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Taplow Court – Ellen & Steph’s civil partnership (part two)

buddhist wedding

So, part two…last Saturday….Ellen & Steph…a Kiwi and an Aussie who met in London….a buddhist wedding ceremony….a train….a Red Routemaster bus…. and the Charleston at 6 St Chad’s Place!

Every coverage has a beginning, on Saturday it was at The Great Northern Hotel. A boutique hotel attached to King’s Cross railway station, this was where Ellen & Steph were getting ready. The plan wasn’t to cover the getting ready but to jump into a black cab with them and head across London to take some portraits. That was once we’d done some shots with “Steph’s chair” in the stairwell of the hotel first, of course. So dodging the odd shower, trying to ignore the bitter wind and with their friend, Eiko, as a bag laden sherpa, we headed over to near the Tower of London. Just over the river from the hospital where Steph works. It’s not easy posing for pictures surrounded by hordes of tourists though…

It was then another cab ride across London to Paddington station – the cab having to make a couple of detours given the London traffic congestion. From there, the plan was to take a train to Maidenhead and as it turned out, with two carriages of their friends. Getting onboard the girls were snapped up by Vanessa (in charge of the drinks and snacks trolley on the train to Great Malvern) who was thrilled to have them on her train. So thrilled, she went to tell both the driver and the rest of the train. It was celebrity status time for E&S, as they tried to eat their lunch, with ‘photocalls’ and young children being brought up the train to meet the brides. I think there were some bemused travellers on the train that day.

Another cab and we got to Taplow Court, where they were to have a Buddhist wedding ceremony. A 19th century mansion overlooking the Thames at Maidenhead, it is home to SGI-UK, a lay Buddhist society. But the spot has history. In the Iron Age a massive hillfort covered the site and the famous 7th century Anglo-Saxon burial mound can still be seen in the garden. The ceremony itself would take place in the purpose built centre next to the old house. So after a rehearsal, it was time for the ceremony and it appears a fair bit of sake, in the ceremony of the cups. 🙂

It was then a double-decker bus ride, with goody bags, back down the M4 motorway and back to the Kings Cross area of London. The reception venue was a small warehouse in a back lane, 6 St Chad’s Place, a stone’s throw from the railway station. Drinks, food, speeches, all led to the dancing. Ellen & Steph got this going with The Charleston before everyone (all those willing) formed a big circle to learn the steps!

I’ve covered hundreds of weddings and I have to say this was one of the best to witness. (I had guessed it would be)  They did it their way, with charm, elegance and smiles all round. Hopefully the images reflect this.

Here are a few images from the day…

View of St Pancras station from a suite at the Great Northern hotel

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Bag laden Eiko

The two brides walk down the hotel stairs

Steph's chair in the hotel stairwell

Ellen and Steph in the taxi

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Ellen & Steph in front of the Shard

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Ellen and Steph walking down the platform at Paddington station

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Train staff pose for photos with the brides

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Brother walks the bride up the aisle at Taplow Court

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detail during a buddhist wedding ceremony

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ceremony of the cups

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Ellen & Steph walk back down the aisle after the ceremony

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Portrait of the two brides

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Flower details at St Chad's Place

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Laughing wedding guests during the recption

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Bride laughing at her partner's speech

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Looking through the window at the wedding speeches

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Bride gets emotional as she hears her father's speech being read out by her sister

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Bride hugs her sister after the speech

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The brides dance the charleston for their first dance

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First dance as the charleston

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Getting friendly as the guest learn the dance steps

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Learning the dance steps at St Chad's place

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Comments

‘Awww, I love them! You had such an action packed day. They are amazing pictures, everyone looks so happy and they make London look how it should always look 🙂 Even the train looks nice! I love the one on the bus and the lady drinking her drink 🙂 Oh, and the speech pics…’

‘Wow! It looks fab – you can tell you all really enjoyed it. You both look so happy 🙂 Luved the emotional picts of you as well at the speeches! So happy you got to finally enjoy your big day!! Congrats again! ’

‘Your photos had me in tears – so emotional and so much fun. You and Steph looked fabulous and so proud and what a great way to catalogue a day. I loved a couple of the photos on the bus – your faces! Congratulations again!’

Thank you so so much for the wonderful moments that you have captured for us. They are beautiful. Steph surprised me with the disks when I arrived home on Saturday and we spent a delightful few ‘hours’ looking through them over and over.

Family, friends and colleagues have their own favourites from your blog posts. All felt the joy of the proceedings through the images regardless of whether they attended. We thought you would like to hear some of their responses so will post these separately.

Love this post Martin. So much expression and emotion, I got swept along by the images and the narrative. It looks like an intensely fun and love filled day and you’ve captured it brilliantly. I bet the girls are over the moon.

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