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.