Being a Sydney wedding photographer, you tend to see and hear almost every type of reception, ceremony and idea for a wedding. But every once in a while, you meet a new client and get a run down of their wedding and think “Wow! That sounds so different, it’s amazing!”
Kate and Mark’s Newcastle wedding was one of those.
Although Kate and Mark both live in Sydney, they decided to get married in Newcastle. Not only because it’s a great spot with beautiful beaches and scenery but also because of the reception venue….more on that a little bit later!
The drive to Newcastle is about 2 hours from Sydney. So after I arrived in Newcastle (and my GPS telling me the “scenic route” way to go!) I was ready to get the day started and actually get out of the car. So it was straight up to Mark’s hotel room for some quick shots with his groomsmen and parents.
We were lucky in that both Mark and Kate were staying in the same hotel (albeit on opposite sides) so after a quick walk it was time to catch up with Kate and get her bridal preparation underway. Kate was positively glowing when I arrived! She looked stunning and was in such a calm state, you’d think she was just getting ready for a night out…not about to walk down the aisle!
Kate had chosen a beautiful bouquet of native Australian flowers to match her flowing lace bridal gown. The whole day had a very minimalist feel and style to it, and that was followed through with only a set of earrings & bracelet.
After spending some time with the bridal party and getting some portraits of the glowing bride, it was time to meet the VW Combie Van which they’d hired from Hunter Valley Vee Dubs and make our way to the ceremony.
The ceremony was being held at Shepherd’s Hill Fort, which is a stunning cliff top area overlooking the beach and ocean. With a crystal clear sky and green grass along with old sandstone buildings all around, the location was one of the best I’ve been to! There’s something special about being married on top of a cliff! :)
After a quick, informal ceremony it was time to move onto our photo locations. Although we had a few locations in mind…some became inaccessible due to road closures on the day. So we moved straight onto a favourite in the Newcastle area – Nobbys Beach & Lighthouse.
Nobbys Beach is perfect for really great candid, natural wedding photographs. There are plenty of sand dunes for people to walk & spread out, the beach is only a short walk from the car park, and the famous lighthouse sets an amazing backdrop for wedding photos. Having Kate and Mark both relax on the sand dunes and just be themselves was so good to see and allowed me to capture some beautiful natural photos of the newlyweds.
As the light started to fade, we made our way back to the centre of Newcastle to the reception venue – a church.
Like I mentioned earlier, the reception venue for this wedding was always going to be a standout. See, Mark and his father actually own this church in Newcastle. And they’ve spent the last 12 months refurbishing it from the ground up. Polishing the timber roof & floors, reconstructing the church bell tower, replacing the stained glass windows and installing lights. It was all done in preparation for their wedding, and the venue looked AMAZING!!
Kate also did her part with the design and décor of the church. Everything was DIY, but looked perfectly styled. From the hay bales being used as seats, the timber crates and tables used to hold the Candy Bar & signing board and carrying the native Australian flower theme all the way through.
This really was a very special wedding reception venue. One of the best that I’ve been lucky enough to work in.
On top of the amazing venue (which Mark hopes to open as a full reception/venue hire business soon!) they also had 2 giant Paella’s being cooked right there in the church, courtesy of the guys at Paella Casa.
After some speeches were done, the live band kicked into action and the Paella’s were ready to be served. The food was delicious, the drinks were flowing and people were celebrating.
And then it was time for me to leave. Time to leave a little oasis in the middle of Newcastle which had transformed a 100+ year old church into a wedding reception full of wonderful food, music and most of all people.
When I first had the chance to meet Kate & Mark I knew their wedding would be something special. Everything was a little bit different but at the same time, everything came together perfectly and made a wedding I’ll remember for a long time!
If you’re in the market for a Sydney wedding photographer and you like some of the photos below, please feel free to get in touch. I travel regularly both around NSW and interstate for wedding & portrait photography.