I had the absolute pleasure of photographing Vicki and Martyn’s wedding recently at the Lost Village of Dode. This place is tucked away in the Kent countryside and you would have no idea it was there unless you were looking for it! The weather wasn’t kind to us for pretty much most of the day, apart from an impromptu pub visit in the afternoon to allow the people at Dode to turn the room around for an inside hog roast, you wouldn’t have noticed. If anything, the slightly moody weather enhanced the whole candle lit experience.
I should mention the two dogs you’ll see, Mavis and Stan. These are Vicki and Martyn’s ‘fur’ babies as we animal folk like to call them. And yes, that is Vicki walking them out in the rain once she’d had her hair and make-up done! Also shown, on the invite, is Vicki’s beloved horse Ted. I should add that the amazing invite was drawn by Martyn himself, he’s a very talented artist… seek him out if you’re looking for a ‘fur’ baby portrait ;)
The building at Dode was built over 900 years ago and is quite small, only allowing a maximum of 45 people inside and is heavily lit with candles. Once your civil ceremony has finished, the owner Doug will conduct a traditional hand fasting ceremony for you if you wish (sometimes referred to as a pagan wedding). Due to the weather, this was done inside rather than at the mini Stonehenge that sits in the grounds. The ceremony is of no legal significance, and is a binding of couples ‘hearts and souls’. If you want to go ahead with the hand fasting, you are encouraged to write your own vows and promises for it. The service entails the couples hands being bound together and is finished with the couple ‘jumping the broom stick’, which starts their new onward journey together.
The good people at Dode also will let you plant a tree in memory of others, you can see Vicki and Martyn’s tree waiting outside the cottage where she got ready, I also featured foliage from it in their portraits outside the cottage. There’s a fab chap called Matt who works at Dode, he very kindly planted it for us when we were leaving. I’m just mentioning the tree in case you wonder why a seemingly random unplanted tree features :)
After a quick trip to the pub down the road (which the staff organise for you if the weather is a problem), it was back to Dode for the hog roast indoors. As the venue only allows a small number of guests, Vicki and Martyn arranged a large reception at a nearby golf club that evening for the rest of their family and friends.
A fabulous, funny and emotional day (it should have been sponsored by Kleenex), many congratulations to Vicki and Martyn and many thanks for having me along for the journey… big hugs to the fur babies x