At the beginning of a wedding day Phil and I often go our separate ways so we can get pictures of both halves of our lovely couples getting ready. We prepare for this well in advance, sending our marrieds-to-be an online form so we can gather all the important details and addresses. Just once, though, the postcode I was given took me to the wrong house. It happens a lot in that road, apparently. I rang the doorbell and an old lady answered; the bride’s grandmother, I thought. “I’m here for THE WEDDING!”, I exclaimed. The poor lady looked terribly confused for a moment. Fortunately she quickly realised what was going on, and knew the family of the bride, so was able to point me just a few doors up the road to the right house. I was ever so grateful! That’s why I was relieved to see a beautiful vintage car waiting in the sunshine near Matt and Beth’s place as I arrived to take pictures of him and his family getting ready. These clues are HELPFUL! I was made very welcome, and immediately got stuck in taking pictures of the fun and preparations. They even had a big box of Flying Saucer sweets; one of my favourites!
Anyone who has been part of a bridal or groom prep will know how the time just falls away. It’s part of the excitement and fun: that “OMG we need to get going!” moment. We took a few seconds to get some shots of Matt and co. with their very classy ride, before making the short journey to the venue.
Fairlawns is a wonderful spa and hotel in Aldridge, on the outskirts of Birmingham. We’ve shot there several times, and are always impressed with the hospitality and flexibility of the venue. It has some great spaces, both indoors and outdoors, for fab celebrations.
I checked in with Phil, who’d had an awesome time photographing Beth getting ready with her family and bridesmaids. Once again, the time seemed to rush past, and the moment came for the guests to assemble in the lovely ceremony room. Matt works in a school, so is by nature a confident and outgoing person, but there’s a shot of him that I love, at the front, just before the ceremony, where you can see in his face that things have 'Got Real'.
Beth made her entrance, looking absolutely stunning. I hadn’t seen her in her dress before this moment, and she really did light up the room. The “I wills” were said, rings exchanged, vows made, and Matt and Beth, once again almost before we knew it, were husband and wife. I always reflect on what a privilege it is for Phil and me to witness these unique and special moments in people’s lives. There was then a great reception, with lots of laughs, and families catching up with old friends, and making new ones. We spirited Beth and Matt a short distance away for some lovely portraits among the daffodils in Fairlawns’ stylish grounds, and then had some formal shots that started off formal, but became less so as they went on…
Krispy Kreme doughnuts were the favours on the tables in the dining room! What a great idea! I was lucky enough to take one home - it didn’t last long. Guests were guided to their tables by a seating plan that Matt had designed himself - that man has a lot of hidden talents! The speeches were brief, and funny (always a great formula), and we got to see the uniquely hand-decorated shirt Matt wore on his stag do. 😲
After the sun had set Matt and Beth cut a cake that both looked and tasted gorgeous (yes, I had a bit; don’t @ me) before they had their beautiful first dance. Their guests soon joined them on the floor, and that’s when I took one of my all-time favourite photos of 2018. You might have seen it already, as it’s on our main website. Beth and Matt are together, lost in the moment; but it’s all the other things going on in the image that I love. There’s loads of expressive hands and eyes, and such genuine warmth. I just love it.
I hope you like that picture as much as I do! Here it is, preceded by loads of other images from Beth and Matt’s wonderful wedding day.
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