Apologies for the radio silence....It's been a long while since I caught up with my blogging and I do promise that is something that I will be doing over the next couple of months. I have lots of gorgeous weddings from 2017 to share with you - promise! First of all though, I thought I would kick off 2018 with some musings on our own wedding which took place toward the end of last year in December.
There are a couple of reasons for wanting to share this with you. Not because I wanted to share the beautiful images from the day (because it was, after all, an intimate wedding and well, I just do not love being in front of the camera) and not because I wanted to tell you about the lovely details such as the gorgeous venue, AMAZING flowers, my beautiful daughter as my bridesmaid and of course, my handsome groom in his stunning tux, but because I wanted to share, as briefly as I possibly can, as I am not one for rambling (am I?), the challenges and concerns faced as a bride-to-be in her late forties and the problems all brides, of whatever age, can face in this day of technology and social media.
As a wedding photographer, I love to have the time to photograph my beautiful brides and (their lovely grooms of course!) as I truly believe that every bride is beautiful on her wedding day ♥ However, I have never liked to be on the other side of the camera. I feel uncomfortable, don't know what to do with my hands, don't know which is my best side (do I even have one?), I just don't know what to 'do'! This is one of the reasons I believe I can put myself in the shoes of my brides (figuratively, not literally ;-) and completely empathise with how they are feeling. My clientele tend to be couples that generally 'don't like having their photograph taken' and like my 'natural' style of portrait imagery and feedback from my couples is always how much I made them feel at ease, which is so good to know.
When we got engaged and set about making our plans for our intimate wedding at the end of last year, I found myself being the biggest of hypocrites. Why? Because I dreaded the thought of being in front of the camera SO much so that I thought that I didn't want to have an official wedding photographer for our wedding. Say what?! I tell all of my couples that investing in the right photographer is such an important decision and that the photographs are all that will be left when the big day is over. When the vows have been made in front of loved ones, the register signed, speeches been said, the cake has been eaten, your gown hung up never to be worn again and your flowers no longer bloom. The photographs are the only reminder of your beautiful day. But I could not get over the fact that being in front of the camera is just not for me and, not only that, but I did actually not like any photographs of myself at all! Added to this, I considered it wasn't really necessary as we were having an 'intimate' wedding and perhaps a photographer on the day would be too intrusive for such a small number of guests. This last point was definitely just an excuse!
However, I listened to everyone around me and, of course, my fiance had a say in this too, right? And the decision was made that we would have a photographer for the day. Once this was decided, there was no question who I would want this photographer to be. Kate is a friend whom I had first met whilst attending some training and I learned SO much from her I could never thank her enough. We share the same passion for beautiful light and just as importantly, showing women how beautiful they really are when photographed with consideration.
This was the second most difficult decision for me. The first had been my dress. But that is perhaps for another blog post because as a woman in my late forties I was horrified at how old I really felt when trying on dresses for the first time (well, the first time this time around, I had done it all before many years before). I eventually settled on the very first dress I had tried on ( well yah, of course), a gorgeous Jenny Packham gown.
Without going into too much detail about our day, as this is not what the post is about, the venue had been set very soon after our engagement, we knew we wanted an intimate venue that could cater for all of us to stay two nights, but not an exclusive hire venue as we really believed that our wedding party was too small for this. Mallory Court in Leamington Spa fit this perfectly. Whilst it is a hotel, it's small enough that it felt intimate and the whole wedding took place in the old part of the house. For flowers, I have worked a tremendous amount with Flowers by Breige and I knew that nobody else would do for our own wedding. Other than this, we didn't sweat about the small stuff. This was an intimate wedding and what mattered most to us was that we were marrying in front of the people that meant the most to us and that we all had a fabulous day. It's fair to say it all worked out beautifully and I only wish I could do it all again.
However, after the wedding, I started to get anxious about our wedding photographs. Why? Well, no offence meant to our lovely wedding guests, but I had seen a few pictures of us on social media and I was pretty self-critical about how I looked. Yep. I hated those iPhone photos I had seen of myself. Albeit, snapped with the best intentions in the world, but the lack of light, unflattering angles, etc., meant they were not the best of images to see from your day for the first time. I messaged Kate to express my concerns. I was dreading seeing the professional photographs as I thought that they were going to be like any other photograph of myself and I wasn't going to like them. We would have an album of images to remind us of everyone at the wedding but not of myself I decided. And do you know what? I am not alone. Kate has experienced some of her brides messaging her with the same issues. I have also received messages from my couples 'could you just possibly Photoshop out' something that they have seen on friends' iPhone pictures from their wedding. Perhaps they thought their skin wasn't looking great or something wasn't quite right with their dress or their hair and makeup. This could so easily be avoided if couples opted for an unplugged wedding. Or if the guests at least refrained from posting their iPhone pictures on Instagram or Facebook until the official images were seen by the bride and groom. It's a big ask, granted, in social media culture. But this is exactly what is causing these issues in the first place. So whilst technology has advanced so much, people's photography skills haven't necessarily progressed so much! It is hard to believe that some couples actually choose not to have a professional photographer for their wedding at all. Even if a friend has a 'great camera', it is unlikely that they will understand anything about great light and composition or anticipating a moment.
It's a relief to say that my fears were all unfounded. The images from our photographer, Kate, were absolutely beautiful. I can honestly say that I can look at every image and I love them all. Kate captured some gorgeous portraits of my groom and he also does not like to be in front of the camera. And I am so happy to have some beautiful images of my daughter and of us together.
So, the message from this post is two-fold; please, please, please do not leave something as precious as documenting your wedding day to an amateur. Do your research, book a photographer whose work you love, don't just book a photographer based on price. And not least, trust your photographer and work with them. Even if yours is to be an intimate wedding with only a few guests as ours was. You will still want those memories preserved beautifully. I can promise that you won't regret it.
So, here are a few from our day. All images the wonderful Kate Hopewell-Smith
Flowers: Flowers by Breige
Hair & Makeup: Catherine Fransham
Tuxedo: Made to order from Papas Tailoring