The end of August pretty much marks the end of the wedding season (although this year I have weddings booked into November), but my last wedding in August took me to St Mary’s church in Old Welwyn in Hertfordshire for a relaxed and informal wedding which was much more about celebrating the day and being with friends and family than it was about pomp and circumstance.
Peter and Susan knew that they wanted their wedding to be about bringing friends and family together and to make sure that everyone who attended was part of the day. To help achieve this they called on the skills and talents of friends and family members to fulfil many different roles.
As always I met up with the couple a few weeks before the wedding to visit the venues and to go through exactly what they wanted. Peter and Susan’s requirements were quite simple; they only wanted a few formal shots after the wedding (in fact their shooting list was just 12 family groups), and some shots to remind them of the day and the people they shared it with.
Peter and Susan were keen to have some candid shots with the emphasis being on fun and (like themselves) being a little quirky. Once I had this brief I suggested that a reportage style was going to suit their needs. I quickly flicked back through my portfolio to Colin and Wendy’s wedding from 2011 who had a very similar brief (see photos from that wedding here). Peter and Susan loved the black the black and white shots, the different view points and the zany angles.
With a 3:00 PM service, no “getting ready” shots, and a short drive from Hitchin I had a relaxed start to my day and arrived at the church in good time to take a few candid portraits of Peter and the guests as they arrived, finishing off with the groom and best men shots about 10 minutes before Susan got to the church.
St Mary’s is a church Peter and Susan visit regularly, hence with a lack of fanfare – which became typical for the day – Susan simply walked down the road through the centre of Welwyn with her 2 sons to the church. Seizing the opportunity I quickly ran down the road to meet them at took a series of shots as they walked along in true reportage style.
Each venue and celebrant always has different views on what is or isn’t allowed regarding photography so I’m always keen to speak with the relevant people before the ceremony to avoid any embarrassment. In keeping with Peter and Susan’s aim to keep the day simple and the church’s policy of no photos during the service I was only allowed to take photos of Susan’s entrance, posed photos of the signing of the register, and Peter and Susan walking down the aisle as man and wife. With this knowledge I chose my spot carefully and sat back to enjoy the service.
After the service I took some pictures of Peter and Susan in the church door way, but rain prevented us from completing the formal shots outside. Fortunately we’d prepared a wet weather plan and were able to shoot the formal groups in the church itself. Susan had mentioned that the Church was light and well lit we had our initial discussions, and hence I was prepared for this event and mixed flash and ambient lighting to give a very natural look to the photos and to take advantage of the beautiful interior of the church.
After the service it was a quick car journey to Holmstead Court in Welwyn for the reception.
Continuing the theme of involving friends and family, and looking for simple ways to enjoy the day, the reception was equally laid back with many details including the wedding cakes and table favours being prepared by friends and family. Although it was a tight schedule I managed to get into the reception rooms early and took a series of shots of the room and decorations before the welcome line and the entry of the bride and groom.
Unfortunately the rain that had interrupted the formal photos earlier had continued throughout the afternoon and I needed to work really quickly for final group shot. With the number of guests and limitations on space within the venue, the only option was ask everyone to move outside into the rain for the big group shot. By standing on some picnic benches overlooking the garden gave me just enough height and I was able to do 2 group shots (including my favourite “wave like lunatics” shot) in just a few minutes.
My final tasks for the evening were then just the cutting of the cake, and the first dance in front of a live band (Resonance) for whom I recently covered a charity gig (see those photos here), all of which went without a hitch!
I understand from Susan that her wedding is to be featured in the Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Bride magazine 2016, so I look forward to seeing my photos in print.
At Peter and Susan’s request I have created 2 Pro-Galleries where you can see the full set of photos from their wedding;
- To access the public gallery click here Pro-Gallery Public
- For those with the relevant password the private gallery can be accessed here Pro-Gallery Private.
LATEST NEWS – Issues with the Pro-Gallery slide show and Internet Explorer
A few people have recently reported problems viewing the Pro-Gallery slide-show with Internet Explorer. Unfortunately this system is owned by PhotoBox and hence out of my control, however running under a different browser (for example Opera, FireFox or Chrome) seems to be more reliable. Click here for a list of alternate browsers.
If you’d like to book me to shoot your wedding or other special occasion drop me a line with the contact page.