This week, Steve and Jen open up my wedding season with their gorgeous Isle of Wight wedding. Set at Northwood House, with a beautiful reception at The Little Gloucester (where Jen also got ready), the island setting was a pleasure to photograph. Just wait 'til you scroll down to the couple shots...
Something happens when you cross water. Perhaps because I didn't grow up near the sea, it always fills me with a sense of escape; no endless rolling hills or never-ending paths through woods.
The world seems to suddenly fall away, the skyline suddenly empty, but for that perfect clean horizon between sea and sky.
I'd go so far as to say, it's romantic. Like finding the end of a rainbow as a kid, that place where all the buildings and chaos stop. Mother nature puts up a hand to man, and says stop right there with your madness, and breathe. And I do somehow always feel myself exhale when I hear the swell of a tide.
This all swept over me, most vividly, when I took Steve and Jen to the beach for their couple shots. The crazy adrenalin fuelled atmosphere, post-ceremony, melted away from behind us, as we jumped down onto the cobbled beach. Yes it was grey, and yes it was pretty fresh, but wrapped up in her husband's jacket, and pulled in close to his beaming face,
all I felt through the lens was warmth. Am I over-romanticising? Probably, it's my first wedding of the year.. so shoot me.
I did my usual.. left the two of them to chat and relax and process what they'd just experienced. I allowed them to forget about me (only once I'd made them struggle across the rocks of course.. ) And there they stood, chatting laughing and gazing. I have to say, this is my most treasured moment at a wedding, aside from perhaps the moment they are pronounced man and wife and have their first kiss. As a photographer, this is magic. And the island gave me everything it could for a stunning backdrop, even if the sun made no appearance.
The sand, cobbles and seaweed under the tulle hem of her dress were a textural dream;
the subtle gradients of blue, green and grey across the sea and sky were like a watery, translucence paint stroke across a canvas; against this the outline of their faces,
their glowing expressions and hands wrapped into one another, stood out all the more, as if this were the blush pink-peach of their colour pallet, against the natural blues and greys of the setting. It all echoed something put together, in the most organic way.
This wasn't just a wedding setting either, this is their home. They live minutes away, and spend a lot of time with their gorgeous little daughter right here on the beach. And Josie, gorgeous little Josie, is definitely worth a mention. What a star. So many more couples are waiting until after they have started their family, to plan their wedding. Besides the logistical and financial advantages to waiting, their is the fact that they can now share it with their little one. Josie, who was quite frankly one of the smiliest and happiest little creature I've ever met, was a dream to watch.
Like a mini-me bride, she lit up the entire bridal party from the inside, and diffused many moments of anticipation or nerves.
I had done a pre-wedding shoot with this family too, back in November. We took a walk through Primrose Hill and casually captured as much of them all on the way. They both remarked on just how much this had helped them relax with me on the wedding day. And though I hesitate to say this for fear of sounding like a sap, genuine friendship strikes up and I quickly stop being a photographer, and start becoming a part of the day. No, I'm not a guest, and I'm not for a second suggesting I'm seen like a best friend by every couple, but they have to feel relaxed. If they have absolute faith in me, and they feel like I get them, they can relax the way they do with friends or family.
And I can't fake this, I'm too honest; I have to genuinely forge these relationships, and really deep down care about the couple and the day, to work well.
Here is me hoping, hand on heart, that this translates into my work. And especially, here in Steve and Jen's wedding story. These two (and Josie) were a absolute joy to work with. I hope to get back to this wonderful little island one day, and not just for work! Thank you for the welcome, Isle of Wight, and for the gorgeous backdrop.
Last of all, huge congratulations to newly married, Mr & Mrs Healey!