The Victoria Pub Wedding Photography : Rachel & Ben

Rachel & Ben got married then went down the pub with their mates. Simple as that. Their wedding day had everything that one might expect from such an occasion but they reduced and clarified the philosophy behind it all perfectly, in a manner that perfectly reflected what the two of them are. Having first met each other at the Clapham Craft Beer Co., the two bonded over hoppy imbibements and gratification in sociability.

They found the perfect pub for the job in The Victoria, located on a sleepy back-street of East Sheen in West London. Brilliant, friendly, energetic staff; sublime culinary fare and a perfect selection of drinks a sub-set of which were curated by Rachel & Ben, whose tastes in craft ales I deem impeccable (if only by virtue of the fact that they seem to match mine, perfectly :~). I was impressed by and derived great enjoyment from the fact that the intended vibe of the day came together exactly as intended. It did just feel like an afternoon (and an evening, and a night) in a pub with friends, because it was just that… subsequent, of course, to the all-important marriage ceremony that took place at York House in nearby Richmond upon Thames.

I’ve been bumping in to Ben at weddings – as it happens – since the turn of the decade; a member of a friendship group that I’ve derived great pleasure from photographing the weddings of a number of. It was lovely to catch up with some of them at Rachel & Ben’s wedding, to spend a bit of quality time sitting, eating and chatting with them and to witness them celebrating Rachel & Ben’s turn at tying the knot in the effusive manner that I have grown to become accustomed of from them! It made for a great pleasure too to see Rachel brought into this friendship fold and to spend time with yet another resonantly good character. This is the story of her and Ben’s… day out at the pub (and indeed their marriage ceremony!)…

Ben’s mum, Amanda, went through a baptism of… wedding cake making; came out the other end intact and with a beautifully crafted wedding cake to boot…

Ben spent the morning getting ready on his personal dressing balcony…

With his entourage of personal valets on-hand in the adjoining apartment…

How they laughed at the notion…

Meanwhile back at The Victoria…

Cake all made up…

Onwards to the ceremony. Loved the typeface. Jury’s still out on the kerning…

Holding area…

Ben & Rachel designed a beautiful little booklet for their wedding day, a copy produced for each of the guests relating the story of how they’d met, detailing the order of the day and featuring a photograph and brief biography of each of those guests so all could get to know a little about any that they didn’t already know. I was touched by their asking me for a photograph of myself to include in the booklet, though quickly realised that photographs of me, on my own, are scarce (to say the least!) in my collection. I was though able to furnish a copy of a tintype photograph taken of me – back when I was a wedding photographer in the wild west – by Angela and Becky of Wild Aesthetic

I loved seeing how well received the booklets were and how well used they were throughout the day…

Nic & Curt, 2014. A fine vintage…

Dealing with the wedruff…

Ushers ush…

Having left his spare change at home, Ben was highly relieved to find out that grooms ride free…

I love sunflowers. I tried to grow some once but… snails…

The canapés rendered an orchestra of delightful notes on the palette. I was unsurprised to learn that there were a couple of Michelin stars floating about in the background…

Subsequent to his and Sarah’s wedding in 2012 – wherein he served as the groom – at a number of subsequent weddings Jon has somehow, and consistently at that, served as my model for candid ‘guest holding a beer bottle’ photographs. At Rachel & Ben’s wedding he graduated to the role of model for my ‘guest holding drinks glasses’ series…

Anti-social media :~)…

The hot seat(s)…

“Rachel has a job doing research that might save countless lives. Ben…….”

“… has a job.”

In place of a perhaps more formal sit down meal, guests were treated to a range of dishes in individual serving bowls – all manifestations of true culinary art – which they could then sit to eat wherever they chose…

Young H warms up for his forthcoming headline act on the dance-floor (I over-heard one of the guests, earlier in the afternoon, asking him how he was enjoying the school summer holidays, to which question he responded with enthusiasm. He was then asked what the highlight of the holidays had been. “This!” he responded without hesitation, referring to the wedding that he found himself at :~)…

Introducing my new model for candid ‘guest holding a beer bottle’ photographs…

Rachel & Ben went for a post-dinner walk. I followed them to ensure that they didn’t get caught up in any mischief…

“We just went for a walk and this guy…….” etc. :~)…

In the grand final of the East Sheen pub terrace dance-offs, Ben attempts to counter a floss with a dab but merely lands up with his face buried in embarrassment in his elbow…

Ensuring everyone’s limbered up for the dance-floor…

A Tom arrives. I’d photographed his and Caroline’s wedding a wee way back, in 2010. That’s where Ben had first manifested himself in my camera viewfinder, then again in 2012 when Tom’s sister, Sarah, married Jon and yet again when one of Sarah’s bridesmaids, Nic, married Curt in 2014…

I’d assumed, such was the degree of enthusiasm and personal connection with which he performed, that Jack – co-founder of record label Alcopop! – was a good friend of Rachel & Ben’s. I later discovered that it was simply the case that he’d DJ’ed at a couple of previous weddings of their friends and had impressed mightily (as he did I and all concerned on this occasion). He’s not a wedding DJ but will DJ at weddings. I’d recommend, wholeheartedly, trying to get hold of him for yours!…

Rachel & Ben didn’t schedule a first-dance; something I’m all for (not scheduling), in favour of spontaneity; provided of course I’m not outside contemplating the effects of night-time street lighting on an ornate section of cut-down tree trunk* when it happens :~) (The sound of the crowd is usually something of a give-away though!) (*other combinations of light and shape might also at times have my attention.)…

Jack the groove…

Running Man has a successor!…

The static from the balloons (or maybe DJ Jack’s performance) made itself felt all the way across the room…

Come time at the bar, the staff had enjoyed the vibe of the day so much that they came and joined in on the dance-floor…

Congratulations Rachel & Ben and a very big thank you for having me along for your utterly fantastic wedding day! It made me very happy indeed to be there and to experience it all.

Contact Richmond upon Thames Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com