Weddings

New Website!

Thanks to everyone who has been following my blog for the last few years - I really appreciate all of the support.  I wanted to announce that I have a brand new website and blog (currently featuring one of my weddings from my recent trip to New Zealand) up and running which I would love for you to check out.  It's been a long time coming and a real labour of love.  When you are so close to the work you have created it can be hard to stand back and objectively create something that represents you, your brand and your personality but it's often the first thing that people get to see as an introduction to me to I hope it is memorable and reflective of the passion I have for my work.  It's been amazing looking back over some of the beautiful weddings I have been to, the wonderful people I have met and the incredible destinations I have visited. It's part of an exciting new beginning and I look forward to great things happening this year!  I hope you enjoy it.

x

www.helenabrahamphotography.com

New Zealand London Destination Wedding Photographer

Helen Abraham Destination Wedding Photographer

 

An Intimate London Ceremony

A couple of summers ago I was both guest and photographer at the wonderful wedding of Nick and Pip in Somerset and had the pleasure of sitting on a table with both a friend Lisha and also newly engaged couple Charlie and Tetyana.  Now, Lisha is one of my biggest supporters, for which I am eternally grateful!  I've covered a number of weddings recently on the back of her glowing reference and she didn't hesitate in recommending me to Charlie and Tetyana there and then.  Following the wedding I picked out this sweet moment between them from the wedding: 2012-06-11_001

Disappointingly I was already booked for their full wedding in the Ukraine this month but I was able to join them for the more intimate ceremony at the absolutely stunning Temple Church in central London (which is featured in The Da Vinci Code); one of the most historic and beautiful churches in London.

The warden closed off the church to the visitors and there was an incredible sense of calm and quiet anticipation in this vast space as Charlie waited at the end of the intimidatingly long aisle.  There was pure joy in their faces and it was very emotional to have been a part of such a wonderful occasion.  And Charlie and Tetyana were the perfect couple to photograph after the ceremony; so happy, easy and relaxed with one another.

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Sophie & Tim's Wedding at Dillington House

Sophie has quite a talent for under promising and over delivering.  At our first meeting (see engagement shoot here) she talked me through the details of the wedding venue and whilst it sounded lovely she described it as a conference/education centre and so I was overwhelmed when I arrived.  It helped that it was a glorious day, but Dillington House has fabulous grounds and has the grandeur you would expect of the former Somerset home of George III's Prime Minister, Lord North. They had also told me about the fancy dress element so I was intrigued as to how that would play out but this has to have been one of the most highly detailed and well planned out weddings I've attended.  Sophie and Tim's attention to the finest detail was impressive.  Each table, spread across 4 different rooms within the house, had it's own theme including The Great Gatsby, Royalty, Birds and the Bees and Fairy Tales and every guest had come prepared to dress up after the ceremony according to their table.

After the humanist ceremony in the barn all guests went off to change and reassembled at the back of the house for lawn games with the bride and groom making a grand entrance as a Bumblebee and White Peackcock - looking absolutely fabulous.  I was so impressed at the effort everyone made to fully embrace the dress code and it made for a wonderful spectacle.

(Engagement photos from Columbia Road Flower Market here).

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Chris & Judith's Wedding in Bordeaux

It is definitely one of the perks of my job to be able to travel for work.  It gives me such joy to know that I can pack up my camera bag and work anywhere in the world.  This year I have done a handful of destination weddings for UK based clients and am looking forward to doing more next year. Chris and Judith chose to marry in France, away from their family homes in Belfast and Glasgow.  They found the beautiful Chateau de la Ligne just outside Bordeaux and brought over 60 close friends and family (Chris is one of 9!).  From the outset they made me feel so welcome and comfortable and I honestly felt like one of the party - and I think this benefits the photography as by the time of the wedding I knew exactly who everyone was and they were all far more relaxed in front of the camera.  It was lovely to be able to capture both the boys and girls and all the family getting ready across the chateau before they went down to the village church for the ceremony which was conducted by their local priest who also came over from Belfast.  After the ceremony canapés and champagne were served on the lawn before a meal served in the cool orangerie.  They surprised their guests with fireworks over the vineyards as the sunset, and then they were surprised by a video link with Chris' brother who was unable to attend the wedding because he was on tour with his choir in Canada.  At this point I slipped off to bed but the laughter continued long into the night.

See the engagement photos here.

