I’ve done the Wedding Photography at The Crow’s Nest quite a few times now and lots more to come this year too. It’s such a great venue and literally 5 mins from my house so that’s a nice bonus too! There are so many options for photos during the day round Barton Marina but I think I actually prefer it when it gets dark and you can get creative with all the gorgeous lights outside by the waterside. If you’re going to hold your wedding day on New Year’s Eve you’ve got to be able to deal with the pressure of wedding planning, AND hosting a New Year’s Eve party for all your guests too – a challenge not to be taken on by the faint-hearted. Luckily Stephanie & Duncan were exactly the right couple to take on this mission and they definitely didn’t disappoint. They threw quite possibly the best New Year’s Eve party I have been to, and didn’t miss a trick from the outfits, ceremony, entertainment, food, speeches, fireworks – they really had it all!
The day started with a bonus trip to The Hilton Hotel at St George’s Park to capture the bridal party getting ready. Whilst I was secretly hoping to see some famous footballers whilst I was there, when I walked into the room it all looked so glam I felt like I was surrounded by celebrities anyway!! Stephanie and her family and friends were being treated like royalty by Holly and Debbie from Francesco who did their hair and by Georgia H who did their makeup.
It was a real family occasion with both Stephanie’s and Duncan’s mum being there, Duncan’s sister along with the gorgeous flower girls and Stephanie’s son scrubbing up handsomely as the page boy. His little face when he was given his ‘Top Secret Box’ was a beautiful moment. Some of my favourite photos from the morning are the ones of Stephanie and her gorgeous boy in the corridor of the hotel, him peeking round the corner and not being able to resist to have a photo with his stunning mummy! Stephanie’s gorgeous red dress was a surprise for most people in the room – it was actually the same dress her mum wore to get married in 40 years ago! So with a little help from her Granny Nona and mum, as well as a few sparkles (to go with the theme of course) it was an emotional time for both parents especially as they had just celebrated their ruby wedding anniversary the month before. It was unlike any wedding dress I had seen and she looked absolutely stunning and I’m sure everyone including Duncan was amazed when she entered the room.
Meanwhile my 2nd shooter, Ben was busy capturing Duncan and his groomsmen as they were getting ready back at their house. It’s always great to be able to capture both bride and groom preparation and it makes my life a lot easier when I have such a great second shooter. Ben was able to get the kind of shots I would have done if I’d had been there as we have a very similar style and his ‘sunset’ shot outside (actually taken at midday!) with all the men in front of the wooden gazebo looks epic!
With both parties ready (well, nearly all ready!) I thought it was a lovely touch that the groomsmen all arrived at St George’s Park in their swanky Jag, Range Rover & BMW to pick up the bridal party. With much excitement it was time to head to The Crow’s Nest at The Waterfront at Barton Marina for the ceremony and celebrations!
The room inside the Crow’s Nest looked absolutely beautiful for Stephanie and Duncan’s wedding ceremony particularly with the enormous LOVE letters by GC Events who also provided a lot of the evening lights and all the music. With all the guests arriving the sense of anticipation and excitement grew. It continued to grow as Stephanie made Duncan cross his fingers (love that shot!) and wait nervously for a bit before she made her dramatic entrance. And I think Duncan’s reaction to seeing his bride walk down the corridor shows that he knew she was worth the wait. A beautiful ceremony for a beautiful couple.
It was definitely not the warmest day of the year so full credit to all the bridal party and their guests for heading out after the ceremony around the windy marina to get some lovely group shots. After that it was very much time to head back up to The Crow’s Nest to warm up with some welcome drinks. The room looked stunning with plenty of glitz and glamour, I know that Stephanie had spent a lot of time and thought into the look she wanted, sourcing various things and Michelle, Bronwyn and the team had done an amazing job setting the room up to look ready for an awesome celebration!
As an example of how thoughtful Stephanie & Duncan had been about all their guests, Stephanie made a rather cryptic announcement before the food to say that if all the children ate their tea nicely there would be a rather exciting surprise for them afterwards. You can imagine the levels of excitement when the announcement was made and I was so pleased to capture the look of sheer happiness on their little boy’s face, the newlyweds led all the children ‘pied-piper’ style down to the front of the venue where The Scallywags Party Bus was waiting for them to let off some steam! I had never seen this at a wedding before but it was brilliant – gave the children time to burn off all that energy pent up from having to sit still and be quiet for so long AND it allowed the parents to relax and have some child-free time (as a parent I know how precious that is and how appreciated the surprise must have been!!) It also meant that the speeches could be listened to and enjoyed by everyone which was a nice touch. Stephanie’s Dad set a very high standard with a funny and touching speech all about his princess and Duncan continued this only to be ripped apart by his best man with various funny stories and finishing the speech with an embarrassing video of Duncan doing Karaoke in fancy dress. Stephanie’s best friend and bridesmaid Hannah then surprised everyone with a beautiful poem that definitely brought a tear to a few in the room.
Speeches over and it was party time. All the evening guests arrived and they were straight away treated to an amazing firework display. The pressure was on with this, as fireworks wait for no photographer so I was really happy with the shots I’ve got. We then whisked everyone to the back of the venue for some cool wedding sparkler photos and then straight back upstairs for the happy couple to cut the cake which somehow had been carefully transported around 100 miles by their friend Sylvie that day (talk about a nervous car journey!) The cake by Confetti & Crumbs looked absolutely stunning and matched the theme of the wedding brilliantly. Stephanie then sneaked off to further surprise everyone by changing into another stunning dress this time from Red Rose Bridal. They then performed their first dance- and what a performance!! Absolutely love watching the first dance during any wedding but a carefully choreographed one always makes me slightly feel that I should have maybe listened to my wife when we were planning our wedding (although not really, don’t think I could pull it off like Duncan!!)
And with the dance floor open the party really did start! It was absolutely jumping all night thanks to Ashley the DJ from GC Events, with an awesome playlist that covered pretty much everything. Everywhere I looked (and pointed my camera!) there were smiling, happy faces (admittedly some with random hats and other props to add to the merriment!) It seamlessly transformed from a wonderful winter wedding into an absolutely epic New Year’s Eve party! Stephanie & Duncan were the most generous, hospitable hosts and I was disappointed when the ticker tape finally settled and it was my time to leave the party. Congrats guys, you absolutely nailed it and thanks so much for having me along for the ride!
I absolutely love to capture Wedding Photography at The Crow’s Nest and everyone is unique with different people, styles and personalities. Hit play on the image below to see the highlights from the day and if you like my style of natural story telling wedding photography with a few wow shots thrown in and you’re looking for a Wedding Photographer at The Crow’s Nest in Barton Marina then get in touch here, thanks Gareth Newstead Photography