When I ask my couples what is most important to them – many of them tell me they really want to have a relaxed, chilled out, fun atmosphere to their wedding. They want to ditch formality and make sure the guests sit back and enjoy the celebrations as much as they do. As a photographer, it’s very important to me to make sure you do enjoy the day – and for that reason I always give my couples advice regarding any formal or group shots to make sure these don’t impact on their enjoyment of the day. I also give you as much, or as little time for portraits as you want – but offer little tips for planning the day that allow you to make the most of your photography without it intruding on the day!
Laura and Nick had such a lovely wedding – everybody adopted their relaxed approach, and I could see Laura and Nick were able to just enjoy their day as everybody was simply having fun being with them. They’re such a fun couple, and a joy to work with! As a bride who managed to create the vibe that everybody seems to want, I thought I’d ask Laura just how she and Nick managed to do so:
How important was it for you when planning your wedding that guests were to relax, have fun and enjoy themselves?
We believed that our wedding should be about everyone attending, not just about us. Having our friends and family feel relaxed was paramount. Nothing was too formal – we had an afternoon tea as a wedding breakfast, with a BBQ later. It came down to small but important touches, such as putting a basketful of flip-flops in the ladies toilets so that no-one had to endure high heels all day, providing free ice creams and offering games on the lawn.
Everybody imagines that the morning of the wedding might be really stressful – how did you manage to be so chilled out?
It really is the case that by the time the morning comes, everything that is going to go right will go right and anything that will go wrong other people will worry about! I found myself incredibly relaxed that morning as I took myself off to the gym for a bit of time to myself.
You have some lovely images of you and your bridesmaids before the ceremony- how did you manage to have time to do all that
We took David’s advice and started our preparations (and celebrations!) early. David and his assistant turned up early to scout the surrounding locations for some impromptu group shots and creative detailed pictures of the dress, shoes and headdress. On David’s recommendation we stopped at an abandoned dairy farm to get striking contrast shots of myself and the bridesmaids.
Was it a pain doing formal family images?
No. We were keen not to have endlessly segmented groups of families, friends, colleagues etc. We wanted every guest to feel like they were important to us in their own way, not simply as part of a group. And our formal family images were actually a lot of fun… David had us all line up against a wall at the side of the barn and link arms.
Did you have fun doing portraits with you and Nick on the day?
It was a highlight of the day for both of us. After the build up of the ceremony and after we greeted the guests as husband and wife, David gently led us away to a field for some couple portraits. It was a tranquil and touching moment and David was exceptionally good at directing us and taking our suggestions for specific shots we wanted. Nothing about this time felt staged in any way… especially when David fell into some long grass, and still managed to take shots of us as we lost control of our giggles!
Did the Engagement Shoot help you feel more relaxed about having your pictures taken on the day? You are surely naturals in front of the camera?
The engagement shoot alone made us feel 100% vindicated in our decision to go with David. Both Nick and I finally had photos we were happy (and eager) to show to people. It made us feel utterly relaxed about how we would be treated on the day of the wedding – and again felt like nothing more than three people having a great day at the seaside. Also, David was ingenious in his choice of locations. My dress seemed to spark several ideas for locations which David felt best captured us as a couple. At the start of the engagement shoot, neither of us even knew which way to look at the camera. By the end of the day, we had lost any inhibitions we may have had, and David made us feel like rock stars/models for the day! By the day of the wedding, it felt like second nature… all thanks to David’s guidance and humour.
How would you describe your wedding?
We were aiming for whimsical, vintage and above all personal to us. There were a lot of hand-made elements, which we and our guests had created. We are both keen amateur photographers, so we had filled the barn with Polaroids of us, friends and family. We truly wanted everyone there to feel like they had been a part of the day’s creation, not just spectators.
Is there anything that seemed important, or that you worried about, before the wedding that actually turned out not to be an issue at all?
Like most couples, there were days on which we worried about everything. What we came to realize is that even when things did go wrong (one of the guests due to give a reading got stuck in Italy) that it simply didn’t matter one bit. Every single guest of ours would have done anything to help smooth out any wrinkles – it was heartening to realize how much love there was in the room.
Was the photobooth fun?
We knew the photobooth would be a quirky idea that would make guests chuckle, but we had no idea how eager they would be to throw themselves in to the dressing up box! For a good hour or two, we had a queue of guests itching to take part. Some of these are amongst our very favourite shots, as they’re an easy reminder of how much fun we all had.
Can you let us know who your main suppliers were?
Dress – David Fielden
Headdress – Jenny Packham
Hair and make-up – Laura Gleed
Bridesmaids dresses – Alfred Angelo
Rings – Bride’s – vintage from the Lanes in Brighton; Groom’s – ‘Ring’ in Brighton
Flowers – My Fleur/Julia Stubington
Anything else you did that brides to be might find useful or interesting for their own planning?
If you have an idea for any element of how you want your wedding to be, it will be the right idea. Don’t be swayed or persuaded by anyone – or by feeling like there is a “correct” way to do things. Believe in what you want to achieve and don’t be afraid to ask people for help. Your guests will be keen to help you realize the day you’ve been dreaming of.
Do you have a favourite moment of the day?
There were possibly too many to pick one favourite, but if pushed:
Laura – As we left the venue, our guests created a tunnel of sparklers for us to walk through. It was a magical end to the day, and a stylish start to married life.
Nick – Seeing Laura for the first time that day as she walked down the aisle… then how happy she looked as she said “I do” a few minutes later.
Thanks Laura! Annabel from Love My Dress wedding blog loved this wedding and featured it last year.