Updated: Dec 30, 2019
I've been shooting weddings for nearly 20 years now. The wedding industry has given me so many great moments across Europe and it was time to give something back. Back in 2018 on a lazy Sunday morning I was casually scrolling through Facebook whilst sipping my morning cuppa. I'm a member of several wedding groups and amidst the usual adverts of fauxtographers offering full day wedding photography and thousands of low quality images for £250, I spotted a lot of messages posted by brides complaining about a similar thing. They'd booked a photographer, paid him and then received a message later on saying his "accountant had advised he liquidates his business" and unfortunately couldn't repay the couples. This made my blood boil. But one caught my eye. I saw a message from Jodie and she was based in Essex. I'm not normally one for personally messaging people on these groups but instinct told me to message her. She was inundated with replies from more of these "fauxtographers". I dropped her a message. It was quite simple....you're getting married right on my doorstep and I'll do it free of charge. Within a couple of hours Terry was on the phone asking me what the catch was...there was no catch. This was me giving back to the industry and helping a couple who have been wronged.
So after months of planning with Jodie and Terry I went into the big day knowing this would be a fun day. They had some great ideas as well as some hilarious ones. The wedding was going to be at Langtons House, my third wedding there in recent weeks. However this time, as it was a gorgeous sunny day the wedding would be in the Orangery with the guests sat outside on the lawn.
We started the day at Harefield Manor Hotel in one of the chalets where Jodie and her bridesmaids were getting ready with Kisstory blasting in the background. There was no rush here. Everything was happening at a nice steady pace with no stress. We spent most of our time chatting and laughing about the day ahead.
I headed to Langtons where I bumped into Terry. He turned to me and said "I'm sh*tting it!!!" This was his standard greeting to everyone! As he paced about the wedding coordinator checked the sound levels of the microphones and music for the ceremony. Jodie had now arrived and been ushered into the West Room for final preparations whilst Terry headed to his mark outside the Orangery. The time was now!
As she made her way to the Orangery with her dad, Jodie was fluctuating between giggles, broad grins, tears and crying. Terry couldn't contain himself. He literally couldn't keep his hands off his beautiful bride. He gave her the biggest hug and kiss. Throughout the ceremony, he kept looking at Jodie and would lean over, whisper something and then kiss her. She was beaming and couldn't contain the emotion as she wiped away tears.
After the ceremony we had a bit of a wonder about the grounds and had some fun. I have never taken life seriously so when a couple say "We've got an idea" I'm always up for it. The shot with the sausage was my compromise on the original idea. That's all I'm saying! :-D Either way, it worked. We were creased, and the reaction since the images went live has been superb!
So we then headed to Collier Row Catholic Club for the evening's fun. There was no formality here. Just a fun evening for everyone involved with the wedding. The buffet was waiting so everyone tucked in. The DJ asked if I knew if there would be any speeches. As far as I knew there wouldn't be. But up stepped the Best Man and gave a short speech before all eyes turned to Terry. He was pacing about nervously. He shook his head and shout "LATER!". Then Jodie's mum decided to take to the stage and gave a heartfelt speech and message to the happy couple with all three of them sobbing throughout.
And that was that. After the first dance everyone settled in for the night and danced into the evening. I parted company feeling awesome. I'd laughed all day with an amazing couple and guests on a beautiful day!