So here we have it. A tale of two wedding ceremonies, two bands, two lovely people, one marquee, one astounding day, oh and some garden gnomes and carrots that took a bit of a battering.
I wanted to write more about Julie and Riant's fantastic day, because it was just so much fun, so down to earth, so colourful and alive. But it's late July, which is to wedding shooters what late December is to Santa's elves, and have you checked out how HOT it is? Who can write? I can barely spell my name right.
So I'll keep it short - we got a Ceilidh; awesome. We got Hobo Disco; awesome. We got a blessing by the lake, and a lovely hot sunny day and a golden sunset, and cake and we got laughter. All awesome. So thanks for a brilliant day guys, and congratulations x
JENNIE & REECE'S FABULOUS LONDON (DON'T MENTION THE WORLD CUP QUARTER FINAL) WEDDING, MARYLEBONE TOWN HALL
Picture this: it's 31 degrees celsius, Pride is on, England are playing Sweden in the football quarter finals of the World Cup, and this is the day you're getting married in Central London.
What could possibly go wrong?
Nothing, it turns out. Sure there were some mutinous mutterings from overheated groomsmen when the bus got a little held up in traffic, and there was the occasional traditional edge of lunacy you expect at a wedding. But actually Jennie and Reece's fantastic, classy, London wedding was a massive, fantastic success, and a glorious, stylish and fun summer wedding.
Everything went according to plan - Jennie the lovely bride in white was punctual, bordering on early, the lovely efficiency of the registrar team at the gloriously revamped Marylebone Old Town Hall was matched only by the cool breezes we finally all managed to luxuriate as we sailed down the Thames to the reception at Westminster Boating Base. And, yes, there was football too, on the TV screen on the river boat. In fact , keep scrolling down to see the moment where the boys got to see England win and go through to the semi-finals. Hilarious speeches, wonderful friends and family, a gorgeous bride and groom, and a live saxophonist. All in all, an awesome, loving, fun-packed summer wedding day. Congratulations Jennie & Reece x
This is the story of two people who fell in love, and - guess what - decided to get married. Is there more to the story than this? Not really, because what Emma and Stacy have is something quite rare and special. A simple, relaxed, warm, close, easy and natural relationship. It just works. They just fit. And that's how their day went. It just worked. Everything just fitted.
And Tewinbury Farm is just the kind of location for such a wedding. Situated in rolling Hertfordshire countryside just outside Welwyn, the Tewinbury barns are ideal for a more relaxed and easy-going wedding. Everything you need is here, the staff are helpful, the food is good, the atmosphere is relaxed.
And the day was one of family, friendship, love and laughter. Oh and some vintage photography, more about which, much later.
Emma and Stacy's wedding being a small and intimate affair, they chose 17th century red brick Stable barn for their ceremony and reception. With two minstrels's galleries, under-floor heating, exposed oak beams, a bar and a patio overlooking the River, it was a perfect space to relax, celebrate, or of course, tie the knot.
Emma's chose an elegantly simple and stylish shimmery white dress from David's bridal in Watford, which complemented her figure and, which, together with choosing converse for footware, was all part of the chilled vibe of the day. No pain, here for these guys, only gain.
Continuing the theme of relaxed and unfussy simple refined good taste, Stacy's ring was a wooden one from Etsy, and Emma's white gold from Ernest Jones.
During prep I noticed the fantastic light patterns thrown by the sun through the blinds and decided to take a couple of creative liberties with that and add some extra light with an off-camera flash. While the mood is a bit existential, I think it adds a bit of additional style and atmosphere to a few of the prep shots.
And enter, the two most adorable nieces ever. There is a shot of a nappy being proudly displayed, but I figured, maybe that one's not for here :)
Meanwhile, in the stable barn, Stacy pretty much held his nerve, as butterflies started to set in.
Enter our heroic young ring bearer Zak, the other star of the show, a scene-stealer who you'll be seeing a fair bit more of throughout this blog, who did a flawless job of bringing the rings (thankfully thoughtfully tied to the cushion) to the couple
Okay! Remember that vintage camera mentioned earlier? Well here it is. My uncle's 80-year-old rolleiflex double lens reflex film camera. It takes rolls of 12 pictures. There is no light meter - I had to use one I downloaded onto my phone. But we thought it would be fun to have an experiment and a play with it.
And like a special magical miracle, after a 24-hour process at snappy snaps, there we have it, an old-school, square-with-borders film print, like your grandad might have taken.
