For anyone who knows me, my DIY skills are not that strong, but when I first moved from Wales to Devon way back in 1998 my job to settle in a brand new country was working at B&Q, which seemed an ironic move. I wasn’t the best at the job to be fair, my check out skills were poor, legend has it I let a fully grown two piece shed through once without zapping it, my till was not adding up at the end of the day to say the least, and my knowledge was poor on the shop floor, I used to walk around with a bit of 2 by 4 trying to look busy with a quick walk on hoping nobody would ask me anything at all on DIY, in B&Q, can you see my predicament here? But I did meet some very good friends, who I still know to this day, who took a un-handy slightly disorientated Welshman under their wings and showed them the ways of Exeter life, and one of them geezers was Mark Collins, who is half of the bride and groom in this blog. 

Mark and myself worked together on the checkouts, he wanted to be an aspiring journalist in the big smoke and I wanted to become a press photographer. Mark did become something and now owns a successful PR company in London and I did bully my local newspaper into giving me a job from work experience, which I was doing at the time we first met. 

Anyway, enough of this DIY chat nonsense, Gemma and Mark, a lovely couple who got married at Bridwell Park Estate. I was hired to document the party the day before, which was great fun, a bit of fancy dress and clay pigeon shooting, well, laser clay, all done by smoke and mirrors, probably a good thing as how much some of the guests were shifting beer wise. 

I went and stayed that night with my second shooter Stuart, (weirdly who I learnt from on work experience at a paper at the time I worked at B&Q)  as he lived close by and we both made our way to the wedding after the obligatory McDonald’s breakfast. Stuart was awesome on the day, Mark and Olly the best man (who also was a former B&Q warrior) were up for pictures, and Stuart played along perfectly, the lads had fun in the morning to say the least.

That morning, Mark got to fly around Devon in a helicopter with Olly, not totally in charge may I add, there was someone on board who could fly it, as this would just be a mental bride to groom gift to receive on the wedding morning. 

The weather was really kind, and Bridwell looked ace flourishing in the sunshine, the guests all arrived and you just knew it was going to be a grand old day had by all. 

It all went to plan, as far as I could see and I enjoyed spending the whole weekend with them all. It’s a good thing to do, to hire a venue the day before, as you then get to the wedding itself, and to everyone, it’s not so rabbit in the headlights, and squeaky box fresh, people have mingled, bounced on a bouncy castle, drank and ate together, got there eye in, and Bridwell Park Estate is certainly up there with one of the best venues out there to do this and pull it off. 

Thanks for looking and your time.


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