SUN, SEA, HAIL AND RAIN MADE FOR AN UNFORGETTABLE DAY
For me, a wedding doesn’t start on the day, I don’t just rock up and fire off a few shots. Just like the Bride and Groom it starts at the initial consultation, through a number of emails/chats and then the final sit down. For Lauren and Michaels wedding, The Grand Hotel Tynemouth (where they get married) was walked and checked prior to the day, lists were revised and passed back and forth, timelines exchanged and plans for where to get the all the photos. In early days Tynemouth Priory was a front runner for outdoor photos until English Heritage wanted to charge a small fortune.
A week before the wedding, I had a final walk round of the Grand Hotel, it did however reveal a nice little issue sitting in the one of our outdoor shooting location at the Tynemouth outdoor pool, The issue being a bright yellow digger. I must admit it did cause me a mild moment of panic, and it maybe gave Lauren a little bit of concern after I sent her a pic saying “this might be a problem” but my next line was “I’ll find out if this is going to be a problem”. After checking with the guys who are organising the renovation, everything was supposedly finished before the wedding day (fingers crossed).
In the week before the wedding, I checked the weather forecast daily, but when you get 4 different weather forecasts for the same day you get a bit concerned. However sitting at the grand hotel at 8am on the Saturday morning, we had clear skies and a digger free pool. For me its always best to see the venue before the bride and groom get there(not possible in all cases) but it helps me check for last minute changes)
Arriving at the parents, I was offered croissants, juice, champagne, but as I was working, I thought “I’ll stick to water”. At this point I’m in the mix in between the hair and makeup artists getting creative to make everyone look utterly flawless. My brain kicks in to focus mode to make sure I don’t miss anything, from shoes to diamantes on the veil, to the hooks on the back of the dress, hair pieces, smiles and the opening of champagne. With all the Bridesmaids in one place and about to see Lauren for the first time I positioned myself over Laurens shoulder just to make sure I can capture all their reactions in one go. It was at this point that Lauren had an “oh my god” moment realising that they were running about 15 minutes behind her own time schedule
Just as Lauren was getting a make-up touch up, down came spots of rain, and on a conservatory roof, it makes quite a noise. I can only imagine what Lauren was thinking, but I’m stood, head poking out of the conservatory door, debating in my head “are these clouds going to pass or are they here to stay?”. Thankfully it was a minor sprinkle and we got everyone out in the garden. It was at this point that Paul (Laurens Dad) got back and shed a little tear for seeing his Daughter in “the dress” for the first time. After that it was on to Tynemouth, and I must admit I even got a bit worried as the hailstones bounced off my windscreen on the way.
The big group shot was the last photo of the night, and while I’d never normally leave it this late (due to the frantic replanning from earlier), we had everyone watching Laruen and Michael cake cutting, so a quick whip in the opposite direction and we have got the all important “everyone is here photo”.
With that I say my good byes and wish Lauren and Michael to have a great party and depart for the evening.( I heard it went on till at least 3am)
Congratulations Mr & Mrs Foster
Arriving at The Grand I meet a nervous Michael and even stop photographing to help him attach his buttonhole. However, with two cameras hanging round the neck, I’m unable to help and get back to the task in hand, and get back to photographing the best man helping .
Cue, guest arrival, chats and bridesmaids, all before the main lady of the day elegantly enters. Just as Lauren and Dad arrive in the car everyone else gets ushered into the room to the grand entrance. A few excited (or possibly nervous) tears later and then dried by Laurens Mum, it’s all stations go.
I always find it strange that after the bridesmaids it’s me who treks up the isle before the bride, but these thoughts only enter my head after the day. I’m just concentrating on walking backwards and making sure I don’t knock any of the flowers or guests out of the way, that would be disastrous. Through the ceremony I move around the whole room, checking for the right angles and the right photos to form the perfect story of the day. I even caught the reflection of Michael in Laurens eyes (if you zoom in close enough).
Concluding the ceremony I head down the isle a little bit before the newly weds, making sure the scene is captured, which then follows onto their first glass of champagne as a couple (newly married couple I should say).
After about 20 minutes of meet and greets, I remind Lauren we’re about 10 mins behind her schedule (She wanted to fit everything in). However, looking outside at this point and the heavens were open and buckets of rain were bouncing off the pavement, so a “let us get the formal shots” and pray it was only a shower. With the formal shots coming to the end of the list we realise that we’ve had a few wander offs, which causes a touch of replanning. But it did mean we looked outside at the weather, it had stopped raining and the sun was coming out.
The next part of the day involved me whisking the married couple away in the wedding car to the far side of the priory to get some couple shots and slightly bigger shots with the pier and beach. I love this part of the day, as it gives the bride and groom a chance to just take a few minutes chill and realise they are actually married. You can see their shoulders relax and see them think… YES its done (well normally the bride). from there head down on to the beach, next to the boats with the piers in the background and onto a quick car trip back to the Grand for the receiving lines.
Just prior to the receiving lines starting Michael nips downstairs (I’m not sure what for) but myself and Lauren managed to nip to the next set of stairs for a few pics. This is where I was found lying on the floor in my suit, camera’s balancing just to get the shot. A couple of minutes later Michael arrives and we get a few great shots on the stairs. From here all the guests star to come up the stairs and are greeted by Lauren and Michael. Once everyone was seated it was time for the happy couple to enter.
Once the Laruen and Michael were seated the speeches begin. This is one of those parts of the day that I just love, the reactions happening all over the place. From Paul (Laurens dad) making her cry, to the huge smiles and full on laughter when Michael was handed something that he needed on the stag do. When the food starts that’s the time for me to take a break, as eating food and photography don’t mix. I check back in between each course, just to make sure I’m not missing something, but I pick back up fully as soon as the desserts are finished and grab some table shots.
With the sun getting lower in the sky, it was time to head down to the old Tynemouth outdoor pool for a few groups and more photos. At this point I’ve already got an image in my head of what shots I want to get and how I want it to turn out. We grab a few shots with the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen and then catch about another twenty minutes to just get the Fosters .
Below you can see my favourite photo of the day, from the way the rain clouds from earlier are blowing out to sea, the setting sun on the orange rust, the reflection in the water of the two of them standing there, to the perfect way Laurens veil is caught by the wind. Sometimes all aspects come together to create something truly spectacular (this is also something Lauren grilled me on when she booked me, and I think I might just have surpassed the expectations.) For me I can't decide if I prefer the Black and White or colour, i just know i love this shot either way.
Walking back to the Grand hotel, and I’d already been asked by Michaels Mam to hold them up by the steps to allow the confetti throwing (she’d been dying to throw all day).
The magic of the first dance is always a beautiful thing to see and today was no exception. Then the second dance of the evening with the father of the bride (it always makes me think of Steve Martin whenever I write that sentence). This point of the night I mill around and catch people in mid flow of conversations, dancing like they just don't care, or as in some cases the people who avoided the camera earlier in the day are now dying to jump in front of it, which all adds to capturing the day.