Obviously the beauty of the Lakes is world-renowned and you can’t go too far without coming across some tourists – one of my favourite moments of our photo shoot was when it was completely gate crashed by a group of tourists all heavily attired with camera gear – I would dearly love to see some of the shots they took of Andrea & Paul…and I wonder what they made of the Alice in Wonderland wedding theme!
Andrea & Paul’s personalities shone through throughout the whole day and I feel like I got the measure of them fairly early on, so it didn’t really surprise me when they wanted to capture a wedding tradition that I am finding is less and less common. The bouquet toss does still happen occasionally at weddings but it’s been a fair while since I’ve captured a garter removal and toss! Love moments like this at a wedding, the opportunities for capturing some awesome reactions of guests are too much! To finish off their Alice in Wonderland wedding Andrea & Paul had arranged for a good old-fashioned Celtic ceilidh which I always absolutely love (photographing, not participating….okay, I do love a good do-si-do!!!) as it ensures that the dance floor is absolutely rammed the whole evening and again, the expressions and moves I get to capture makes the editing side of the wedding even more enjoyable!
I can’t even begin to think about how to sum up this Alice in Wonderland wedding – it really lived up to my expectations and surpassed them as well. Andrea & Paul and all their family and friends were just so welcoming and had such a fantastic day I couldn’t help but feel like I was there as a guest as well as the photographer. So with me struggling to think of how to round off I will leave it to the Cheshire Cat, as he so eloquently puts “Every adventure requires a first step”. And, Paul & Andrea, as you take your first steps into married life together I want to thank you for letting me share in your amazing Alice in Wonderland wedding and may your lives together from here on in be full of magic, impossibilities and curiosities!