Written by Bethany, PA to Luke Granger
Making the decision to postpone a wedding has been a heartbreaking choice that so many couples across the world have had to do this year. With reduced numbers, compulsory mask wearing and limited entertainment allowed, huge adjustments have had to be made; so some couples have chosen to wait until they can continue with their original plans.
With the coronavirus pandemic leaving us all in a state of confusion, back in the Summer, Ben & Sophie announced they were postponing their wedding for a year, in the hope that the world returns to some normality. As time went by, they felt they were missing out on the unity that marriage would bring to their growing family and decided that 2020 was the year they would say 'I Do' afterall.
A Danson House Micro Wedding
The couple selected the beautiful Danson House as their new micro wedding venue and what a perfect choice. Just a short distance away from Sophie's childhood home, Danson House in the London Borough of Bexley, is my all time favourite registry office in Kent. Filled with such grandeur, grace and historic beauty; I fall in love with Danson House every time we visit so its not difficult to see why this would be their chosen venue.
As the couple had selected an afternoon ceremony, we met Sophie at 1:30pm to capture the final moments of her getting ready with her family. Although she was a little nervous, you could see the excitement in her eyes and she proudly showed us her beautiful bridal bouquet.
At 7 months pregnant, Sophie looked radiant; her wedding dress was simple yet elegant, soft whisps of hair shaped her beaming face and she held her bouquet of delicate white orchids gracefully against her bump. Having a wedding a week before Christmas (in the midst of a global pandemic), whilst heavily pregnant couldn't have been easy but Sophie looked effortlessly beautiful; clearly beaming.
At around 2pm, Mike from EWC Wedding Cars arrived in a stunning Silver Cloud III Rolls Royce. Who says micro weddings can't be luxury?! After some photographs alongside both her parents Liane & Trevor, Sophie was accompanied by her Dad to make the traditional last journey together in style; a moment I'm sure both of them will treasure.
We arrived at Danson House ahead of both the bride and groom, but it wasn't long before Ben arrived all suited and booted ready to tie the knot. A little afternoon drizzle was looming, so Ben and the guests headed straight inside to The Dining Room, the safest place to avoid catching sight of the bride.
The guests were made up of both the couples parents, their siblings and grandparents, alongside their 2 year old son Ailbe. It was great to see the two families come together to support Ben & Sophie and it certainly felt like an intimate group with everyone laughing and chatting together.
If you have ever been to a wedding at Danson House, you would have likely met the wonderful Victor who makes a fantastic host. Victor is a well loved fixture at Danson House and I will admit to having a bit of a soft spot for him.
A true gentleman, Victor has the kindest soul and always works hard making everyones visit to Danson House special. He is the type of man who would make the perfect grandad; full of stories, an abundance of advice and a little cheekiness on the side. It was lovely to see him again after all this time and I hope he knows how appreciated he is.
With time to spare, Sophie & Trevor arrived and after a few rather windswept photographs outside, headed into The Library for a few moments until the registrars were ready.
Wedding Ceremony At Danson House
Danson House has a number of different ceremony rooms available, however due to the government restrictions The Salon & Dining Rooms are currently the only ones in use. Ben & Sophie had selected The Dining Room which features ornate mirrors, picturesque windows and an impressive fireplace. Overlooking Danson Park, The Dining Room has a really light and airy feel about it so even on a late December afternoon it was a lovely setting.
As a wedding photographer, ceremonies can be difficult to photograph at the best of times as the balance of needing to capture both the bride and groom from different angles, without getting in the way can be demanding. However, Luke was given strict instructions that he was not allowed to move from his allocated space, whilst I was to remain outside for the ceremony. The room capacity is currently set at 18 (Wedding party of 15 + 2 registrars + 1 Photographer) so Victor & I listened from the door. From a photography point of view, I would say that limited movement during the ceremony is the main compromise of a covid wedding, as its just impossible to catch all of the same shots we would normally aim for. We will always do our best to get as many as possible, but please do bare this in mind if you are planning a wedding during restrictions.
With guests seated and everyone in place, the music soon began and the time everyone had been waiting for had arrived.
Walking down the aisle, arms linked with her father, Sophie beamed. Ben kept composed but you could tell he was full of emotion and pride. There she was, the love of his life, looking absolutely stunning and in just a few minutes they would be making the ultimate promise to each other. The grooms reaction is always my favourite moment.
Although short, the ceremony was filled with plenty of smiles. Ailbe played his role as ring bearer perfectly, delivering the rings on queue before safely returning to his Grammie's lap. Rings were exchanged and the couple shared their first kiss as Husband and Wife whilst their guests clapped proudly.
Although not permitted to have a formal wedding reception, the lobby of Danson House was an ideal location for Ben & Sophie to gather briefly with their guests. A large Christmas tree added some extra festivity and we even snuck out onto the staircase for a couple of extra photographs.
Danson House is a truly beautiful registry office however, today the outside was not looking it's finest. Sophie and Ben had booked their wedding 7 weeks previously, but at 3 weeks to go they were told that unavoidable construction work was due to take place. Although frustrating, the pair took it in their stride, continuing with their plans regardless. Proof their love means so much more to them than the wedding.
After some photographs as a family in the back of the Rolls Royce, Sophie swapped her Ted Baker bridal shoes for a pair of crystal encrusted Converse designed by Stephanie Designs (a girl after my own heart), before the happy couple joined their guests over at Danson Stables. Being in Tier 3, Danson Stables was indeed shut, however the wedding party had come prepared.
Whats that saying? If the mountain can't come to Mohammed. Each guest had a glass of champagne to toast the happy couple and although it was a rather chilly celebration, it was a celebration nonetheless. We then whisked Ben & Sophie into the Old English Garden's for some photographs together before we ran out of daylight.
It was lovely to see the pair casually walking along, naturally happy in each others company. Excited that they were now husband and wife, the pair needed little direction from us as photographers, so we just paused at different locations to gather a range of photographs. Memories that I am sure they will treasure in years to come.
Finishing up with a few extra sparkler shots, we soon returned to reunite with their guests before it was time for everyone to say their goodbyes.
Although not the big, no expense spared wedding they had originally planned, I'm sure you can agree, Sophie & Ben's wedding day was beautiful. The pair faced a difficult decision, but ultimately their love shined brightly throughout. They can now continue through life together as Mr & Mrs Ireson.
Ben & Sophie, we wish you a long and happy marriage,
Thank you for allowing us to be part of your special day.
Luke & Bethany
Luke Granger Photography would like to thank all the suppliers and guests who were part of making Sophie & Ben's wedding day possible.
Just 2 days later, the South East of England were plunged into Tier 4 restrictions, making their wedding our last photoshoot of 2020.