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Neil and Antanas' Civil Ceremony at Town Hall Hotel, London

There is never a greater pleasure than photographing a friend's wedding - it gives such an intimate access into the day that as a guest you don't have.  I was so flattered that Neil and Antanas chose me to be their photographer at their very intimate ceremony and meal at the gorgeous Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green.  I've both stayed and worked there before so I knew what a fantastic location it would be; a mixture of Edwardian grandeur, art deco and contemporary. Having flown in early that morning from a wedding in Scotland I joined the boys getting ready in their suite.  I am usually with the girls for the preparation shots before a wedding so it was a delightful change and full of laughter and absolutely no dramas.

The ceremony took place in the simple panelled Majors Room followed by champagne in the ante chamber and then cocktails in the bar.  They had use of the rather dramatic council chamber for the meal - probably the most unusual reception venue I've seen.

It was a gorgeous day and I took them outside for a few shots around the building.  They were perfect models and so full of joy and happiness to be together which I think comes through in the pictures.

Sadly I couldn't join them as they headed off to Ibiza the following day as I had to head back up to Scotland but by all accounts they  had the most incredible after party.2013-07-16_0001 2013-07-16_0003 2013-07-16_0004 2013-07-16_0005 2013-07-16_0006 2013-07-16_0007 2013-07-16_0008 2013-07-16_0009 2013-07-16_0010 2013-07-16_0011 2013-07-16_0012 2013-07-16_0013 2013-07-16_0014 2013-07-16_0015 2013-07-16_0016 2013-07-16_0017 2013-07-16_0018 2013-07-16_0019 2013-07-16_0020 2013-07-16_0021 2013-07-16_0022 2013-07-16_0023 2013-07-16_0024 2013-07-16_0025 2013-07-16_0026 2013-07-16_0027 2013-07-16_0028 2013-07-16_0029 2013-07-16_0030 2013-07-16_0031 2013-07-16_0032 2013-07-16_0033 2013-07-16_0034 2013-07-16_0035 2013-07-16_0036 2013-07-16_0037 2013-07-16_0038 2013-07-16_0039 2013-07-16_0040 2013-07-16_0041

37 years of marriage and counting...

It was my dear parent's 37th anniversary a couple of days ago.  The traditional gift for this number of years of marriage is alabaster, a white gemstone. I was at their house and so asked to see their wedding album again and mum and I were marvelling at the changes in the industry.  Back in those days a photographer whom you had never met before would turn up for the ceremony.  Capture the signing of the register, the walk down the aisle and then a handful of family and couple line ups.  They would be there for no more than an hour or two.  Here are a few images of my beautiful parents looking rather amazingly young!

The church was in a little village in Somerset and was a typical Royal Naval wedding with  Dad's colleagues forming a sword arch to honour them as they came out of the church and 3 Wessex helicopters did a fly-by back at the reception at Yeovilton Air Station.  They headed off for a road trip around Europe for their honeymoon.

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When I think about the wonderful relationship I am able to develop with my couples I think that this very much reflects in the intimacy of the images I am able to capture.  By the time of the wedding I have had one or maybe two pre-wedding meetings to discuss the couples details and requirements, a pre-wedding shoot so that the couple are comfortable in front of the camera and then I will be with my bride from the preparations on the day right through to the first dance.

My couple will receive at least 500 images in colour and black and white both in an online gallery that can be shared with friends and family but also on a disc to keep and print images as they wish.

Portraits are about capturing subtle emotions between the couple, moments of love and laughter, and of course plenty of portraits of all the friends and family so that when the images are looked through the story is told from the start of the day to the end of the day with all the little moments that the bride and groom may have missed.  The expressions of their family as the bride walks down the aisle... the laughter of guests at a table, the delight of a confetti throw.  Every couple gasp at how quickly the day has flown by when I say goodbye at the end of the evening.  A set of images that allows them to relive the day over and over is priceless.

But back to my parents... I love them so much and thank them from the bottom of my heart for always encouraging me to follow my dreams and for never doubting my abilities and potential when I decided to become a photographer; for giving me the tools of independence and strong work ethic to be able to follow through on this wonderful journey.

