But what has this got to do with my journey as a wedding photographer and Helena and Kevin's wedding? Well, you see, we had a photographer who, shall we say, didn't do the job properly....he certainly didn't do what we asked for; capture the day, the memories, the friends and family. No, rather he just wanted to do group shots, and take a long time over them, and despite a lot of protestation, continued to do his own merry thing. The result being, Jo and I have nothing that represents our day! And that was the moment. Because of that moment I was asked by friends, who knew I had been hooked on photography since a young age, to capture their weddings, knowing that I wouldn't let anybody feel the disappointment Jo and I did and still do have!
Fast forward 12 years....I was contacted by Kevin's mum, Linda. "Can you photograph my son's wedding in June? It's a St Cuthbert's in Amble and the reception is at The Masonic Hall in Amble". The same church and reception venue to my wedding. It would also be the first time I had visited the church since my wedding. Jo looked at me and said "You know this is what you've been waiting for. The chance to show how it should have been done." The more I thought about it, the more I felt like everything had come full circle. I was delighted!
So, I met with Helena and Kevin at their house to talk through the plans. They had been making table decorations for their wedding, spraying plant pots with gold spray paint. I left with an interesting woozy feeling! Immediately, though Helena told me she was petrified of the camera! She hated having her picture taken. I reassured her that we'd sort this at the pre-wedding shoot. She wasn't kidding! She really was scared of the camera! However once she relaxed she was a complete natural, a joy to photograph, as was Kevin.
Logistically, their wedding day could have been a nightmare owing to the Olympic Torch Relay going through Amble on the day of their wedding. However by the time I arrived there was no sign that there had been anything happening....and certainly no sign of the torrential rain we'd be expecting!
At St Cuthbert's I was greeted by some familiar faces, church wardens Helen and Mac and Aubrey the organist. I took a few moments to look around to see if anything had changed but it was more or less how it was 12 years ago. One by one family members arrived. I honestly felt like one of the family the way they all chatted to me.
When Helena arrived at the church, Helen pressed the buzzer to tell Aubrey to begin the bridal march. I remember exactly how I felt when I had heard the buzzer: nervous anticipation. I remember being frozen to the spot and was too nervous to turn around to see Jo walk down the aisle. Thankfully, Kevin turned. His looked starstruck as Helena made her way towards him.
The ceremony was a lovely short service...not too much fuss but still had an edge of emotion to it. As the register was signed, the choir sang Ave Maria and then the ceremony was done. We decided to do the bridal shoot in Warkworth, using the medieval bridge as a backdrop. There were tourists milling around and I could see Helena getting nervous again. I still don't think she believes me, but Helena was so easy to photograph. I honestly do not know why she hates the camera so much. Such a joy to work with!
With speeches done and first dance done (with a couple of helpers), I left Helena, Kevin and family to enjoy the rest of their night at The Masonic Hall. With an hours drive back to base I couldn't help but reflect. It had been a good day; a day that saw me feel angry at how I was treated by my photographer but more importantly a day that had also made me feel very happy. Happy that I had captured the wedding the way a wedding should be; done the way the happy couple wants it doing whilst also telling the story of the day, capturing the magic and the emotions. And the reaction from Kevin and Helena to their images has been mindblowing.
It has been an absolute joy capturing their wedding. Thank you Helena and Kevin for asking me to do it. I hope you had an amazing time in Paris and I'll see you very soon!