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Destination Wedding: Bangalore, India – Jan & Saags – Part II

Jan 27
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I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s blog post, and are all prepped and ready to see Jan and Saags getting married in today’s!

We had an early start – 5am, to be precise – because the entire day was scheduled around the ‘auspicious time’, which was when Jan and Saags would actually be married. The elements tried to put obstacles in our way, with torrential rain and a power cut, but we overcame them all. Jan and Saags decided to go ahead with their ancient temple ceremony instead of holding it in the hotel, and Jan’s trooper of a make up artist simply got a bridesmaid to hold an iPhone torch up while he carried on turning Jan into an Indian princess. I think you’ll agree from the photos that she looked absolutely stunning. Meanwhile, my second photographer Marianne was with Saags, who was donning his traditional white suit and ceremonial dagger.

Soon it was time for us all to climb into buses, which would take us to one of the most unusual wedding venues I’ve ever been in… an ancient Hindu temple. It was incredibly atmospheric, and even with my bare feet soaking gently in the puddles, it was hard not to feel awed. That was even before the ceremony began. A full, traditional Hindu wedding is elaborate and full of symbolic acts, and the couple’s family takes key roles as well. It was really moving and joyful to watch, although I did have a bit of competition for the best views – see if you can spot the five videographers who arrived for the ceremony!

After the ceremony, we took some formals and portraits before heading back to the Clarks Exotica Hotel to finish things off with a fire ceremony. And while some of the guests went to rest up, the young’uns headed into central Bangalore to carry on celebrating. A great end to a great day.

I’ll leave you to take a look at the photos now – tune in tomorrow for my final blog of Jan and Saags’ wedding!

Destination Wedding: Bangalore, India – Jan & Saags – Part I

Jan 26
Destination wedding photographer India - Bangalore

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or if you know me at all, you’ll know that I love me a destination shoot. Working abroad brings together all the things I enjoy most in life – the chance to travel and experience different cultures, and the job that I love.
So I was pretty much jumping for joy when, fairly last minute, Jan and Saags asked me to come out to India to shoot their epic wedding. They’d found me through one of their friends (thanks Julie!) who had already booked me to photograph her wedding later this year. In fact, Jan and Saags’ wedding was so epic that for the first time ever I’m splitting it down into not one, not two – but three blog posts!

I flew through the night to get to Bangalore, and arrived at an ungodly hour of the morning before collapsing at the Clarks Exotica Hotel, which was where the wedding was going to take place. Before crashing I met up with my trusty second shooter Marianne, who by brilliant luck was already in India for work and agreed to pop over and help me out.

One crucial thing to understand about this wedding is that Jan and Saags had told me that it was going to be pretty low key. Nothing elaborate, etc etc. Well, I don’t know what they think of as elaborate, but it’s safe to say that this was not a low key wedding in any sense of the phrase! The first day was supposed to be an evening reception and party, before the ceremony the following day (they do things a little bit back to front in India). I was told that Jan and Saags would simply be meeting up before walking into the venue…

…Instead, Jan and her bridesmaid (already sporting incredible henna tattoos), donned sumptuous dresses and then climbed into a horse drawn carriage with Saags. The carriage processed down the street, accompanied by drummers, dancers and musicians as well as hundreds of guests and well wishers. And because the mood clearly wasn’t celebratory enough, some of Jan’s uncles decided to set off some (illegal) fireworks on the way as well!

Which leads me to another glorious thing about Indian weddings – the colours. Over dinner we were treated to traditional dances before the floor was opened up for a boogie. The colours swirling around the dancefloor were absolutely stunning. I almost wished it could have gone on for longer, except that we all headed to bed at a decent hour in preparation for a 5am start the next day.

Tune in tomorrow to check out the photos from Jan and Saags’ wedding ceremony, which was held in an ancient temple – yes, it is just as awesome as it sounds…

Hit the link for more photos…

Destination Wedding: Place des Conde, France – Stephanie & Sivan

Jan 4
(c) Alex Beckett Photography - www.alexbeckett.co.uk

Happy 2015 everyone! To celebrate the New Year – and a very spectacular wedding – it’s an extra long post for you today. This is Stephanie and Sivan – a properly international couple who met in Israel, live in London and got married in France, which is Stephanie’s home country. I actually first got to know these guys on a pre-wedding shoot around London, and you can see some of those pics below too.

