Post length: 1,157 words, just over 5 minutes.

Now I know I haven’t finished with the second half of the stag weekend posts so forgive me, but I wanted to write this now before I go away.

I’m heading back from Scott and Jess’ wedding this weekend. They had a handfasting ceremony and asked me to do their photos for them. While I was, of course, honoured that they would ask me and trust me to shoot such an important event, I was more than a little nervous. While I’m comfortable shooting live events and theatre, I had actually never previously shot a wedding. Wedding photography is not something that I have ever really wanted to get into, but I have known Scott since we were very young and Jess a few years now, so I agreed on the understanding that they know my style and they knew what they were getting.

I travelled up on Friday morning and stayed with my dad for the weekend. (I’m not sure how long I will have that luxuary now my mum has started her new job. Their house is up for sale and I guess it all depends on how long that takes to sell.) On Saturday my dad went to take some things to my brother so I had to find my own way to the place the wedding was taking place — the walled garden in Manor Heath Park, Halifax. It’s been years since I used the busses around Halifax for anything other than going directly into the town, so I thought I should leave myself plenty of time. I set off about quarter past 12, wandered down to the bus stop and had a look at the timetable. There was some information saying that there was only one bus which went near the hospital (which I knew was the right kind of direction) and that I had missed it this hour. I decided to catch a bus to King Cross and walk from there. the first bus which arrived was from a new company in the area, Centre Bus, so I got on and asked the driver if it went to Kings Cross. He told me it didn’t, that it turned up by the fire station. I thought for a moment, despiratly trying to work out where the fire station was. I couldn’t. I gave up and decided not to risk it. As the bus drove off it dawned on my where the fire station is. It’s exactly where I wanted to go. The next bus which came along did go to King Cross so I got on that and walked to the park from there.

I was very early when I arrived so I got myself a drink from the cafe in the park and sat on the grass in the gardens. The sun was wonderful. I’d been a little bit worried that the weather might not be so good based on the previous days and the forecast, but the sun came out and stayed out for the whole ceremony. Only once we got back to Scott’s grandma’s house did the rain finally come. Twenty or so minutes after I got there Gary turned up in a brand new, fresh from the packet, shirt. He was meeting Neal at 13:50 by the gates to carry out ushering duties. A short while after the lady carrying out the ceremony arrived and we were asked to help her bring her things from the car: a little table and a witch’s style broomstick.

Soctt and Jess had chosen to have a handfasting ceremony as they felt it was the least officially-sanctioned, most non-religious ceremony they could while still having a centrepiece for the occation. The ceremony itself was nice. The lady carrying out the service explained that quite a lot of the symbolism has worked it’s way into the more common wedding ceremony and that some common terminology relating to marriage comes from the traditions in the hand fasting ceremony. I shot the all the way through, trying not to get anyone’s way while still covering the the important things. After the ceremony Scott, Jess and I slipped off to take some more formal pictures aruond the gardens, the plan was to do photos with just them in the gardens themselves and then, once we got back to Soctt’s gran’s house to do all the stuff with the families.

Scott’s gran’s house is between the wedding venue and the reception venue, up a little side track, with a nice garden. We wanted to shoot the formal pictures backed on to the garden and up the steps, but by this time the weather was deteriorating. After the speeches by Scott’s gran, Jess’ mum and Ben, Scott’s best man, the toast, and the cake cutting, the rain started to fall and most people retreated inside. I tried to get some candid shots of people as they chatted inside, especially of the grand parents who had been the harder people to shoot during the service, until a break in the weather. We managed to grab a few family shots on the grass before the rain started again, so we moved to under an umbrella and did some more there. These photos are the ones which I was most worried about, and I don’t think they are the best formal photos from a wedding, but I think they will be ok. I hope no one is dissapointed.

After the grandmother’s house we moved on to the reception venue. The Malt House in Rishworth is a nice venue. We had the whole upstairs function room area and the whole thing was very informal. We didn’t have a seating plan, and the meal was buffet style. I think this is just what they wanted — I don’t think they would have enjoyed a very formal type of meal and reception, so it worked well. The people who had been at the ceremony itself mingled a bit and some people who were only coming to the reception turned up. I slinked around the edge of the room most of the time trying to take the most natural pictures I could. I got pictures of all the key things: guestbook, favours, cupcakes, and I think I covered most people who were there. I might have missed some who were in the other room and who didn’t hang around too long, but I will have to see. I hung around until near the end when a group of us took a taxi down the valley. I was heading back to Sowerby Bridge and a few others on to Halifax.

The day was very enjoyable. It was nice to see people again, and the whole event was very laid back. I’m sure, as everyone else has said, that Scott and Jess will be very happy together. The day was pitched just right for them. Now I just hope that the photos can live up to the day itself…

Posted on Monday 22nd August, 2011 at 2:14 am in People, Photography.
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