A White-Christmas Wedding
Yes, you read that correctly.
When childhood sweethearts Kieran White & Tilly Christmas got married, they became the first ever Mr&Mrs White-Christmas, and it caused quite a stir....
When I receive any wedding enquiry, I ask myself if I am right for their wedding before even responding.
I think this is vitally important as you wouldn't want an uninterested photographer turning up on your wedding day?
Something about the enquiry stood out. Yes, the name Tilly Christmas was unusual, but when I started looking more into the details, I knew this was a wedding I would love to be involved in. Having already photographed in unique and unusual places in the past (from farmers fields to The Château de la Muette in Paris) I knew I would fit in perfectly well, and was excited for the opportunity.
Both bride and groom were getting ready at The Hotel Indigo in Bath. A beautiful boutique hotel.
Bridal preparations were the usual "calm at first" affair.
Groom preparations were the usual "who can actually tie a tie?" affair.
Thankfully, Bridesman Jack was on hand to help out between the rooms and ensure that everyone looked amazing, and were running to time.
Several bottles of "secco" and brandy's later, it was time to leave for the wedding.
Words cannot describe the feeling when you walk inside The Roman Baths for the first time. The sense of history, wonderment and awe is incredible. I was also immediately thankful that I had sensible shoes on given the 2000 year old cobbled walkways around the Great Bath. This is more than I can say for the bridesmaids....
The Roman Baths only have 2 ceremony times - sunrise and sunset. Thankfully this couple had chosen the latter, but it did mean a very dark ceremony, lit only by flaming torches and some perfectly placed roman electric spotlights (ok they might not have been roman).
It's not unusual during Covid to see Zoom calls being set up prior to the ceremony, and this was no exception, although setting cameras and laptops up around a 2000 yr old swimming pool was something you don't see every day.
The bride arrived on time, and made her grand entrance by taking the long walk around the Great Bath, arm in arm with her Dad and her maid of honour following behind, whose main job was to prevent the wedding dress dragging in any of the water.
Nobody fell or tripped, but you could sense the jaws dropping behind the guests covid masks.
What an entrance.
The ceremony took place by the side of the great bath under one of the alcoves. The setting was perfect, and as a photographer it was perfect. Being able to circumnavigate the pool whenever I wanted was ideal, and made for some incredible images.
So, after a beautiful 20 minute ceremony, complete with personal vows, Kieran White and Tilly Christmas were announced as the new Mr & Mrs White Christmas !
The guests applauded (no cheering due to the covid restrictions obviously) followed by a lot of bubble-restricted hugging and congratulations.
You become a photographer knowing full well that it comes with a lot of pressure. There are no second chances.
In a totally new environment, that pressure doubles. However, if I wasn't a little nervous it would mean I didn't care. So, after the positioning the guests between roman pillars for group and family pictures, it was time to capture the bride and groom.
We had 10 minutes, That was it. The venue runs to very strict timing, an even more so with all of the current restrictions. So a lot of planning had gone into where we were going to go, and what images we were going to get.
Roman Baths - you did NOT disappoint.
The backdrop is stunning wherever you look at it, but having a perfectly still and flat pool of water in the middle just cries out REFLECTIONS ! I was happy to oblige.
It really is a photographers dream to be able to capture images such as this, and I'm so glad that Kieran & Tilly chose me to capture their day.
A fabulous meal was waiting upstairs in one of the venues smaller function rooms. Candelabras adorned the tables, along with personalized hand sanitizer supplied by the couple.
A truly heartfelt speech by both the bride and groom thanking their friends and family was very well received, and was also interesting to listen to.
Almost the perfect love story. They met at school aged just 12, and things went from there.
"We first realised at our secondary school prom when our friend uploaded pictures to social media using the hashtag #WhiteChristmas.
"I wanted to keep the surname Christmas for a few reasons. Firstly, it is a surname I have grown up loving and I wanted to keep the name going.
"It just so happens the man I am marrying has the perfect surname to go with it!”
After a short time for a few extra family pictures beneath the incredible chandeliers at the venue, it was time to leave,
Thankfully, as you leave the venue, you are greeted by the incredible sight of The Abbey - lit up brilliantly.
A little bit of tripod-setting, and remote flash optimization later, and the final images of the evening were able to be taken.
An incredible end to a perfect day
The national press obviously went nuts for this story, and my drive back to Lancashire the following day was spent fielding calls from newspapers and radio stations looking for images to use from the day. No less than 6 national newspapers ran with the story of Mr & Mrs White Christmas, along with dozens of regional papers covering it too.
At one point, the story made it to number 6 on the BBC's "most read" section on the website, not far behind the US Presidential Election and the usual Covid headlines. Quite incredible.
I am absolutely delighted to have been involved in such a memorable day.
Yes, their unique names made for an impressive newspaper headline, however nothing can take away from Tilly & Kierans obvious love and friendship, and their amazing wedding.
I wish them both all the luck and love in the world as they venture on in their married lives.