The pre-wedding shoot was a great way to get to know this ultra-cool couple, and really useful because their wedding was a bit Crazy! There was so much going on that I ended up bringing two other photographers with me – my lovely usual assistant Will, and Tom, who now runs his own very successful photography business and who it was brilliant to work with again. Between us and our combined camera equipment we managed to completely fill my car for the long drive across the Channel. Our destination – a beautiful chateau just South of Paris. We arrived in the neighbouring village after dark, at a guesthouse with a lovely landlady who didn’t speak a word of English (our French isn’t so hot either!).

The three of us split up for the first part of the wedding day. I joined Stephanie and her bridesmaids, who were in a room in the chateau. We divided our time between getting ready and keeping an eye out for the weather, which was changeable to say the least! Tom spent the morning with the groom and his team, who were getting ready in a gorgeous dovecote on the grounds. And Will managed to capture the venue being turned into a really magical place to get married, as well as the arrival of the guests.

Luckily the sun came out for the ceremony – incidentally, my first Jewish wedding. There was a little bit of panic just beforehand, as the rabbi suddenly realised that he didn’t have a bottle of wine needed for the ceremony: cue me radio-ing Tom to tell Sivan to send one of his able groomsmen out find one! The ceremony itself was not only stress-free; it was incredibly emotional and joyful. Tears from the groom, and once the traditional glass was smashed, everyone went crazy with laughter and hugs, really kicking off the celebrations.

We only had a short time before sunset, so while I spirited the bridal party away for formals, my handsome assistants took shots of the rest of the guests enjoying the many different rooms in the chateau, from an incredible Moroccan-themed room that became a shisha bar in the evening, to the conservatory, which contained some of the most amazing canapes I’ve seen (well, I guess we were in France – the cooking should be brilliant, right?!). Sivan – something of a magician himself (he was very excited to have a new ring to practice tricks with!) – even got one of his mates to demonstrate magic tricks for entertainment.

Then the crazy really began, kicking off with several rounds of Israeli dancing – turns out you need a practice dance (in this case taught by an Uncle) before dinner, so that everyone knows what to do when it’s time for the real first dance. I was also happily surprised by Sivan and Stephanie’s alternative to Chinese lanterns: they released loads of coloured helium balloons into the night, which was absolutely magical. Much as I can’t sit down for long on the job, I was so glad to have both Will and Tom helping me out, and Stephanie and Sivan knew how to put us all to maximum use! They sat us each at a different table at dinner (my second time this year at the top table – truly honoured!) so we could each get a different perspective.

The food was, as you might expect, incredible. The croquembouche was particularly impressive, apart from the fact that the bakers had managed to spell Sivan’s name totally wrong. Still, at least it was damn tasty! And that’s even before we attacked the downstairs dessert room. Yes, you read that right – an entire room FULL of desserts and dancing. Let’s just say that sweet-toothed Alex was in heaven. And so the fun went on seriously late, with a polaroid crazybooth and cheese and whisky into the early hours…

I think I’ve probably raved enough by now, so I’ll let you take a look at the photos and just give a final shoutout to my old OTC pal Patrick, who was one of Sivan’s best men – great to see you again man – and to the lovely couple Stephanie and Sivan – you guys absolutely rock!

Wedding: Hengrave Hall, Suffolk – Julianna & Darren

Dec 25
Alex Beckett Photography (www.alexbeckett.co.uk)

I hope you’re all suitably stuffed on mince pies and your turkeys are ready for roasting! Here in the Beckett household I’m hoping to get some last minute Christmas presents sorted – in the form of wedding photos.

Next up is the lovely Julianna and Darren – one of the smiliest couples I’ve ever come across. I don’t *think* this had anything to do with the fact that they had a wine-themed wedding (because Darren’s surname is, happily, ‘Wines’!). I won’t say too much more except that, yes, that is the groom who’s landing in a helicopter – travelling in style and all that…

Happy Christmas everyone!

