There’s always a certain element of pressure involved in shooting a relative’s wedding, having to balance being a guest with the responsibility of photographing all the key moments of the day. So when my sister Carmel asked me to photograph her wedding, I was very honoured, extremely excited, and slightly nervous.

It wasn’t that Carmel was placing a weight of expectation on my shoulders – in fact it was quite the opposite as she was one of the most relaxed brides I’ve ever seen (due in no small part to the fact that her working background is in hospitality and she has been organising big events for several years). It was simply that I wanted to do as good a job as possible of capturing her and her partner Clive on their big day.

Having worked for several years as a wedding manager for a five-star hotel in London, Carmel has seen it all when it comes to weddings. As a result, she wanted to ensure that her own wedding was different to any that she had been a part of before. And she absolutely succeeded – I mean, how many weddings do you know that have had ‘bridesgays’ alongside the bridesmaids, and a plasticine-modelling competition during the reception meal?!

The location of the wedding was Alton Castle – a breath-taking 12th century venue set in the hills of the Churnet Valley in Staffordshire. And, being a typical brother, it’s not very often that I’ll admit to one of my sisters looking beautiful, but on this day there was no denying it – Carmel looked stunning.

Every last detail had been carefully and clevery planned. High tea was served alongside the drinks reception, while a fantastic duo performed mashups of new and old songs with a jazz twist. There was also a bouncy castle, giant jenga, space hoppers, badminton and sack races on the green. Even little touches like providing flipflops for any guests who may have found that their heels were sinking into the grass – Carmel had thought of it all.

And then there was the food. Not only was it the greatest meal I’ve ever had at a wedding, but it was some of the best food I’ve ever tasted, period. After some cracking speeches, the evening entertainment kicked off and included a silent disco, while the fish ‘n’ chip van ensured that no guests went to bed hungry. And groom Clive provided one of the lasting images of the day when he went to his room to change, emerging in a suit of armour (albeit slightly back to front and missing a few pieces)!

All in all, it was an incredible day and one that won’t be topped in a hurry. As soon as I shot the image featured at the top of this blog entry, I realised that I had no reason to feel nervous about my responsibility on the day. I simply felt hugely privileged to be able to share – and capture – such a special moment between them.

Here is a selection of shots from the day. If you were a guest at the wedding, you can access the full set of images from the galleries page.

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