Blog written by Bethany, PA to Luke Granger
As a Kent wedding photographer its certainly been unusual for us here at Luke Granger Photography but with the pandemic (hopefully) drawing to a close we were delighted to kick off our 2021 weddings.
Our couple Johanna & Reuben had originally booked their Danson House registry office wedding for February, however when Coronavirus restrictions were increased they chose to postpone until late March with the hope that restrictions within the wedding industry would change by then. Naturally, we were all keeping our fingers crossed and were delighted that the restrictions for small weddings were eased the day before their wedding day; talk about cutting it close!
An Alternative To Tradition...
Just like any engaged couple Jo & Reuben were really invested in making the day special and although not a traditional wedding day, the extra creativity and thought they put into making it memorable certainly paid off.
With a 10am ceremony booked at the beautiful Danson House, we met with Jo & Reuben at their home in nearby Charlton at 8:30am. Having previously only met virtually we were welcomed in to their home like old friends, introduced to their 7 month old son Noah and were soon getting stuck into their wedding photography.
It was lovely to see the effort that had been made to their home in preparation for their guests. Flower garlands and fairy lights were delicately displayed, place settings laid and the house smelt of fresh flowers. A beautiful cake was waiting to be cut and although not a traditional venue for a London wedding reception, the loved up pair had clearly thought of everything.
Meeting our bride upstairs, she looked fantastic; I was highly impressed that she had not only done her hair and make up herself but she chose her dress having never tried it before. The wedding dress suited her figure perfectly and she had truly taken the whole planning process in her stride. Doting groom Reuben soon appeared suited and booted so we took the opportunity to get some family shots with baby Noah as nap time was due shortly.
With Noah safely being cared for by his Nanny, the couple said their goodbyes and left the home for the last time as an engaged couple; when they return they will be Husband & Wife, how exciting!
Despite choosing to have a small wedding, the couple were travelling in style this morning as Steve from Arnage Executive Hire met them outside in a beautiful classic car. We stopped to get some photographs whilst and it was lovely to see neighbours waving from windows and popping over to wish them both well.
After a short journey to Danson House in Bexley, it was fantastic to see the sunshine had well and truly arrived. Recorded as the hottest March day ever (yes ever! How lucky is that?!), it really was the perfect day to get married.
We took advantage of the amazing weather as Jo & Reuben posed outside with their beautiful wedding car, a Beauford Regent Landaulette. Sophisticated and stylish, the couple were relaxed in each others arms and were clearly enjoying the sunshine in the grounds of Danson House.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the wedding party was restricted to a total of 6. In this case, the couple chose Luke as their wedding photographer, themselves and 3 guests to be present. Reubens mother, sister and niece soon arrived to celebrate the day and Johanna's family (who live in Australia) were across the pond celebrating too. A truly momentous occasion for so many.
Soon after, the wedding party were invited into Danson House by the registrar (I waited outside with Steve the Chauffeur). After a quick introduction (and hand sanitising), all the pre-wedding discussions were completed and everyone was shown to a small ceremony room on the top floor. As this wasn't a traditional wedding, Jo & Reuben proudly entered together and before long the happy couple were saying their 'I Do's'.
There are a number of different ceremony rooms, of varying sizes, available at Danson House. The one chosen for the couple today, was modestly dressed and would have originally been a bedroom back when Sir John Boyd originally lived there. Dating back to the 1800's, the Palladian villa is steeped in history and after being lovingly restored in 2005, its certainly the best registry office in Kent. If you wish to learn more about the history of Danson House, click here.
With limited time inside, a few pictures were gathered to commemorate the ceremony before everyone returned back into the sunshine; the newlyweds gathered on Danson House's iconic steps and what a beautiful sight to see.
Before the ceremony started, Reuben had tried to connect to a Zoom call so that Johanna's family in Australia could watch the ceremony live, however unfortunately the signal was not strong enough inside the building. Instead, the Bride made an excited call to announce their happy news to the family before we took some more photographs.
Heading across the road to Danson Park's Old English Garden, we all enjoyed a leisurely walk in the sun, taking photographs along the way. The couple were congratulated by passers by and we all enjoyed the beauty of the Spring flowers, the towering trees and the perfectly placed benches.
A popular beauty spot, a visit to The Old English Garden is a fantastic addition to a registry office wedding at Danson House. Open to the public all year round, although it is not private, it is certainly a beautiful place to capture amazing wedding photos and enjoy a stroll as newlyweds.
