Great 16th century architecture and historical interiors, wonderful gardens, a conveniently short walk to a wonderful chapel all makes for a great and unique Hengrave Hall Wedding. I’m glad to have photographed weddings at this venue a number of times and it never disappoints though dare I say it this particular wedding was a particularly memorable affair.
Hengrave is a unique venue, it boasts perhaps the most beautiful bridal preparation room in the whole of East Anglia and rightly so as it most probably hosted at least one queen in its time. It’s gardens are a wonderful place for a reception and although on this occasion due to the ferociously hot summer the grass had browned and guests sought a bit of shade from the full sun, they still made a great spot for guests to admire the hall, play games and even take a short walk to take it all in.
This wedding was a coming together of cultures. East meets West, Chinese girl marries English boy, Chinese celebration cakes and traditional British wedding cake: yes, two lots of cakes-the guests were spoiled! It was great fun, there was translation aplenty, lots of smiles, music, lots of laughter a few tears and quite a bit of dancing. It all began with the girls getting ready in the Bridal suite whilst on the other side of the building in the Blue room the boys got themselves together.
With Elizabeth the first’s portrait on the chamber wall above the bridesmaids dresses looking on, make-up and hair was fixed by the very talented Ashley before flowers arrived and dresses were donned. The bride’s father arrived in his traditional Chinese suit and looked on as the veil was fixed in place. With the whole church service translated verbatim in the order of service the bride was practising pronunciation of the English vows, to eventually be reassured that normally even native speakers stumble over their vows.
A lovely procession of the bride, her father and bridesmaids, led onto a touching ceremony with lovely speeches, and eventual emergence into a bright summer day. With the drinks reception in the garden, the Chinese celebration cake table prepared that morning by the bride’s mother and assistants was an instant hit, with everyone gladly seeking a little refuge from the sun for the wedding breakfast.
One of the beautiful things about a multi-cultural wedding where there is a big language barrier is the unspoken communication that comes to the fore. The bride’s father’s speech was brilliantly translated but there was little doubt as to it being a universal speech with tears, joy and most evidently pride being self-evident.
A beautiful wedding cake prepared by the groom’s mother, ribaldry during the best man’s speech, chinese firewater and the evening progressed to the main hall: after a brief walk out with the bride and groom into the evening sunlight for some more portraits.
A great band were in attendance and everyone packed the ancient hall to both listen and dance the night away: it’s hard to imagine how many types of music the hall has heard during it’s lifetime of royal visits and weddings. Later in the evening the best man, an accomplished musician took to the stage both to wow the bride and groom and to sing them a song he’d composed for the occasion.
To say that the wedding must have taken some serious planning would be an understatement, but the expressions on the face of the bride and groom at the end of the evening proved that they’d pulled it off, happy in their new marriage. I hope you enjoy some images of the day below.