It’s Wedding Wednesday darlings! And do we have a lovely treat for you. If this stunningly sweet London wedding, packed full of DIY details isn’t enough, we’ve sprinkled in an interview with the fabulous photojournalist himself, Daniele Del Castillo of Del Castillo Photography. Daniele has an effortless way with the lens, so we’re beyond excited to hear a bit about his process!
SMP: What inspired you to become a wedding photographer?
DCP: I’m a photojournalist and that’s basically my background. I fell in love with weddings because it was the only way for me to cover the entire process of my product. When working for the editorial world you normally shoot, then there is a photo editor and after that a printer and a magazine… I wanted to have control on everything in order to provide the best to my clients getting out the best from each photo and wedding photography gave me this chance.
SMP: How did you translate your photojournalism and storytelling skills into weddings?
DCP: What I learnt from photojournalism is to preview the image and basically make a choice everytime. I don’t shoot thinking that I have to tell the entire story of the event (that’s just an illusion), I have to choose what to record and how to do that. Photojournalism is about being quick, respecting your subject always and not letting desire become more important than the photo and the dignity of subjects.
SMP: Can you walk us through a wedding day shoot?
DCP: That’s tough! A lot of the job is done before the actual day, meeting with the couple and getting to know them is the secret. I try to do the same with guests as well and that’s why everytime I cover a destination wedding, I really love to be there the day before. It gives me a chance to get to know the Bride and Groom’s family, friends and guests better. This allows the day of to flow more smoothly.
SMP: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
DCP: The best reward is when a couple is happy with my work. I’m very lucky, nowadays couples choose me because they love my style. Every wedding is different and couples normally have a lot of expectations on wedding photography. So managing to tell the story of their day, while showing them moments they may have missed is something that makes my heart really happy.
SMP: Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled to for a wedding?
DCP: Here in Australia everything is so beautiful and every spot is fantastic, I really love the light here. But this year I shot an intimate wedding in one small little cozy town in Umbria in Italy. The light was fantastic and it was reflecting on the stones of this town during sunset, but more than the place is the couple and their story that makes a place unique and beautiful.
SMP: What advice do you have for brides and grooms on their wedding day?
DCP: I got married last year, so I can relate! The most important piece of advice I have is this… get stressed as long as you want while preparing your wedding but when that day comes being stressed can only ruin it. Drink, eat and always raise a glass for your photographer!
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From Del Castillo Photography… We found the perfect venue in the charming Old Kitchen and Brew House at Kenwood (a National Trust building) and used it as our inspiration for an English kitchen/garden theme. This was carried through from the vintage botanical prints that lined the envelopes of the letter-pressed invitations, through Jess’s parents’ gift to James’s parents (roses bushes of the variety that featured in Jess’s bouquet – see below), to the plant label table plan, English garden flowers (with foraged blackberry bramble!), home-made jam favours, cork name-card holders and Jess’s floral wedding shoes.
With an English groom and an Australian bride, we had a lot of guests that travelled long distances to celebrate with us (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Hong Kong, USA) and James’s parents kindly hosted a pre-wedding gathering in their garden on the Thursday night before the wedding. This gave the families and travellers a chance to get to know one another and spend time with the bride and groom before the big day. It even featured fireworks! Jess’s parents bought a special thank you gift for the hosts – two David Austin ‘Grace’ English rose bushes – this is the flower that featured in Jess’s wedding bouquet.
Of course the wedding location also meant there were quite a few important people who sadly couldn’t join us, most notably Jess’s 93-year-old grandma Leila (back in Australia). We ensured she was a part of the day by serving ‘Grandma’s choc-hazelnut slice’ with tea and coffee during speeches. It was home-made by Jess and her mum using the recipe that grandma had handwritten. And seeing as there were so many out-of-towners among the guests, we brought in some vintage red London buses to transport everyone from the ceremony to reception venue.
The confetti thrown at the end of the reception was made up of rose and flower petals from James’s family’s garden, which were dried by his mum. Finally, Jess loves dancing and couldn’t let the occasion of a wedding dance go by without a bit of extra effort. The couple took classes with dance instructor Charlie Ballard at the famous Pineapple Dance Studio in Covent Garden. Charlie choreographed a fun, personalised routine to 80s classic ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall & Oates (the song choice was inspired by the scene in 500 Days of Summer)
DIY projects included envelope liners that Jess sought inspiration from the vintage botanical prints of Redoute and made her own envelope liners featuring magnolia, camellia and rose prints. Cork name card holders – A box of corks from the local wine bar were transformed by James’s family into name card and table number holders. The centrepiece vessels were humble zinc buckets that lacked presence – Jess and James’s mum Linda used hessian, foam wadding and garden string to give them a more rustic/substantial feel. The oak, ivy and blackberry garland that adorned the original cooking fireplace in the Old Kitchen was made from cuttings from James’s family home garden. Jam favours – The raspberries were picked from the local fruit farm by James’s sister Susie and mum Linda, then turned into delicious jam. The jars (from eBay) were decorated with personalised stickers (Vista Print), paper lid covers (which read ‘Thanks for jammin’ at our wedding’) and garden twine to match the centerpieces. The invitations, name cards, table numbers and individual menus were designed by Jess. All the weddings cakes were homemade by James’s mum Linda and sister Susie. We were hoping for a display to rival that of a rustic patisserie/bakery shop window, which would compliment the Old Kitchen venue. Linda and Susie’s cakes were as delicious as they were gorgeous. The bride and groom personalized the service with family members reading a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and ‘The Key To Love’. Guests threw confetti of flower and rose petals from James’s parents’ garden, which were dried by his mother.
Photography: Del Castillo Photography | Ceremony Venue – Burgh House | Reception Venue: The Old Kitchen for dinner + Brew House for cakes and dancing | Vintage Botanical Illustrations: Vintage Printable | Centerpieces inspired by: Lewis Miller Design | Signing Poster: Not on the High Street | Cinematography: Vin Nandra | Floral Design: Lock Cottage Flowers | Catering: The Company of Cooks | Cake: Homemade | Makeup: Erin Fuller | Hair: Mad Lillies Salon | Wedding Dress: Stephanie Allin | Seamstress: Ning Cooper | Veil: Custom designed by Bride | Shoes: LK Bennett | Invitations: Designed by Bride and letterpress printed by Harquil Printing