.... although I think the digital version below is probably still better, if lacking maybe some of that vintage sunkissed flare-prone overcranked magic.
And for fun, I let Stacy have a play with it and together we tried to draw out Emma's inner diva - how'd you think she's doing here? Not bad huh?
And of course Zak had to get in on the photographer action. It suits him, no?
Once more keeping with informal and relaxed, only two speeches and both were refreshing funny, short and engaging.
After the meal, we took a stroll around the barn itself and out to the river to find a few nice spots for a bit of extra portrait time. It's always worth making the time for portraits on your big day, because with everything that's going on, it is the one excuse for a bit of couple time, away from the madness.
Oh and look who's back!!
Man of the moment, the irrepressible Zak, giving it Gangnam Style! What a hero!
And a truly heroic rendering of Let it Go from Stacy's sister!
top it all, a film!A lovely, laid-back, sunny wedding day in May, filled with love, friendship, family and laughter, Emma and Stacy's day was a rustic spring wedding day to remember.
Oh, and guess what? We made a film of their day too, and how they went from Accidentally In Love to Intentionally Married
Congratulations guys x Adam
Now here is an elopement story with a difference. It's not just another blog piece from a glamourous location with tips for your destination wedding, although it IS that too. But this is also an incredible story of love, endurance and adventure. It is also the story of a heroic young couple, an incredible challenge and the happiest of happy endings.
It ends in Port St Charles in Barbados, with our two young lovers making their commitment to one another on the beach, but it starts a year previously, in Lymmington near Portsmouth, and will leave you speechless.
Because the reason any of us ended up in Barbados in the first place, was not originally to do with tying the knot or making a romance public. It was to do with the amazing challenge Greg and his brother Jude undertook. After the death of their father, they decided to row the Atlantic Ocean unaccompanied from Gran Canaria to Barbados, a distance of three thousand miles, which took them eight weeks alone at sea.
Try and imagine how it feels to have your loved one, away, alone at sea, vulnerable in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, days away from any help. Naturally when Francesca and Greg were finally reunited in Barbados, feelings ran high, and the pure love and passion they felt for one another, the commitment they embarked upon, was truly inspiring.
There are many incredible places to marry and to vacation when in Barbados. As well as the famous Sandy Lane in Holetown, a stone's throw from Rihanna's new condo, there is the Sandals complex in Maxwell Beach, and then there is the Turtle Bay, also in Maxwell Beach, which was Greg and Francesca's choice.
Life’s a journey not a destination, Ralph Waldo Emmerson famously stated. And who doesn’t love to embark on a journey? But while some may think it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive, most of us are happiest when we hit our destination. And when it comes to a destination wedding, this is even more true. It’s your biggest, best day ever and it’s in an incredible place!
Every since I first shot abroad, a documentary about the salvaging of the Costa Concordia ocean liner that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany for global broadcaster Viasat Explorer’s documentary channel, back in 2011 I’ve been hooked. At that time I was mostly shooting commercials and commercial photography, but already I was getting drawn into what I found to be a much more rewarding and creative world, the world of wedding photography and film making.
In the years that followed, my passion for working in the wedding industry grew while my enthusiasm for the trial by committee of commercial work waned until today where I find myself shooting about half and half. My weddings for the most part remained UK-based, but even though my commercial work took me to all kinds of places, the US, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Barcelona, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark, still it was shooting wedding photography and films that got my heart racing.
And shooting abroad, practically speaking was so little different from shooting in the UK for me, where I travel and stay over for the bulk of my weddings. There is little that is different, practically speaking for a professional shooter – managing logistics and being a long way from home is all part of the day wherever you are. It helps that I speak a little Russian, Italian and Spanish, and French almost fluently. Beyond that it’s as easy as shooting ten miles from home. Consider a wedding photographer's day. There simply isn't the time to pop home for a spare lens or a forgotten light stand.
And while it may sound expensive to fly your photographer out with you, you will be surprised how much more it might end up costing – and in more ways than just financially – to rely on the local offering.
If you are getting married abroad then choosing to take your destination photographer with you means you can meet up and get a feel for exactly what to expect on your wedding day. You can also be assured of the quality of photos. I’ve heard so many horror stories of overseas weddings where couples have been left disappointed with the quality of their photographs after their wedding as they booked without meeting their photographer or settled with the photographer that was included in their package.
My approach is always the same. To tell the story faithfully, to capture the best locations, the best light, the best moments, and the very essence not just of the time and the place, but of the characters and feelings of my couples so that each photo tells it’s own story of that day in a beautiful and editorially creative way.
