On Saturday I had the absolute pleasure in being part of Ben and Jennifer’s big day at Holland Hall Hotel near Wigan. Before it all kicked off however, just like I always do before the big day is I spoke with them to firstly confirm the relevant details I had on paper whilst running through the day to give them the best idea in how it’s all going to run. Now obviously I can’t see the future but I can offer advise on what to do to keep timings on track as this is the biggest thing which determines the lasting effect of the day.
So, the day had arrived and Jennifer included the Bridal preparations onto the package at a later date as she was really keen to include this element of the day so both herself and her Husband to be can remember it for years to come. I personally love the preparations beforehand as they create the story of the day and the build up to what will be one of the best days of a couple’s life! I began photographing the action as the girls were chatting away and sharing gifts whilst a hair stylist and make-up artist were doing what they do best. I later moved into the main bedroom to capture shots of the smaller details which included the wedding dress, wedding shoes, wedding flowers, wedding jewelry etc. It went so fast and before I knew it Flower girls were arriving at the latter stage of the morning just as I started to pack my kit away to head down to meet and greet Ben whilst getting some natural shots of guests arriving.
I spoke with the Registrar before the wedding ceremony which was a good idea especially as on this occasion they did have a special request. Ben was chilling out but was soon invited into the ceremony room to take his place at the front of the aisle as family and friends also took their seats to await the Bridal party. With details sorted Jennifer and her Bridesmaids were making their way down the aisle and proceedings began. It was a lovely service which included a reading by Ben’s Mum. With rings exchanged and the newly weds signing their life away by popping their signature into the records they were heading outside together where we were to begin the first formalities of the day.
I like to get this part of the day done as quickly as possible and concentrate on what I love doing and that’s capturing those documentary shots. We started with a confetti photo and the new Mr & Mrs McWilliam made their way through the crowd of confetti which is a photo I absolutely love and everyone is involved in. A short list of formal groups is then completed and I then had a short period of getting some room shots where the wedding breakfast was to take place, these smaller details work great in creating the story of the day.
We were on time and Karen and the team were rounding up all of the wedding party to take their seats before the happy couple were officially announced into the room. They chose to have their food first with the wedding speeches following. This gave me time to relax, recuperate and check over what I had captured to date.
Martin who is part of Holland Hall Hotel’s staff let me know in advance that the speeches were immanent so I got my gear ready for the second part of the day. Before this however, Holland Hall do something which I haven’t yet witnessed at any other wedding venue. The newly-weds are invited up to a tower of empty glasses which are in the shape of a pyramid. They then pour champagne from the top which trickles down to the bottom tier and therefore fills all of the glasses…it is so satisfying to watch and even more so to photograph with natural reactions!
The speeches were lovely and quick which is always a positive as it gives not just them but their family and friends more time to party. I always leave the more intimate shots of the couple until the evening (unless the weather tells me otherwise) as the lights better and it gives everyone a rest from photographs. I only spend around 20-30 minutes or until the newly weds are happy they’ve had enough. It’s important for me to read the situation and how they are feeling. Most of the time they prefer it as it gets them out into the fresh air and they have a short period of just them together. I treat it very informal and as fun as possible…in fact I’ve been told time and time again that it feels like friends chatting and having a good time and forget that photographs are being taken, which is always GREAT to hear!
The evening arrived and the first dance was wonderful and was soon followed by a very inviting buffet. I had such an amazing day and I can’t wait to begin editing their wedding photographs. Here is a selection from their big day…