I do all sorts of weddings, ranging from couples who want long couples sessions to those who want none. I pride myself on my mostly documentary approach so it’s lovely when I get approached by couples like Emma and Mark who want pure documentary coverage. When I heard their plans for a laid back day, with minimal groups (I think we did 3), minimal couples stuff, no speeches, no cake cut and no first dance, I knew I was really going to be able to get stuck into the documentary side of things and just see how the day panned out. It panned out perfectly!


I joined Emma, Mark and their super-cute daughter for prep at a new venue to me – The Vines of Rochester. Run by the same amazing team who are behind Cooling Castle, The Vines offers something a bit different – a Tipi for the ceremony and an all-round amazing location right in the oldest part of Rochester.

As both Mark and Emma were getting ready at the venue, I was able to cover bride and groom prep and just really document events as they unfolded and the relaxed nature of everything left me loads of time to photograph the details as well. Emma was joined by her daughter but also mum, bridesmaids and nieces so there was loads going on during bridal prep!

Soon it was time for Emma to get into her stunning dress (so different to the usual dresses I see) and then just chill out with mum until it was time to go downstairs.

the vines of rochester


Once everyone was ready, it was time for another lovely touch that we don’t do that regularly in the UK – a first look! Emma made her way down to meet Mark and then they had their chat with the registrar while I made my way over to the amazing Tipi in the gardens of The Vines to get ready for the ceremony and the entrance of the bride AND groom together – another great moment.

After the ceremony the happy couple made their exit and shared a moment while the guests got organised outside The Vines for the confetti run!!


Emma, Mark and their family and friends now enjoyed the amazing sunny weather and some amazing food from the team at The Vines – once again the guys just wanted a laid back vibe so there was no formal sit down meal, just absolutely loads of courses and dishes coming out constantly – it just kept coming!

I spent my time just documenting what was going on after we did a couple of quick groups and a quick couples session. Much later on I took Emma and Mark out for a very quick wander around the picturesque old cobbled streets that surround the Vines in the historic part of Rochester – we were going to go down and do some shots outside the castle but unfortunately a huge UB40 gig put paid to those plans, so we stuck to the quieter side streets 🙂


Once the amazing puddings had been served we were into the evening section of the wedding. As I mentioned at the start, no speeches or cake cut or official first dance so it was just a case of everyone piling onto the dancefloor and getting the evening started!

the vines of rochester at night

All photos copyright David Burke Photography 2023