Admittedly, I myself have never dreamt of a big white wedding with the dress and fancy do. I grew up going to weddings that I only went to for the buffet, and that usually consisted of stale sandwiches, chicken drumsticks and party sausages. If you have ever seen the Peter Kay sketch about weddings then you know the kind I am referring too with the kids (and adults) skidding across the dance floor. This wasn’t my style but I didn’t know that then, and it’s why I never wondered what it would be like tying the knot as it all just didn’t seem my cup of tea.
I didn’t know there could be other types of wedding, unless perhaps you’re a millionaire, I fathomed there might be a ‘posh kind’ that would always be out of my riff raff reach, and possibly a third kind, a tearaway Vegas wedding where in the movies people always seem to wake up and regret.
Little did I know, that there are so many styles out there, and thanks to the modern times we are in and much internet procrastination, there’s catering for all sorts of couples with fun and alternative things such as VW campers for travel, gin bars, alpacas in bowties, botanical house venues and wood fire pizza ovens.
I’ve learnt that I hadn’t found what inspired me or what I could relate to. I’m ecstatic to say I have now! Moving to London and meeting a wide range of characters has done that for me.
So that explains a lot of the ingredients as to how I ended up as a wedding photographer, but there was something bigger that made me go full steam ahead…
Living 100 miles away from family in a different city with a busy life, I often found it hard to keep up with them, and we absolutely never got many photos side by side with us all in one place! Then one winter a few years back, I attended a cousin’s birthday party. Being a rare time for us all to meet under one roof, I decided to take my Polaroid camera and got some fun snaps (Below are the treasured Polaroids can be seen). A month or two later, we all found each other under one roof again, but this time in critical care. My Dad, only 47, had a brain aneurysm which lead to a stroke. We were told he might not live, that if he did he would most likely have a disability. I count my blessings that he did come around from his weeklong coma, but he was left physically changed, not being able to enjoy the same quality of life or abilities as he did before.
This life experience brought to me the realisation how precious photos can be of our loved ones, at a happy and / or significant time in life. You never know who might not be there for the next gathering. You might also use the photographs as a tool to remember the somewhat sunnier times when things get tough and remember why you need to keep on fighting.
It might too be why when I’m photographing weddings, that I can feel obsessive about capturing the people there especially when they’re glowing from the sheer thrill of it all. I think this was the trigger for me to steer me directly into the wedding maelstrom! I now truly realise the honour of immortalising this kind of joy in people’s lives for a living. That and the complimentary canapés!