Christmas is a time for families, and Lorraine and Paul were definitely putting their families first as part of their Wedding Ceremony in Hitchin’s Sun Hotel. Lorraine and Paul brought together all the people who were important to them (including flying some in from Australia) to make sure their Christmas wedding a special event.
As usual for any wedding I shoot I met up with Lorraine and Paul a few weeks before the big day at the Sun Hotel so we could talk through what they were looking for and have a good look around the venue. The Sun Hotel offers several different wedding options, however for Paul and Lorraine the Tavistock Room on the ground floor of the main building met their needs, serving as both the venue for the ceremony and the wedding breakfast.
During our meeting we spoke about the running order of the day, what Paul and Lorraine were looking for for their wedding, and what they needed from me. In this case they didn’t need to cover the full day and I was happy to work around their plans. Lorraine and Paul hadn’t asked for shots of the Bride getting ready, or detail shots of the dress, but were keen to get a few shots before the ceremony including the Groom and Best man, and the wedding party. I arrived about 45 minutes before the ceremony which gave me plenty of time for the “before” shots and a chance to get a few “scene setters” of the venue and a few candid shots. This was also a great opportunity to introduce myself to the guests and let them know that I was only going to be there for a limited time and to make good use of my services.
With every wedding I shoot I never make assumptions about what is or isn’t allowed, and so grabbed a few minutes with the registrar to check up on the use of flash, moving around, and what was or wasn’t acceptable. In this case other than the legal requirement not to shoot the actual signing of the register, the registrar was very easy going giving me a detailed run down of where the couple would stand during the service, the readings that would take place and even how we could use a particular table for the signing photos. With this knowledge I had a great view of the proceedings and managed to capture a number of candid moments, including the best man pretending to have lost the rings!
After the ceremony there was a small drinks reception, which I used to get some formal and informal group shots. Since the wedding was at the end of December we knew the weather may have been against us, however although not sunny there were a couple of times where the weather was dry enough to get some more formal (and of course some fun shots) outside including the Bride and Groom with their parents and children, the confetti shot and the big group shot, including my favourite “wave like a lunatic” group shot which is a great way to get everyone smiling!
Part of the wet weather plan, and something I know Paul was particularly keen to use, was to reserve part of the main bar with a beautiful stone fireplace, so during the drinks reception I organised a number of portrait shots using that as a background.
I always ask about the little details which have gone into the wedding planning for both the service and reception, and was aware that a special candle in memory of Brian, Lorraine’s father, had been prepared and made sure I took a number of shots showing the candle.
Lorraine and Paul had decided to do the speeches before the wedding breakfast, so my final job of the day was to photograph those and a posed cutting of the cake allowing the Bride and Groom to carry on their celebrations with all of the photography out of the way.
Each wedding and every venue is different and there’s always something to learn. In this case I picked up very quickly that there was a large mirror in the Tavistock room directly behind where Paul and Lorraine would be standing during the service, and where they would be sitting for the signing of the register and the wedding breakfast. With this in mind I had to be very careful about where I stood so that I didn’t catch my own reflection in every shot, however a few test shots whilst speaking to the registrar showed me if I stood to the right of the aisle I would be fine. This worked very well and reduced the amount of post-processing enormously. In fact there was only one picture where a guest appeared in the mirror but thanks to the magic of PhotoShop I was able to remove them without a trace!
Below you’ll find a selection of my favourite shots from the day, but you can see the full set of photos, and order prints and other gifts by following the link to my Pro-Gallery here.
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