 

 

 

International Friendships and Travel Opportunities

This was an email I received about 6 weeks ago:

Dear Helen

I want to start by saying I'm a huge fan of your work all the way from New Zealand. Your way with light is just incredible and I love your tones!
My name is Nisha, I'm an aspiring Wedding Photographer from New Zealand, I'm a 25 year old kiwi-Indian with a passion for detail, design,corgi's and photography.
I know this is a complete long shot but I'm getting in touch with you because I'm making the big move to the UK in mid June until January and I would like to offer my second-shooting services to you. I'm extremely easy going, take direction well, am creative and SUPER friendly!
In return of course you would gladly be welcome to come to New Zealand at any stage and photograph with me here or in Australia, or I could refer you for a season when I have double bookings.
Over here I've photographed all over New Zealand, in churches, halls, barns, caves, forests, mountains in all conditions. I've photographed around 35 Weddings now in the past two years and I'm always eager for the next adventure.
Let me know if you'd be interested in perhaps skyping sometime and discussing anything I've mentioned. You must get this all the time so I'll understand if I don't hear back.
Oh before I forget!! To show I'm not just a complete loonie, here's a couple of links to my work that should solidify my claims!
always a fan

Nisha Ravji

I do quite frequently receive emails from other photographers like this and so I clicked on the link with mild interest but far from being aspiring, Nisha's work struck me as being highly accomplished, natural, sensitive and creative. All the things I aspire for my own work, and I could see and immediate synergy between our styles. I wrote back immediately to build the connection and suggest next steps.
As a wedding photographer I generally work alone. Using an assistant or student generally results in few images that I can use alongside my own in an album but to use an equally experienced second photographer is usually prohibitively expensive so I jumped at this opportunity.
After a Skype call to the other side if the world we came up with the brilliant plan that Nisha would come and shoot with me this summer and in January and February of next year I would go and shoot with her. Not only has she offered me many opportunities to second shoot with her but within weeks she had actually booked me a wedding of my own (in a kiwi tree orchard - how utterly fabulous is that?!).
I am blown away by the generosity of someone who was a stranger only a month ago. She has opened up an opportunity for me to visit New Zealand and make new friends whilst developing my portfolio and experience. I count myself so blessed to have found myself an industry that has such a strong sense of community. One that offers its members support, encouragement and opportunities like this.
I am looking to build on my existing network in Auckland so please do get in touch if you have any recommendations.
Here is some of Nisha's beautiful work - I can't wait to meet her in June and work with her:
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David & Fi get Hitched in the Highlands at Inshriach House

The most intimidating wedding gig must be shooting for another photographer, but it is also the hugest compliment so when David Anderson contacted me to say that there was no other choice for their wedding I was utterly flattered. Also super excited to find that by sheer coincidence his fiancé Fi had stumbled across my good friend Walters house Inshriach as the ideal venue for their style of wedding.
David and I met years ago in Edinburgh when we were both shooting for Anna and Jonathan Freemantle's amazing fashion event Noir! I was just a rookie photographer still in my first year at college and keen for any opportunity to photograph creative events and interesting people. And it was fantastic to catch up with Anna and Jono at the wedding.
As the day before the wedding came around it was all hands in deck to dress the marquee, untangle bunting and cut branches. I love that when I shoot a wedding at Inshriach I become involved with the wedding party so that the day itself becomes a more intimate affair.
Despite the rain David and Fi pushed forward with the plan to marry atop the hill and it was so beautiful. The elements adding to the drama and majesty of the setting as we stood looking over the Cairngorm mountains.
This was a wedding of passion, intimacy, grounding and love and I adored being a part of its magic.
Bridesmaids dresses designed and made by Fi McKay
Bridal dress made by Rowan Joy
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Thinking about having a photobooth at your wedding or party?

2013-04-11_0074 The photobooth has been around for a while and seems to be gathering pace as opposed to being a dying trend.  There are so many different types you can have from black taxis and passport photo booth style which print out pictures instantly through to more elaborate set ups with backdrops, furniture set and props.  You can make your own by providing a box of dress up, a polaroid camera, book and pen and theme the booth through your choice or props or backdrops.  You can either rummage in your local charity shops for props or companies such as Etsy

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Alternatively your photographer (i.e. me) may offer this as an optional addition to your package.

Here are a few reasons why I think photobooths work so well at weddings:

1.  They usually take place later in the evening when your guests are a little more, ahem, relaxed and in the full swing of the evening.  This means they will be ready to perform and it would be a shame not to catch your friends at their most entertaining and creative.

