December is a month of tradition; shopping, bargains, presents, turkeys and of course Christmas! But I was welcomed to a new tradition, a Wedding.
Phil and Sarah's wedding was traditional in every way; from the preparations, a christian ceremony and an evening reception. Aside from the cold the day weather did not let us down. A bit foggy at first but the sun soon came out to play in Worcester.
I dropped off my photography partner Kelly to be with the Phil and the Ushers while I made my way onto to see Sarah's preparations. After some quick formal introductions I set to work. Out came the trusted Nikon D3. The makeup artist was already there, she found the best place to do it which was right by the windows. Because they had setup in the corner it was a bit of a squeeze. I had to ask if I could slip through so I could get a better angle, the near side had a large Christmas tree in my view. Sarah had her mother, bride's maids and some children busying around the house.
The atmosphere was very relaxed which really shows in the photos. I was careful not to overstep my place, after all I am an invited professional and not a guest, however the lines can be blurred when the friends and family treat me so well and welcoming. Photographing Sarah was just very easy, the light was perfect which really made the skin tones really come alive and glow! When the make up artist help put the Vail on the photos just popped out; even though I was just viewing the previews on the back of the Nikon I could tell these were winning shots.
Then it soon became time for Sarah to put on the first dress of her new life. For obvious reasons I let her and her brides maids do the initial steps. Once they were ready for me they called me in. The dress was amazing and a real joy to photograph, the challenge for me was to find the right angles in the right light; the light wasn't perfect and I didn't want to flash away in a tight space. Another challenge overcome and in the bag.
While I was capturing beautiful shots of Sarah, Kelly was still with the boys as they were getting ready. Now as always when you get a bunch of good friends together on a wedding morning there is that air silliness and quiet contemplation. Phil is one of those people who have bags of encouragement and someone who is fun and loyal which explains why he has some very good people to be his best man and ushers; but when you look at the photos of Phil in between his very laid back manner there are precious moments of the enormity of what he is about to commit to.
Time really flies on a Wedding day, before I knew it I had to leave the serenity of the bridal house to the church which was only 2 miles away. The sun had disappeared and the fog came in which looked superb on camera. I waited outside the church with one of the ushers. It was cold, but not unbearable. I think the excitement and being in a 'state of readiness' helped warm me up... that and a big coat!
Sarah's car approached the church like a scene from a Hollywood movie; the mist slowly dramatically parted as it unveiled the hood of the car before revealing the rest of it as if it were an ocean liner.
The mist gave my photos a majesty about them as Sarah, escorted by her brother, walked down the path the tall trees framed them perfectly. I can't tell you how giddy I was just photographing that moment! As they walked through the church doors, the colours changed to a warm hue; rich gold and yellows glowed throughout the church. By now I was right at the front capturing the precious moment as they're walking down the isle.
The ceremony itself was very moving for me personally. I am a Christian and a church is a very Holy place; Sarah and Phil's service had God right in the centre of their vows. It brought home to me what a marriage is all about, and the promises they have made in front of the Lord.
After a few quick unplanned formal shots outside of the church, it was a quick dash to the reception venue, a beautiful hotel set on some wonderful grounds. Before Phil and Sarah got to the main building, we took some posed shots by the bridges as they requested. It was a good idea too, the photos and the surrounding area were amazing
For the group shots I really needed my A-Game. The day was running behind schedule, the natural light from the sun was fading, the smartly dressed guests were feeling the cold and the hotel manager had the breakfast ready to go in an hour. I was under pressure to pull everything back on time. Experience was on my side; between Kelly and I we got all the shots done outside on the steps. Hurrah!
The rest of the day was relatively simple. I had planned the placements for where we should be for the speeches, the cake cutting and the first dance so no drama there.
A wonderful December wedding, full of great memories and stories to tell. This photographer certainly learnt a few things that day!