I first met up with Danny and Suzanne on a cold December evening back in 2010. They had found me online and decided to book me. Since I last met them I have done well over 40 weddings and happily they have been following my blog and have seen how my work has developed since they originally booked me. But I love that they saw something in my work even back then when I was just really starting out, and in fact still at college when we met up (I may not have mentioned that at the time!) So, we met up on Wednesday morning, early so that I could rush to Bristol airport for my flight to Marseille, and spent a lovely couple of hours at Wisley Gardens, chatting about their plans for their wedding in Croydon, and then photographing in the blooming grounds before the bank holiday families started arriving. The morning really confirmed how important it is for me that I genuinely like my clients; it hardly feels like work when I get to spend time with interesting and warm people who I would choose as friends.
I have to confess; covering a wedding for a friend is quite possibly the most stressful assignment out there for a photographer. I feel the pressure even more than usual to ensure that the photos are absolutely knock-out good (they know where I live), but this wedding actually turned out to be one of the most relaxed and calm I've been to all year. The whole day from start to finish just flowed smoothly. The team at Great Fosters were outstanding, with fabulous attention to detail and service. And Kate and Alex simply radiated happiness and charm throughout. Kate got ready at her parents house, with make up by her friend Christina Panzini and then it was a short hop to the very lovely chapel upon a hill; St Edward the Confessor in Sutton Park. It was pretty tight inside which meant I had to try and make myself even more discrete during the ceremony (at nearly 6 ft this is something I sometimes struggle with!). Kate's composure dropped and her emotion came through as she entered the church on her dad's arm wearing a stunning gown designed for her by Forget Me Not Designs. At the top of the aisle, Alex was tense in anticipation before he turned to see her walking down the aisle. Oh, I'm welling up just writing about it! As everyone piled out of the church the sun broke through, accompanied by the pealing of church bells courtesy of one of the ushers, Mark, my brother (such wide ranging skills, who knew?!) and I pulled the couple away for a quick stroll up to the end of the church lawn and a few pictures. Back at Great Fosters we took a walk around the gardens where we had been a few weeks earlier for their engagement shoot. Except for 30 seconds of rain (literally) it stayed bright and lovely. I could have shot for hours with them, they are such a beautiful couple, but got them back to the Tythe Barn in good time for their grand entrance. Usually at a wedding I will take a break during the meal (photos of people eating are never flattering), collapse in a corner, call my boyfriend and drink a LOT of water and when lucky be provided with the wedding meal. Kate and Alex kindly squeezed me onto a table and I was sandwiched between newly weds Gemma (my brother's wife - wedding pics from Ibiza here) and Hayley. Unfortunately for them I probably wasn't great company as I was hopping up and down every 5 minutes for shots but it was nice to grab snippets of conversation between mouthfuls.
The meal was delicious, salmon roulade, lamb and plum crumble and ice cream. Cheese came in the form of a cheese 'cake' instead of the traditional wedding cake (made by The Lavender Hill Company who also did all the beautiful flowers). After the first dance the awesome Ska band, Oomphf from Brighton kicked in, and parked outside was a photobooth taxi providing instant prints for guests. Here is me and Dan the fantastic videographer from From the Hip trying it out:
If you were a guest at Kate and Alex's wedding you can view the full album here. The password is their surname.
I am hugely flattered to have been chosen by Kate and Alex to shoot their wedding. As a school friend of my brother's, I hadn't seen Alex for many, many years until he was best man at Mark's wedding recently. Mark hadn't actually mentioned to Alex and Kate that his sister was a wedding photographer and so they had booked another photographer. Happily for me they decided to change at the last minute and even more happily I was available. We managed to squeeze in this shoot 10 days before their wedding.
I was bowled over by how stunning Great Fosters is - it will be a perfect wedding venue. The grounds are spectacular and the venue itself is impeccably smart with wonderful staff. We had a lovely 2 hours wandering around the grounds and they were such a delight to photograph - and absolutely gorgeous as you can see... 9 days and counting!