It is always lovely to photograph family memories that we know will be treasured, its certainly one of the best parts of being a wedding photographer in Kent. Little Summer (Reubens Niece) was rather shy but she was still enjoying all the beautiful flowers and told me that Auntie Johanna looked like a real princess.
As we had gathered a wide range of photographs within the garden, it was time the wedding party returned home to enjoy some family time together. Jo & Reuben had ordered food from a local bistro so the pair were keen to get home to tell baby Noah their good news and relax with their guests at home. We would be meeting back up with them in a few hours time, but for now we waved goodbye as they travelled home in style.
Wedding photography in London
We are strong believers that just because a couple chooses to have a small wedding, there is certainly no need to give up dreams of having fantastic wedding photography. We were therefore delighted that Jo & Reuben were being so creative with their wedding day plans and were up for having a little adventure with us.
At 2:30pm we arrived back at Jo & Reuben's Charlton home to find the couple in the garden with their guests. Having enjoyed a lovely lunch together, Noah was left in the safe hands of his Auntie whilst Mummy & Daddy were spending the afternoon with us.
With Jo & Reuben on board, the four of us first travelled the short distance to nearby Charlton House. Previously a hospital, a museum and then a library, Charlton House is now used for a number of community projects but also hosts a cafe and some stunning gardens that visitors can enjoy.. Our Groom Reuben, has a keen interest in history so with such a beautiful building close to their home, it seemed fitting to include Charlton House within their wedding day. I love that every time they now drive past, they will have fond memories and be able to enjoy family days out there in the future.
With such fantastic weather, the main grounds were quite busy so we chose to use the front of Charlton House and the ornate archway as a backdrop for a handful of wedding photographs before moving on to our next location.
Situated on the Greenwich border, Blackheath Common was a location that Jo & Reuben had chosen whilst on a family walk with Noah. Luke grew up in nearby Kidbrooke so I'm sure he wouldn't have visited as a child himself and we were only too happy to include it within their day.
The Heath is a popular place for locals to visit (especially on such a sunny day) so as expected our arrival didn't go unnoticed. Reuben was fist bumped by a young lad with a skate board, strangers enjoying picnics wished congratulations and a group of young girls even played some love songs through their speakers. It was clear to us all, that today's wedding day was bringing so much joy to so many people. After all, it had been a long time since anyone had been able to enjoy a London wedding. Like I previously said, Jo & Reuben didn't have a traditional wedding day but it was certainly a memorable one.
The ornate doors and historic brick work of All Saints Church Blackheath, a striking building on the edge of the Heath, made a fantastic spot to stop and take some wedding photographs with the happy couple.
We then utilised the window display of No 14 London, a local art gallery and the Bride and Groom were even able to feature a London Bus within their wedding photos, not something every couple can say.
As the sun was still beaming, we were nearing the end of our London wedding photoshoot but there was one last location that Jo & Reuben wanted to visit.
A stunning Georgian crescent of properties, The Paragon is one of the most sought after addresses in Blackheath, London and its not hard to see why. The grounds are so beautifully kept and it really made for a great spot to visit. We paused at the post box for a couple more photographs and were soon on our way back to the car.
Before long we were arriving back outside Jo & Reuben's house and saying our goodbyes to the newlyweds. Having been wearing heels and a wedding dress all day, Jo was looking forward to sitting down for the evening and Reuben was keen to enjoy a bottle of beer; we wished them well and headed home ourselves.
Our first wedding of 2021 was certainly a successful one, it was great to be back enjoying wedding photography, at one of our favourite wedding venues in Kent and we really couldn't have asked for better weather. An alternative to tradition, Jo & Reubens Danson House/ London wedding day was really refreshing; not just to us as wedding photographers or the other wedding suppliers involved but to all the people we met along the way.
Whether it was the group of friends sitting at the park, the bus driver enjoying his break or the dog walker who told us that seeing them had made her day, I certainly feel today's wedding bought so much joy and hope to so many.
Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Stapells, we wish you all the best.
Luke & Bethany
As professional photographers, we are permitted to go about our work as required which allows us to visit homes and interact with clients on a professional basis. Due to the nature of our work, there were times throughout the day where practicing social distancing was not possible, however this was understood and agreed with by the couple. As an additional precaution to protect our clients and their guests, we ensured we both tested negative to an asymptomatic test the day prior to the wedding.