Claire & Alex – 28th October 2010 – Bae Abermaw Hotel, Barmouth (as featured in the new issue of Wedding Connections)

The story of Claire & Alex’s wedding began at the top of Mount Snowdon on a beautiful sunny day where along with their son, Rafe, Alex proposed to Claire in front of the truly amazing backdrop and naturally Claire said yes.

Fast forward almost 12 months and their big day was finally here. It was a blustery yet sunny October morning when I made my way down to the Bae Abermaw Hotel, a stunning but quaint boutique hotel in the hillside overlooking Mawddach Estuary and Cardigan Bay in Barmouth. Claire explains why they chose the venue “This particular area was very special to us, we had taken our first holiday together here, Rafe took his first steps here and Alex had proposed here (at the top of Snowdon) so it was perfect”.

As noon approached Claire, who works as an Occupational Therapist at the Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit in Wolverhampton, was helped into her dress by her mom, Sue and close friend and bridesmaid Angela Jackson. Claire was the perfect model and looked stunning in the simple and elegant pearl coloured, strapless satin dress by Alfred Angelo supplied by Charades Bridal Studio in Wolverhampton. She finished off the look with satin bridal shoes from the same place and a veil borrowed from a friend, Gerry, this added a real personal and special feel to the outfit. The icing on the cake was the bespoke pearl necklace Alex had custom made as a wedding gift from Nexus Pearls in Birmingham. It wasn’t long before the Ceremony room began to fill with around 40 of Claire and Alex’s closet friends and family and the civil ceremony was ready to begin.

Alex, a credit risk analyst for West Bromwich building society looked nervous but very smart in his navy suit bought from Marks & Spencer’s and topped off with ivory cravat and waistcoat hired from Peter Posh in Shrewsbury, as Claire made her way down the aisle with son Rafe, bridesmaid Angela and Claire’s Uncle, Keith Richards who gave Claire away to the song Moon River performed live on a classical guitar by Duncan Bache.

An emotional ceremony followed with the couple exchanging remarkable wedding bands engraved with their names and wedding date supplied by Platinum Jewellers in Birmingham. It wasn’t long before the happy couple were sipping Champagne surrounded by friends and family. After a short drinks reception we began to gather the family for the formal photographs which were shot in front of one of the original welsh stone fireplaces inside the hotel, mainly due to the rather windy conditions outside. However the weather conditions did not dissuade Claire and Alex to don their willies and make their way down the hill to the gorgeous beach at Barmouth to shoot the majority of their bride and groom portraits. They were superb, not worrying that it was a little bit chilly (being October) but threw themselves into everything I asked them to do with such enthusiasm and enjoyment. Claire says “Ben was fantastic at putting everyone at ease; he photographed everyone throughout the day in a very natural and non-intrusive way, blending in with the guests, many of whom commented on his easy going style”. She continues to say “we love our wedding photos as does everyone who has seen them! They capture all parts of our amazing day in print and bring back so many happy memories”

                “Ben only added to the fun and easy atmosphere of the day. He was even willing to get down and run around on the beach with us in our wellies!!” and honestly I loved every second.

I made my way back to the hotel feeling slightly windswept but knowing that the photographs were going to blow Claire and Alex away. Speeches from Keith, Alex and best man and Alex’s brother Richard White followed, as well as the cutting of the stunning wedding cake made by friend of the family Aileen Brabazon. The reception room looked amazing with the blue and white colour scheme running through the table decorations and fantastic flowers supplied by The Flower Shop at Birches Bridge, Codsall.

Claire, Alex, Rafe and their guests celebrated on long after I had left with live entertainment provided by band Hipster as hired via the Alive Network. After all the champagne had been drunk and the cake eaten, the happy couple made their way to a little romantic hideaway cottage in the mountains for a short break which included their first mountain climb as Mr and Mrs White.

This was defiantly one of my favourite weddings from last year and I honestly felt it embraced Claire and Alex’s personality so well. It was very relaxed and so much fun, I certainly didn’t think I would ever be shooting a wedding on Barmouth Beach in October, let alone that it would turn out so spectacular and so much of that is down to a couple that were so enthusiastic and trusting with everything I asked of them. Thanks a lot guys and congratulations.

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