Okay, let's get this cliché out the way: I love my job. The old saying 'love what you do' couldn't be more true for me. I love photography and I feel especially proud and honoured to be able to offer my services for newlyweds and being part of their very special day. Sometimes, however, unique shoots can be particularly rewarding... One of the most memorable has to be the wedding of Rose and Steve.
The most notable thing about it for me as a photographer is that it was in New Zealand, literally a world away from my South England base. It is always such a privilege to shoot for a couple's wedding but to be especially flown out to the other side of the world in order to have me there was truly amazing and made me feel incredibly valued. Attending the wedding has allowed me to see some phenomenally picturesque places - something all photographers (not so secretly) yearn for.
In preparation for the wedding, the Bride and the girls got themselves ready at the Bride's Mum's house in Te Awanga, a beautiful beachside village on the east coast of New Zealand. I could use the word 'typical' for this place, but think a better choice might be 'beautiful'... But that's exactly what New Zealand is (or at least my trip and the locations for this wedding): stunning all over. The Bridesmaids dressed in bright, vivid Kimonos (originating from Vietnam) which helped amplify the summery, vibrant feel of the whole event. They also very kindly let me be a part of their refreshing, relaxed breakfast before the trip to the church: a generous serving of ginger pancakes and fresh fruit. The atmosphere created from this chilled out yet planned team effort in the morning was fabulous and undoubtedly set everyone on their way for the rest of the day - me included!
The wedding itself was held at St Matthew's Church in Hastings - a stunning, white, layered building over 100 years old and at the centre of the life that bustles around it. This was probably the more recognisable feature and location of the day as the church was beautifully decorated and clearly held a lot of local history in its pillars and stained glass windows.
Then, for the reception, the couple and guests moved a little further away to the Silleni Estates Winery (named after a Roman god who enjoyed, well, celebrating with his pals with a nice glass of white or red!). In retrospect, I don't see why more people haven't made this sort of connection, as a winery or brewery would be the perfect place to help people get fully into the swing of things... Again, this location came with its own idyllic landscapes, offering many angles and perspectives for my work, such as the straight, narrow strips of vine, clustered with grapes.
One thing did bamboozle me about the wedding of Rose and Steve, however... Often, the weather can pose as a challenge for weddings, but nothing really prepared me to find sunshine and good weather as a problem! 9 times out of 10 here in the UK, you hear of bad weather for weddings and it'll be rain, storms and winds. For shooting in New Zealand, the issue (if anything) was the brilliantly bright sunshine... This hinderance required me to think a little outside my usual zone, giving me a moment to reflect upon set ups and the technical aspect of my photography. It was great then - for this reason and many others - to have a second photographer with me (Steve Wilson), who was a little bit more used to the climate as he is based in Auckland.
In all, it was a fantastic experience for me to shoot in such different surroundings and with a few different expectations from the bride and groom. But despite there being a change to the norm for me and my work, their wedding had all the things that matter at the very heart of it: calmness, happiness and love.