Last Saturday I joined Chloe & Ivan to photograph their beautiful wedding at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, County Durham!
One of the things I love about being a wedding photographer is that my work takes me out into beautiful parts of the country I might otherwise never see.
On this occasion, it was a pleasure driving through County Durham’s rolling dales, as I headed over to the village of Romaldkirk to photograph Chloe’s morning story.
Chloe & her bridesmaid Christiana were enjoying a most relaxing morning as I pottered around capturing the moments and details
Loving the flora by Jackie at Leven Flowers
I also very much love Chloe’s stunning knee-length wedding gown!
I love it when a bride is mobile & able to easily get around. I’ve only seen one other dress like this in recent times, and wish I saw more.
Meanwhile, on the way into Barnard Castle to join the guys, my wingman Hamish spotted the Bowes Museum poking out of the misty landscape
I always have a 2nd shooter at my weddings to cover parts of the day I’m generally too busy to document on my own, starting with photographing the guys preparations, and setting the scene with a few landscape images and details.
Barnard Castle is a perfect Teesdale market town, popular with tourists and so named after the castle around which it grew up.
Ivan’s a gent who knows how to cut a dash and I loved the details on his cuffs, waistcoat & pocket watch. He even wore his own top hat!
The guys met the guests at the stunning Bowes Museum to board the vintage coach to the pub for a spot of lunch
Over the dale, the girls were gowning up
The ceremony was at St Mary’s Church, in Appleton Wiske, where several generations of Chloe’s family married, and her grandparents rest.
Here comes the bride!
We were a bit limited by the vicar of the church, but I managed to negotiate a few snaps from the front.
It makes all the difference to capture a few key moments like this.
After the service, Ivan and Chloe laid a wreath at her grandparents grave.
Then we headed back to join the guests for the CONFETTI BOMB!
There was a fun tradition in this village, where during the service the local kids tie up the gates.
The kids won’t let the couple out unless they throw some money. Then while distracted, they can cut the ties!
Then it was back across Country Durham to Barnard Castle, for the afternoon reception at the imposingly stunning Bowes Museum!
How amazing is this building?!
A little history if I may, as this place teems with it: This grand French chateau of a building was commissioned by art lovers John & Joséphine Bowes, and was both the UK’s first purpose-built museum and the first uk building made to European metric measurements. They wanted to create a home suitably fitting for all the precious treasures which would be contained within it. The first stone was laid by Joséphine in 1869. She said: ‘I lay the bottom stone, and you, Mr Bowes, will lay the top stone’. As the building grew, so did their collection and an astounding 15,000 objects were purchased between 1862 and 1874.
Sadly she died in 1874 and he also in 1885, and never did carry out Joséphine’s wish of laying the top stone. But it finally opened to the public on 10th June 1892 and attracted nearly 63,000 visitors in its first year. The diverse collection spans three floors of the magnificent building and contains items too numerous to list. Whether it is paintings by Canaletto or Goya, porcelain produced at Sèvres, or marquetry attributed to André-Charles Boulle it can all be found at The Bowes Museum, which has received Designated status from the government in recognition of the outstanding collection.
Plus, it’s just opened its doors to hosting weddings, and you’ll see what an awesome venue it makes below!
The Bowes Museum is also a public park, and contains the Barnard Castle Bowling Club
So it seemed rude not to host the afternoon reception on the green with a round of lawn bowls!
The local bowling team were a lovely bunch, and two representatives came over to coach everyone.
Wedding receptions are all about a spot of entertainment/activity, and I’m not sure I could think of one better than crown green bowling!
Yorkshire pud, roast beef & horseradish canapés, for the win!
It was nice to see Dad had brought a bunch of ancient photos from past weddings with him
This little page boy was a proper little dude!
After a few family shots and wedding party groups, guests were allowed to explore the museum, while I took Chloe & Ivan off for a round of portraits.
This was also a nice touch of smart logistics, giving the happy couple plenty of time to mingle with guests, and guests something to do while they nipped off for pics!
Although these guys met at Uni in Durham, they now live and work in London. So we only got chance to catch up for a pre-wedding exploration of the grounds last Thursday. And while they’re really not keen on ‘staged’ photos, it was helpful to have done a round of practice pics (which can be seen here)
Then after a sufficient amount of squirming, we headed back to join the guests for a nosey around the gallery.
There are many amazing works around the gallery, but the price piece is the 240 year-old Silver Swan – an English silver automaton (ie. it moves mechanically). This life size model is still in working order and is operated at the Museum on a daily basis.
Another brilliant thing about hosting a wedding here is the fact that the wedding meal is hosted in one of the huge galleries!
Pretty incredible hey?
They had a pianist playing all kinds of loveliness, including some pieces by my favourite classical composer, Ludovico Einaudi.
Love this reaction!
The meal was wrapped up with the official cutting of the cheese cake, and enjoyed with port before heading downstairs for the evening reception
This grand staircase was an opportunity too good to miss for a backlit cuddle.
The first dance was danced, and Blue Phunk supplied the evenings musical entertainment…
…and a stunning day was wrapped up with a cracking display of fireworks!
What a lovely day all round!
Here’s wishing Chloe & Ivan a stunning honeymoon break on the Amalfi Coast in Italy and the happiest of lives together!
All the very best to you and your lovely guests,
Barnaby & Hamish