2.  Put a silly hat, wig or prop into someone's hand and suddenly the camera seems far less scary and your guests are more likely to pose for a photo rather than ducking into a camera-shy manoeuvre.

3.  The pictures provide a great momento for your guests of the evening.  I upload all of the images onto a private online gallery that your guests can view and order prints from.

4.  It's a source of interactive entertainment for participants and viewers alike throughout the evening.

5.  You can use chalk boards to have your guests write messages to the happy couple.

I really enjoy running a photobooth - it is a great opportunity to interact with the guests who I have been photographing all day and capture another side of them; relaxed, fun and often very silly!

Below are some examples of recent booths I've run including in a yurt at Lucy and Simon's wedding at Inshriach House (the team there went all out to help me decorate the yurt with some awesome props)  and those with the green curtain are from a wedding party at Shoreditch House.  I set up in a corner using what was available in the venue.

I always bring extra lighting and use my professional camera so that the images are as high quality as the rest of the images from the wedding.  The images can be edited for a more vintage style and are always supplied in colour and in black and white.

If you are booking me for your wedding then I will set up a photobooth for £250 for 1.5 hours after the first dance.  For stand alone photobooths for parties and other events I can provide a quote depending on length of time required and location.

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Richard & Che's Wedding at The Jumeirah, Knightsbridge

For some reason I seem to end up getting a lot of event managers as my clients.  I am going to take it as a compliment as these are people who know what they want and how to make it happen!  Che was no different - she made her decision to book me as we sat around her kitchen table last year discussing the wedding.  They had the brilliant idea of doing the engagement shoot at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park at the end of last year - I had never been but it was great fun and an amazing location for a shoot. I don't do many weddings in central London so it's always a bit of a treat to have one on my doorstep that I can take the tube to!  Richard and Che were married in Knightsbridge at The Jumeirah Carlton Towers Hotel.  The whole event was managed so excellently by Jayne and Errols from Perry's which in turn made it a very stress free day.  Nothing was too much trouble for them and it makes a huge difference to have a planner on hand to manage events. The flowers by Ramels, dancefloor and backdrop by Everything Covered.  The cake was by Crumbs and Doilies and the lovely videographers were from The London Wedding Film Company.  The toastmaster was Howard Robbins. It was my first Turkish wedding and it was brilliant to see some new traditions.  The bride and groom were piped and drummed in, making two turns of the dance floor before doing their first dance - very quickly the entire wedding were on the dance floor.  Towards the end of the evening the money pinning ceremony took place - which is kind of as it sounds.  There is something wonderful about a community supporting newly-weds at the start of their lives together in that way. 2013-04-11_0017 2013-04-11_0018 2013-04-11_0078 2013-04-11_0019 2013-04-11_0020 2013-04-11_0021 2013-04-11_0022 2013-04-11_0023 2013-04-11_0024 2013-04-11_0025 2013-04-11_0026 2013-04-11_0027 2013-04-11_0028 2013-04-11_0029 2013-04-11_0030 2013-04-11_0031 2013-04-11_0032 2013-04-11_0035 2013-04-11_0033 2013-04-11_0034 2013-04-11_0036 2013-04-11_0037 2013-04-11_0038 2013-04-11_0039 2013-04-11_0040 2013-04-11_0041 2013-04-11_0042 2013-04-11_0043 2013-04-11_0044 2013-04-11_0045 2013-04-11_0046 2013-04-11_0047 2013-04-11_0048 2013-04-11_0049 2013-04-11_00502013-04-11_0052 2013-04-11_0053 2013-04-11_0054 2013-04-11_0055 2013-04-11_0056 2013-04-11_0057 2013-04-11_0058 2013-04-11_0059 2013-04-11_0060 2013-04-11_0061 2013-04-11_0062 2013-04-11_0063 2013-04-11_0064 2013-04-11_00652013-04-11_0067 2013-04-11_0068 2013-04-11_0069 2013-04-11_0070 2013-04-11_0071 2013-04-11_0072 2013-04-11_0074 2013-04-11_0075 2013-04-11_0077 2013-04-11_0076 2013-04-11_0073

Teva & Neil's Wedding at Southend Barns

I had the absolute delight of shooting the very sumptuous wedding of Mr and Miss Smith (now Mr and Mrs Smith - how convenient not to have to change your name!).  With Teva being an event planner in Brisbane a wedding presented no challenge to her. I've never seen such a slickly organised wedding - nor such a calm bride, which goes to show that if you fail to prepare you prepare to fail.  Or something like that.  I'm definitely working on it... On their last visit to the UK they came and visited me at my flat in Primrose Hill and we did the engagement shoot in the garden (see here) and I discovered to my delight that Teva is a natural in front of the camera - and such fabulous cheekbones!

