It was a New Year’s Day when Yukiko and Alex married at Highclere Castle – a day that was every bit as magical as any depicted on the award-winning ITV series Downton Abbey.
When you’re asked to do Highclere Castle wedding photography, there’s no hesitation. And when you work with a delightful couple, such as Yukiko and Alex, then you’re set for a brilliant occasion.
Yukiko, who prepared for the day at the nearby The Vineyard hotel and in an elegant bedroom at Highclere, was in the capable hands of her maid of honour Auriol, as well as bridesmaids Junko and Lara.
The bride looked simply stunning in a dress by Pronovias – complemented with simple pearl jewellery. Hair was done by Yumiko Jones and make-up artist was Akiko Tanahashi – effortless glamour.
Flowers arrangements were provided by Georgia Miller.
As the wedding was late in the day, I met up with Alex and Yukiko at Highclere just before the ceremony, so we could catch the best light for those important couple shots.
Alex waited in the Great Hall and watched as Yukiko gracefully made her way down the magnificent staircase. It was a truly romantic moment that I won’t forget in a hurry and it allowed me to take some great images. We then headed to the church for the ceremony.
Alex led a large groom’s party, with two best men David (Alex’s twin brother) and Oliver and ushers Tom, Saleem, Nakul, Nick, Richard, Miles, Hopkins, Hisatake, Richard and Eric. That’s a lot of ushers! But with 180 guests, many of whom had travelled from all over the world, they were all kept on their toes!
The ceremony was held in the Church of Ascension in the nearby village of Burghclere, this pretty little church sits on a hill on the north of the parish and its ornate interiors and spectacular Christmas tree gave it a cosy feel making it a perfect choice for a winter wedding.
After the ceremony, everybody headed to Highclere for the reception. One of the highlights of doing Highclere Castle wedding photography is the iconic scenery, and the image of Yukiko and Alex, stepping out of their 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom Tourer at the entrance of Highclere was amazing.
Quite a journey for the couple who met on a park bench in Tokyo. (Alex, commented in English on the weather and things went on from there – a conversation about English weather is so apt for Downton Abbey, isn’t it?)
On arrival, everybody enjoyed a champagne reception. I didn’t take any formal shots at the reception as Yukiko and Alex really wanted an informal and relaxed atmosphere. This gave me the opportunity to set up studio lighting in the Great Hall for some OK Magazine-style shots in front of the fireplace.
After the drinks, reception guests sat down to a splendid wedding breakfast in Highclere’s Great Hall prepared in Highclere’s kitchens (Mrs Patmore and young Daisy?) and drinks were supplied by world-famous wine merchants the Berry Brothers.
After the meal, speeches were proudly and bravely undertaken by father of the bride Nobuaki and Alex’s best man / brother David.
I always enjoy quirky little touches that people bring to their weddings. And at this wedding it was the first dance as it was a medley of three songs – The Mamas & The Papas: ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me’, Nat King Cole’s ‘L-O-V-E’ and finishing with The Beatles ‘Twist And Shout’ which delighted everyone.
In the evening, I followed Yukiko and Alex outside for some great evening shots outside the venue. We were soon joined by all the guests for a spectacular firework display which seemed a fitting way to close a perfect day.
A magnificent wedding for this lovely couple. Congratulations to Yukiko and Alex on getting married and creating such a memorable day to remember. I hope my images will help you relive it again and again for many years to come.
You can read what Yukiko and Alex thought to Ryan Browne Photography here.
Highclere Wedding Suppliers
Wedding Planner: Henry Bonas
Hair: Yumiko Jones, Bristol
Make Up: Akiko Tanahashi
Flowers: Georgia Miller
Preparation Venue: The Vineyard
Ceremony: Church of the Ascension, Burghclere
Reception Venue: Highclere Castle
Drinks: Berry Bros & Rudd