Your Wedding Day

To have and to hold, from this day forward…

An early start
If ever there was a reason for me to arrive early, it surely must be your wedding day! Even when I know a venue I allow plenty of pre-wedding time to walk through the day because every single wedding is unique and that means not leaving anything to chance! I check that I have access to all the vantage points that we will need, observe the light inside and outside and assess how the weather will inform the day. I look for all those little details you have agonised over and adore, then I check in with the venue manager and caterers to confirm that there are no last minute changes or anything I should be aware of.

Christina (my wife and second shooter) will have started shooting the first images, the ‘establishing’ shots of the venue inside and out and the setting up; the florist putting the finishing touches to all the displays, the table decorations, the detail shots.

I then find my bride and start to capture all of those wonderful ‘bridal prep’ moments – we need lots of time for these!

Bridal prep
This is a very special time where transformations begin and ‘that dress’ is reverentially placed ready! There’s lots of laughter, nerves and concentration as hair is arranged and make-up is meticulously applied. Mothers and aunts persuading children into outfits, bouquets being delivered, corks popping, the bride elated to be wearing her dress and the gasps of those closest to her. All through this happy chaos, I work hard to be unobtrusive, rarely ‘directing’ a shot and always totally respectful that I am in a privileged position, after all I get to see the bride in all her splendour before her father and before her future husband! Whilst always on hand and being with you the longest of any other supplier, I like to think you will mostly forget I am there.

Then comes a key moment, when a father sees her daughter for the first time as a bride. It is a moment filled with emotions that only a picture can convey. It is also a very close and personal moment and one where the presence of a photographer should not be sensed in the picture, so I choose my position with care. Capturing these moments is one of the greatest pleasures of my job!

Groom prep
It’s fair to say that groom prep is altogether very different and can range from chaos, fairly organised to military precision. ‘The boys’ usually need a bit of ‘directing’ in a scene that is often characterised by noisy excitement, a fairly untidy room and with socks, shoes, clothes, drink and deodorant everywhere! It’s during groom prep that the ring shots are taken – anxious seconds while their exact location is established and Christina works out how the groom and his groomsmen interact so that the images can reflect this. After the ‘tension’ of donning unfamiliar clothes and new shoes, the mood changes and an air of anticipation descends as the groom makes his way to where he is to marry his future wife and greet family and friends and meet with the vicar or celebrant and registrar.

Groom prep is a good example of when a second shooter is invaluable: I can give all my attention to the bride as she prepares and Christina is able to focus on the boys. Moments come and go in the blink of an eye and that is why two pairs of eyes are better than one!

The Ceremony
This is a crucial time in photographic terms – light has to be perfectly managed in-camera, focus points constantly changing as the bride moves up the aisle and as the groom sees his bride, as if for the first time. Mindful of ceremony officials dos and don’ts I want to be close to the couple, yet discrete… and in no way distract from the sequence of moments within the ceremony,  so as silent as possible. One vicar was at pains to show me precisely where I may and may not stand, eventually trapping me in a cul-de-sac between a tall lectern and the choir pews! Ever resourceful, I negotiated a different approach, mindful it’s a matter of respect, for the sanctity of marriage, for the occasion, and especially for that particular vicar!

The ebb and flow of emotion in a couple’s expressions is something I’m always looking for, in fact it would not be an exaggeration to say that I notice an inner radiance between the bride and groom as they focus entirely on each other. At the same time, I’m capturing the reactions of family and friends as is Christina who also captures the newly-weds walking back down the aisle.

Confetti & Drinks Reception

Of all the thousands of images taken throughout your day, the confetti (or bubbles or rice) shot is probably the one that captures most, the joy, the relief, the love and the style not only of the couple, but also of the guests. Did you know, for example, that certain types of petal float in the air longer than others (thanks @shropshirepetals!)? Or that confetti colours can be accurately matched to the bridal party’s colour scheme to compliment the bride and groom in the confetti shot? I love detail!

The drinks reception gives me the chance to properly mingle amongst your guests catching those great images of happiness and celebration. As before, with two photographers we can capture more of these lovely guest moments.

The formal photographs (often requested but never compulsory!) still have great relevance and I for one enjoy taking them. These images are great for framing and parents and grandparents always love them. Christina’s help is invaluable as she rounds up a stray uncle or the page boys who are trying to start the bridal car…

Wedding Breakfast & Cake Cutting 

One of the most eagerly anticipated (and most worried over) moments of a wedding day must be the speeches, being a time of emotion and also much laughter. For a photographer this is a great opportunity to capture everyone’s reactions. As a bit of a romantic, it’s hard not to get swept up in the speeches – but sadly I must focus not on what is being said but on how that makes you and your guests react.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the breakfast itself – because who likes to be photographed eating! There is one exception to that rule; the wedding cake… Cutting the cake is a bit of a ritual and can have its moments, but the anticipation of a mouthful of cake being offered to your newly-wed is most tempting to a photographer…!

Once the cake cutting is over I will want to whisk you off for some ‘couple’ shots. Again these are not compulsory, will feel very natural plus they are fun and it gives me a chance to capture you both looking super-stunning in the setting of your venue. I promise not to keep you from your guests for a moment longer than is necessary!

Into the Evening
The first dance is of course another key moment and signals that the fun is really about to get underway! Whether using flash or natural light I like to get down on the floor (so to speak) and find the angles and shapes that the music inspires… 

The day moves into the night and all too soon into treasured memories. I try to tell your story just as you imagined it and perhaps to add a little extra magic too, so that when you look back on the images on screen and in an album you don’t so much see it as it was, but feel it as it was.

You were magnificent…

I have the proof!