All too often, a wedding between two individuals can be Influenced by outside factors. Perceptions or values from family members, work pressures (such as when to take leave), or even the law all too often play a part in muddying the original plans (did you know, for example, that in Vermont, North East America, that a lady has to get written consent to wear dentures if she wants to get married?). As a result, the wedding can feel a bit washed out and become a bit of a compromise, unnecessarily removing the character of what should be the most memorable, individual day of a couple's life.
For me, Ella and Ben did well to avoid all of this unnecessary trouble and threw the rule book out of the window. In doing so, this took people just a little outside of their comfort zone, just enough to create something exciting. Ella and Ben crafted an event that will surely live on in their guest's minds for years to come, as it will mine.
So what made this couple's wedding different? Here's a little synopsis of the top three things that really stuck out whilst I had the pleasure of capturing their special moments:
1. The happy couple decided to dust away the cobwebs and frighten the ghouls away by having their wedding on Halloween. Taking on any national date is a brave move for newly weds, in my opinion... Okay, so Ella and Ben didn't have it on Christmas Day or New Years Eve, but it is still a big deal in the country's calendar of Things To Do and you still run the risk of disappointing children and their insatiable hunger for sugary treats from the neighbours. In all, Ella and Ben did well to embrace the spirit (no pun intended) of the day, with the odd witches hat or novelty glasses making an appearance in amongst an otherwise formal environment (don't worry, governing bodies of Vermont: no vampire dentures were used by the bride - see above!). It might sound trivial when compared to the larger, traditional accessories required for a wedding (like the wedding cake and dress!) but the quirky, fun element made all the difference, offering an easy and non-pretentious icebreaker for all the guests as well as quick, informal and easy angle for the theme for some of the photos.
2. Simply, different parts of the day involved different locations - more than you're probably expecting...
Ella's and Ben's wedding itself was set in the breathtaking grounds of Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland - a grade one listed building and one of the largest inhabited castles in the country. Sat atop an ancient volcanic mass, it's surely one of the most impressive castle views you are likely to see in this part of the world. One glimpse of its vast grounds and you can guess the rich history that is infused in the stone, the intricate carvings and the masonry; almost each wing of the grounds has been built hundreds of years ago, torn apart from war, struggle and strife, then put back together again with Victorian vigour and devotion. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find such a diverse, self-sufficient castle, as over the years, various key buildings in the grounds have served as a bakery, library, brewery and classroom. It even has its own windmill, erected in the 18th century in a bid to cut the cost of bread.
Meanwhile, the bride's pre-wedding preparations were undertaken at her parent's farmhouse nearby (her lineage is based in the local village of Belford). The reception was also delivered there, under an impressive marquee.
In my mind, changing venue for each section of the day helped to stagger things as well as increase the chances of having more lasting memories.
3. Usually, couples will want to hold the wedding, reception and shoot all on the one day, leaving the following day for the beginning of a honeymoon, or to perhaps regroup and chill. Between us, however, the couple and I agreed to return to the castle the next day in order to utilise the light and get pictures with the beautiful Bamburgh Castle in the background. As the castle had to remain open to the public during the day and their reception took up the majority of the evening, this meant that spacing things out made a lot more sense. From doing so, we also managed to take a stroll down to Bamburgh beach. For the time of year, it was pleasantly mild and sunny and was also completely deserted, meaning we had free reign to move and arrange compositions however we wanted.
In all, their wedding and all the mini events that centred around it were fantastically different. Even my role as photographer was a little unique, as I was able to enjoy working alongside the talented second photographer Andy Sidders for the day (thanks again, Andy!). I truly feel their image gallery reflects the diverse, fun goings on that I was fortunate enough to document for the happy couple.