The last weekend in July represents almost the end of a very busy month, however July ended on a high note, or should that be a highland note, with Steven and Kayleigh’s wedding. As you’ll have gathered from that awful pun there was a Scottish theme to Steven and Kayleigh’s wedding, due to Steven coming from north of the border, although as Kayleigh’s father mentioned in his speech there were in fact guests from across the United Kingdom.
As normal for me day started early at Kayleigh’s parents’ house which was a hive of activity with make-up, hair, dresses and flowers high on the priority list. I quickly set to work taking pictures of Kayleigh’s dress, shoes and jewelery while Kayleigh was having her make-up done. The timing worked well, and I finished these initial shots just has the finishing touches were being applied. A minor crisis with a false eyelash allowed me to get in close and take this shot of the make-up artist at work. When I reviewed the images at the end of the day it was clear to me that this shot needed to be in black and white, and given the same film star look you might see in a 1930’s movie.
Once everyone was ready I took a few family portraits before leaving the house and headed down to the church to meet Steven, the best man and of course the vicar. Whenever I prepare for a wedding I alway like to visit all the venues with the bride and groom beforehand hence the journey caused no problems and I was quickly at the church. As a photographer I always find talking to the vicar or registrar to be vital; a) because each person as their own preferences on what is or isn’t acceptable during the service (and I wouldn’t want to inadvertently upset anyone), and b) because they’re familiar with the building and can usually tell you all the best places to stand for each part of the service. The vicar for Kayleigh and Steven’s wedding was particularly helpful giving me access to the choir stools, and a great view of the proceedings.
I quickly grabbed a shot of Steven and the Best man, moments before Kayleigh and the bridal party arrived. At this point the fact that this was a Scottish wedding really began to sink in, as I counted at least 15 people in kilts and a piper warming up his bag pipes. The Bridal procession formed up and were piped into the church.
During the ceremony I captured all the images I wanted including the exchange of rings, the reading, some great pictures of the congregation and of course the kiss, however on this occasion the new husband and wife were so quick to kiss, that very few people got to see it, fortunately I was poised and ready, but the vicar asked them to kiss again just for my benefit to make sure I got the shot and Steven and Kayleigh willingly obliged.
After the service everyone spilled out into the small grounds surrounding the church. The light was very difficult here with strong sunlight falling on the church walls, but everything else in dark shadow from nearby trees. I’d been worried about this when I’d visited the church beforehand, so I asked everyone to move down to the end of the church where I’d seen a bench which was in dappled sunlight making a great place to pose for the formal shots, and an interesting background with the patterned light on the church walls.
Kayleigh and Steven had chosen an early wedding breakfast, so once we had most of the formal shots, everyone quickly moved onto the reception venue. Here there was a short drinks reception which allowed me to pop into the room where the meal would be held and take photos of the tables, cake and decorations. Once that was done I returned to the drinks reception to circulate through the guests and take some candid shots.
I took a break while the guest ate their meal and returned in good time to record the speeches. One thing I did notice with a “Scottish wedding” was how boisterous the guests were with an unprompted rendition of “O flower of Scotland” delaying the proceedings and some robust, but good-natured banter during the speeches.
I always ask the bride and groom to prepare a shooting list for me to make sure no important shots are missed on the day, so after the meal I asked the ushers to help move everyone out into the hotel grounds so I could finish the few remaining formal shots, and of course get the big group shot. The pleasant sunny evening gave some wonderful light and after the formal shots I spent some time doing informal portraits for each of the guests. As the sun started to set, the evening guests began to arrive and we moved inside ready for my last 2 photographic tasks, cutting the cake and the first dance. Although weddings are often a long day this one was fun to do and as I left I felt the party was going to be running late into the night.