Nick & Lauren – Wedding Photography
If you’ve seen my Facebook page, blog or website at any point over the last four or so months you’ll know what my relationship with/aversion to wedding photography is like. I never saw myself doing it; it scared me slightly (dealing with brides/grooms, families of brides/grooms, covering a very large and meaningful day and panicking that being on my lonesome I wouldn’t get all the important bits, etc), and I’ve never advertised myself as a ‘wedding photographer’.
That all changed somewhat last October when I shot an old school mate’s wedding, one that I only agreed to because I was promised it would be the most un-wedding wedding I could imagine. I not so secretly loved it (check out the blog post on Hayley and Matt Amey), and even told the bride that if the circumstances were similar, I could probably be persuaded to do another one.
In fact, I didn’t just tell the bride this, I also wrote it in a very accessible blog post. A blog post that a friend of mine from uni – Kate – saw and promptly forwarded to her brother’s fiancée all the way over in Melbourne, Australia. Lauren and Nick had been living together out in Lauren’s homeland for three years, and were to return to the UK to get married in the new year. Kate introduced Lauren and me over Facebook – the wonders of social media – and soon I had an email in my inbox detailing the “celestial prom” style “fairy lights and metallic balloons, silver confetti, walking down the aisle to Bowie’s Moonage Daydream kinda vibe” that I was to expect from a McIvor/Hollowood wedding.
The description of everyone at the reception getting “loosey goosey” and the “personalities and flailing limbs coming out to play” added to an overall feeling that this wedding was going to be too fun an opportunity to miss out on, and the fatalist in me thought it was meant to be. I got the job through an old uni mate; they liked my style of fly on the wall photography; the wedding would take place on my birthday in Christchurch, near where I lived for four years; the bride was from a city I lived near for a year when I was in Australia. Needless to say I said yes. That, and my experience had taught me never to say no to an Australian.
In the run up to the wedding I did a lot of reading and research on numerous photography websites (Digital Photography School is a particularly great font of knowledge, for anyone interested), and devised a sort of cheat sheet that tackled everything from shooting weddings in the rain to how to deal with issues with flash photography. I like to have a cheat sheet in hand just in case my mind goes blank and I need to remind myself I’m actually good at what I do!
On the Friday before the wedding, the journey down to Christchurch from my home town up in the East Midlands was horrible. The rain brought traffic to a near standstill and then the sun shining on the spray was so blinding that there was an accident on the motorway just under a mile ahead of me. I couldn’t find my hotel, then I couldn’t find where to park at the wedding venue (The Kings Arms Hotel), and I was panicking a little that I hadn’t yet seen inside where I was to be shooting the following day. I was kinda tired and grouchy when I set out to meet up with Lauren, her mum Marg, mum-in-law to be Sandy, and also Kate and the Main Babes (that’s bridesmaids) at an Italian restaurant, but within minutes of meeting them all their excitement, generosity and warmth was so infectious that the journey down was completely forgotten in favour of eating pizza and sharing a toast to Lauren’s big day and my birthday. Several bottles of wine and prosecco later the gang was making their way to The Kings Arms to sort “a few” final touches, and I finally saw the venue.
It was stunning – the lighting, decor, attention to detail, everything. The black and white theme, coupled with the sheer volume of fairy lights would make it a bit of a challenge to shoot, but I knew I was up to it, and was also looking forward to what was promising to be a really fun day.
The following morning started with shooting the ladies getting their hair and make up done at Red Coco salon in New Milton, then off to the men getting suited up at Nick’s mum’s beautiful house near the beach. Back at the Kings Arms I finally got to see/capture a few shots of the Pavilion, the venue for the ceremony itself (which looked incredible), before heading back into the hotel to get Lauren and the ladies getting ready. In the Pavilion, the lighting looked so amazing that I grabbed Nick and his best men to get a few shots of them before all of the guests arrived, and then it was on to the ceremony.
It was quite hard to be everywhere at once to shoot everything without getting in the way, but Lauren had told me I could have free reign so I apologise now to anyone I got in the way of, and whose photos I no doubt appear in the background of! The ceremony was beautiful, funny, joyous and felt like it was over too quickly. The walk down the aisle was awesome, with bubble guns and confetti, stars and streamers making for some pretty cool shots, before everyone was ushered outside into the wind, rain and cold to try to get a group photo under the veranda. This was a challenge, but I reckon you’ll see for yourself that it came out pretty well, considering!
After drinks were served and many photos were taken in the Pavilion (including a group shot of the 15 Aussies who had made it to the wedding!) it was back over the green to the Priory. While the guests made their way over, I stayed back with the bride/Main Babes and groom/best men to get some group shots of them in front of the ‘altar’, which was so beautifully lit we had to make the most of it! As most of the party left, Lauren, Alex, Kate, Noemie and Penny decided it was time to scale the hill behind the Pavilion up to the ruins, battling with strong winds, long hair and large balloons. It was hilarious, though the threat of one of them falling down the hill in heels was pretty real!
The meal was punctuated with speeches by Lauren’s mum Marg, best men Mike and Sean, and also Nick, and were so funny and full of love that they put your typical wedding speech to shame! As soon as dessert was over, it was dancing time. I got chatting to DJ and Music Consultant Paul Hanford, who was an awesome addition to the evening, both in terms of getting everyone on the dance floor and also being an all round cool and interesting guy to get to know.
After a couple of hours of capturing everyone letting their hair down and getting “loosey goosey”, it was time for me to put the camera to bed. Previously I couldn’t have imagined enjoying a 12 hour working day on my birthday, but this wedding was certainly an exception, and I enjoyed having a drink and a dance with everyone before venturing back to my hotel. Driving back home the following day after saying bye to everyone was a breeze compared to the journey down, and I was looking forward getting back to crack on with the edit – I just hoped I’d captured it all!
So, this brings us to now. The edit is done, the photos sent to Nick and Lauren, and now this blog post is written. Below is a slideshow of what was a very beautiful day – I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed shooting and editing them!