A couple weeks' back, I had the fortune of photographing Jill & Simon's wedding on the north coast of Cornwall in the famous seaside village of Padstow, a charming working fishing port, famous foodie destination & popular West Country wedding destination surrounded by beautiful golden sand beaches.An alternative wedding venue
A Cornish seaside wedding
Surely this comes with a price tag that would goad most would-be newly-weds to remortgage the house they don't yet own, put off having children indefinitely, or pour over glossy bridal magazine centrefolds with a Kleenex, lamenting over a dream wedding which isn't quite within their grasp....or is this not the case?
Now, I'll just say it: What comes to your mind when you hear “youth hostel”? I think we all conjure up halcyon days gone by, on reflection, weathering out some force-7 gale replete with sidewards rain while on some school residential trip in the countryside. You probably didn't get much sleep either, but that could be down to your fellow classmates incessant excited chatter rather than your hard wooden bunks & chilled laminate flooring. Morning's a wake up to a sustenance-giving, but arguably less-than-sumptuous breakfast of Cornflakes and orange squash in a setting that makes a Travel Lodge interior design look positively inspired....How can any right-minded wedding couple entertain the notion of launching their career of happiness together from such a place?
Jill & Simon are one such wedding couple who either didn't have this semi-traumatic childhood memory or simply decided to ignore the stigma of YHA (Youth Hostel Associations) being barely hospitable places where you go only if you're short on cash & willing to confront the no-frills concept of humans needing only food, water, warmth & shelter, in whatever guise you're dealt with.
Just 50 metres from the sea with a sunset view thrown in, they held their wedding reception at the idyllically situated YHA Treyarnon Bay, just down the road (4 miles) from Padstow. Treyarnon Bay itself is a small, family friendly beach which is also a great spot for bodyboarding & surfing and is close to several other beaches and bays in the area, all linked by the South West Coastal Path.
Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised, both with the YHA's stellar location right on a beautiful stretch of coastline which would drive up the price of a room in an equivalent B&B or hotel into stratospheric proportions, and the beautifully-decorated interior of the bar/restaurant area as I stepped inside. Jill & Simon had hired the entire hostel for their wedding weekend, meaning that all their wedding guests could enjoy the rooms, bar, lounge
and sunset views from the garden area exclusively, just like any other wedding venue, only at a fraction of the cost. Moreover, I learnt from some of the guests that there are a number of ensuite and double bedded rooms! You can almost hear the sighs of Wedding Planners, bespoke barn & luxury cottages owners....
Suffice to say, Jill & Simon's wedding day was a roaring success (click here to read more), if you gauge such an event on the units of alcohol consumed, the hilarity and embarrassment of the speeches, the raucous beauty of the wedding party and the exchanging of wedding rings without a hitch.
Towards dusk, the wedding party had migrated to the outside garden area of the YHA overlooking the sea, enjoying the final throws of sunshine, happily sated by the wedding buffet provided by the hostel and the numerous toasts towards the happy couple. Reposed, by animated, there was dancing and music and enough homemade 50cl bottles of gin/vodka/whiskey cocktails to keep the party in full swing, well after I took my leave & congratulated them one last time on the success of their Cornish beachside wedding.