The Archbishop's Palace
, situated in the centre of Maidstone on the banks of the River Medway, is Kent's finest register office in my opinion. It features a beautiful building and occupies a stunning location - and, frankly, is not at all what you'd expect to find at the centre of a bustling and urbanised county town. Its name derives from the fact that, in the fourteenth century, it was one of the residences of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Couples can arrive by boat or car and then proceed along the gravelled driveway, surrounded by lovely lawns and flowerbeds. Adjacent to the main building is the gorgeous Apothercary's Garden, home to a wide selection of medicinal herbs, which is perfect for bride and groom portrait sessions. A number of ceremony rooms are available and are assigned, unsurprisingly, on the basis of the number of guests attending the wedding. The smallest of these is the Undercroft which features the highest placed plug socket I've ever seen - about 8 foot up the wall - and nobody seems to quite know why it's there!
Tina and Michael tied the knot on a rainy day in October - though rain did not spoil play! On arrival I took plenty of location shots and then joined Michael and his entourage for a quick photoshoot. I then got some candids of guests and photographed Tina's arrival in a vintage car. After the intimate ceremony and signing of the register in the Undercroft we wandered outside to be greeted with a torrential downpour. We therefore changed our plans slightly and sent the guests off to the reception at the Grange Moor Hotel whilst Tina and Michael ventured out under an umbrella, and the protective canopy of a few trees, for their portrait session. It worked really well and we got some great shots. We then joined all the guests at the reception venue and shot the groups inside. I then had the opportunity to take some candids and shoot the speeches which were held before the wedding breakfast. I departed as the food was served.