We will hit that dance floor!

In the scouts, our motto is “be prepared” (I’m a leader – I’m not 12). And this is so true for wedding photographers. For every thing that can go wrong with a wedding I can tell you what we do to prevent that problem. Backup equipment, Ordnance survey maps for every wedding location, emergency plans, even snow chains for the car in winter. But I guess none of us anticipated this situation.

Over the last few days I’ve spoken to several of my couples who are having to postpone their wedding plans and my heart breaks for them. So far it seems that all of them will be able to rearrange with their venue and almost all other original suppliers. From talking to lots of people in the wedding industry I can truly say we are all working together to take care of our wonderful customers.

I’m sure you’re already aware that a lot of small businesses are in for a hard time now. Some are facing months with no income, and some already know they won’t make it. We’re lucky that the wedding industry rebounds very well. If people wanted to get married this year they’ll still want to get married next year. But coffee shops? Once the quarantine is lifted you don’t go out and catch up with the coffee you missed while you were away. Spare a thought for those lovely independants near you. And buy a gift card for later as your vote of confidence.

I suppose in one sense we actually were prepared for this situation. By using emergency savings we’re able to keep going for a very long time during this lockdown. Remind me to tell you about YNAB soon. I’m happy to say the rest of the year is looking really good, and 2021 even better. So long term we’ll be more than fine. But I think if you’re self employed you need to know that you have to do a lot better than your colleagues who are earning a salary. Without statutory sick pay, etc. you have to have a backup. Six months full salary tucked away in a bank is a good start.

So if you’re looking at your wedding date and wondering what to do please do get in touch. Or with your photographer of course, if it’s not me. Get in touch early and just let them know what’s going on, what discussions you’ve already had with your venue, how long you’re going to wait before making a decision, etc. If you need to reschedule, you’ll want to get as many possible dates from them to rebook. And if you have wedding insurance (if you don’t it’s too late!) read it carefully.

I’ve been married for five years now to my best friend, and whatever bits and pieces went wrong at the time we’ve forgotten them, and we just look back with very happy memories. You’ll handle this too, don’t worry.

This global emergency is going to cost every one of us something. We were naiive a few weeks ago to think it might not. But postponing your wedding is particularly hard, and the whole world thanks you for playing your part and protecting all of us. When you do finally hit that dance floor, hit it hard, look at the faces all around you, and be very proud of all you’ve done.

Sending you actual love and an elbow bump, vulcan salute or curtsey as appropriate.

Combermere Abbey, Chris & Gemma’s Beautiful Wedding

We’re hanging in here through the storms and cold weather. Summer feels a long way away now, but we don’t need to wait for summer. April, April can be glorious! Here’s what we were doing last April.

I met Gemma and her mum at the NEC. We hit it off straight away and they came back later in the day to book me on the spot for Gemma and Chris’s wedding photography. I love it when a bride knows exactly what she wants.

Getting to know Chris and Gemma in the run up to the day I discovered they were both engineers at Rolls Royce, which is just awesome. Chris mentioned in his speech that the marriage certificate is actually not the first legal document with both their signatures on it. That would be patent #R2563-B. Alright I made that number up but it was very funny.

I absolutely love meeting women who work in STEM, but Chris and Gemma also love Sigur Rós, sparklers, interesting old buildings, and garden games. So we have a LOT in common. Needless to say, the day went beautifully with the guests enjoying drinks in the grounds and orchard over a game of croquet or table tennis. A brilliant reception, very enjoyable speeches and lots of dancing. All topped off for me by waving sparklers about singing to the Jurassic Park music “I’m a dinosaur, I’m a dinosaur…” (bet you didn’t know that famous theme had lyrics, huh?)

And we got another chance to say hello back in the autumn when Gemma brought her sister Kathy to the NEC again as she was planning her own wedding. We’d actually made a sample album from the wedding to put on display and they were surprised and happy to see it there. Of COURSE we made a sample album…

James and Vikki’s Christmas Wedding at Dodmoor House

I love a Christmas wedding and Dodmoor House is one of my favourite places in the world. James and Vikki planned a gorgeous day with their families to celebrate their wedding. With some stylish details (love those chair backs) and thoughtful touches, like popcorn and beer pong! Everyone had an amazing day.

Working with a second photographer on a day like this gives us a lot more scope for capturing those informal candid moments at the same time as the portraits. We were also producing our highlights video, so keep going to the end of this post to see it.

It was only after booking James and Vikki’s wedding we found out we would also be photographing the wedding of their friends Jake and Abbie next year, so it was lovely to catch up with them too.

A winter wedding presents a few challenges with the lighting especially. And if guests are spending most of their time indoors it’s a little harder to move people around for those group photos. Fortunately at Dodmoor we’re able to use the newly styled wall of the barn for small groups, and on this occasion we set up remote lights to light the courtyard steps for that big group photo just as people went into dinner. I’m really pleased with how that one worked out considering the time of year!

The courtyard is just magic though later on and the fairy lights provide a beautiful background for some carefully lit evening portraits.

If you love Dodmoor and you haven’t yet voted in the National Wedding Awards, what are you WAITING for?! And all the love and luck in the world to James and Vikki who are quite simply wonderful.

Gorgeous Jake and Abbie, being gorgeous.

Kicking the leaves with Andy & Beth at Cliveden House

I noticed something interesting. The couples that choose us for their weddings tend to be a lot like us in some way or another. So instead of focussing our advertising and marketing on looking super-flash, wealthy, or famous we’ve always preferred to just be ourselves. Exactly as you’ll find us when we meet, and on the wedding day itself.

It means we don’t usually get to boast about having our weddings appear in OK magazine, fly to Italy just for an engagement shoot or hire a lambourghini for the photos. (I mean you could always just use your own lambourghini even though it’s last year’s model.) But it does mean we get to make a genuine connection, and lots of great friends that we love to keep in touch with.

Three location skype calls can be tricky, but when I talked to Andrew and Beth last year about their wedding plans we had a great chat, laughed easily and I felt sure we’d be friends. We met up in November to take a look at their awesome wedding venue, kick the fallen leaves and take some engagement photos around Cliveden House. It was fun to learn more about them and find out just how much we had in common as we went for a good long walk. So long in fact, we didn’t realise the place was closing just as we finished.

So here are a few photos from our shoot. I can’t wait for their big day this spring!


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