Kelly & Andrew followed in a long line of bookings that spans back to one of my first weddings, three years ago. It is amazing just what word of mouth can achieve. Having first met them last year, and again a few weeks before the wedding, it felt crazy at just how quick this wedding had come around. Time is flying on by.. blink, and I’ll be photographing their childrens’ weddings!
The day itself was looking promising. The weather was forecast to be unusually summery for the British month of July. Nine bridesmaids would be providing photo opportunities galore, and I had two great new venues to discover!
I began at the couples home in Swinton where I was admittedly half expecting mayhem, but upon being invited in I found a sea of calm! All nine bridesmaids, and even the bride Kelly, were getting ready as if it was just another day. Nerves were in short supply, but thankfully the natural smiles that come on such exciting days were aplenty.
Onwards to the church. St Peter’s in Swinton has always been in my mind. Having lived only a few minutes walk away for a year, I had passed it regularly. It’s beautiful stained glass windows had always stood out to me and I’d hoped for a long time to see them at their best from the inside. I wasn’t disappointed. The service itself without a hitch, as was becoming customary and before long, we were thrown back outside into the warming sunshine.
Our final destination for the day was to be The Orangery at Manchester’s Heaton Park Hall. Surprisingly, despite being on my doorstep for all 25 years of my life and one of Europe’s largest municipal parks, I’d only visited twice before. Once for a concert, and once to photograph a charity run. Neither of which had really given me the chance to appreciate the surrounds.
Heaton Hall and the Orangery, added in 1823, provided a stunning backdrop to the photographs. As did the views out over the park and city beyond. The harsh daylight gave a depth to the photographs creating shadows across the architecture’s golden stone walls, which also contrasted beautifully with the evening sky later in the day.
Sean Peters had been in touch, offering me a Saturday morning holy communion job, not far from home. He had also mentioned the clients Irish roots. Was it going to be a case of ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Holy Communion’?
I’d awoken to surprisingly manageable weather, I say surprisingly as the Met Office had been forecasting a blanket of rain.. which thankfully dispersed at some point over night. I’d set off an hour before I had been due to start for the twenty five minute drive across the city centre to Audenshaw and arrived in good time, with the weather improving every few yards – even the sun was breaking through!
There were some visual hints to the ‘gypsy’ or ‘traveller’ roots certainly.. but on the whole, it was a rather timid affair compared to the TV benchmark! Delving in to the visual aspects of such jobs.. they can often be seen as garish and tacky, though in the right light you really can create some spectacular images. The young girl whom was to be going through her holy communion, whilst was dressed up for the occasion, also had a touch of ‘olde-worlde’ elegance which really came through in the photos – even impressing myself with the quality! The shots to the left and directly below, were lit purely with a single flash reflected from the relatively high ceiling, which resulted in a very softly cast light. The dark yet striking decor helped to create a contrast between the soft and flowing shape of the girls dress and hat.
Experience has taught me that if there is one thing the Irish like, it is a family photo. Sure enough, this job was no different. The en-massed family members were lined up for individual and group photos with our star girl for the day. Sure enough, this also meant we ended up running a little late for the church, alas we were not alone! Father was most forgiving to his mass. Having done many Irish traveller and gypsy weddings through Sean, none of these came as a surprise and the job was done in an efficient and timely manner. Having clients who know what they want certainly helps this!
I do speak with a wide spectrum of photographers, and it is amazing how many will turn away bookings from the Irish traveller and gypsy communities. As a photographer, I feel it is part of my job to learn, and understand my subjects which naturally leads to an easier time when working. If you can shoot an entire traveller or gypsy wedding, and please your clients, then I think you are equipped both technically and mentally to shoot almost any wedding!
Moving on, the day progressed smoothly and the holy communion ceremony went off without a hitch. It was followed up with some more family shots, and rounded off with the family departing for a party in the city centre – in some style! They had booked the girl a horse and carriage for the five mile ride down Ashton Old Road. My last shot was of the carriage departing the church.
Being back home for one, on a Saturday was a bit of an oddity for me. What to do with myself? Edit..? Never! Have lunch and veg in front of the TV? Go on then..
Naomi & Dave tied the knot on a gorgeous late March day, at Shrigley Hall, near Macclesfield.
The day began nice and early with the usual, final few preparations.. and oddly, a decent breakfast! A call from my assistant for the day, Gary Eddleston meant it was finally time to leave for Naomi’s home around 10am. Upon arriving, the nerves for the day ahead were setting in – amongst the bridal party, I might add! Thankfully I’d arrived before preparations had began, so was able to quickly run through the day and plan a few extra shots that would be required.
Arriving at the Cheshire village of Pott Shrigley, familiarity took over as my memory mapped out the country roads ahead of me. I found Gary awaiting me in the car park and we set off for the hotel reception to find our groom for the day, Dave. Having checked the bar; we eventually found him putting the finishing touches to the ceremony room. Half a pint later, and we were ready for some photos!
