I become so attached to the couples I meet, to the choices they make for their weddings. We spend so much time coordinating and organising, meeting up and having a practice run at their pre-wedding shoots - I stare at their faces for hours as I edit (in a super non-creepy way haha!) that it’s a little bit heartbreaking finishing the edit and sending the final collection off. It’s not until I reopen those final images to blog the wedding that I look closely at the series of moments, the micro-storytelling and am reminded just how close I get to virtual strangers in just a matter of months. Because you wonderful humans that I’m lucky enough to meet along the way open yourselves up and are so vulnerable and generous, sharing these incredibly intimate and personal moments with me. I never ever will take my responsibility lightly, I know just how weird this experience of hiring and working with a photographer can be.
I’ve been so lucky for the past few years to have worked with couples who allow themselves to trust me, who will walk through those fields in borrowed wellies under their gowns or hop in a cab to another part of town, who hold each other close and press their faces together (always closer guys! you can always get closer!) who give me the liberty to take them away from their celebrations for 10 or 15 minutes just to have a breather and that first holy-shit-we’re-married giggle and gasp. Because when you’re working with someone you trust, you know that the only agenda they have is to tell your story, to show off your most beautiful, delirious, joyous just-married selves. I fall in love with you guys every damn time, at the way you look at each other and how your voices drop in reverence or ring out clear as a bell during your vows. I’m charmed by your families and gleeful with your pals - I love the inside jokes and awkward groomsmen banter, the bridesmaids who curse and kick their shoes off and the flower girls twirling all over the dance floor. I love misty-eyed dads and nanas on the gin. Mostly I love you for trusting me, for knowing that I’ll catch what you miss…
When Chris and Liz got in touch with me at the start of the year, I knew straight away that we were a brilliant match and that I just had to capture their wedding celebration for them. Rather than sticking to the more traditional civil-ceremony, the new Mr. & Mrs. Mason opted instead for a legal ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall attended only by their parents, Nana and Chris’s sister then followed by a STUNNING DIY celebrant-led garden party wedding of my dreams at the incredible Spring Cottage Cafe in Rivington the next day. Liverpool-born architect Liz and Bolton-bred university timetable manager Chris are the true definition of soul mates (you may remember their dreamy Rivington Pike pre-wedding shoot I blogged in the Spring!) and from the inital Skype meeting where none of us stopped talking and giggling and plotting, I knew from the word go that we were going to create some wedding magic.
The best part was capturing the contrast in the 2 days - the INCREDIBLY emotional civil ceremony at the town hall followed by a photo adventure around the striking streets of Liverpool (one of my very favourite UK cities!) and then arriving to bridal prep the next morning at Haigh Hall with Liz and her sweet and fun bridal party as they got ready for a glorious June wedding day. Liz was a damn angel in her intricately beaded 1920s style Jenny Packham gown and the girls were visions in dove grey gowns gently reminiscent of Liz’s dress. Her t-shirt style Phase Eight dress from the day previously was beautiful and perfect for the more intimate ceremony but the Jenny Packham was a showstopper.
The festivities began at Spring Cottage with a wonderfully touching ceremony by their celebrant, Annie and as the happy couple were played back down the aisle to a string quartet version of the theme from Up, the party well and truly got underway. Serious foodies, Liz & Chris opted for an informal barbecue sharing platter feast in the marquee, decorated with wildflowers and geometric DIY touches everywhere and finished with homemade ice cream from a local family farm. The weather was on it’s best behaviour and as brilliant sunshine gave way to the most magical golden hour and then a dusky twilight for their first dance, Liz and Chris remained fused together, grinning from ear-to-ear and in the most ethereal bubble of love and faith and pure joy. We skipped out a couple of times but my very favourite was our stroll through the fields at peak golden hour - the most epic light for any photographer - as though they were being blessed by their surroundings, the light kissing their skin and wrapping a halo around their entwined hands (that only reluctantly let go of each other). I was practically giddy by the end of the day.
Magic can happen on a wedding day when you least expect it but sometimes if you carve out just a few minutes of extra time late in the day, when the speeches have left you out of breath from laughter and a bit weepy, when your bellies are full and another group of well-wishers is on their way to boogie the night away with you - when the tie is loosened and the veil removed, the bouquet left on the table that’s when we skip out. And you get to look at each other and hold on tight and take in just how mad and wonderful and crazy and perfect the day has been. THAT is my favourite kind of magic.
CELEBRANT Annie Richardson https://www.therivingtoncelebrant.co.uk/
DRESS Jenny Packham, the White Closet https://www.whiteclosetstudios.co.uk/
SHOES Rachel Simpson https://rachelsimpsonshoes.co.uk/
HAIR AND MAKEUP Louise Hall http://www.louise-hall.co.uk/
GROOM’S SUIT Moss Bros. https://www.moss.co.uk/
BAND The Loose Moose String Band https://www.loosemoosestringband.com/
STRING QUARTET The Highgate String Quartet https://highgatestringquartet.co.uk/
FEAST Smokin’ Blues http://www.smokinblues.co.uk/