To my computer game playing, gym going, kitty obsessing, sleepy head husband:
You are my rock, my biggest supporter and all of my happiest moments. I’m so proud to call you my husband.
When I try to think about what to write to you on our eight year wedding anniversary, I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a bit stumped. How can you adequately put into words a love that completely engulfs you, that makes you a better person, and that truly makes life worth living?
12th April 2008 feels like eight lifetimes ago, not just eight years. So much has changed, yet nothing has. On the outside our lives could not be more different, but inside everything is completely the same. I’m still insanely in love with you. I still get excited to see you every morning. I still want to cover you with kisses every night. You still drive me nuts with all of your ways. I still can’t load the dishwasher properly.
You say that you first spotted me walking down the stairs at the dive bar we both used to frequent. I was just 16, you were 21. You assure me you can remember exactly what I was wearing – a sheer pink top with a denim pencil skirt, and freshly dyed pink tips at the bottom of my hair. “That’s the girl I’m going to marry” you turned to your friend and said. “Yeah right”, I replied when you told me this story, years later. But that is just so typically Gareth – you’re just always right about everything.
I thought you were fit but also ‘too nice’. I was still in my “I want a bad boy” stage – the cannabis smoking, skateboarding, treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen type. You were nothing like the other boys I knew.
It took me a while to give you a chance. “Hey, wanna go out for a drink?” came the text on my 18th birthday. I didn’t even remember giving you my number, but you’d saved it all that time. “What do you have to lose?” my friend reassured me, “He was cute and sweet. Go for it!”
We went to play pool. I’m pretty sure you let me win. I remember one of our very first conversations was me asking you if you liked football. You said you hated it and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
Ainsley and Sebastien have become quite the celebrities around these parts. I fell in love with them when I shared their epic engagement session, died and went to wedding heaven when I featured their INCREDIBLE Vegas elopement (it’s definitely one of my favourite weddings of all time!) and now I want to marry them and have their babies after seeing their Bali one-year anniversary session! Photographed again by the spectacular Janneke Storm, prepare to get your freak-out on over just how awesome this pair are.
“In November 2013 Sebastien and I eloped to Vegas”, wrote Ainsley. “After one of the most amazing experiences of our lives and some rad photos taken by our incredible photographer friend Janneke, we decided to do it all again… well kinda… Minus the wedding ceremony and Elvis. Exactly a year later, in November 2014, we took our customised wedding outfits and my freshly dyed yellow hair to Bali and asked Janneke to follow us around with her camera again for our one year anniversary shoot.”
Joelle & Jake’s shoot was described to me as “intimate, organic and unique” by their photographer Anna Jones and I really couldn’t say it any better. Somewhere between a boudoir, a day in the life and a wedding portrait shoot, these images that took my breath away as soon as I saw them. Perfectly honest and stunningly peaceful. They are just utterly, utterly beautiful and everything a couple shoot should be.
Sally & Mark might be a little familiar because I featured their amazing blue burlesque wedding (on a £900 budget!) in December last year. Well, as their first anniversary rolled round, the couple wanted something to commemorate, and so called up their wedding photographer Jade of GASP Photography to ask if she’d do the honours.
“We did the shoot at my parents house for our anniversary,” wrote Sally. “We love the area and the colours in the woods. We realised that our favourite pictures of us were our wedding pictures so we decided to use the same photographer and get some updated images. We wanted to have an intimate celebration feel to it but to also include the fact it was at my parents as it is such a beautiful house and area! I think that as corny as it sounds we both felt like we are still so in love and wanted to make record of it and us.”
After their wedding Emma & Owen decided they wanted to do a shoot that really showed off their personalities and personal style. They hadn’t had any portraits taken at their wedding eight years ago, and so they contacted photographer Jess Petrie to ask if she’d like to shoot them.
Owen told us all about their relationship and why they wanted to do this shoot. “I met Emma when I was fifteen and we’ve been together ever since. It really was love at first sight – that’s probably the only way it could have worked as I was too shy to speak to her at the time! As a teenager with a paper round, I had to save up for an engagement ring; I picked a ring at a jewellers and went there every week to add to the down-payment on a tiny gold ring with two small diamonds holding a larger third in the middle. I’d literally go there some weeks with 82 pence in copper coins to add to the pot, but I paid it off eventually and took it home! We went to sixth form and then University together, Emma to study Fine Art Painting and me to study Film & Video Production. Nowadays, Emma is a successful portrait painter and I run a film production company and am about to direct my first feature film.”
“We got married just under eight years ago at Hedingham Castle in Essex, a Norman castle from the 11th Century. The wedding was brilliant, with an all-black dress code and we wrote our own vows. Being a film maker with a professional photographer for a father, most of my friends are pretty good at wielding a camera, so we didn’t hire a photographer for the day (we obviously didn’t know Jess then). I’d been to a few weddings where the photographer had made the whole day revolve around themselves which seemed to kill any romance or spontaneity in the couple; too much ‘Stand here! Move there! Now we need the Bride’s Mother and the Groom’s Father…’ for my liking when we just wanted a day to celebrate being in love. After the wedding we were sent discs from everyone and had just under 5,000 images to sift through which was great fun, if a little slow! One thing we realised afterwards was that although we’d documented the day thoroughly, it would have been nice to get a few shots which were just about ‘us’ rather than the event. Hence booking in with Jess for this shoot.”
“Nowadays, wedding photographers seem to have evolved, thank goodness! I went to a wedding recently where the photographer got in a fight with the bride’s uncle over ordering people about too much, so it still happens and it’s not just me it bothers – but there is a new and wonderful trend for photographers like Jess. Essentially, it’s their job to be very subtle and just capture unguarded, natural moments where people are celebrating, laughing, crying and playing. If wedding photographers like Jess had been around in 2004 when we married, we’d have booked her!”