Southend Barns in Chichester is a relatively new venue and already proving hugely popular which doesn't surprise me.  Every part of the venue has been beautifully designed with lots of quirky styling and attention to detail and comfort.  And the staff were fantastically helpful at all times.  Given that it had been snowing the weekend before we were lucky that the weather warmed up enough to enjoy the outdoor areas with guests drinking mulled wine and eating hot roasted chestnuts around the open fires.

Kate at Vintage Style Hire had pulled out the stops and combined with Teva's stunning touches the barn itself was a gorgeous feast of flowers (supplied by Violets and Velvet) and personal treasures and messages of love to be enjoyed by family and friends.

Food was supplied by Field and Fork.

Jo Reid (Make up) and Bethany Alden (Hairstylist) from Blush had the girls looking stunning.  Some of the pictures of Teva simply took my breath away.  I even took the chance to take a few pictures of Meqa, Teva's sister, for her website.  2013-02-26_0001 2013-02-26_0002 2013-02-26_0003 2013-02-26_0007 2013-02-26_0008 2013-02-26_0009

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Wedding Planning by Katherine Courtney - and 5 minutes with me!

I recently met up with two absolutely fabulous girls with a beautiful creative vision.  Katherine and Courtney are the duo behind Katherine Courtney Wedding Planning & Coordination.  I'm very excited at the prospect of working with them in the future on both some styled shoots which we are planning, and of course on some weddings this year. They write a wonderful blog as well as being very active on Pinterest with their ideas.  They recently did a short piece on me talking about my inspiration and way I view the wedding photography industry.  You can read the piece here.  I'm looking forward to writing for me soon about the importance of wedding planning.

The transcript for the interview is below:

KC:  How long have you worked within the industry?

HA:  I have worked in the photography industry for 5 years having retrained after 10 years of working in events and marketing.  I used to book photographers for my events and it was always a career I held in high esteem – at the time I never dreamed I could actually become a photographer myself.  However, a combination of luck, opportunity and a lot of hard work have turned that dream into a reality and I’ve never looked back.

KC:  What inspires your work?

HA:  My inspiration comes from a lifetime of travel and experiences and I gain a lot of ideas for poses and techniques from fashion magazines, portrait and fine art photographers and film.  My first degree was in History of Art and so I have always had a love of imagery.  When working with wedding clients I am often led by them as people and the way in which they love.  I take my creative cues from their relationship and how they like to express it.

 
 

KC:  What three “tools-of-the-trade” are a must have?

HA:  My 5d Mk 3 cameras, my Shootsac (essential for carrying spare lenses, batteries and cards when on the move at a wedding) and huge amounts of energy!

KC:  Any advice for our brides?

HA:  Always meet with your wedding photographer.  Your photographer will be close by your side for much of the day and it’s really important that you have a good personality fit.  If you have the opportunity do a pre-wedding shoot then this is very useful.  I offer this as part of my standard package as I think it’s so important to get used to being in front of the camera and to build a relationship with your photographer BEFORE the big day.

Don’t be afraid to be honest about you want – at the end of the day it’s your day so work with your photographer to ensure you get the type of photographs you want but do listen to their advice – they will have done hundreds of weddings and can be a great source of information about what works and what doesn’t and can guide you in planning a smooth and successful day.

KC:  What trends do you forecast?

HA:  Wedding photography has changed dramatically over the last 10 years from being very formal and formulaic to a more natural and documentary style.  I love that wedding photography has developed into the creative and personal expression it is now and that is why I was attracted to working in the industry.   There will always be trends in wedding photography but I’ve always believed in simplicity.  I don’t want to use gimmicks in my photography or post production but to capture a scene in the most natural, beautiful way that will stand the test of time.

Polly + Damon's Wedding

Only days after getting back from snowboarding in Switzerland Polly and Damon came together at Islington Town Hall on Wednesday, near their home, to get married in front of a very small group of close family from near and far.  I was only with them for a few hours but thoroughly enjoyed their energy and relaxed natures. Even though it was absolutely freezing Polly came outside the hotel for a few minutes to get some lovely shots of her and her sisters.

