Back in the summer I photographed the gorgeous, elegant wedding of Melanie & Gareth. This wedding had a fantastic feeling of two families merging into one – I hope you enjoy!

Melanie & Gareth were married at St Paul’s Church Rusthall, followed by a reception at one of Tunbridge Wells’ leading wedding venues, The Spa Hotel (if you’re getting married at either, or both – I know it’s a popular combination – and want to enquire about your wedding photography coverage then do please contact me to discuss).

Bridal Prep

As a wedding photographer we’re used to early starts and quite a bit of travel before and after the wedding, so it was a rare luxury to join Melanie, her two children and sister approximately a 2 minute drive from my house!

As usual I started the day photographing the details, capturing Melanie doing her own makeup, hair being styled and the various comings and goings (including the friendly neighbourhood cat popping in and out).

Melanie and her family have a strong connection to France, so it was lovely to see the amazing Citroen car that had been driven all the way from France to take her to the church in style!

Once Melanie was in her dress it was time for me to head over to the church to capture the build up to the ceremony and then await the bride’s arrival.


Neil McLennan was second shooting with me for the day – always great to have him along – Neil had spent the morning with the boys, then walked with them the short distance from The Spa Hotel to the Church. Once I’d left Melanie I joined Gareth and the boys for some quick groom pictures, before documenting guest arrivals then waiting for the bride to arrive.

After photographing the bride’s arrival, I made my way into St Paul’s for the beautiful service. We were a little delayed when we went into the Sacristy to sign the registers, after the vicar find them totally blank instead of pre-filled with various details – after a few nervous moments (yes, you are both legally married now, don’t worry!) and quite a while of form filling, the legalities were complete!

Once outside, Melanie and Gareth enjoyed some time with their new family and received the congratulations of everyone, before a large confetti shower outside the gates. A few quick photos with the car, and then it was time to make the short journey to The Spa Hotel for the reception outside on the back lawn in the gorgeous sunshine.


While the guests made their way over from the church by foot, we took Melanie and Gareth down to the bridge for some couples portraits and then slowly made our way back up towards the reception, finding spots as we went, albeit interrupted by a 4 x 4 whose driver had taken a slight wrong turn in the car park and was now headed down a footpath! With no way of turning round, the last few portraits were accompanied by a few car/tree scraping sounds (and much swearing) as the poor chap tried to reverse all the way back up….

Wedding Breakfast & Speeches 

After the drinks reception, Melanie & Gareth made their way into the wedding breakfast, and first up were the speeches – bride, groom, bride’s sister and bestman. There were plenty of tears as some really heart-felt words were said, not least about Melanie & Gareth’s fantastic children.

After grace, everyone settled down to the amazing food and signature wines all the way from France, personally labelled for the big day!

Evening Reception

After the meal, it was straight into the cake cut. While the guests enjoyed the evening sunshine outside while the room was turned round, Melanie and Gareth disappeared to their room to change into evening-wear – a secret from the guests and in preparation for their awesome first dance.

As the sun set, Melanie and Gareth started their first dance – Melanie is a trained dancer (Gareth did well too!) so the guests enjoyed a beautifully choreographed first dance, complete with twirly skirt (Melanie, not Gareth) and accompanied by a great Jazz band.

While the first dance was happening (slightly later than originally planned), out of the corner of my eye I was watching THE most stunning sunset ever! Obviously I couldn’t interrupt, but once Melanie had danced with her father, I raced outside while Neil continued photographing the dancing to set up my flash.

We just caught the tail end of the sunset, for a great shot to finish off the wedding!

Congratulations once again to Melanie & Gareth!

All images copyright David Burke Photography 2018