Sam & James married at the very funky Aviator Hotel in Farnborough in 2020, later in the year when we were all still under strict Coronavirus conditions but smaller weddings of up to 15 guests were allowed. Having already had to reschedule once they were determined to proceed and were able to gather their guests for a really wonderful occasion, and once which I must say was a real treat to photograph. I’m a huge fan of this strikingly modern and artistic hotel, and it always challenges you to bring your creative A-game to really make the most of it.
News of a government announcement had been building over the previous couple of days. Pretty much around the time that our couple were walking back down the aisle as husband and wife, the second UK lockdown was announced. That’s some quality timing and keeping the faith, guys!
Everyone was on site well before the wedding; Sam and the bridesmaids upstairs in one of the suites with views out over the airfield – from which the occasional private jet would scream off in a bid to beat any soon-to-be-announced travel restrictions – while James and the boys took care of business downstairs. I must say at this point, just as you would hope and expect, that all the way through the preparations and indeed through the rest of the day both the hotel and al the other suppliers; hair and makeup, flowers, food service… were exemplary in the covid-compliant professionalism. Of course there was mask-wearing (check out those awesome, specially commissioned face masks sported by James and the groomsmen!) and everyone was sat a little further apart than usual, but really all of this had absolutely zero impact on the beauty and joy of the day. I’ve mentioned it in other posts but it’s worth saying again just how much being present at a wedding like this, in times like these, reminds us all what it’s really about. Here we had two people in love, making their vows to each other as the people most important to them in the world watched on.
Immediately after the ceremony we were back in the lobby of the events area of the hotel for drinks and canapes. At this point masks could come off as food was being served – one of the conditions for hospitality at that time – so a nice opportunity for candid photos of guests. A neat little touch, and one that I’ve seen a few times at Covid-compliant weddings; canapes served to each guest individually rather than the more traditional platters for sharing.
We also had plenty of time for couple and group photos; largely outdoors so that again we could capture some images without masks, but the bride and groom did also have permission to remove masks for a few photos inside the hotel, which was great news as it’s such a unique and stunning space architecturally and it really is one of the big draws to having a wedding at the Aviator.
For the next part of the day, heading towards the wedding breakfast, we shifted upstairs to the Sky Bar where some pretty potent-looking cocktails were served. And then into the bar itself for speeches and the meal; the table looking amazing set out in a socially-distanced banqueting arrangement. Cheers, tears and laughter to wrap up a really beautiful and very very special wedding.
Who knows what sort of restrictions we might experience in 2021 once the latest lockdown is eased and the wedding wheels keep turning again, but hopefully Sam & James’ experience shows that a few concessions here and there really don’t take anything away from the magic of the day. I’m so happy for them both that they were able to see their (revised) plans through and enjoy the day they so thoroughly deserved. Congratulations to the very happy couple, and here’s to many years of joy ahead.
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Making it possible…
Venue: The Aviator
Hair & Makeup: Jenna Peddie
Dress: Something Old Something New
Flowers: Olivia Brooke Floral Design
I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos from Sam & James’ gorgeous wedding. Friends and family can view the rest of the photos and an extended slideshow in their private viewing gallery, but you’ll need to ask them for the password first.
If you are currently planning your Aviator Hotel wedding and would like to know more about my wedding photography services, packages and prices, please do get in touch to check availability and ask me any questions you might have. I’m only too happy to help however I can.
Thanks as ever for reading, and come back again soon for many more photos from many more beautiful weddings!