As a wedding photographer who's about to get married, the question I get from almost everybody is (tongue in cheek of course):
"I bet you're going to do your own wedding photos aren't you?!"
I never thought for one second until a few weeks ago, that I actually would have to.
Like so many other couples this Spring and Summer (and beyond), our dream wedding day fell victim to the Coronavirus global pandemic. Our big day was supposed to be May 9th 2020 at the gorgeous Homme House in Herefordshire, an amazingly ornate and opulent venue in the countryside village of Much Marcle.
We had come to terms with the fact we would have to cancel the wedding very quickly, and made the call about 8 weeks prior. Strangely neither of us felt gutted or unconsolably upset, I guess that's because subconciously we knew 2 things; We could postpone our dream date to a safer time, and that on May 9th 2020, we would have our own celebration, just the two of us.
None of our friends or family were present on our lockdown wedding, but that didn't stop a few of them having key roles! Laura video called her mum whilst she was in bridal prep, our MC for the real day (JP) became our virtual vicar, we had a first dance played by our wonderful musician Andy Clark, as well as an impromptu Zoom magic show by the legendary Christian Fletcher.
After our wedding breakfast BBQ, our neighbours even came out to see us at 3pm in the middle of our street, as we toasted our socially distant fake marriage - and even gave us gifts and cards - as well as taking some photographs for our fake album. I even did a speech! We've not long moved here, and this was the perfect bonding exercise for us and our lovely neighbours! We even managed a socially distant group photo. Thank god for the 10 second timer on the camera.
We took our one exercise of the day in the form of a river walk around Worcester, and we had a few well wishes from passers by who were keen to hear our story.
Although this wasn't a real marriage and certainly not legally binding, we really wanted to use our original date to make a life long commitment to each other, and even exchanged vows and rings. We are so excited for the big day next year, and all being well it will be going ahead in the spring of 2021.
The night before, I crafted a make-shift altar out of old fence panels and old timber that was about to be thrown out. We decorated it in faux flowers that we had already brought for the real thing, hung some bunting and also some wooden hearts. We were due to completely renovate our garden this spring, and as a result we have taken up our old patio leaving a mound of dirt and hardcore, ready for the new one to go down. I took it upon myself to get some string and some wooden supports (fence slats), and tried to hang as many bedsheets as I could to try and hide the dirt! Later on at night sat round by the fire, the sheets were replaced with LED lighting.
All-in-all we spent around £60 on items for the day (I brought a mirror ball for our first dance - we also had a pizza delivery for our evening buffet) - as well as using stuff that we already had intended to use for the big day and stuff that we already had - like my outfit for example. We will be wearing completely different things next year, we wanted to make sure that the big day is completely fresh in the way of what we wear, to give next year it's own unique feel.
We took pictures of each other as much as we could, and there were moments that were recorded on video and not photographed and vice versa - which really highlights the value of a wedding photographer. When you do your wedding pictures yourself, there is no way that you can shoot everything that you want to. That being said, I think we did a pretty good job!
A huge thank you to those of you that offered your congratulations, and a mahoosive thank you to anyone that sent us a message on the day and got us a card/gift (there were a lot of you!)
There was no way that we were going to waste the day, and I'm so glad we had a fake wedding!
The wedding video will be following soon, which I can't wait to start editing!
The biggest thank you has to go to to Laura, who's not yet my wife, and I can't wait unitil next year to officially tie the knot. These photographs are priceless - and hold so much value to us. None of us really know where this pandemic is heading, and there is no better metaphor than what we did, seizing the day and living in the moment.
Laura, I love you - you looked like an angel, and looking back over the pictures will forever remind me of our attitude towards each other, and to life. There ain't no time like the present.
I hope that you enjoy the photos.x