Make a coffee and take a seat.... this is going to be a long one!...
My second wedding of 2015 took me to the East Quay Venue in sunny (turned out not to be so sunny!) Whitstable by the sea for Victoria & Will's wedding.
And what a truly fantastic and memorable wedding it was!
A little bit of background... I've known Will for about 15 years, working together in the motor industry for the first couple of those 15 years, Will then moved on and we lost touch for a while. Eventually he started working for a film production company (and still does) and that's where our paths crossed again working for the same clients. Will is also a very talented photographer in his own right - no pressure then! Will and I share the same sense of humour and despite not really knowing an awful lot about each other and not seeing or speaking to each other on a regular basis I would put Will in a very small group of friends that I could rely on if I needed to - and I would like to think the feeling is mutual.
Victoria & Will first met 17 years ago when they were bar tenders at the Townhouse in Leeds, at that time no romance was involved (although it transpires that Will was a tad 'smitten' with Victoria!), They both moved on with their lives and a chance meeting many, many years later eventually led to romance and of course their wedding.
I hadn't met Victoria before Will asked me if I'd photograph his wedding but instantly realised why Will was 'smitten' with his 'bride-to-be'!
Will's brief to me was very simple... no 'cheesy' photos, no 'spot coloured' photos, no 'forced' photos and no 'flash'! Just document the day as it happens... he wanted 'real' images to remember his day by.... music to my ears! And it was clear to me that Victoria & Will had planned their wedding exactly how they wanted it to be, not being swayed by convention in any way.
To the wedding day... not having been to Whitstable before, let alone the venue, I travelled down the day before the wedding to meet Victoria & Will at the venue and plan the photography for the following day. What was clear, standing talking in the rain, was that the weather was not going to be on our side. And, as expected, on the wedding day it rained a little. We could have worked around that, but the bitterly cold force 8 gale was going to pose some problems - and it did, limiting the time we had for any outdoor photography.
I started my coverage of the wedding day at the little cottage that Victoria & Will had rented in Whitstable where they spent the night before together, after a large family meal at a local pub. Another example of the way they wanted their wedding to be.
I arrived early and spent my time simply documenting the girls getting ready before moving on to a pub where the boys were having a pre-wedding drink - or two.
The wedding ceremony and the speeches were very emotional at times, with equal measures of laughter, tears of happiness and tears of sadness. It was lovely to be a part of this, not just to document the emotions photographically, but to feel them too. Whilst tears and laughter can make for some lovely images during a wedding I'm always very conscious of what to photograph and what not to photograph. Very sadly Will's mum passed away last August and when Will spoke about his mum during his speech I put my cameras down and simply listened and paid my own respects.
Will's best men and Victoria's brother all gave very moving and heartfelt speeches and at times were also very, very funny - with Wills' brother even replicating an outfit Will used to wear when he worked as a 'flasher' in a club in Ibiza - seriously!
After the wedding breakfast, which was a fantastic barbecued spread and the speeches the wonderful Bettesteiner Footstompers, a Bavarian style Oompah Band did their stuff and got everyone singing and clinking their 'beer steins'. And when I say everyone, I mean literally everyone, you couldn't help but join in, I had never witnessed anything like it at a wedding. They were a brilliant choice to fill that time between the end of the wedding breakfast and the beginning of the evening reception.
The oompah band was a tough act to follow and I didn't envy The Kicks, the band for the evening, having to follow them. But they were just as good and kept the dance floor busy up until I left for the journey home.
What became clear to me as the day unfolded was that not only were Victoria & Will obviously pleased to be getting married, their family and friends were genuinely pleased too. There was an overwhelming feeling of joy about these two people coming together that I can't really put into words.
Since originally writing this blog I've just received this email from Victoria & Will...
...From the moment we booked you we knew we'd made a great decision - and in the run up to the big day you were a great source of advice. On the day, you were a great comfort to Victoria - she was very nervous, and your very calm demeanour and words of advice really helped. During the day we hardly even knew you were there, you were incredibly professional - and several of our guests commented how nice you were! We are absolutely delighted with the end results - the photos perfectly captured the day and we will cherish them always. We can't recommend you enough!...
Victoria & Will.... thank you for letting me share your wedding day with you - it was an absolute blast!
A few (well a lot really) from the day. Click on any thumbnail for a larger view. Enjoy...