As weddings go, this one was full of surprises. Debra and Thomas first contacted me back in 2009 and from day one Debra told me "Thomas is a bit shy in front of the camera". I'm used to brides saying they're not keen on the camera, but having a groom who was shy with the camera was a new one on me.
Throughout the planning, they had be great telling me what they like and dislike and coming up with some of their own ideas for shots. I thought I was all set with a couple of weeks to go. Then I started getting messages like:
"I've got a huge surprise for Thomas...." from Debra (more on that later)
"Don't tell Debra and Thomas but I've booked a magician to entertain everyone" from Debra's mum.
After a rain soaked week, the day of the wedding itself was dry if a little windy. When Thomas arrived he was so nervous. His face was ashen white. His bestmen did their best to keep him calm. Debra on the other hand was as cool as a cucumber. Her dress was stunning too. A beautifully detailed platinum gown. Just stunning.
The way the room was set up for the ceremony meant I could get shots of Debra walking down the aisle and then nip down the side to get shots from the front....just in time to see Thomas' face as Debra arrived by his side. It was great seeing the nerves just evaporate.
After the ceremony, surprise no1 was unveiled....the magician who was great at keeping everyone amused while we did the group shots.
Surprise no2 arrived shortly afterwards when Debra, Thomas and I went outside to do some shots of the two of them on their own. I had planned to use the lake at Hardwick Hall as a backdrop....unfortunately a huge industrial fire put pay to that as a huge plume of black smoke filled the sky directly behind the lake. Luckily, Hardwick Hall is full of little nooks and crannies where you can get some great bridal shots.
At the wedding breakfast surprise no3 arrived in the form of a life sized cardboard cutout of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator. I should really have seen this coming as the tables were set out as A,R,N,I and E instead of having numbers. Thomas' face lit up. Apparently he has a huge mancrush on Arnie.
Then during the speeches surprise no4. Debra stood up....remember I mentioned the huge surprise she had? "Somebody couldn't be here today but they have sent you a letter instead..." She handed Thomas an envelope, he opened it and started crying. Inside was a letter personally written by Arnie with a signed photo. Debra had written to Arnie several months back to tell him about Thomas and their wedding and he responded, although she was amazed Thomas didn't notice the envelope on the door matt with "From the Office of the State Governor" on the front.
With all the surprises out of the way, everyone let their hair down, went outside to enjoy the fireworks display and bonfire before going back inside for the disco....with Arnie keeping an eye on things.
Everyone so often you have the fortune to witness a wedding with so many twists, turns and emotions. Debra and Thomas' wedding had these in bucketloads.
Enjoy your break away you guys.....Hasta la vista, baby!