Rural Cheshire wedding venue
This was my second time working as a Hollin House Hotel wedding photographer. Fiona and Joel’s big day at this rural Cheshire wedding venue was a wedding that will live me for many years.
Hollin House Hotel sits on the outskirts of Bollington, Macclesfield. This cosy Gothic Style Hotel, built around 1870, overlooks rolling fields alongside its winding driveway.
Race against time
Joel had proposed to Fiona on Christmas Day 2019. Several days later, Fiona’s 13 year old son, Josh, was diagnosed with an incurable high grade tumour on his spine. Josh was was diagnosed with a grade two spinal glioblastoma when just 4 months old. Having beaten it, he was diagnosed with the same condition in 2012. The 2019 diagnosis meant it was a race against time for Josh to fulfil his final wish, to lead his mother down the aisle.
I took a call from Fiona’s friend Danielle who contacted me several weeks before the wedding. They were trying to find wedding suppliers who could donate their services to make Josh’s wish come true. By the time I got back to Danielle they had found a wedding photographer. Whilst I was disappointed, I was pleased they had found someone.
Then, just three days before the wedding, Danielle called again. There had been some mix up and they were again without a wedding photographer. Thankfully, I was still available so was able to jump in.
I had never spoken to, nor met Fiona, until the day of her wedding. I arrived at Hollin House Hotel to cover the bridal prep and was amazed at just how relaxed Fiona was. This is usually a room of wonderfully organised chaos, but not Fiona’s. Surrounded by her bridesmaids, hair and make up providers, Fiona sailed through her morning, even fitting in some ironing! Her phone would constantly ping with messaged from friend. She was also in contact with family about Josh and his medication, as well as how he was feeling.
Emotional wedding ceremony
Every wedding is full of feeling, but I knew that this was going to be a very emotional wedding ceremony. As Josh led Fiona down the aisle, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house – including mine! The ceremony being held in the conservatory filled with natural light is ideal. Whilst working as a Hollin House wedding photographer, I found lots of natural light at the venue. Perfect!
After the speeches had been delivered, brilliantly by Joel and then Josh speaking so bravely about his family, all the guests got together for the first dance – Fiona and Joel and then Fiona and Josh. Josh had one final thing to do. He presented Fiona with a keepsake at the end of the evening. His mission complete.
After the wedding
I write this blog less than 24hours after Fiona messaged me to tell me that Josh passed away on Thursday April 30th. I remember thinking that I must edit this wedding quicker than usual, as I was desperate for Josh to see the pictures from the day he had so desperately wanted to be a part of.
Thank you again to Fiona and Joel for getting me involved in your wedding. Meeting Josh had a huge influence on me, and, in his passing, I am reminded just WHY I love being a wedding photographer. Creating, as Fiona put it, “such beautiful perfect pictures for us to treasure forever” means the world to me.
Until the day I die, this will remain one of the best things I have ever done. Thank you, and may Josh rest easy x
List of wedding suppliers
Videography – www.sincerelyyoursfilms.co.uk
Chocolate – www.oliverschocolateparties.co.uk
Venue – www.hollinhousehotel.co.uk
Photographer – www.charlottepalazzo.co.uk/
Bridal Make up – leannejackson.co.uk/
Dress – www.mariamodes.com
Dressing – sweetnessandlightsnw.com
Cake – zaracakes.co.uk/