This was one of those weddings where I could have got too comfortable with my surroundings. When Denise first called me to enquire about my availability, after confirming I was available, I asked where the wedding was taking place. "St John's Parish Church in Otterburn" was her reply. I was silent for a bit which in hindsight probably spooked her. "Is that ok?" she asked. My reply was yes and I chuckled and then I explained the coincidence that had occurred. My mum is the vicar in the Otterburn Parish in Northumberland and would be marrying Denise and John. By a complete fluke, Denise had found my details on Yell.com.
Over the years I've captured a few weddings up at Otterburn as some of the villagers had got to know about what I do so I knew what to expect. I also knew that Otterburn weddings can be tricky as I prefer to remove myself from the fact that the vicar was my mum. I think it's important to retain that professionalism. Denise and John though were not based in Otterburn and were a lot closer to me here in North Tyneside. I said to Denise that I would be happy to do the photography on the condition that she did not inform my mum of who the photographer was.
Come the day, I arrived at the church to be greeted by the warden who looked at me as if to say "I know you but can't put my finger on where from!". I asked where the vicar was and was pointed towards the vestry where I found Rev. Penfold and introduced myself. She smiled when she saw me, I think shocked by the sight of seeing her only child stood there. But from that point on we were photographer and vicar.
As the congregation gathered the clouds were getting thicker and darker outside but I was confident the rain would hold off long enough for us to get through the ceremony and through to the reception at Otterburn Tower. We did the group shots in the stunning grounds of Otterburn Tower and as the guests entered the hotel, the heavens opened! Perfect timing.
I stayed long enough to witness the emotional speeches, the guests getting attacked by the ferocious midges in the gardens later in the evening, the chocolate fountain and the specially choreographed first dance. This was a lovely, relaxed, intimate day throughout which Denise never stopped smiling and John never stopped cracking jokes which made the day for my part feel almost effortless.
As I was packing up for the beautiful hour long drive back through Northumberland to Tyneside I got a tap on the shoulder from one of the hotel staff. "I have a message for you. The vicar wondered if you would like to join her and her husband for a bite to eat." I chuckled and headed back to the vicarage to find a selection of sandwiches and cakes waiting for me. Mum knows how to look after me! (And before I forget, Happy Birthday Mum!)