Pre-Wedding: Cambridge and London – Lina & Eugene

Dec 23
St Johns College Cambridge Wedding Photographer Pre-Wedding Bride and Groom

I had the pleasure of getting to know Lina and Eugene over two days for an epic pre-wedding shoot; one day in Cambridge and one in London. I really love it when my couples come armed with ideas of their own – it’s always great to have that extra source of inspiration. And Lina and Eugene not only came through with the ideas – they are also two of the most charming people I’ve ever met. Anyone who’s tried to gain entrance to the Cambridge colleges without being a student knows how fierce the porters can be… and yet Lina had porters wrapped round her little finger. I possibly need to take Lina and Eugene with me the next time I attempt to crash King’s College! Thanks for a great few days guys, hope you like the results…

Pre-Wedding Shoot: Megan & Richard

Dec 23
British Pre-Wedding Photographer

When Megan and Richard asked me to get some pre-wedding shots, I wasn’t quite prepared for how crazy this day was going to be! We started off in Bedford, where Richard had gone to school (he wanted to show Megan where he’d grown up – how sweet is that?!), then went on to London, ending up in the Chelsea Club (these guys are big fans) and outside Harrods. Exhausting but great fun, and all topped off with an exceptional Chinese dinner!

Engagement Shoot: London – Lesley-Ann & Chris

Dec 16
Alex Beckett Photography (www.alexbeckett.co.uk)

It’s been a bit odd editing this pre-wedding shoot from the Autumn… because it’s only been a few weeks since I shot Leslie-Ann and Chris’ wedding in Newmarket (more of that soon)! This was a very relaxed shoot around London, designed to help Leslie-Ann and Chris feel comfortable in front of the camera. I’m not sure why they were a bit self-conscious to begin with – they’re naturally photogenic and I think their sweetness and sense of fun really come across in the photos…

Pre-Wedding Photoshoot: London Bridge – Kath and Kai

Dec 14
Alex Beckett Photography (www.alexbeckett.co.uk)

Hey guys, so are you ready for a crazy week of blogging? That’s right – it’s Project Get-Everyone’s-Photos-To-Them-Before-Christmas! I will hopefully be putting up quite a few blog posts in the next few weeks, but I’m going to keep each one short and sweet.

And I’m going to kick off the week with the lovely Kath and Kai’s pre-wedding shoot in London. These guys are getting married next year and wanted to grab a bit of time with me walking along the Thames and focusing on my more epic landscape shots. Featuring one of my favourite shots of the year – I think you’ll know the one I mean when you see it…

Wedding: Old Hall, Stutney, Ely – Sheena & Aaron

Dec 7
Alex Beckett Photography (www.alexbeckett.co.uk)

Being a wedding photographer can be an odd job, because you’re both employee and, at least on the wedding day itself, an extra friend. And there are couples who seem to have inadvertently welcomed me into their entire friendship group! So it was that Sheena and Aaron got me on board after I’d photographed Holly and Phil, and Gemma and James’ weddings in years gone by. It’s always really lovely to see my old couples again, so it was an especially lovely touch by Sheena and Aaron to pop me on a table with them all at dinner!

And of course when these guys hired me I had a pretty good idea of what I was letting myself in for: an absolute ball of a time, because Sheena, Aaron and their mates are a seriously fun-and-loving crowd. The kind of people who show off their ‘groomsmen’ boxers at the end of the night, and send each other ‘cold feet’ packages in the morning (complete with slippers and photos).

I just hope the joy and love of the day is reflected in the photos – but I’ll leave you to be the judge of that!

Wedding: Emmanuel College, Cambridge – Lydia & Jerry

Dec 7
Alex Beckett Photography (www.alexbeckett.co.uk)

I actually met Jerry yonks ago through my wife, Holly, when he did some awesome theatre work for her. Fast forward a few years and I’m feeling pretty honoured that Jerry and Lydia chose me to photograph their wedding.

Emmanuel College is where Jerry grew up (his father is a Fellow there), so it was really amazing that he and Lydia were the first couple to get married under the very tree that he used to play under as a boy – talk about sentimental value! And as for Lydia and Jerry: well, it takes a special kind of couple who let their photographer experiment with dinosaur-gadgets…