It would be an honour to accompany you to your chosen wedding destination. Whether it be a sun drenched beach resort where you can marry bare foot on the sand, or against the striking backdrop of an international city that boasts unique architecture, culture and atmosphere
I love being a destination wedding shooter, because, quite simply I love shooting, and who doesn’t love to travel? So when you’re ready why not drop me an email, give me a call or leave your number, using the form below. I’d love to hear more about your plans.
And to return to the heroic back story of that transatlantic adventure, and how I got involved?
As well as running a busy, successful wedding photography and videography business, my other hat is as a Commercial and Television Producer and Creative. And having produced the brothers' fundraising film and photographs, we decided to make a film about their extraordinary transatlantic adventure, alongside the press photos, a couple of which you can see below, and which were syndicated through the BBC and then used worldwide to promote the brothers' journey and raise awareness for Skin Cancer.
Here are the guys crossing the line, at the end of their arduous, intrepid, courageous and terrifying journey across the Atlantic. What a moment. And what emotions went with it!!
I have shot in destinations across the world for twenty years, producing posters and commercial campaigns, but this challenge was something different, and we were to start a journey at the end of it, almost as mind-blowing as the brothers' own one. To find out more you can watch the little film here, a film guaranteed to move and inspire.
A perfect early October day, with the autumn sunshine and Indian Summer temperatures. A young couple in love, their crazy families and friends and a sumptuous Bedfordshire venue. It’s all too easy to say there were tears, but the evidence below speaks for just how much of an emotional wedding this one was.
Leila and Joe chose the wonderful Woburn Sculpture Gallery, situated in Woburn Abbey’s grounds. Originally constructed by Henry Holland between 1789 and 1790 for the 5th Duke of Bedford as an orangery and then as a display for the Duke’s personal collection of sculptures. Artfully-dressed corridors lead the visitor through wonderful panelled rooms centred around the incredible columned ballroom which can hold up to around 300 people
A morning of standard bridal chaos and champagne ended with a remarkably composed groom Joe, who looked after a somewhat emotional Leila, looking radiant in white. After a fairly traditional, if somewhat teary blessing and ceremony, there followed a beautiful Persian blessing.
Then it was drinks, family photos, a wonderful meal – and you really have never dined, until you have dined in the sculpture gallery, where it is impossible not to feel like royalty. More photos and then after cutting the cake, and narrowly avoiding cutting off a somewhat important body part of Adonis’s statue , it was time for some of the wildest dancefloor fun ever seen in the glorious venue. With a little cheating, even a magnificent sunset was rustled up, with Woburn Abbey as the magnificent backdrop
When you get an email, shortly after blogging one of your favourite weddings of the year, that starts with the following sentence, you know you're doing something right: "We LOVE the photos of Liz and Ben at our restaurant and was wondering if you were happy for us to post this on Gordon Ramsay's Instragram channels and for use for on our website gallery & brochures?"
But more important, is what Liz and Ben got right, which was, quite simply, everything.
Great friends and family, an awesome day’s schedule, and above all a couple who knew what they wanted and were all-day lovely.
The first picture above says it all about Liz and Ben. Cool, sophisticated, stylish, great taste, and above all, very much in love. A London wedding is always an exciting affair, but when you start at a listed art-deco Town Hall, take a Routemaster across the Thames past the Houses of Parliament, and down Whitehall, the Strand and the Adwych, when you dine at the Savoy, when you’ve got the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy set aside for a few minutes portraiture, and when you land up in Kensington's super-cool Ognisco for your party, you have no choice but to have a stylish day.
So having got my visa through to travel south of the river, I took the underground from cosy North London with some terpidation it into that dark and mysterious place they call South London. Would it be safe? Were their wild dogs roaming the street? Do they even have trees down there? Do the locals eat their own children? In fact Wandsworth is the cleanest borough in the city, and Wimbledon, one of the leafiest parts, and of course, having already met Ben and Liz, twocharming successful lawyers, it was no real surprise to find their loft apartment was all restrained good taste and beautifully lit interiors.
Liz had chosen an elegant motif of blue and white that extended to bridesmaids, groom and groomsmen alike, from dresses to waistcoats, to bouquet. And so the intimate chaos of bridal prep began
And here we see the perfect communication between mother, bride and bridesmaid...
That butterflies moment when the dress is on, you're looking fabulous, and there is nothing left to worry about. Nothing, that is, but the fact that this is your BIG DAY!
