Kate and Chris’s Amazing Wedding at Hengrave Hall, Bury St Edmonds.
Wedding date 6th April 2015
Venue – Hengrave Hall, Bury St Edmonds.
Bride – Kate Chamberlain
Groom – Chris Hastings
Bridesmaids – Jenny (brides twin sister), Anne-Marie (grooms sister), Rhian and Tash
Flower Girls – Grace and Eve
Best men – Dean and Christian
Ushers – Reece and Jay
Brides Parents – Jim and Teresa
Grooms Parents – Tony and Sue
Title – Kate and Chris Wedding at Hengrave Hall
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It was bank holiday Monday and I left my house at 9 am to get to Hengrave Hall for 10.45 am. I set off and made great timing. The roads were clear so when I got close to the venue I got some water and something to eat as I knew I wouldn’t be eating for at least 6 hours.
On arrival at Hengrave Hall you are met by an open set of gates at the top of a beautiful drive, as you start the drive down you start to see the house appear in the distance, its set within 350 acres of parkland and with sweeping lawns and meadows, a majestic lake, and its own idyllic chapel it’s grace and historical charm offers the perfect ambience for any wedding.
As I got closer to the house one of the staff was there to check me off the list and make sure no one is there who shouldn’t be.
So I parked the car and walked to the house passing the chapel, when you attend a lot of church weddings as I do, you realise most churches look old and feel old. This church was different it is old but as it was renovated by the current owners in 2006, it looks like it would have been when it was finished off in the 1500’s when the Chapel and House were both built….every stone was absolutely perfect.
I walked into the entrance at Hengrave Hall and was met by Shona and her team. They showed me round and showed me where Kate and Chris were.. they were in separate suites getting ready at opposite ends of the beautiful mansion.
I went in to see Chris first, as I walked into the Blue Chamber (the boy’s room) the music was loud all his close friends and family were in there. It was a boys paradise, pool table, Playstation, flat screen tv, chess and lots more. The drinks were flowing and Jim the brides dad was in there too all having a good crack and great time. When you see Chris with his friends like I did on that morning, you realise straight away they are an extremely close group and the work most of them do in their day-to-day lives is going to make that even stronger.
I left the boys and told them I would see them in a little while to get some pictures of them all getting their suits on etc… something that later in the post you will find brilliantly funny.
I went into the Queen Elizabeth Suite to see Kate, as you walk in you are look up and see the most beautiful image of queen Elizabeth 1 carved into the wood paneling of the Magnificent Bridal suite.
There were about 10 ladies in the room including the Bride, the champagne was flowing and Kate was very relaxed sitting chatting with her gran, mum and sister Jenny.
The make up and hair ladies were getting the bridesmaids ready. As the ceremony wasn’t for 3 hours, we had plenty of time to get all the shots required to capture this part of the story. As I was taking a couple of shots of one the Bridesmaids I realised that I photographed her wedding 3 years ago (Rhian and Scott Pearson) and it was at that wedding “that later on” I was told by Kate and her mum that after seeing Rhian’s pictures and Kate (bride)being her bridesmaid, making a decision on a photographer was easy .. Kate said “there’s only one person I would ever have wanted to do my wedding YOU”…(that’s probably the biggest complement as a photographer you can ever get).
The Dress was hanging on the Four Poster bed, I took a moment looked at the room and just thought “there’s not many places as grand as this” makes me realise I am very lucky in my job and I am at a standard where these type of weddings book me. Teresa very kindly made me and the Videographer a coffee and I got chatting to Kate’s grandmother Mary and her great-aunt .. two lovely ladies “”and they are from Ireland “‘ so we got on great.
I could see that the girls were going to be a little while still so I went for a look round the House to find some locations to use later then went to see the boys for their getting ready shots.
I walked into the Blue Chamber to be met by Dean (best man number 1) who was in his suit trousers and that was it…confident as you could be… these are the sort of people I like to photograph .. the same sort of mates that I have myself. I decided to take the boys all out the front of Hengrave Hall and do some fun shots….. this gave me a good opportunity to show them the sort of photographer I was and i blended in like I was one of the group. When we returned to the Blue Chamber the boys stripped off down to their boxers, it was then that two of the ladies running the function walked in to see how they were all doing .. and were “to be met by 6 extremely athletic guys some of which are personal trainers all in their pants””..we all started laughing and the girls saw the funny side and started laughing too. They all got ready and I said I would see them at the chapel for the Ceremony.
I went back into the bridal suite and it was at this moment Kate had just had her hair and make up finished, the sunlight was blazing through the huge Grade 1 listed window and was like a spotlight on her.. my god she looked absolutely stunning. She got into her dress with the bridesmaids help and then ..”when she was totally ready” her father Jim walked into the 15th Century Suite and saw her.. he’s an experienced Police Officer and a hard man, but seeing his beautiful daughter in the dress naturally took him back. Kate then posed for some beautiful shots in her dress and everyone joined in.
We headed over to the Chapel and Kate, Jim and their entourage all walked across.. the sun was shining and the temperature was just right. The service was beautifully done by the priest who after a nice chat with me very kindly let me get a decent position for the photos. The ceremony was only made better by a solo performance of Ave Maria done on the gallery which naturally made the acoustics amazing. After the Ceremony we all headed over to the Courtyard for the drinks reception but not before getting a big group picture taken of the complete wedding party.
We took the group shots and then went round the grounds of the 33 bedroom house, time had crept up on us as it always does and it was time to go in for the wedding breakfast. After the meal was finished the champagne was poured and the speeches started they lasted about 45 minutes and were brilliant. The best men did a joint effort speech and didn’t make Chris too uncomfortable… Kate and Chris had trays of shots dished out as they wanted to give their guests a shot aswell as a glass of bubbly.
It was now 7.15pm and time to cut the wedding cake, they cut it and walked straight into the room for dancing. There was a huge Black and White chequered dance floor and the couple walked in and performed their first dance. Everyone then joined in and the evening was now in full flow.
Whilst I was packing away I looked out of the window and saw the low sun coming down making a lovely opportunity to get a great finishing shot for the Storybook, Kate and Chris popped out for five minutes and did their last few pictures…giving them a lovely 10 minutes on their own.
It was then that I said to them both “that there are times in life when a job becomes a pleasure and a pleasure becomes a privilege”. Well I was privileged to be at this wedding with this beautiful couple and their fantastic friends and family.
Here are a few pictures that I have selected to show you from the day. Please share and take the time to like our Facebook page etc. If you have a wedding and you’re looking for some info then get in touch and we can check availability and provide you with a quote.
Kate and Chris Wedding at Hengrave Hall – Written and Photographed © John paul O’Donnell Photography