“The Avengers”, “Les Miserables”, “The Mummy”, and way too many other films to name have all been filmed at Greenwich Naval College – and there’s a good reason – it’s epic!
In fact, it is quite possibly one of the most epic locations there is in the UK; quite simply stunning. If you can’t get a good photo here then you don’t deserve to be a photographer! Seriously – hang up your camera. Put it down. Give it up. It’s not worth it. So obviously I was a little apprehensive at the start of the day, faced by such a dramatic location – would I too be banished? Forced to hang up my camera and quit? Luckily, from the moment I met an incredibly chilled out Vi in her hotel room, I knew that I didn’t have to worry, and, well I’ll let you judge if I’m allowed to keep my job!
Vi and Alistair’s wedding would prove, like the location, to have a touch of Hollywood sparkle to it. Aside from the filmic backdrop, I know Vi through a set-dresser friend, Naomi, who once took my poodle to the set of “Kick Ass 2” and who was providing the decorations on the day, and of course Vi and Al’s relationship itself could have come right from the plot of a Hollywood romance. Vi, originally from Vietnam, finally marrying her sweetheart, Al, whom she had met through Cancer Research where they both work as scientists.
On the morning of the wedding I arrived to plenty of fun and excitement. Vi (seriously chilled out and happy to go with the flow) was happily preparing herself with her two bridesmaids, one of whom towered over me in her heels at 6ft 2” and the other who worked in events and knew how to handle everything! Plenty of champagne was drunk, some dropped and much hilarity was had attempting to steam one of the bridesmaid’s dresses in the shower at the last minute!
Thanks to the Naval College being open to the public until the late afternoon, Vi and Alistair’s wedding was scheduled for 4.30pm and the couple decided to make use of the time before by doing a first look at the College at around 2.30pm, hoping to grab some nice shots before the wedding began in earnest. Al was already at the venue with my second photographer Tom, and when I arrived with the girls it was wonderful to see the look on his face as Vi snuck up behind him and surprised him in her dress – I’m sure he would fervently deny it, but I’m certain there was a tear brewing in his eye!
The couple then had a lovely chance to chill out together as the guests arrived, the excitement building in a steady but confident manner as they both waited, side-by-side, for the appointed hour to arrive. Eventually it was time for the ceremony in the Painted Hall, quite possibly one of the most beautiful venues in the world, which has recently re-opened after extensive renovation work. Vi and Al read their own vows, rings were exchanged and the sun even managed to break out as we left the hall for a few minutes outside. There were a lot of children among the wedding guests and the extensive lawns and dash of sunshine proved too much of a temptation as they tore around, playing on the grass and wreaking havoc before dinner.
Dinner was filled with beautiful speeches and the whole venue was decorated in gorgeous flowers, put together by Naomi, the set-dresser. She had had everyone collecting glass bottles and scrubbing them clean for months before the big day in order to fill them with flowers, and serious competition had emerged in order to establish who had the best method of removing the sticky labels!
Vi and Alistair are about to embark on the first stage of their honeymoon, a “mini-moon” around Europe, before the couple take a larger “maxi-moon” travelling through South America later in the year – I wish them all the best and lots and lots of love!
Dress: Justin Alexander Make-up: James Adisai Flowers: Naomi Moore Band: Plush Monkey Wedding Stationary and Art: Hannah Cornock Venue: Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Second Photographers: Tom Archer and Katerina Nikitina
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