My childhood experience of Rye was always just as a stopping point on the way to Camber Sands. I don't think I ever saw any more of the town than the train station and one bus stop, so it came as a very pleasant surprise when I met up with Becki and Al before their wedding to have a look at the venues (The George in Rye, and Rye Town Hall), and have a wander around the streets. Even though it was pouring with rain when I arrived, it was clear to me that this small town had a lot to offer, and after a walk around the wedding venues my mind was teaming with ideas for shots and I couldn't wait to photograph their wedding in Rye.
On the wedding day, I arrived nice and early at the George to photograph the bridal preparation and capture a few scenic shots of the venue and surroundings. For wedding photography at The George in Rye, there are lots of characteristic features and furnishings, and when you add to that the details that Becki and Al had chosen, my camera shutter was kept very busy.
In the bridal suite, the very talented Mus Hassan of The Studio in Tunbridge Wells, was working on Becki's hair, and Harriet Rainbow was working on the bridesmaids' make-up. The chosen location for the ceremony was Rye Town Hall, which being only a 30 second walk from The George, meant that I could easily pop out, take a few photos of the groom, best-man, and groomsmen, and then return to The George for more photos of the bridal party getting ready.
I absolutely loved Becki and Al's ceremony venue. Rye Town Hall ticks so many boxes for me, and was one of my and my wife's favourites when we were looking for our wedding venue. If we hadn't have gotten married abroad, this could have well been our venue. It has so much character to it; a classic and quaint feel, but with the benches lining the walls, it gives a very intimate and relaxed feel to the ceremony. The registrars were also brilliant and I loved every part of the ceremony from start to finish.
Another massive plus for having your wedding at the town hall, is the option of the town crier announcing your wedding afterwards. I know this may not appeal to some, but trust me, with the locals and tourists looking on, your guests all around, and gorgeous streets as your surroundings, it has such a beautiful close feel to it. It's how you image weddings a hundred years may have been, with everyone in the town celebrating your love and all coming together to wish you and your new spouse luck in the future. Becki and Al were smiling ear-to-ear as they followed the town crier down the hill to The George and all of their guests cleared loved it as well.
Back at The George, everyone mingled, chatting over drinks and canapés. I chose a location for the group photos very nearby so there was little disruption or time taken, and then similarly took the bride and groom for a few portraits in the area immediately outside The George and then in their wedding breakfast room (which looked absolutely stunning). Becki is a self-confessed cake lover which was easy to tell by the fact there were 5 wedding cakes (provided by Vintage Rose Cupcakes) in the main wedding breakfast room, and then a further 3 in the reception room (kindly made by the bride's mum and a couple of best friends).
After the meal, I took the happy couple out for a few relaxed portraits in the iconic lanes of Rye including Mermaid Street. I love photographing portraits at this time of day, and couples always remark how much they love the quiet time as well.
Becki and Al had booked the awesome Funkin Function band for their reception who kicked the night off in tremendous style with a reworked version of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' with saxophones, for the first dance. I've had the pleasure of hearing this band at a couple of weddings now and they are consistently excellent. The dance floor is always full and the atmosphere is properly rocking.
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