One of the questions I get asked over and over again is what would Gareth and I do differently if we were getting married today. Of course my answer is always “so much!”. Both of us have changed considerably over the last five and a half years and our styles and tastes couldn’t be more different to how they were back in 2008.
As many of you will have read last week, Lisa asked if we would model at the two year anniversary of her Photography Farm. During every workshop she organises a styled shoot for her students to practice what they’ve learnt, but more than just that, she always pushes herself and her team to come up with something creative that reflects the real-life couple who are modelling.
When we started chatting about the kind of shoot Gareth and I might have, we began by discussing the whole “how would you do your wedding differently?” question. And then Lisa had a brainwave. Photography workshops are supposed to be all about teaching aspiring wedding photographers how to book, shoot and process weddings, but they only ever give the students the chance to practice these things in an unnatural situation – i.e. a styled shoot. Sure, the couple might be real and the styling authentic, but getting the shot when you have two hours to work with the couple is a totally different beast to needing to nail it first time and getting creative within your ten minute allocated time-slot for couple portraits.
When Wendy and Alex started looking for a venue for their July wedding, they were stuck. They wanted somewhere quirky and creative but also somewhere that didn’t break the bank. Luckily they stumbled across Asylum Arts in London, a disused chapel that is now hired out for weddings and events. The space has a crumbling almost derelict vibe which they loved. The dramatic backdrop meant they didn’t need to decorate much, so they just added candles, tea lights and simple flower arrangements around the room.
“We wanted to do something that signified the city we love, our home, London”, Wendy began. “We wanted urban, relaxed, but chic, with something people could take away in a visual way, that wasn’t too ‘try hard’. As a creative mind, I had a real vision from the beginning about how I wanted the day to look, and more importantly; feel. Both for us and our guests. We didn’t want stuffy, formal or sombre… We wanted people to smile and be put at ease. Its this reason I chose to have the bridesmaids clap along in time to the piano piece my musician friend played me down the aisle to; ‘Dog Days Are Over’ by Florence and The Machine, I didn’t want to walk down the aisle in a silent, stiff, uncomfortable way with everyone gawking at me with an odd atmosphere! So we lightened the mood with some hand clapping!”
Bego and Sergio wanted a non-traditional wedding that didn’t cost a fortune. They wanted their day to be fun and informal, and for their guests to have a really great time. The venue was a warehouse and they had a subtle theme of electricity and lights with their DIY décor items.
“We wanted an informal wedding in a place where we could be really comfortable”, began the bride. “We didn’t want the traditional banquet with all people sitting in a table, we want a cocktail style party. Sergio also wanted to play with his band. After going over a lot of options, we decided that a warehouse would be the best place for us as we could really put our own stamp on it. The décor was all related to a theme of electricity.”
Rain on your wedding day is a big worry for a lot of couples, but today I’m here to prove to you that it can actually be pretty amazing! Yes, Helen and James’ outdoor festival wedding was a wash-out, but they definitely didn’t let it ruin their day. Check out the amazing photographs their photographer Neil Thomas Douglas was able to capture… of course shots like this requires a couple who aren’t afraid to get a little wet and muddy, but these guys went all out! They even went out in a boat on the river during the downpour!
The ceremony was held at The Secret Garden of Kingston Bagpuize House in Oxfordshire, which it actually stayed dry for. Their festival style reception was in a field in Crowmarsh. “The ceremony was perfect, so intimate and emotional, all of the people we love, in the sunshine in the secret garden”, Helen began. “A little shower cut the group photos short, and the sun came out again for our couple shots. We were due to arrive at the reception in our gorgeous little boat, it started drizzling as we got in, thinking it was another brief shower, we decided to pursue. The best man had gathered all the guests on the river bank and we set off down river. The rain got heavy, like we never see in England! The heaviest downpour ever! Initially it was funny, we got wet, then… The heavy rain caused the engine to cut out! With no choice but to row to the riverside and abandon the boat on the bank; we called our bridesmaid to rescue us and we finally arrived at the reception in the car!”
I wouldn’t say I’m a cooking calamity but it’s certainly not something I excel at (this coming from the girl who put so much hot sauce on her husband’s dinner the other night that he was gulping milk for an hour – ho hum) So I guess you could say that this hilarious engagement shoot set up resonated with me!
Styled by Mary Boyden Photography and Shindig Events, they wanted to this shoot to be fun and to tell a story about the couple involved. ”We were inspired by the shenanigans of Lucy and Ricky of ‘I love Lucy’”, Mary wrote. “The story has begins with our bride dreaming up what to cook her guy for dinner as a special surprise but it turns into a cooking disaster, as usual. Her groom comes home, fully prepared with Chinese take-out, as well as flowers and OMG, A PUPPY!”
Marriage throws up some big life questions and often a wedding is just the starting block for making a lot of major decisions in very quick succession. Wedding planning discussions also invariably lead into deeper, more long-term topics. Things like if you want kids, where you want to live and what career paths are you’re each going to take. It’s no coincidence that lots of couples seem to move house or one spouse has a career change pretty quickly after saying “I do”. Making this kind of commitment often encourages us to start thinking seriously about these other things too.
2. Deal Breakers
While you might not have ever thought about it while dating, things like if you want children, where you want to live, your feelings on fidelity, how often you like you see your family, sex, money, and vices can all come up unexpectedly during the wedding planning process.
It’s important to acknowledge these gaps in your knowledge of each other as you discover them. In the haze of infatuation it can be difficult to imagine that anything could ever drive you apart, but if you don’t both lay your cards on the table before getting married they may be the things that ultimately do.
Before Gareth and I walked down the aisle, we went on a short marriage course. Perhaps an old fashioned concept but it was a requirement of the church we wanted to be married in. We dragged our heels to the first class but quickly came to understand the only motive to the classes were to strengthen our relationship. They gave us the opportunity to talk about some of these big-life-questions. We married relatively young and at 24 I hadn’t really been thinking too hard about the future until then.