Pembroke College Cambridge wedding – Robert & Andrew

Robert and Andrew’s Pembroke College wedding in Cambridge was a day full of joy and emotion. Robert and Andrew had talked about getting married for ages. Eventually Andrew decided to do something about it and booked a surprise weekend in a very romantic Landmark Trust apartment in the tower of Canons Ashby house in Northamptonshire.

One freezing January afternoon Robert had to follow a treasure hunt around the gardens leading to the to discovery of the engagement rings hidden beneath a statue. He was very reluctant to follow the clues, having no idea what the point was. Being so cold, all he wanted to do was to go in for a cup of tea, “..and anyway, your clues are rubbish.” Once the rings were found, the reality of the proposal came as a bit of a shock for Robert – thankfully he accepted.

It was five more years before they were married but it was worth the long engagement. Equal marriage only became possible 3 years ago.

The wedding day was held at Pembroke College, Cambridge, with the Ceremony in the Old Library, followed by drinks on the Library Lawn and the reception in the Hall.

Pembroke College wedding photography

We asked why Robert & Andrew chose the college to get married. “Robert was a student at Pembroke College and the setting amongst the ancient college buildings and gardens was very beautiful. It was a convenient location for family and friends to get to and guest accommodation was easily found in Cambridge. The catering was excellent, and we knew the whole day would be safe in the very capable hands of the college butler.”

“We wanted to create an afternoon where everyone could enjoy their time together with ease, and enjoy an unusual and special setting, without fuss. We wanted the day to be quite compact so that guests could move seamlessly from the ceremony to the drinks, and to dinner, without having to wait around too long between events. Above all, we were just keen for everyone to have a good time.”

Marriage equality at Pembroke College, Cambridge

The wedding details

“We both wore suits by Diverso, a superb Italian tailoring shop in St Christopher’s Place, just off Oxford Street in London. The suits were the same cut, but one in deep burgundy and one in blue. In fact we found Andrew’s burgundy one browsing in the shop but it was no effort for Diverso to make Robert’s blue suit to order. (Kevin’s photographs are incredibly detailed as they pick out the pattern on the suits even from a distance.) The shirts, with red stitching detail and the ties were also matched by Diverso. Andrew’s shoes were from Jeffery West, and envious of the red laces, Robert spiced up his Barker’s with blue shoe laces.”

The Pembroke College buildings were so rich in decoration and detail that we didn’t have flowers for the ceremony or reception. The tables for the reception were beautifully laid with College crockery and silverware and looked fantastic as they were. We had buttonholes for the grooms, fathers, best man, best woman and ushers, and bouquets as gifts for our mothers and grandmother.

The Pembroke College buildings were so rich in decoration and detail that we didn’t have flowers for the ceremony or reception. The tables for the reception were beautifully laid with College crockery and silverware and looked fantastic as they were. We had buttonholes for the grooms, fathers, best man, best woman and ushers, and bouquets as gifts for our mothers and grandmother.

We designed all the invitations, orders of the day and table plans ourselves. Another friend drew us a brilliant illustration of the street front of the Pembroke College buildings which we incorporated on all the stationery, which we then had printed at our local printers. It was a very personal approach, and was very economic for it as we had laid everything out for the printer, and specified what sort of card and envelopes we wanted.

The Highlights

The most special thing was to have so many family and friends together in one place (as Andrew’s sister said in her Best Woman speech, something which often only happens at funerals!) It was wonderful to see people meeting for the first time and getting on so well. There was a great sense of unity and togetherness on the day. We were so appreciative of the support people were demonstrating for our marriage – that was very moving. It was also very moving to be celebrating something so new – as equal marriage has only been possible for 3 years – in such an ancient and historic setting. The ceremony itself was beautifully conducted by the registrar, and we were both surprised at how overwhelmed we felt in the moment – especially during the vows – and how enthusiastic our guests were in their witnessing of our commitment. The biggest surprise was, during our interview before the ceremony, the registrar asked ” so as you have written your own vows, you have memorised them….” We hadn’t even thought we should, so she had to tear the vows out of her official documentation and give us this little slip of paper to pass between us to read from at the ceremony!

The two grooms wait to be announced in to the wedding ceremony

What advice would you give to other couples planning their day?

Learn your vows – if you have written them! Turn off your phones and give all the guests the number of the chief usher for any last minute panics or questions; you just don’t want to have to deal with anything on the day other than focus on what’s important. Give as full attention as you can to everything that happens, as the day goes by so fast – but most of all, just try to relax and enjoy it all, for yourselves and the company of those you are with.

“We would recommend Kevin and Carol Belson as your wedding photographers in an instant. The quality of their wedding photography is superb, from the composition of the shots, to the depth and detail and the light and colours they capture. To create such memorable images is one thing, but to make them during the hubbub of a wedding demonstrates not only a great technical confidence but also a great understanding of how to record the best of such an important and memorable occasion. We loved the combination of the informality of the approach, but in the photographs themselves, a real sense of occasion and artistry – they reveal the most incidental moment as special.”

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Wedding at Pembroke College

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Pembroke College Cambridge wedding Groom adjusting his tie in the mirror A wedding guest asks for directions The grooms getting ready A portrait of the two grooms The grooms outside Pembroke College A detail of the grooms' shoes showing their coloured laces Guests gather for the same sex wedding ceremony Wedding guests laughing Wedding guests laughing The guests gathering for the gay wedding Stephen Warbeck Guests outside pembroke college Wedding guests having fun Wedding guests great each other Wedding guests at Pembroke college enter the Old Library A guest plays the piano at a same sex wedding in Cambridge Stephen Warbeck and Sarah Homer play Pelagia's song from Captain Corellis mandolin The two grooms get married The rings exchange Guests take pictures The wedding guests on the lawn at the same sex Pemboke college wedding Andrew hugging the guests Robert hugging a wedding guest Wedding guests are beckoned for the formal portraits The grooms portrait in the gardens at Pembroke College The ather of the groom holds up a Mickey Mouse clock The grooms speech The grooms portrait at night in the garden during a same sex wedding at Pembroke college Cambridge A black and white portrait outside the Hall Two grooms dancing wedding guests dancing wedding guests dancing wedding guests dancing The bands singer the grooms cut the cake A groom wields the knife during the cake cutting A spectacular portrait of two grooms at a gay wedding


Pembroke College, Cambridge (although they provide weddings for students, graduates or members of the college, it is worth a wander around the wonderful buildings and courts)
Diverso – for Italian tailoring designed in London. Exceptional quality and service – very stylish:
Jeffery West for fantastic shoes:
The Flower House – we had buttonholes and bouquets but they also provide the whole wedding service. Our lovely flowers were delivered to College:
Rubber Soul – superb band to blow your socks off on the dancefloor. They know how to give guests a good time:
The Red Lion, East Haddon – wonderful pub with rooms:
Pen-y-Dyffryn Hotel – idyllic sanctuary on the Welsh border:
The Landmark Trust – stunningly romantic historic buildings to dream in:

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