Polhawn Fort wedding: Maria & Tim’s colourful celebration by the sea

Bride having a piggy back with the sea and sunset behind


Polhawn Fort in Cornwall is a venue where I always really enjoy photographing – I absolutely love the contrast between the bright blue sea and skies outside, and the beautiful dark interior of the old fort. It’s always a really interesting place to photograph a wedding, so I was delighted when Maria first got in touch. We chatted on Skype for a very long time, talked a lot about the wedding plans and photography, and dangled our respective dogs in front of the webcams at each other. So I had high hopes for the wedding day, and the sense that this was definitely a little different to other weddings. It turned out to be the most colourful and wonderfully uproarious wedding weekend, and an absolute blast to photograph.

Saturday’s wedding day was an explosion of a celebration, with so much fun and laughter all day long. I loved the beautiful bright silks of the bridesmaids’ dresses, with the reds, yellows and oranges all reflected in the gloriously bright and colourful bouquets and floral arrangements. Humour played a huge part in the day. With a firm nod to Tim’s commando past, action men adorned all the tables and drunken commando figures clambered all over the brilliantly themed cake. Maria and Tim’s ceremony took place in the brightest July sunshine, with the sound of waves crashing in the background and seagulls circling overhead. It made for a brilliant contrast as everyone moved inside to the dark interior of the fort for the wedding feast, and I loved the opportunities for photography with just slivers of light creeping through the deep windows. Maria’s Italian heritage led to a lot of traditional drinking games punctuating the meal, and it was a fantastically fun afternoon to photograph. Later, guests enjoyed moving back outside to relax in the evening sunshine and enjoy the specially created Rum Bar, with some extraordinary measures being poured out by best man Mandy, while small children tested their punches on ex-commandos and the sun went down over the Cornish sea. A short refresh later, and everyone returned inside to start the party on the dance floor, with a hilariously unorthodox take on the first dance!

I returned on Sunday for the recovery barbecue – a wonderfully relaxed afternoon in the sunshine, with fresh scallops and steaks on the bbq and an ice cream van for afterwards. It was the perfect finish to the celebrations. The whole weekend was such a wonderfully joyous party to photograph – everyone was so relaxed and having such a brilliant time. I loved just moving around and capturing all the fun as it was taking place, and I hope that this is all reflected in the images.

The last word must go to Bruno, Maria and Tim’s Jack Russell. A dog with a quite wonderfully unique personality, he spent the weekend padding around amongst the wedding celebrations, hoovering up the crumbs and the attention, and snarling his own very special smile when teased – scroll down and find that photograph! Please give me more weddings with dogs…

Polhawn Fort with the sea aroundFlowers outside Polhawn FortBlack & white image of bride putting on makeup Wedding dress hanging up with jack russell dogTwo men chatting beside some flowersJack Russell dog sitting next to a wedding cakeDetails of a wedding cake with marine figuresA man and woman laughingTwo brothers cuddlingBride having hair done before the weddingBride getting emotional before weddingBridesmaid wearing a yellow dressBride having her hair doneWedding guests arriving at Polhawn Fort, with the sea in the backgroundWedding guest greeting each other at Polhawn FortGroom having his buttonhole fixedWedding guests on the lawn at Polhawn FortBride looking in the mirror during wedding preparationsMen in tuxedos with tartan trousersBride putting on her wedding dressBride drinking Prosecco whilst putting on her wedding dressJack Russell dog waiting for wedding ceremonyGroom and best man at outdoor wedding ceremonyBride and bridesmaids arriving for weddingBride and bridesmaids walk across lawn with the sea behindJack Russell dog howlingBagpiper leading bridal party across lawn for outdoor ceremonyBride laughing with friendBride and groom exchanging ringsBride waving arm in the air in celebration during marriage ceremonyWedding guests applaudingBride and groom exiting wedding ceremonyBride and groom with bagpiper and sea behindBride and groom kiss with sunflower bouquetJack Russell dog standing on wedding dressGroom and best manGroup photo of bride and wedding guestsBride laughing with friendBride laughing with friendChildren lying on the grass during wedding receptionBride and groom with long grass around themBride and groom with sea behind themWedding guest dancing to bagpiperAction men wedding decorationsWedding guest petting jack russellBride and groom enter wedding breakfastWedding guest toasting bride and groomWedding guests laughing around a tablePretty pink coastal flowers with blue sea behindTwo small boys in wedding outfitsWedding guest with tie around head, toasting bride and groomWedding guests raising glassesWedding guests singing song and raising glassesA young girl cuddling an older womanBride and groom laughing togetherWedding guests singing animatedlyWedding guests singing animatedlyYoung boy with window light on his faceWedding guests with hands in the airBest man giving wedding speechGroom with head in hands during best man's speechBest man raising a toastBride and groom raising a toastGroom talking to best manBride and wedding guests raising glassesWedding guests on the lawn at Polhawn FortSmall girl punching ex-marinesBridesmaid and usher at the barYoung boys holding the train of bride's wedding dressAn action man lying face down on the grassWedding guests looking out to seaMan and woman pouring drinks behind a barMan and woman pouring drinks at a barBride being carried by piggy backWedding guests relaxing on the grassSun setting over the sea at Polhawn FortYoung girl doing action kickChildren playing football in evening sunlightChildren playing football in evening sunlight. Bride and groom first danceWedding guests cheering at first danceBride and groom kissing after first danceWedding guests dancingSunset over the sea at Polhawn FortBlue Cornish sea viewGuests relaxing on the lawn at Polhawn FortGuests relaxing on the lawn at Polhawn FortGuests relaxing on the lawn at Polhawn FortTwo women laughing togetherScallops over a barbecueYoung boy sleeping on the grassBeautiful blue sea viewJack Russell snarling at ownerJack Russell snarling at ownerGuests relaxing on the lawn at Polhawn FortGuest chatting around a barPouring a drink of rumChef barbecuing steaksSteaks on the barbecueChildren choosing ice creamsChildren with ice creamsTwo women with ice creamsMen throwing a tea towel at each otherGuests relaxing on the lawn at Polhawn FortJack Russell eating ice creamMan and woman kissing


Wonderful suppliers involved in this wedding:

Venue: Polhawn Fort, Cornwall

Maria’s dress: designed by Ritva Westenius and fitted by Sam Cox Bridalwear

Bridesmaid dresses: Paul Hawley, London

Caterer: Richard Crouch

Florist: Ruth at Polhawn Fort

Hairdresser: Victor Varga

Evening entertainment: The Grove Environment

Wedding cake: Divine Cakes





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