I arrived at Amanda’s first thing to capture her before the dress was donned, I found her in dressing gown and mid contouring of the makeup or as she described to me... Don't photograph me without the cement and plaster on. So I pointed the camera at her daughter (Grace) instead. Grace was so excited to get her photo taken and pointed me in the right direction to get the dress and shoes. Roll on a beautiful text and picture from the groom (Michael) saying the room for the meal was all set up, Amanda might be getting a little emotional at this point.
A BOAT, BRIDGES AND A BRIDE
I then left Amanda for her last few moments with the family ahead of catching up with Michael at North Shields Registry Office and grab a few shots pre ceremony. I must admit I'm not sure who was more nervous, Michael or Amanda at this point. Grace was going to be the first to walk down the Aisle, and I managed to capture her grand entrance just before she headed down the aisle.
It was at this point I had to be pushy (something which I really don't like to be) but we were on a time limit to get sunset outside. Despite the multiple, "we need to go now" it took me about ten minutes to get them outside, but thankfully the planning paid off and we got “the shot” of the day. A huge beautiful purple sunset, a silhouetted Tyne bridge and a couple being nice and relaxed on a breather from meets and greets and dancing. As Amanda said “sometimes it pays to have complete faith in the photographer”. She also said it was nice to watch the sunset go down and take a break from the madness of the day.
One of the things I'd noticed was that we were taking a lot longer than scheduled on the boat, so in fact we were now running an hour behind (and not due to me). But that didn't stop us having a few quick shots on the Millennium Bridge, and with the Sage in the distance. I did get an "I'm not standing anywhere near that puddle" from Amanda, but thanks to Michael and the two beautiful bridesmaids who said "he knows what he's doing" she was convinced (she might even quite like this photo I was told).
Onto the first dance, yes there was one for those who couldn't remember, and their second dance as a team of three with Grace being in the mix. Then the party stepped up a gear and some funny photos in the photo booth. I even managed to catch the Bride and Bridesmaids being daft (they didn’t even notice the camera sneaking in).
I think the moment that made all of us go “aww” was Grace helping her mum into the dress. Then the moment was shattered by realising it needed to come off for a bathroom break and back on... Oops preplanning going out of the window already.
With the arrival of the Bride and Groom the party at the Sage could now get into full swing, meal, speeches and, later in the evening, dancing. Amanda’s Dad, brought a "Oh my God, you didn't just go there" about past boyfriends and Grace brought the tears followed by Michael bringing more. Amanda says it was just something on her eye, yeah right!
A toast on a boat, all the friends and family around, and Grace even piloting for a while. The most spectacular place on the boat has to be the bow when we had moved up the Tyne to see a wide open Millennium Bridge and pass underneath. However, once this was done it was a mad rush from one end of the boat to the other to catch the Tyne Bridge behind them. This was a how to push guests out the way and stop Amanda and Michael from talking to everyone on the way past to get the shot. Standing on the back of the boat there was a split second where I think Amanda truly realised she was married. Giving me one of the most emotional photos of the day
Let the wheels of cheese be carved (Amanda even brought some for me when she was viewing her photos, thank you!), the grapes were gone due to a couple of pesky whippersnappers stealing them half way through the meal.
Bring on the confetti and celebration. Then a nice wander down to the North Shields ferry pick up to catch our boat cruise up the Tyne. But first, out to the mouth of the Tyne for a circle and back up to the Sage Gateshead.
I love it when you can see the change in emotion throughout a half an hour service from super nervous, to ‘Oh my God it's going to happen,’ to sheer joy when the rings are on the fingers. Amanda was no exception and by the end had gone through each of these. The grins just never stopped from there, well apart from when I took her drink off her for the sake of a photo.
A fantastic day was truly had by all! Taxi and I'm outta here! Congratulations to the Mr and Mrs.
P.s. In with Amanda’s package she wanted to "rock her frock" on the beach and had asked if Grace could join. A big resounding yes to this request and 5 weeks after the wedding, the four of us are standing on the beach (Michael is now chief bag carrier). We'd timed the shoot to coincide with sunset and we were not disappointed.
I may have wound Amanda up a little bit before the shoot by suggesting I was bringing some fireworks and not to get to close to them for the fear of setting her dress alight. But after the first five minutes, it wasn't the fireworks that were spectacular. For me what comes from the photos is the total bond between Amanda and Grace and it just flows out of the photos. Oh and with a spectacular sunset too. That’s why I love my job so much.