This week's wedding is filled with more Henley-on-Thames magic than you an shake a stick at. The river, the boats, the rowers, the rolling hills, all of it; this wedding is less about details and theming and ALL about the couple and the place. It's not often a setting is quite so effortless, or a couple quite so natural, but it all came together so beautifully. And a reception on a private Thames Island? Oh go on then...
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The story of this wedding starts on a quiet early April morning, by the river in Henley. Arriving before the bride, left me time to walk around the area. The streets were quiet and empty, and the sun low and soft. Standing on the bridge, and looking out across the river, I felt myself relax. The rowers, the swans, the cyclists gliding past me; it all felt so sure and steady, like the pace of life was energised, but easy going. And as it turned out, this was the feeling for the entire day.
This super chic couple had a very Henley wedding; a ceremony at the local church by the river, followed by a gorgeous boat ride to Temple Island. This Island is a tiny private grassy space, with a lovely little temple folly, upon which their guests strolled, sat and relaxed with picnics of buffet food and glasses of champagne. Around them, and as a backdrop to almost every photo, was the river meandering out into the distance. Perfect green rolling hills lined the river on either side, and the sunsetting across the clouds above it, all made for an idyllic setting.
I don't even know where to begin talking about favourite moments. There were so many. But most of these moments revolved around Thomas and April's sweet chemistry. Looking back through the photos I found so many natural laughs and quiet looks; they were literally beaming all day.
But if I had to pick one moment, it would be the time we took for some quieter portraits before sunset. We set off from Temple Island in our own private boat, to take a few minutes of space and reflection. Thomas and April cuddled up in the bow of the boat, with the island seemingly floating behind them in the distance. As the warm low sun washed across their faces, they seemed to sink more and more into their embrace. With their shoes kicked off, arms all interlaced, and the gentle light hitting the water around them, I felt myself smiling and holding my breath behind the camera. Sometimes, there are moments where the people, the moment, the setting and the feeling all collide and explode quietly in the frame. This moment is what the reportage photographer strives for, and when you know you've shot right through the moment and found the feeling at the centre, it's pretty emotional.
Thomas and April's day had the atmosphere of a late afternoon picnic in the park. Except the park was an island, a private island, with uninterrupted views down the river and across the countryside. With champagne. And a stunning bride and groom laughing and floating their way through the day. Oh.. and an incredible string quartet. Every picnic should have a string quartet, right? Rowers and wildlife would glide past every few minutes, making me feel rather like I was floating on the water myself.
Huge thanks to this wonderful couple for having me photograph such an incredible day. Effortless is am over-used word, but your day truly was completely effortless. I hope this sneak peek bring back some memories of it all.