They finished off their day at Frederick's in Camden Passage.

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Brides in Galle, Sri Lanka

I've recently got back from an incredible 10 days in Galle, Sri Lanka.  It was a country I had always longed to visit and finally after an aborted attempt to go to Cuba in January we booked a last minute trip and were on the plane within days, furnished with a handful of contacts and friends of friends to visit on. I'm going to write more about the trip and the places I stayed in my next blog but this one is a pure celebration of the beauty of the people.  Christian left before I had even woken up one morning to go on a jog around the city walls and came back to bundle me into a tuk tuk to hurry down and witness the mass of gorgeous bridal parties who were being guided around the city walls for their professional photographs.

Weddings vary according to religion, region, caste, ethnicity and language and the costumes that they wear reflect this - particularly in the variety of outfits the men were wearing.

Bride: Wears four silk saris (they can vary from the Indian to Kandyan Style) for the wedding celebrations. She also wears a nalalpata, a headband with a gold gem-studded forehead plate, traditionally worn by royal rulers. A mass of chains is worn around her neck. Padakkam (pendants) are an important part of the chains, each having a name – peti malaya, the agasthi malaya and the seri valatu. The earrings, known as dimithi, have the shape of an overturned cup with tiny pearls dangling from two ear studs. Some brides wear armlets to ward off bad luck.

Groom: Wears a traditional nilame (or mul anduma) suit over his sarong and shirt, and atamulu thoppiya (eight-cornered hat).

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Lynn & Stephen's Wedding in Glasgow

I just recently posted the engagement shoot for Lynn and Stephen here (they used the pictures for the front of the order of service!).  It was such a great shoot and they were full of enthusiasm and energy so I knew their wedding would be too.  I love the picture of Lynn literally clapping her hands in joy in the car after the ceremony - she really was having the best day of her life! Lynn and her bridesmaids got ready at the extremely charming boutique hotel 15 Glasgow by the park.

The wedding took place at their church, St George's The Tron, which is on Glasgow's high street and since it was a Saturday the town was crowded and delighted by the arrival of a gorgeous young bride.  The wedding was very inclusive with every member of their church attending both the ceremony and the reception.

After the ceremony Lynn and Stephen took half an hour to themselves as we wandered through Victoria Park outside of Glasgow and enjoyed ice creams and coca cola by the duck pond before arriving at Paisley Town Hall.

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Emma & Mark's Wedding in St Andrews

Back when I was 18 I was offered a place to read English at St Andrews university but I ended up choosing English and History of Art at York, at the time I didn't know how heart-wrenchingly beautiful Scotland is.  But hindsight is a wonderful thing!  I never made it up to St Andrews for a visit so this September I was so happy to have the opportunity to finally visit Scotland's first university.  I arrived the evening before to attend the rehearsal and meet Mark and Emma for the first time.  I was overwhelmed with how lovely the area was and St Salvator's Chapel was just stunning. Emma was radiant and as you can see from the pictures didn't stop smiling all day.  She beamed her way down the aisle and the service was one filled with laughter and love.  After the ceremony the guests headed back to Carphin House where the bridal party were staying for canapes and champagne.  The weather stayed so fine that everyone was able to stand outside on terrace and enjoy the views over the hills of Cupar.

As the sun was setting and most of the guests had departed I took Emma and Mark off for a quick walk around the grounds for some final pictures.  They didn't stop chatting and laughing the whole way around.  I am sure they are destined for a very happy future together and I'm grateful to have been a part of a very special wedding.

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The last wedding of the year! Nathalie + Demetris in Marylebone

Ok, so I have been very rubbish at writing my blog recently.  So much has been happening from starting a book project in Eastern Europe to many, many weddings, the launch of a new beer brand amongst other things, so... I am going to start from the last job of the year and work my way backwards trying to catch up on all the amazing things I have been shooting and lovely people I have been working with. Saturday was the last wedding of 2012 for me and it was just a taster of the full event in Cyprus in July.  Nathalie and Demetris tied the knot officially at Marylebone Town Hall in front of their gorgeous little boy Oscar, and a handful of family and friends.  I caught them as they came out of the ceremony and went with them for a few pictures at the rather grand Landmark Hotel just across the road.

