Castle Bromwich Hall is a stunning Jacobean mansion hidden away at the edge of Solihull in Birmingham. Jacobean doesn’t mean that cream crackers are made there; it means that it was built in the 1500s and upgraded during the reign of King James I. As you turn in through the iron gates and head up the gravel drive there’s a real historical wow factor as the hall confronts you head-on.
Katie and Michael brought their fun, relaxed vibe, and two wonderful sets of families and friends to this lovely setting to witness and celebrate their wedding day. The Dignums got to the Hall nice and early, and I dropped off Phil to photograph a fun bridal prep. Phil’s words: “Katie was really calm, her mum Marie was joking around, but the bridesmaids were flapping a bit!” There you go.
I had jumped back into the Dignumobile to take some pictures of Michael with his family and mates at home, nearby. They clearly love their cars, and the usual pictures of cufflinks and buttonholes were substituted for shots of the sleek Nissan Skyline that was Michael’s ride to the venue. I enjoyed watching Michael’s dad, Phil, doing some deft ribbon work of crafting a bow to adorn the front of the vehicle. When I said that he’d clearly done this a few times before he proclaimed: “I haven’t. I’m winging it!”
With the Skyline suitably decorated, we all drove off, cars roaring, to the Hall. There was plenty of time for Michael to mingle with family and friends, while Katie’s finishing touches were happening upstairs. There was a toastmaster, Stephen, on hand to help assemble the guests in the genteel and impressive Long Gallery. Stephen did a great job of announcing the parents as they entered the room, and starting the ceremony off.
Katie and Michael’s marriage itself was led by two Solihull Metropolitan Borough registrars, Pat and Joanna. I actually know both of them as I used to work at Solihull as a registrar myself! I’m really grateful to Pat and Joanna for letting me be in place to get some really great shots of all those special moments, and it was lovely to catch up with my former colleagues.
Pat led a wonderful, warm and smiley ceremony, and after Katie and Michael were declared to be husband and wife, the bride and groom walked back down that long aisle together, followed by family and friends, for celebrations to start. During the ceremony itself, we could hear the English summer rain hammering down outside, but the timing was perfect: the sun came out as we made our way outside for prosecco and photos. To get a group shot of everybody I scampered upstairs to lean out of the window above the Hall’s grand front porch (built by Sir John Bridgeman in 1672; gotta love poking around on Wikipedia!)
Castle Bromwich Hall’s light and airy banqueting suite was the setting for a great meal, some hilarious and punchy speeches, and plenty of fun and frolics. The rain held off for the rest of the day, which gave me and Phil the opportunity to get some great portrait shots in the grounds, including a stunning sunset. We also made use of the Hall’s Tapestry (1810, woven in Brussels) Room and some of our cool flash gear to spirit Katie and Michael away for a short time to get really dramatically lit photos.
Then it was dance floor time! I quickly made a good friend of a toddler who was absolutely smashing it with his musical moves! I love going hand-held with my camera and flash unit and shooting right from the middle of all the action.
Katie and Michael, and their families and friends were absolute legends, and it was so much fun being part of their amazing wedding day. It all went so quickly! Here’s a pick of some of their preview shots!
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