We love the beach! This was our third visit to The Roker Hotel in Sunderland which is right across the road from the beach front. It was going to be the latest wedding service we had ever been to at St. Chad’s Church in Sunderland. The September evenings were starting to cut in quickly and it was going to be a race against time to squeeze everything that Louise & Harland wanted to achieve on their wedding day.
Louise & Harland approached us after their original photographer let them down. We hear about this practice a lot. Unscrupulous photographers will book a wedding until a larger wedding, that’s worth more money, comes along. They then gazump the original wedding! We were only too happy to step in and help. Living in Sunderland, it was going to be difficult for them to visit the studio. Lisa arranged to meet with Louise to save the day and get familiar with her vision of their wedding day.
Bridal Prep in Sunny Sunderland
Our afternoon began with Lisa arriving at Louise & Harland’s home in Sunderland. Louise was running late at her Hairstylists so when she arrived back home it was all hands to the pumps getting everyone ready. After enjoying the flowers Harland had sent as a surprise, Louise jumped into the makeup chair. The house was busy with a lot of her family.
Louise had decided not to have any adults accompany her, having 4 gorgeous young ladies instead. Lisa chipped in and helped do the children’s hair to get the day back on track. Their floral headdresses looked stunning. The 4 flower girls were armed with baskets of petals and they definitely weren’t afraid to use them.
As her flower girls left for the church, Louise looked beautiful in her lace topped wedding dress. She was absolutely glowing. Her dad was extremely proud.
The Groomsmen in South Shields dreaming of the Roker Hotel
Harland and his boys used his mum’s home as their starting point. Together with his best man, they had their suits and shoes all lined up and very organised. Harland’s 2 young sons were to be his pageboys. Both were looking forward to dressing up as long as they could take their action figures with them.
The lads had been supplied with personalised socks and cufflinks. Even the ring box was marked to remember the day. As Harland’s mum and sister got ready upstairs the boys used the downstairs as their own dressing room. I loved their tweed suits. Once ready, I shot off to St Chad’s Church in Sunderland ready for them arriving.
St. Chad’s Church in Sunderland
Church weddings are becoming a rare beast. The majority of weddings we attend now focus on one venue. It makes a church wedding extra special. On arrival, my first task is always to find the Vicar or Priest conducting the ceremony. They all have their own rules on how we can operate in the church. While discussing the do’s & don’ts he gave me a new little wedding fact. As I’ve already mentioned, the wedding service was going to be at 5:30 pm. He commented, that this was the latest a church wedding could be held. The tradition stems from olden times. Saving the bride or groom from seeing there betrothed for the first time, in poor light. I giggled to myself picturing a couple waking up to an unexpected sight the next morning.
We were also introduced to Louise & Harland’s Videographers. We always dread working on weddings with Videographers because it can become 2 dogs fighting over a bone. The lads from Starkfilm Weddings have a very stand-off style though. It helped us avoid getting in each other’s way. We’d certainly work with them again.
Ready for the Wedding Service
St. Chads Church in Sunderland is a spacious and bright area. The fabulous wedding guitarist Jessica Avison played live music instead of the traditional organ fan fair. We were allowed free reign around the church but that doesn’t mean do cartwheels down the aisles. If your moving then the attention will be on you, not the bride & groom. So you keep your movement to a minimum and if you do need to move, we do it when there’s a pause or hymn to be sung.
Nearly time to Party at The Roker Hotel
After a lovely ceremony, we used the alter for some group shots and then moved outside for a group shot of all the guests. Sadly, for such a beautiful church on the inside, the grounds outside are far more mundane. Because of this, we didn’t want to do a lot outside of the church.
After doing so well up to the service, Harland & Louise’s youngest son was starting to flag. So we made the decision to get some family photos of the 4 of them while we could. Within 30 mins he was fast asleep.
Sunderland Beach Front
Lisa organised for Louise & Harland’s Chauffeur to meet us at the seafront opposite The Roker Hotel in Sunderland. The beach was quiet and the sea was calm. We were just a little early for a proper sunset and the clouds now blanketed our previously, clear sky. Less “little fluffy clouds” and more “dramatic skies” which we used to effect in a handful of shots.
Without any of the responsibility of organisation, family & kids, Louise & Harland relaxed and really enjoyed the time to themselves on the beach. We got to see the “couple” for the first time.
The Roker Hotel in Sunderland
The front of the Roker Hotel has a collection of restaurants & a bar with a large function room and bar area at the back. It has a big dance floor with plenty of space to party.
Louise & Harland had face painting, photo booth and slush machine organised for the kids. Their cake was guarded by a driftwood arch and topped with “Shit Just Got Real”. Some great speeches were followed by a buffet which allowed us to get loads of informal family & friend groups. We stayed til about 10 pm and had such a great time.
We’d like to thank Louise & Harland for letting us be a part of their Wedding Day. We hope they both have a wonderful life together.