And with my taxi waiting and the clock ticking, we grabbed a few snatched minutes of bridal portrait in the hallway, which provided some beautiful softening of the bright morning sunlight
Meanwhile, calmly waiting down at the registry office, Ben, already looking pretty suave, got a little extra sprucing-up from star-of-the-day best man Fran.
Wandsworth is an interesting part of London. Although I'm not quite old enough to remember, it was originally settled in by the Huguenots in the 17th and 18th centuries, who were attracted by its cloth mills. They developed a hat industry for which Wandsworth was once famous, and for which Ben, sporting his elegant topper, is now suitably famous. Wandsworth Town Hall, originally opened by Queen Mary in 1937, is a fantastic wedding venue, with a sumptuous marble art deco interior.
Not everyone can pull of the top hat and tails look – me I would look like a geriatric version of the Artful Dodger, others might look like clownish toffs, but Ben rocked the look in an effortlessly cool way I don’t even think he knew he had. Whether he’ll get away with conducting cases in court wearing it, I’m not so sure, but it was an awesome signature look for the day
And that moment of apprehension, as the clock ticks nearer... or as is often the case... PASTthe allotted time for the ceremony.
"Look serious, look like a lawyer signing important papers"
Ben and Liz had opted for bubbles instead of traditional confetti, which was a lovely, fun and original touch...
... making for the occasional interesting alternative look for a confetti shot. You like the way I got those bubbles so well lined up?
And after group shots and portrait, it was time for everyone's favourite wedding party transport, the classic red London routemaster bus. Thankfully this was one from the 1960s and unlike the very old ones, had some pretty good suspension. Is it possible to outgrow the pleasure of hanging off the passenger rail of a routemaster? I don't think so.
Although jumping off to grab this shot of Big Ben was a bit of a race against the lights. Sadly the scaffolding on the Houses of Parliament looks set to be there for a couple of years, but hey, it's still Big Ben.
And so to the fabulous, the glamourous, the one and only Savoy Hotel. If you have never visited, you haven't lived. One of London's most celebrated hotels and landmarks, it sits between the Strand and the Thames in the heart of Covent Garden's Theatreland. Combining the very best of classical Edwardian design and stylish Art Deco interiors, you feel instantly transported to a Belle Epoque, to an era of pearls and cocktails, of Jeeves and Wooster, of Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Club. The service is world-class, with all the hushed reverence and charm one might associate with that era. And style. Above all, you find, style.
With a few minutes to spare, we made our way to the award-winning Beaufort Bar, where you can snare yourself one of the greatest cocktails the city has to offer. It has a dark, sensuous opulence, and iconic interior design that transports one back to the roaring twenties, to a time when gentlemen like Ben did indeed still wear top hat and tails, and where glamorous women like Liz donned their pearls to put on the Ritz.
The six-course meal was held in the American Grill, adjacent to the Savoy's legendary American Bar, the oldest surviving cocktail bar in London. On top of some charming and hilarious speeches, the guests were in for one further treat...
With the assistance of the very skilled Maitre D, Ben flambed some crepes for the intimate gathering of friends and family.
One of the great things about shooting with Liz and Ben was how they managed to be both keen and relaxed about taking photos. I mean you can't have your wedding breakfast in a place like the Savoy and NOT take photos, right?
And then it was a quick change, before our next crazy trip across London, and true to form, Liz asked if I could capture the chaos of everyone getting ready in the hotel room they had booked at the Savoy.
You want chaos? You got it.
And then it was a short taxi ride to Ognisko, the Polish Club in South Kensington. Situated opposite Imperial College, and a mere stone's throw from the V&A, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, Kensington Gardens and the Royal Albert Hall, Ognisco was founded in 1939 as a meeting place for the Polish community-in-exile in London. As well as being ever since a cohesive social hub for Polish people in London, the club regularly holds exhibitions, meetings, lectures, classes and seminars, playing host to artists, critics and academics.
More to the point, they also hold a mean party.
What an amazing crowd of friends and family, what an effortlessly stylish and quintessentially London day. And what an awesome couple, and awesome wedding. Congratulations Liz and Ben, and thank you for a brilliant, brilliant day.
Some weddings, you just feel it. It isn't about perfection, or about how much money is spent, or how many clever ideas you have, or how hard you try. It's just about the natural, unforced, genuine love and affection, humour and warmth that is... well, is just THERE. Whatever you hoped to create or to capture as a photographer gives way to being part of the day and part of the party and simply feeling it.