“Oh my goodness Alice, I bawled my eyes out when I watched this. How perfect these pictures are. It was so comforting to have you around, you felt like an old friend!”
Fusion wedding photography at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate
Last week I had an absolutely amazing new wedding experience capturing Jen and Sandeep’s fusion wedding as their Old Swan Hotel wedding photographer in Harrogate. The expression fusion wedding means brining two different cultures and/or religions together and combining them within one or more beautiful ceremonies. I often find fusion weddings especially moving because they show the beauty of love in every shape and form despite our backgrounds. Exactly how it should be.
In Jen and Sandeep’s case I had the pleasure of photographing their intimate Harrogate wedding three weeks earlier. They had a registry office ceremony, followed by afternoon tea at Jen’s mum’s house and a beautiful small church wedding ceremony at St. Mark’s Church in Harrogate. Since I had been invited to photograph all their wedding blessings I got to see them again three weeks later for the big Hindu fusion wedding. This ceremony was held at a beautiful, historic hotel in Harrogate. I really enjoyed my first time working as an Old Swan Hotel wedding photographer, an experience I want to share with you today.
Jen got ready with her sisters and family at Jen’s mum’s house just down the road from the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate. When I walked in the room with my camera in hand I couldn’t believe my eyes. Jen looked absolutely incredible in a traditional Indian wedding lengha. One of the things the bride looked forward to most on her wedding day was to “experience something completely new with my family”. I don’t think anyone was disappointed. Her family members, including Jen’s two lovely nephews and her niece, all wore traditional Indian wedding outfits and dresses which where a joy to photograph.
Although Jen had been up since six in the morning to get ready, I was still in time to photograph her putting on her wedding bangles, other jewellery and beautiful red Indian veil. A lot of safety pins, reshuffling of fabric, admiring looks and excited atmosphere later and we were picked up by an old white Bentley. We travelled in style to the wedding location, the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate where the groom, Sandeep had been getting ready with his best man Neel. My second photographer Rhi was able to photograph the grooms side of the preparations.
The wedding ceremony warm up
Once I arrived with the bride at the Old Swan Hotel, Jen was brought into a room where her best friend Hannah joined us and got to see her for the first time. I absolutely loved photographing her reaction as it was just so moving and said it all. Once I heard the drummers outside, I knew things where starting to get really exciting. I rushed downstairs, camera in hand to photograph the groom and all wedding guests having a big dance outside the Old Swan Hotel. The dancing was led by two drummers in colourful clothes which made a big impression on me. It was such good fun and made for some great photographs.
The drummers were certainly one of my highlights. The beat went straight to my heart. I always have to cry at brass music but I didn’t know drums had the same effect. When I photographed Jen’s mum leading Sandeep through the hotel to the ceremony room, led by the two drummers, I couldn’t stop a little tear of excitement. I knew that Jen was hearing the drums too whilst we walked past her room. Yes, sometimes I do cry at wedding. Always for the right reasons.
Photographing the Hindu wedding ceremony at the Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate
Once a couple more rituals where performed and all guests seated, Sandeep was shown his seat on the stage under the Indian wedding mandap. Jen was ready to make her entrance. My heart was beating whilst photographing her and her brother-in-law down the aisle and I couldn’t wait for Sandeep to see her for the first time.
Many rituals and details followed within this wonderfully meaningful and colourful Hindu wedding ceremony. The priest Arjun explained all rituals in English first so everyone could join in. It was an absolute joy to attend and photograph the wedding ceremony filled with colours, laughter, prayers and beautiful Hindu wedding traditions. Here is a selection of photographs of some of my favourite parts:
The wedding reception
After the ceremony, we took all group photos on the stage under the mandap. There were a lot of group photos but I had a brilliant team of wedding guest who helped round people up so we sped through them and no ones cheeks were hurting by the end of it. Afterwards, we sat down and enjoyed a really delicious Indian buffet. I took Jen and Sandeep outside for a little stroll in the gardens of the Old Swan Hotel whilst taking beautiful photos of them together in their Indian wedding outfits. Sandeep told me a few times that he wasn’t very romantic so we had a good laugh trying to set some scenes for the couple wedding portraits.
Everybody had a break before the evening reception started. Guests got changed, relaxed in the sunshine or played garden games outside the hotel. Jen and Sandeep had special evening outfits to change into and again they both looked absolutely stunning.
The evening wedding celebrations
Everyone came together again in the late afternoon for a champaign reception. I took the chance to get some more candid pictures of guests mingling and some more little group photos of wedding guests. The drinks were followed by a delicious three course Indian wedding breakfast and moving and funny speeches by Jen’s mum, Sandeep and his best man Neel.
After the cake cutting, we went straight into the first dance which was “Sit down” by James as Jen said that Sandeep would probably spontaneously combust if they had anything cheesy :).
I finally left the happy couple to party the night away with their friends and family after taking one last beautiful evening wedding picture outside the Old Swan Hotel.
I had such an exciting, unforgettable day. Thank you so much for having me as your Old Swan Hotel wedding photographer! I loved every minute of it.
Are you thinking of having your wedding at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate?A bit about the wedding venue:
Having your wedding at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate combines historic architecture with elegant contemporary style. It is a beautifully renovated four-star hotel in the heart of Harrogate. The hotel has a big reception and ceremony room and peaceful, pretty gardens which provide a beautiful backdrop for your wedding photos. There are 136 rooms and suites available which provide accommodation for plenty of guests who would like to stay. It is conveniently set in the heart of Harrogate and the grand architecture dates back to 1840. You enter the hotel through its revolving doors which Agatha Christie would have walked through when she hid in the hotel for 11 days in 1926! All in all, a beautiful and historic place to celebrate your Yorkshire wedding. I really hope I can be back soon to work again as an Old Swan Hotel wedding photographer.
If you are looking for a fun and relaxed Yorkshire wedding photographer have a look at my portfolio or get in touch.
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Wedding venue: https://www.classiclodges.co.uk/the-old-swan/
Hair stylist: https://www.mobilehairharrogate.co.uk