..and finally, something a little bit arty?
The new year was brought in with the wedding of Charmain & Garry, at the Etrop Grange Hotel close to Manchester Airport. The wedding began at 4pm, and so the sun had set before the ceremony had finished, cue interesting lighting scenarios! I had the fantastic and invaluable help of Gary Eddleston whom acted as a second photographer-cum-light stand. This allowed for us to get through a variety of shots more smoothly and for myself to have more time interacting with the newly married couple.
Lorna and Dan married in the Welsh seaside town of Porthcawl on a gorgeous Summer day back in 2009.
One from the archives here! Jo and Ian were married at Leez Priory in Essex.
A snowy wedding to start the month of December, and a late one too resulting in shooting in the dark. Held at Sale’s Town Hall with a delicious looking meal over the road at Mimi’s Restaurant. I shot this on behalf of Sean Peters
The wedding of Maggie and Matthew took place in the stunning Grade II listed surrounds of The Place Hotel Apartments, Manchester. In attendance, to induce salvation with his gorgeous crepes, was Andrew from Original Crepes. Assisting myself (with a lovely 15mm fisheye!) was Chris Jackson whom I must thank for his light holding abilities!
Whilst Winter brings darkness and gloominess (seemingly by the bucketful in Manchester), it also brings new avenues for creativity. Darker afternoons mean natural light is, well.. none existent. Flash provides a new angle on lighting, and used well can add another dimension to what would otherwise be dull, flat images. Coupled with beautiful surrounds.. you can’t help but capture those unique, treasured images!
Lucy and Williams wedding took place on a lovely autumnal Friday afternoon at the Joshua Bradley in Hyde, Cheshire. The weather stayed fine, a rare occurrence on an October day in this part of the world!
Karen & Ian’s wedding was a late booking for myself, and luckily fell between other jobs I had booked in. Luckily for the happy couple, the weather could only be described as ‘August’, with beautiful sunshine and t-shirtly warm air. The afternoon went off without a hitch, and before I knew it I was leaving them for their meal – time flies when you’re having fun!
Siobhan and Rob booked me for their wedding quite some time ago off the back of other weddings I did for their friends and family. This one was a little closer to home though.. only as far as Nottingham! The ceremony took place inside Nottingham’s St Barnabas Cathedral, followed by a reception at the beautiful Bestwood Lodge.
They were a great couple to work with, and our only limit was time.. there were certainly plenty of ideas being fired around – including jazz hands in the mini maze!
Some of you may recall the pre-wedding shoot I did with Helen and Richard a few weeks ago, for those that don’t, you can see it here. Well, today was finally the day.. their wedding day.
It’s been a long few days, so I’m not up to writing much more than to say that the day turned out better than could have been expected, and it was great to see them finally tie the knot with such splendid surroundings! The ceremony shots will require a little bit of work, a nightmare to get the right white balance and exposure but right now… time for bed…
Graham and Alison’s wedding took place on a rather suspect July weekend. Suspicion aroused by the somewhat temperamental weather that had preceded in the week beforehand. However, luck was on our side and we enjoyed a lovely, warm – and more importantly, dry – day!
Alison had been kept in the dark about her ‘car’ to the church, however I’d fortunately been informed by Graham that he had organised a surprise horse and cart. No matter how bad I felt making up reasons for not leaving them for the church, despite having done all the shots I needed, the guilt was soon washed aside having captured Alison’s reaction as the clip-clop of the horses could be heard coming down Fordham’s Market Street.
The rest of the day ebbed and flowed as well as could be expected, and ended on a high with The Magogs Ceilidh Dance Band providing guests with lessons in traditional dance (as fitted in with the Scottish theme – stemming from the groom’s side)… quite a unique end to a great days photography!
After a somewhat mad day in Liverpool shooting a gymnastics commission, I had a hurried drive back to Manchester, to the lovely Bramhall Park, to meet Helen and Richard whom I have the pleasure of photographing in 3 weeks time at their wedding. The aim of the shoot was to allow them both some time in front of the camera to get used to being photographed.. it didn’t take long though, total naturals and very relaxed!
Jamie & Karl’s wedding, took place in Longton just outside Stoke, in a rather grand town hall.. and was followed by the reception out in the gorgeous countryside that surrounds the pretty village of Dilhorne. They were a fantastic couple to have the privilege of photographing, and seemingly fell from one pose to the next – I’m sure they’d been practising! I don’t think I’d ever seen a couple more in love..
I shot this wedding for a good friend, Sean Peters at the village hotel, Hyde.
Rick and Sarah, choose quite possibly the best day of the year so far to get married – at least, weather wise! None stop sunshine, and heat! It did however clash with the UEFA Champions League final, so it is lucky that Manchester United were knocked out in a previous round!