A couple of weekends ago our nephew and his lovely fiancée were married at the Gomersal Park Hotel.
As always here in England, we all worried about the weather; an unnecessary concern as it turned out, because the day was perfect, slightly cooler in the morning, so that all the important people didn’t soak their precious garments in buckets of perspiration, lovely and warm with intermittent sunshine during the afternoon, giving photographs a glorious quality of bright, sparkly light.
I had been asked to take some photos by Lee and Lyndsey at least a year ago, when they first floated the date within the family – August Bank Holiday weekend is notorious for downpours and this probability was high on my radar for potential difficulties on the day. Of course I agreed to do the honours – I do like to take a couple of pictures every now and then, which, if you’re a regular reader, you may already be aware of. I decided to take a positive approach. If I refused to believe that rain might spoil the day and mean that I have to engage in Plan B, then it simply WOULD NOT happen. I’m quite impressed by the power of positive thinking sometimes!
It was probably just as well, because Plan B was not very well thought out.
In fact, it didn’t really exist.
I’m prepared to admit this now, two and a half weeks later, when its actuality is irrelevant. It was never needed, so why worry about it?
So, Plan A was simple.
- Go to the bride’s house (actually, the bridesmaid’s house but let’s not get too picky here!), an hour and a half’s drive from mine, arriving by eight-thirty on W-Day.
- Take a bunch of *getting ready* pictures.
- Follow the bride to the venue.
- Get out of my car ahead of her arrival in order to capture her arrival.
- Capture the Wedding Party as they began their traipsing down/up the aisle.
- Rush to the front and capture the Father of the Bride giving his daughter away.
- Capture as much of the ceremony as possible, as well as some of the audience/witnesses expressions during sai ceremony.
- Rush to back in order to capture the newly-weds as they embark along the aisle towards their new life, together.
- Go outside & capture the guests’ joy at what has just happened -including the throwing of rice or confetti over the new Mr & Mrs Deaves.
- Begin the process of photographing everyone in every possible combination known to man and mathematicians;
- NB: Allocate Ushers to the job of ensuring people are where they are needed at appropriate times
- Make sure the Ushers have a copy of The Plan.
- Include some of the bride’s personal requests regarding particular images she wanted to capture (there’s a rather fetching log to drape brides over – presumably to show the dress off to maximum advantage).
- Try to survive this PLAN without having a heart-attack or personal meltdown.
OK. Looking at it in black and white like this, I can see that there are some minor faults.
Perhaps, it may not have been as simple as I had thought.
The first part of the plan went fairly well… I arrived early enough, drank tea, fiddled with my equipment and took about four hundred shots – many of the adorable new addition to the family, ten-day-old Evelyn. I have to say that her Zen-like approach to the occasion may well be an important lesson for all of us to emulate! I have many shots like this one, where she was napping peacefully, looking like a perfect angel.
Lots of preparation shots, including some adorable ones of The Dress, went well too. There was the inevitable photo-bomb, when snapping away on the upstairs landing, *someone* (notice my discretion there – not naming the culprit!) popped out of the bedroom, right behind the bride and her mum, to ask for some assistance with their dress – their state of undress could have been embarrassing. Fortunately, the two subjects shielded the ‘bomber’ and everyone’s dignity was maintained. Phew!
Everyone was readied, one by one. The Page Boys and Flower Girl looked particularly angelic, for a few minutes at least. The bride’s parents adjusted each other’s buttonholes/sprays and smiled lovingly at each other. People always forget that parents have so much invested in these occasions – that little look an indication of the lifetime of commitment they have given to each other, culminating in this special day for their child. It is the look of love. The bridesmaid arrived downstairs, looking perfect. And then finally, here came the bride. Shining with inner joy, she gracefully posed for photos with her family and the wedding party before they all departed, leaving only the bride and myself to wait for her father’s return. Those last few minutes seemed to take an age. I’m particularly pleased with some of the images from this time.
The, at last, her dad returned and smiling broadly, they posed for a final picture at home. Folding the dress into the car, checking all the doors’ ribbons and finally driving off to the venue. Not a sign of nerves.
Then things went slightly awry – I managed to take an alternative (some would say *wrong*) route to the venue, losing the bridal car in traffic and arriving some ten minutes after them. Fortunately, FAB hubby HAD plan B tucked away at the back of his mind and managed to take some shots for me whilst I found the *right* route and rocked up eventually, a little flustered, but not a lost cause. No siree, not me!
The ceremony went exactly as planned and then we were into the home stretch – just the ‘formal’ pictures to capture.
I may have been a little more successful if I had experience in kitten herding! I think, should I embark upon a venture such as this in the future, I may invest in a Border Collie, a special whistle and take a few lessons in shepherding from Jon Katz and the exemplary Red. That, or maybe a loudhailer. Or, perhaps, a magnum of champagne – that way, I simply won’t care if I’ve managed to photograph everyone!
When all was said and done though, it was a beautiful wedding, enjoyed by all and I hope that the bride and groom will enjoy looking through the three or four hundred photos that I will have eventually have whittled the occasion down to (from the eighteen hundred ++ that were taken!), when they get back from honeymoon in Mexico, later this week. I hope they’ll like them. Then it will have been worthwhile.
Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Deaves!
Thanks for reading once again!