Michael Cartwright Photography
Sophie and Joe - A Summer wedding at Acklam Hall
Posted on 23rd July, 2019
Oh June! Days and days of rain marked the beginning of British summertime. Non stop downpours from the first days of the month, threatening to whisk us all back to the cold damp days of November. Where on earth is the sun? Surely this can’t be our Summer?
And then it happened……On the morning of June 15th 2019, the sun made an appearance! Yes, it wasn’t the hottest day on record, it wasn’t even a day of clear blue skies, but it was there, peeking from behind broken clouds. The sun had arrived, just in time for Sophie and Joe to celebrate their marriage.
I spent the morning at Acklam Hall, a stunningly decadent venue in the heart of Middlesbrough that formerly served as a school. It’s a classy location, a natural fit for a suitably classy couple, with ornate carvings adorning the impossibly high ceilings of every room.
There was a very relaxed atmosphere when I arrived, as Sophie was having the finishing touches of her make up applied. The make up artist had positioned Sophie in a beautiful window light, perfect for a handful of photographs without any interference from me. While Sophie finished dressing, I spent time shooting the fine details that Sophie had so clearly spent months planning. Everything about this wedding screamed class and elegance, from the Jo Malone perfume, matched with the made to order Jimmy Choo’s and the beautiful custom made tiara.
The ceremony took place at the Holy Name of Mary Church in leafy Linthorpe with the service being taken by not one but two members of the catholic clergy. There was an obviously strong connection between the Watson family and both priests. The first priest had travelled up from Whitby at Joes request, specifically to preside over their ceremony. He was watched on and assisted by the second priest who had actually attended the stag party! A ceremony with a truly personal connection paved way for a rapturous applause as the happy couple walked out of church under a shower of confetti.
The short drive back to Acklam Hall was made extra special as Sophie and Joe travelled in a vintage Beauford. After a glass of champagne, and with the weather looking like it could turn at any moment, we decided that this would be the optimal time to shoot relaxed portraits around the outside of the venue and at the avenue of trees just a stones throw away. Father of the Bride, Bryan joined me to shoot a few pics too.
The weather held off and we spent time shooting family and friends portraits before heading up to the dining room to shoot the interiors and fine details. The room styling was of the highest order, with stunning golden sashes and a beautiful array of flowers proving to be tasteful additions to an already impressive space.
Mr and Mrs Watson greeted their guests with a traditional receiving line before making their entrance to a huge cheer from their guests. As the Champagne was being poured, the dining room buzzed with anticipation of the highlight of many weddings….the speeches! Joe, Bryan and Eric certainly didn’t disappoint, with Best Man (Joe’s older brother) Eric bringing down the house with a witty and humorous speech that had everyone in the room doubled up with laughter…..and Joe ducking for cover!
As guests enjoyed a sumptuous 3 course meal (the food at Acklam Hall is amazing), the heavens opened and the British summertime that we all know and love was back with a bang! Perfect timing as far as we were concerned. By the time the evening reception began, the weather had cleared up and guests were able to enjoy the outdoor space at Acklam Hall.
The evening guests arrived to enjoy the party atmosphere, which was only increased as Sophie and Joe made their way to the dance floor. A romantic rendition of Thinking Out Loud had guests singing along and dancing arm in arm before the Fontaines seamlessly moved the party up a gear with the up-tempo Ed Sheeran tune, Castle on the Hill. The scene was set and the party had well and truly started.
I’d like to offer a huge congratulations to Sophie and Joe on a wonderful occasion that was a real pleasure to be a part of. It was lovely to shoot at Acklam Hall once again and I couldn’t of wished to of worked with a nicer group of people. Mr and Mrs Watson have a fantastic set of family and friends around them and it’s easy to see that they are absolutely sure to continue on their successful path together. They’re as perfect a couple as I’ve ever encountered in all my years shooting weddings.
Congratulations guys and thank you! xx