It’s awesome to be a Holdsworth House wedding photographer since this is a great venue in which to tie the knot! It is a Jacobean Manor dating back to 1633, but there appears to have been some kind of building on the site almost 800 years ago. The history of the site is lengthy, and intriguing. It has been owned by many wealthy families until it was opened to the public in the 1960s as ‘The Cavalier Country Club’. With its historical architecture and classic decor, I can’t imagine a nicer place for act as a hotel and host elegant weddings. The friendly cat relaxing on the couch in the entrance, whom I met when I visited Holdsworth House in preparation for the wedding, is the icing on the cake :). Little things like this demonstrate just how friendly a venue can be.
Harrah and Neerj booked me way back in 2016, and I didn’t meet them again until their pre-wedding shoot in Yorkshire Sculpture Park earlier this year (2018). They said they would like natural photos – which is just fine by me – and during their pre-wedding shoot it quickly become apparent why: before I’d even trained my camera they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Neerj had a penchant throwing Harrah in the air, meanwhile Harrah enjoyed pushing Neej over when he least expected it. This kind of things is great for me as a photographer and it continued into their wedding as you’ll see!
My day started early with bridal prep in the ‘De Aldworth Room’, a room set aside for larger bridal parties. As is the case with many historic venues, the room was very dark and undeniably a challenge for a photographer, but to my advantage there was at least one large window and Harrah and her bridal team were having a great time with loads of moments to capture. I was saddened to hear that Harrah had been quite ill the day before with food poisoning. Imagine that, the day before your wedding! She seemed a bit better in the morning though, the excitement of the wedding carrying her through, and I was impressed by her stoicism!
Make-up and hair done and Harrah, her mum and myself make a quick, secret dash to the bridal suite so Harrah can put her dress on. Harrah’s dad become quite emotional when he saw Harrah in her wedding dress for the first time, I mean, what Father of the Bride, doesn’t? This is, however, the first time I’ve seen a dad propose to his own daughter haha. By this time Neerj has arrived and is chilling with his family and guests in the bar. It’s all really relaxed and that’s always nice for me as a photographer.
The ceremony is lovely, with Harrah and Neerj smiling and laughing throughout. Sometimes nerves can get the better of people, myself included on my own wedding day, and people can be quite stiff through the ceremony, but not these two :). A reading, the exchanging of rings, the first kiss and some more laughing and that’s a wrap on the ceremony!
Everyone moved outside into Holdsworth House’ lovely grounds, for drinks, and in time some family and couple photos. Harrah gave Neerj a good shove, and with that their marriage was sealed! The confetti gauntlet was good one! Harrah’s mum made sure they didn’t escape without being completely covered in petals. On with the wedding breakfast and the usual hilarious speeches, especially Harrah’s dad. Once everyone settled down to eat I went for a little lunch, and on the way to my car noticed a gentleman guest enjoying some Indian music in his car. I wasn’t surprised to see the same gentlemen owning the dancefloor later in the evening! Speaking of which….
Holdsworth House’ dance floor is arranged such that the bride and groom can be surrounded by their guests during the first dance. It was a great, first dance and Harrah and Neerj were quickly joined by their guests on the dance floor. I love taking party photos, especially people dancing without a car in the world. Just as I was thinking it was about time I should start packing up, some Bhangra – at least I think it was Bhangra – came over the speakers and Neerj and all his family hit the floor, completely loving it. I stopped what I was doing and shot everything that moved for the next 10 mins. It was a great ending to a great day.
Massive congratulations to Harrah and Neerj. I wish you both all the best!
With thanks to my bro and second shooter: Kieran Bellis Photography