Somerset Wedding Photographer : Jo & Jim : Part Two

Jo & Jim, their friends and their families, planned, plotted and brought to fruition a fantastic communally centred wedding in Dunster, Somerset. A small army of like-minded people gathered to cook, to carry, to build and to celebrate with a fulsome marriage ceremony taking place at Dunster Tithe Barn and the broader weekend’s celebrations centring around Knowle Manor. It all made for a fantastically enriching experience to witness and also to be drawn into, accepted and integrated at the very heart of. I came away with an outlook on life freshly polished and shining.

I took to one of the upper storey windows of Knowle Manor to get a better view of the entire site. A crowd gathered to see if I was there to sing…

Tables decked with a host of embroidered cloths, many dating back to the 1930s. Jo & Jim designed and printed all of their wedding invitations and menus (and many other printed items too). They were beautifully finished with fantastic attention to detail. The simulated gemstones attached to the back cover of each menu in particular caught my eye…

It was lovely to be taken to the heart of it all, a seat for food amongst a number of those that had worked so hard to bring it all together…

Cake of cheese! From Piglet Cottage

Jo’s step father, Trevor, carved for one hundred and thirty…

The manner in which the wedding breakfast was conducted was a stroke of some genius and a thing of social beauty.

Weddings tend to bring with them social Venn diagrams of sorts, a larger group of people brought together with a common purpose (to bear witness to a marriage and to celebrate it), groupings within that larger, all-encompassing group that know more of each other than they might of others present. His work colleagues, her university friends, his oldest friends from school days, and so on. Often-times great effort goes into the planning of seating arrangements, to try to mix and blend these groups, to engineer new acquaintance and to bind the whole group as one.

There’s something though about putting food in someone’s stomach that binds them to you with a great deal more clarity, force and lasting solidity than conversation and potential meeting of minds can be guaranteed to do. There’s something primordial in the act, something that relates directly to survival, something that engenders trust with some immediacy. A veritable Smörgåsbord was stored in picnic baskets at each table, table hosts allocated to initiate the sharing which spread rapidly enough as a role from individual to individual. The food was utterly amazing (I regret to this day not having been able to sample something of everything; I’d have fallen asleep post meal had I come anywhere near to doing so), prepared, made and cooked by many of those sat amongst each table’s guests. Food brought everyone together. A thing of social beauty.

Abundant as the food was, there’s always room for ice-cream. Matthew of Icicle Tricycle did the honours…

Jo’s brother, Ben, has over many years travelled all around Europe working with and honing his skills alongside various craftsmen’s guilds. A master carpenter by trade, he designs and hand builds wooden wagons. He brought along the smaller, touring version (also featured further on his Barrel Top Wagons Facebook page) to Jo & Jim’s wedding and you can also see a larger version that he lives in, on his Barrel Top Wagons Web site. A truly remarkable construction, I rather like the idea of living in one myself (and was surprised at how much they sell for; I was expecting them to be a great deal more expensive)…

Jo & Jim are both highly fond of animals. Jo works for the RSPCA and it was fascinating to learn from the speeches how her career in animal protection commenced at the tender age of eight, liberating a host of tightly confined turkeys from their cages in a Portugese market place. I bet that was a film scene moment.

I’m always open to learning new techniques for my portraiture…

So I’m stood there a good few minutes, feverishly trying to readjust the camera’s focusing as Jo & Jim’s names spin around rapidly, one name coming closer to me as the other receded and vice versa, over and over again…

Then it dawned on me that the projection was being made onto a flat, fixed surface. Must have been a totally convincing 3D effect. Either that or I iz cognitively dysfunctional.

Jim loves dancing in front of audiences…

The plan had been that Jo & Jim would do their first dance left alone on the dance floor for no more than a minute or so before being joined by the direct wedding party, to blend in amongst, and then as many people as might fit. Best laid plans and all that. In the end I think they were just dancing with me :~)…

Outwood. They utterly rocked. One of their final gigs before they disband (with members off to university or travelling), the vocals were profound…

Piglet Cottage again. Despite being a self-catered wedding on an enormous scale, there are times when you want your friends and family to be able to leave the dishes to others and get on the dance-floor. It came as a surprise to many that they’d be able to eat again that day, such was the quantity of food provided for the wedding breakfast, but the hog roast rolls went down very well indeed…

Fair play. I saw how much cooking he’d done that morning (not to mention the day and night before)…

And as if the whole day hadn’t been epic enough in proportions already…

There was this…

Back to the Manor for a gentle after-party (the cider brewed by Jo’s bother, Ben and his partner, Jo, was a marvel though; incredibly palatable, enormously moreish and oh so deceptive)…

The performance art put on by Jo’s brother, Tim, made for the perfect conclusion to a day beyond adequate description…

Congratulations Jo & Jim. You lit a beacon to illuminate a path which I was so happy to have had the opportunity to walk along a while and share something of this part of your life’s journey. I salute you and all of your friends and your families.

Contact Knowle Manor, Dunster, Somerset Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com : 07870 696248

Adam Riley - Wow, what an epic wedding! As usual phil you have made me feel like a guest at the wedding with your photography, stunning stuff!

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