I've known Nathalie for about 7 years now and photographed her pregnancy with Oscar and look forward to working with her on her gorgeous new online boutique Youchka.

Nathalie looked utterly ravishing in Dolce & Gabbana white lace, and was stylishly cool about not everything running exactly to plan.  I absolutely cannot wait for the big event in the summer.

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Ellen & James' Wedding at Stowe Gardens

I love a mix of cultures at weddings and James' (English) and Ellen (American) were keen to emphasise theirs at their wedding in Northamptonshire last month with a red and white theme (complete with surprise American waistcoats for James and his best man Alex, who is also married to an American).  They were married at James' family church in Potterspury by the same vicar who christened James.  The reception was held at Stowe Gardens, a National Trust property, in front of The Temple of Venus.  Given that it was the most beautiful September afternoon the reception was held outside overlooking the lake and stunning grounds. I hopped on a golf buggy with Karen the coordinator, and James and Ellen to explore some more of the estate and take some gorgeous pictures of them.

I hear a lot of speeches but the speech made about Ellen by her bridesmaid Melissa was an impressive testament to Ellen's rather extraordinary life and positive impact she's had through various development projects.  When she first emailed me I had been intrigued by the 'ellenincongo' email address so it was wonderful to hear out of the mouths of her best friend and then her father about some of her adventures.

 

Flowers - by a friend

Car - owned by Steven and Mia Murray.  Steven was James' boss five years ago and kindly offered the car's use for the wedding.  Like Ellen the car has spent many years of it's life in Africa.  Called the Lily Beament, she is a Silver Wraith made in 1953

Zest Group organised the marquee and the food - they run all weddings at Stowe on behalf of the National Trust

DJ Apex provided the music

Cake by Chrissie of Chrissie's Cakes - she doesn't have a website but she is based in Milton Keynes and her number is 01908 312365

The custom made waistcoats were made by Waistcoats Direct

Wine from Avery's Wine in Bristol

The champagne, J Lassalle was chosen by Ellen, James, Alex (his best man) and his wife Mia on a trip to Champagne.  After sampling 29 different champagnes this was selected. It's made by three generations of women, two of whom they met on their trip.  When they bought the champagne, they gave them their first wedding gift, 12 hand blown glasses with their house crest engraved on them.

Amber & Dominic's Wedding at The Dorset Square Hotel, London

It was all slightly last minute, Emma Freemantle, a fabulous stylist friend called me up - I hadn't spoken to her in years - asking if I was available for her friend's wedding.  I was?  Brilliant!  A central London wedding - Marylebone Registry Office, where my little brother tied the knot only last year - followed by an intimate event at the brand new Regency townhouse that is now The Dorset Square Hotel. I didn't have a chance to meet Amber before the wedding but I knew that with Emma styling her, she wouldn't be short of fabulous.  In fact everything was fabulous; from the Philip Treacy hat, to the Christian Louboutin heels, the bright red Donna Karan frock which hugged every gorgeous inch of Amber's 7 month bump - even the make-up artist Kat who looked eerily similar to Frida Kahlo. The wedding was all super informal with the bride and groom getting ready in the suit together before walking arm in arm the 5 minutes to the registry office.  After the ceremony it was back to the hotel for high tea in The Potting Shed Bar and Restaurant, cocktails and feet up before an evening meal in the same location.  The team behind the hotel were fantastic and the food delicious.  If you are ever looking for an extremely good value London hotel then this place is really great, the rooms are quirky and original and it has all the intimacy of a small boutique hotel.      

Robbie & Anna's Wedding at Ardkinglas House, Loch Fyne

Every now and again, a wedding comes along that the wedding gods have really smiled on, and everything falls into place most perfectly.  This seemed to happen for Anna and Robbie.  A beautiful, quirky couple with a charming little girl, they married on Loch Fyne at isolated historic Ardkinglas House that was so gorgeously styled it felt like a fashion shoot.  The sunshine unexpectedly came out at the right times and enabled them to marry outside under the open sky surrounded by only close family and friends.  The day really felt quite magical and it was a privilege to have been part of it. After supper everyone donned wellies and coats and headed down to the edge of the loch to pass The Quaich, a two-handled cup containing whisky that was passed round the guests allowing them to propose individual toasts to Anna and Robbie to wish them well.

You can view the full album here - the password is Robbie's surname.