Last Friday we had an absolute blast at Gracie & Paul’s wedding at the beautiful Carlyon Bay Hotel. Who cares if it rained a bit? (well, quite a lot, actually).
One of the things we pride ourselves on as wedding photographers is investing time in getting to know our brides and grooms before the big day. From experience we know that the better we know each other the more fun we’ll have together on the day. So by the time Gracie & Paul’s wedding day arrived we had met them in St Ives, at the venue, and at our home, and felt at ease in each other’s company. As a result it felt like we were photographing friends rather than clients and had the most lovely day with them.
When we arrived at the hotel the morning rain had cleared slightly and we were all hopeful that the planned outdoor ceremony would proceed as planned, despite the forecast for further rain throughout the day. Gracie’s room looked out over the Gazebo and she was excited to see the team begin the process of setting out the chairs for the ceremony. Preparations continued with Gracie’s two excellent bridesmaids Helen (aka Bugsy) and Vicki, and Mum, Sheila – all resplendent in their sparkly pink PJ’s.
When we caught up with Groom, Paul, and his Best Man, younger brother Alex, the weather was dry enough for a quick bit of practice on the putting green. One-nil to the Best Man! But as we headed back inside the Cornish mizzle was beginning to blow in from the West and that was the end of the outdoor wedding! By the time we were back with Gracie the chairs were being taken back inside and the hotel restaurant was being hastily converted to host the ceremony.
At this point, we must mention the Carlyon Bay team. Led by the excellent Holly, they could not be faulted. Everything happened with a quiet and calm efficiency despite the change of plans, and everyone was friendly and helpful throughout. They really are a credit to the hotel and it makes such a difference to our job on the day when the team is so easy to work with. This was our first wedding at the venue but we’d happily return for more.
Despite the change in plans, Gracie was in good spirits, helped by Bugsy and Vicki who reassured her that it really didn’t matter where the ceremony was held. And they were right. Gracie and Paul’s 50 guests gathered for the wedding, and it was one of those where the love and support for the happy couple was evident for all to see. And so, half an hour later, Mr & Mrs Clifton emerged from the room to receive the hugs of congratulation from their happy guests.
At this point in a rainy wedding day, adaptability becomes the name of the game, and the best-laid plans are put to one side. Drinks on the terrace became drinks in the lounge, and confetti-throwing and large group photos were postponed in the hope of better weather later. We did manage some smaller group photos in the lobby, and we even persuaded legendary doorman Barry to leave his post and join the couple.
After the delicious three-course wedding breakfast, which we got to enjoy due to a couple of missing guests (we didn’t kidnap, them, honestly!) , the cutting of the cake was expertly directed by the hotel’s own Toastmaster, a 30-year plus Carlyon Bay veteran and now one of the hotel’s Directors who just loves being a toastmaster! We were then treated to three excellent speeches. Few people enjoy public speaking, but the groom’s father John should be very proud to have two sons who are so at ease speaking to a roomful of people.
It was still raining, so the guests remained confined to the lounge, until the beautiful vintage Beauford arrived to take the bride and groom away for some photos. This was a total surprise for Paul, who thought they were jumping on one of the hotel’s golf buggies down to Carlyon Beach. Luckily this was a more weather-proof option. By the time we arrived at Charlestown it continued to rain, but with a few promising blue patches, so the umbrella was up and down for a walk down to the old quay – made famous in recent years as a regular filming location for Poldark.
Then on to our next stop – Polkerris Beach, where the skies magically cleared and we had some lovely early autumn sunshine at last. The couple were greeted by several well-wishers on a largely deserted beach, but the highlight was spotting the boat, ‘Jackpot’ right behind them as they took a perch on a boat in the harbour. It summed up our thoughts perfectly.
Back at the hotel we could finally gather most of the guests for a large group shot from the balcony and then the long-awaited throwing of confetti by the gazebo before making our way to the golf clubhouse for the evening reception. By that time we had everyone together so delayed the first dance a bit for a whole group shot on the first fairway, the setting sun lighting up the background beautifully.
After Gracie and Paul’s first dance, Gracie joined her dad, Richard on the dance floor to a track he had chosen – Gracie, by Ben Folds. Perfect. And to round off the evening Paul demanded that we put down the cameras to join he and Grace for a dance. Now that’s a first! I’m not usually one to be spotted on the dance floor, but how could we refuse?
Congratulations, Gracie & Paul, on a wonderful wedding day. It was a total pleasure to share the day with you, and the dance! We wish you a lifetime of happiness, starting with your honeymoon in Mexico. We hope you love this first selection of images from the day, and that the memories of last week flood back. There will be lots more very soon. With lots of love, David & Dawn xx