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Suffolk Tipi Festival Wedding : Becky & Chris

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As I stood on a fine Suffolk summer’s evening looking back towards the heart of Becky & Chris’s ongoing wedding celebrations I felt as though I were looking into a small village in the thick of a festival special to that community. Though the material fabric of that village was but temporary, the spirit of the place was tangible, rooted and built to last. In correspondence some months before the day, Becky had suggested the plan that her and Chris’s wedding would be disguised in a festival theme. It was more than that though, not a disguise nor a tip of the hat but it had become a festival true and proper, a celebration to be revisited in the mind across decades of anniversaries and no doubt in between as well. It would be great if it could be recreated every year in just that same spot. I don’t know though if Becky & Chris would balk at the magnitude of the organisation (but they did a grand job of it as a one of a kind event, with no end of organisation on their account and a wealth of help from a small army of family and friends).

Two years earlier I had photographed the wedding of Matt & Anna – two good friends of Becky – at the other end of the country in Somerset. Becky had seen the photographs from their wedding and kept tabs on my work until Chris popped the question, and she could in turn pop the question to me. A different question of course; one that I was happy to be able to say yes to; Matt & Anna’s had been an enriching and fantastically enjoyable affair to photograph and I had no doubt by virtue of the connection of friendship that Becky & Chris’s would be too. And I was right. Absolutely, of course :~)

Becky & Chris married in a church of especial character in a small village in the Suffolk countryside, just outside of Bury St. Edmunds and celebrated on a patch of farmland right outside the family front door; very useful indeed to have an obliging and friendly next door neighbour with land stretching as far as the horizon. It was immensely enjoyable to spend time with such an energetic, good humoured and caring couple and the friends and family that they surrounded themselves with for their celebration brought the same characteristics to bear in great measure. This is the story of their festival wedding…

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The crossroads at the heart of the village square…

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Chris and his groomsmen were getting ready for the day at lodgings in a nearby village. I took it as a good sign that I found something in situ that pre-dated the tractors that I’m usually delighted to come across on such occasions…

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The local Neighbourhood Watch committee had received reports of unauthorised signs being posted in the area, but had yet to spot any themselves…

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Somebody had already made a lovely picture of the church, with vertical perspective-correction factored in, to boot…

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I wasn’t quite certain how to take this one, but I wasn’t going to take it sitting down, for sure…

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I loved the whitewashed interior of the church, reminiscent to me of churches that I’ve photographed marriage ceremonies in across Scandinavia (indeed maybe a cultural connection by virtue of Suffolk having once upon a time been colonised by vikings). I’m accustomed to working in rather dark church interiors; a problem that one makes a virtue of on the photographic front, playing more with light (a little of) and shadow (a lot of). The abundant bounced light in Becky & Chris’s church lent itself to photography perfectly though, or perhaps just made matters a great deal easier :~)

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(Straight out of the Savoy; Roger Lewin. He’s played with Boney M and Hot Chocolate, amongst others…)

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Reverend Haworth; energetic, enthusiastic, photographer friendly; fitted the flow of personas populating the wedding day perfectly…

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It… will… go… on!…

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The all star line-up of pianists continued with one of Chris’s brothers on the keys (some wise words here from Jonathan, not just on learning to play the piano but on learning in general)…

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Becky had a brilliant team of bridesmaids. My particular thanks go to Clare, not only for constantly being on hand to arrange things for Becky but also for saving the day for me when the inner seam of one of my suit trouser legs split from top to bottom. I’d have carried on photographing regardless but her quick collection of a set of safety pins allowed me to carry on with my work into the deep of the night without unduly disturbing the guests :~)…

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Becky & Chris’s page boy loved being part of the group photographs :~)…

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To the festival village…

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I’ve not seen a bouncy castle quite so widely popular and abundantly well used throughout a wedding day (supplied by the evocatively named Zebedee Castles; you know, ‘”Boing!” said Zebedee,’ if you remember that kind of thing? In a roundabout kind of way, I’m trying to say that it was magic)…

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This week’s answer to the existential crisis of being a wedding photographer, with attendant witness to my existence…

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Check!…

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Named badges for all the guests…

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No table plan. No hay bale plan, for that matter; everyone just pitching in together…

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Animated speeches…

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And between me and you, we know it’s true
My case and point sits next to you!
From the moment you met Becky it was plain to see
You were smitten and happy as you could be
Your perfect match, the one for you
That same drive and sense of humour too

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Met some new neighbours whilst out for a walk (some of the more hardy guests pitched camp next door)…

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Got the feeling the wrong person was being watched, here…

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No coconut shys but there’s always scope for imagination…

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My camera doesn’t do that!…

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The Confidentials. An excellent band; fantastic performers and showmen… and a funny story that also highlights their unflappable professionalism, that I’d like to note if anything to remember it for myself. Less than a mile down the road – more so a lane – from Becky & Chris’s wedding celebrations, an event called Wedfest was taking place in a field; apparently a mass-marriage of some kind. When I’d driven past it that morning an organiser, no doubt latching on to the fact that I was wearing suit and tie, had initially tried to direct me into a field allocated for parking. I’d recced all the locations the day before though and pushed onwards to the place that I knew I needed to be. Arriving later into the day though with said Wedfest in full swing, the band were lured in and had set up their kit before somebody asked them who they were, and the mistake was realised. So de-rig they did, repacked their van, drove up the lane and set up all over again, all with more than ample time to spare before they were due to perform and perform with gusto they did…

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…As did the guests :~)…

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Come midnight, my camera turned back in to a pumpkin and I bade my farewells and made tracks for my bed for the night. The party, apparently, continue through until 4.00am. I’m not in the slightest surprised :~)

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Congratulations Becky & Chris and thank you for such a smashing experience, the energy of which will linger with me for a long time to come. The best of company and the most resonant of celebration!

Contact Suffolk Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com : 07870 696248

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