Doug and Jemma finally had their big day after 15 years. They got together at a young age and had their first son when they were 17 and 19 years old which means they never had time to get married. Now their sons have grown up, the youngest aged 8, they felt it was the right time to celebrate. They got married at the same place as Jemma's parents, the Mercure Hotel on Brighton seafront, which made it even more special. The bandstand is opposite the hotel so we headed over there a couple of times to get some photos, it's a classic shot but I love it.
Both the bride and groom got ready at the hotel with their wedding parties. The Mercure Hotel is huge, perfect if you have a lot of guests wanting to stay the night. The staff were amazing and kept the day running smoothly. They had their ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception all in the same room so the staff had to work hard to turn the room around each time in between. They had 60 guests at the ceremony and their youngest son as the ring bearer. The ceremony was followed by drinks and canapés in the bar, then we took the group shots on the front steps of the hotel so it was easy enough for everyone to get to. I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and get some photos outside as it had rained that morning but dried up in time for the wedding. Before they headed back into the reception room for the speeches and wedding breakfast I took the couple over to the Bandstand on Brighton beach to get a few photos of them alone together. It was very cold so I had them dance about a bit to warm up.
The speeches were funny and emotional, the groom cried which apparently isn't like him at all. They all shared their love and appreciation for their friends and family. Then the wedding breakfast was served, they had three courses, the main being a lovely roast dinner. Thank you again to the staff for keeping me well fed and looked after. After everyone had finished their meals they headed back out to the bar for the room to be turned around again for the evening reception. They laid down the dance floor and the DJ set up their stand. I took the couple out one last time to do a night time shot under the bandstand using my flash. When we got back I handed them some polaroids that I had printed off during the wedding breakfast, they loved them and showed them to their family and friends. I love doing this as it's usually a blur so it's nice for the couple to slow down and think about the day.
As the evening guests arrived they all headed into the reception room to get ready for the cake cut and first dance. They had a Christmas themed wedding cake and large light up LOVE letters in front of the dance floor. They cut the cake and then went straight into their first dance. It started off with a normal, slow, romantic song but a few minutes in the song changed to a mix match of funny dance songs which the bride and groom had a routine they danced to, this surprised all of the guests and made everyone laugh, it was the best first dance I've ever seen! Afterwards their guests joined them on the dance floor and partied the night away, I always love to see a packed dance floor.