Gill and Grant - what can I say about these two! I could talk for pages about what a joy their wedding day was, however I am going to leave that to Gill, her own words expressing so much more than I could ever do. Such beautiful souls, they share a deep love and respect for one another which not only is marvelled, but also inspiring. I knew from the moment that we met that I wanted so very much to photograph their wedding. Grant, is sumed up simply as a gentleman, charming and courtious, to everyone but not least of all to Gill, naturally graceful and warmhearted. Their story could have been taken right out of a romance novel. I adored working with and getting to know Gill and Grant, their children and their extended families. What a joy it was, a day that we won't ever forget.
What is your story?
"We met when we started infant school when we were 4 years old in 1967. In 1974 we moved into the same street as Grant, opposite end. Our parents still live there. We went through infant and junior school in the same class, and secondary school in the next class to each other. We left school at 16, I started work at Barclays Bank, and Grant at Rolls Royce Engineering. We never saw each other for over 30 years. We both got married, Grant had a son and I had two daughters. In 2011, when our circumstances were different, I saw Grant's name pop up wishing a mutual friend on face book Happy Birthday! I was really pleased to see it!"
"I'd always liked him at school, he even went out with my friend for a while, and I thought it would be nice to see where his life had taken him. He could have been living in Australia, with 10 children for all I knew, so I sent him a message! He was really happy to hear from me ......... and that was the start."
"We chatted on FB for ages hearing each other's love stories, and eventually met up. We still had so much in common. The same memories of school friends, our teachers, favourite music & old tv programmes. We never stopped talking. Our dads, both electricians, had worked on different sites together years ago, and our mum's were happy to get to know each other better."
"In 2014 we moved in together. We got on so well settling in to our new home, and went on lots of lovely holidays to Kraków, Budapest, Prague, Barcelona, Madrid and as many weekends away as possible. Living life to the full. We had dancing lessons, played table tennis, went walking and generally squeezed as much as possible in to our new life. In August 2016 we went to the Greek island of Santorini, famous for its glorious (romantic) sunsets. The last full day of the holiday was my birthday. I was opening my cards on our balcony that morning, and Grant went down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He gave me a little wooden box with 2 wedding rings that he'd made himself from titanium. I said yes :-)"
What was the inspiration behind your wedding?
"Crook Hall was the main inspiration. I'd been to a friend's wedding there in 2010 and loved the place - though as I was married at that time, I never dreamt what would happen there in the future! It's gardens are stunning and the medieval hall is so small and atmospheric I knew the backdrop wouldn't need dressing in any way."
"We knew we'd like Gareth as best man, Megan and Holly as our bridesmaids, and just close family at the ceremony, with a party for friends afterwards. The girls and I love navy, so their dresses were easy, and we chose the the boys blue tweed checked suits to go with them. My mum loves making cards and crafty things so she made all the invitations and favours with me. And anything else I saw in magazines or Pinterest that I loved the look of."
"I love white hydrangeas so our bouquets were full of them. And candles - we had candles and fairy lights everywhere."
What was the most memorable or your favorite part of your wedding day?
"We both had the happiest day of our lives, which I think is obvious from your amazing photos, but Grant says his favourite moment was me walking into the room with my dad, and mine is probably the ceremony itself and saying our vows, closely followed by our first dance."
Why was photography important to you and why did you choose 2tone Photography ?
"Photography has played a significant part in my life particularly, and I have even helped photograph a couple of weddings myself. Crook Hall is beautiful, and we think each other are too ;-) so we knew we wanted lots and lots of memories of the day. We hadn't given our photographer any great thought though. Then we came across 2tone Photography at a wedding exhibition at The Sage Gateshesd. Their pictures stopped me in my tracks. We stood looking at the albums for a while. I instantly loved the style and the light in Nigel & Chrissie's photos. We wandered off and looked at other stands. No one else there came close. (Or at the other 2 exhibitions we went to later). We chatted to N&C and liked them both a lot, such a lovely couple passionate about their jobs, and I felt Chrissie & I clicked within that first few minutes."
Do you have any advice for brides and grooms who are currently in the planning process?
"The music ever throughout the day was important to us, and we took a long time to put playlists together for different parts of the day - took us much longer than we expected."
"If you're on a budget, decide what's definitely necessary, and what's just be nice to have, and spend in that order."
"It was definitely worth a few dance lessons as our first dance was one of our favourite parts of the day."
What is your favorite part of being married now?
"Although nothing has really been changed, everything feels even better. Plus we have beautiful photographs and memories of our day for always. And it is pretty lovely being a 'Mr & Mrs'."
...and anything else you feel like you would like to add.
"Just that you, Nigel and Chrissie will always have a place in our hearts for your lovely part in our day. You helped make it perfect! xx"
Venue: Crook Hall, Durham
Venue styling: Just me - but not too much needed as the place is perfect
The wedding dress: Anna Sorrano - from WED2B
The men's suits: Master Debonair are East Boldon
Wedding cake: Best friend, Linda
Flowers: Charlotte's House of Flowers, Sunderland
Hair and Make up: Hair, Show Beauty in House of Fraser (Marie) Make-up Marissa Bennett
Entertainment: Lovely friends Neil and David Atkinson singing with their guitars, and DJ Colin Cook