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Ruth & Justine

We were on our way back from Belgium; Justine was travelling home from a rugby tour and I from a rowing training camp. We were on the same ferry and consequently stopped at the same service station. Our paths crossed as we sat getting coffee with our friends, signalled by the twinkly alert of a Tinder match! Both of us were surprised to see how far from each other we actually lived as a result.


Meeting halfway at a cocktail bar in London, we arranged our first date for a few weeks later.


The summer was spent adventuring together and about nine months later, we found a place to live halfway between our respective towns. Three years later, Justine proposed under New Years Eve fireworks, surrounded by friends and family.


We wanted our wedding to celebrate who we were, both as individuals and as a couple. So, I got to choose a beautiful country estate in the Cotswolds and Justine added a Zimbabwean flare as a homage to her home country.


Eastington Park catered to our every need. The venue needed next to no decorating because it was simply beautiful all on its own. We filled it with proteas - a flower native to Africa - and let the high ceilings and gorgeous views do the rest.


The staff knew exactly how to run a wedding with two brides! They let our small pack of bridesmaids take over the day before to set up and had two bridal suites ready to go.


We had to cancel our big day three times during the Covid-19 pandemic. Eastington Park was sensitive and accommodating throughout.



As you can imagine, every time we had to change the date we also had to phone every supplier we had booked, hoping they would also be available. The final date change saw us lose our original photographer. Then quite by chance, an advert showed up on Facebook the same day for Gemma Machell Photography. We were keen on hiring a photographer with experience of LGBTQ+ weddings and Gemma seemed to specialise in exactly that. We had a Zoom meeting with her in advance to discuss what we wanted for the day, which calmed our nerves about the last minute switch.


On the day, Gemma fit in perfectly. She felt more like a guest than our photographer! It felt totally natural to have her with us while we were getting ready and following us around throughout the day, capturing every moment. We received our photographs so quickly after the day, which meant we could relive it all over again.


We asked a friend to be our Officiant, so our ceremony was personalised and had the whole room in tears as a result! After feasting on a traditional Zimbabwean ‘braai’ (BBQ for the British readers), our first dance was equally African themed and then the party took over. Kieran Clarke Entertainment hosted, running the DJ set with style. Justine spent many hours listing all the songs she wanted to be played that night, which Kieran’s team took in their stride. With exclusive use of the venue for the whole night and next morning, our friends and family were able to party with us into the early hours.


So - one pandemic, three house moves, two cats, a career change and a few sporting events later, we finally got down the aisle. It was worth the wait.


Our wedding day was perfect, filled with so much laughter and love.


And now, it’s on to the next adventure.


Ruth & Justine
Wedding photography by Gemma Machell Photography

Read more about: Gemma Machell Photography  here 

View Eastington Park here

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