Today I am excited to share this colourful Festival of Love London Wedding at the Southbank Centre.
The couple are Bex and Tom and they were married at the rather fabulous Big Wedding Weekend.
Images were captured by Xander Sandwell Photography.
Xander Sandwell is a Wedding, Portrait and commercial Photographer based in Cambridge.
Xander says of his work…
“I’m a dedicated, hands-on family man with two young children and am a romantic at heart (I love a good wedding, whether I’m shooting it or not!).”
“This informs the approach to my work and I believe, helps me to relate to my clients and fulfil any brief I’m given during a consultation; I’ve learned over the years that people skills are just as important as the technical and photographic!”
“Prior to having children and having to take a full-time salaried job away from professional photography in 2009, I was a self-employed photographer, undertaking commissions for portraits, weddings and product photography.”
“Having studied photography at school and sixth form, then later in life gaining a 1st Class BA Honours and Masters Degree in Photography, I’m well qualified as a Photographer.”
“I’ve also previously been a part-time university lecturer and private tutor of photography and Photoshop.”
“I’ve worked for a period as a photographer for a major chain of high street studios but did not enjoy the formulaic approach, hard sales and “sausage factory” environment – but if nothing else, the experience taught me how not to do things!”
“Returning to photography full time in spring 2015 I now combine my years of experience in business with my passion for and expertise in photography to give me the dream job I’ve always wanted.”
Xander says of the day…
“Bex and Tom chose to get married at the Big Wedding Weekend during the Southbank Centres Festival of Love.”
“Alongside eight other happy couples they got married on stage, in the Royal Festival Hall and enjoyed a fantastic day of colourful celebration with hundreds of others.”
“As a photographer the day was a visual feast and the surrounding area of the Southbank provided some excellent photographic opportunities as well as the unique venue itself.”
“As every Bride does, Bex chose to express her personality in her choice of dress which she designed herself and it was easily my favourite of the day.”
I now hand over to Bex to share the couples story…
How did you meet?
“We met through mutual friends – one of whom flew back from Australia to be our witness!”
Tell us about the Engagement?
“I got a weekly update email from London’s Southbank Centre as we’d attended events there before.”
“It mentioned the Big Wedding Weekend – a group wedding at the Royal Festival Hall which was the culmination of the Southbank’s annual Festival of Love – and I thought it looked intriguing, so I forwarded the email to Tom with the words, “How about it, Flynny?”
“That turned out to be the proposal!”
Tell us about your wedding planning journey
“It was great fun. Even when things didn’t go to plan they turned out for the best!”
“I had always wanted to wear my Mum’s 1970s wedding dress with the most incredible sleeves, however, when I tried it on it was totally the wrong shape for me.”
“So we went to a wedding dress shop. All I knew was a wanted something a little ‘different’, maybe short or with colour.”
“Turned out they didn’t have anything like that! So I tried on a traditional gown.”
“It was amazing. Totally flattering and stunning – I felt like a princess.”
“I was about to get totally sucked in to the fairy-tale but my Dad reminded me although it was gorgeous it wasn’t the right dress for me, or the quirky day we were having. He was spot on of course.”
“So I found a dress I liked the look of online and worked with a great dressmaker to design a version of it that suited me (with sleeves, a very fitted waist, and different colour petticoats). The dress was amazing.”
“On the day so many strangers came up to me to tell me how much they liked it.”
What was the best bit of your day?
“It was all amazing. But one highlight was when our crazy blue rainbow cake fell on a plastic duck!”
“It summed up the mad, fun and laid back atmosphere of the day and we just laughed and laughed (and licked our fingers as we tried to put the cake back together, of course)!”
“Another was how much the day was a celebration of all kinds of love.”
“The Big Wedding Weekend was established to celebrate equal marriage, something we were very proud to be part of.”
“Getting married on the same stage as eight other couples enhanced the joy and everyone was walking around with huge grins on their faces all day.”
“Our friends and family totally threw themselves into this unusual wedding with gusto and you really could feel the love in the air.”
What advice would you give to other couples getting married?
“Enjoy it all – and when you find yourself getting stressed about something which really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme (which is basically anything other than issues involving close family and friends) then actually talk to yourself (preferably in private!) and give yourself some context.”
“Also to brides, if you are up for it, do give a speech. I was super nervous, but everyone is willing you on and on your side, so even if you just keep it short people will love that you spoke.”
“Finally got ensure you get a good photographer.”
“We were lucky enough to work with someone excellent – Xander – and are thrilled with the result.”
“The photos are now something we can keep forever, and each time we look at them we are reminded of the incredibly joyous day we had!”
I would also like to share the wedding film from The Weddings…
Venue – Royal Festival Hall – Southbank Centre
Photographer – Xander Sandwell Phtography
Dress – Made by Vlasta Collu
Bridesmaid Gowns – Gilly Gray
Bride and flowergirl necklaces – Tatty Devine
Suit – Ted Baker
Ties – eBay
Cake Maker – Combination – Friend bought top layer, bottom layer from M&S with orange icing on top. Another friend made the cake toppers
Florist – Rebel Rebel
Videographer – The Weddings
Make up/Hair stylist – Perfect 10
DJ – Anna Greenwood
To Contact Xander Sandwell