Matt & Hayley Amey
It would appear that Hayley and Matt managed to make a “wedding photographer” out of me… for the day, at least! And what a day it was.
I have to admit I was a bit nervous as I packed my kit into my car, ready to head over to Hayley’s mum’s to photograph the ladies getting ready. One of my major hang ups with photographing weddings is knowing you can’t go back and do it again if you miss something. You either get it, or you don’t. It’s the same for any event photography, I know, but there’s something particularly daunting about it being a couple’s very big day. Still, I knew I couldn’t cover absolutely everything – being the only photographer there – so it was a case of crack on, keep my eyes open, and stop worrying about it.
There wasn’t so much to worry about, in the end. Spending time with the ladies (and honorary lady, Simon – Hayley’s step dad) – Hayley’s mum Angie, Maid of Honour Rachel, close mate Amy and “sister in law” Suzanna – was a cracking intro to what would be a really laid back and joyful day. I was a rather large fly on the wall as the girls got their hair, make up and nails done (a shout out here to Tasha’s Nails, and to Jessica Nurse, who did a fab job of the hair and make up, and whose fox slippers were a great source of amusement – and chaos – as their tails caught on just about every cable in the lounge); drank champagne; exchanged gifts, laughter and tears, and waited for the arrival of Hayley’s dad, Dick with the wedding car – a Triumph. A true triumph, really, as it’d been fixed just in time for the wedding.
The plan was to also capture Matt and his brothers getting ready at their parents’ house (the venue for the ceremony), but that went out of the window when the men got back late from the pub and Matt had to nip home to grab his forgotten waistcoat. It certainly wasn’t the end of the world, though. Instead of concentrating on the boys I photographed the garden, which had been beautifully decorated by the extended Amey army, before heading back over to Hayley to get the arrival of her father.
In the lead up to the wedding I lost count of how many wedding blogs I’d read, photos I’d researched, and tips and tricks people had posted online that I compiled as a cheat sheet for getting the perfect shots on the day. I couldn’t figure out if I felt gooey from all the online wedding love, or just a bit nauseated by it all (Rocknroll Bride was an awesome source of inspiration, though). When I approached Hayley with my cheat sheet, she casually shrugged and chalked them all up as being “typical wedding crap” – none of which she was particularly bothered about. When I asked if she wanted a photo of her wedding shoes, for example, she merely held them up, stuck out her tongue and said that’d do. And the quintessential head to foot shot of the bride standing in her dress? Forget it! I was delighted, and threw away my cheat sheet.
The ceremony was beautiful and simple. A humanist celebrant lead the way, and everyone (not least the bride and groom) laughed and cried their way through the vows before having drinks and nibbles under the gazebos and around the straw bales. The light was a little challenging due to how strong the sun shone through tree under which Hayley and Matt got married, but then that’s the nature of photographing events! I was just happy to be able to snap away during the entire ceremony, due to it being a humanist celebration of the couple’s union.
From Matt’s parents’ house everyone made their way to Long Meadow Farm, in Keyham, where the rest of the reception was to take place with all of the additional guests. The bell tents were pitched, the fire pit prepped, the rodeo bull ready to go, and The Mobile Fish and Chip Shop van was due to arrive at 8pm. Along with the band – The Catalogues – everything was in place for an awesome night.
And an awesome night it was! Even more so when Hayley and Matt’s friends wouldn’t let me leave after I’d finished taking photos, and I ended up sleeping in one of the bell tents.
The great thing about photographing Matt and Hayley is how natural they are. Yes, it was their wedding day; yes, a lot of effort and pride had gone into every detail; but no, they weren’t in any way precious about any of it. I didn’t even try to set up any typical bride and groom “just married” shots, and nor did I need to. There was enough going on for me to candidly capture all of the fun that was being had, without my needing to direct any of it. The prosecco was doing the job for me!
So thanks, Mr and Mrs Amey – I’d happily do a thousand weddings like yours.
Though I doubt any would truly compare to it.