Hello to all the couples out there currently searching for their ideal wedding photographers. You can already read a little about Toby and me on our ‘About Us’ page, but considering the novelty of us being a husband and husband photography duo, we thought it might be nice to share a bit more to help you get to know us. After all, we’ll be spending a long time with you on your wedding day, and I’ll be getting together with you both for a few hours on your wedding pre-shoot, too.
Here’s a little of our personal story, a look into how we approach a wedding shoot, and what resonates with us personally. Maybe you’ll see similarities to your own relationship, as well as your hopes for your own wedding day. If you do I think it’s a strong sign that we’re the right photographers for you, and we’re probably destined to have a lot of fun and laughter along the way.
Toby and I met in 2010; not quite over a Twister mat as Toby likes to tell it. We were actually in separate Twister games that day. I can’t remember who won Toby’s game; I’m pretty sure I won my match. Now is a good time to point out that it wasn’t some form of weird Twister tournament. That would be a little odd even for us. We were both at a barbecue and the host had laid on Twister for everyone to play as part of the entertainment. Maybe the air of a ‘Twister winner’ is what first drew him to me. I remember on my part it was Toby’s smile and that cheeky twinkle in his eye that caught my attention.
Our similar personalities and outlooks meant we clicked really quickly, to the point that after only six months of being together we decided that it felt right for us to move in together. I was living in Birmingham at the time, so I packed up my belongings and my little dog Archie (Archie wasn’t packed up, he rode in the passenger seat of my car) and we headed to Wolverhampton to join Toby and his cat Fatwans.
We’re a laid-back couple. We like to think of ourselves as lacking any pretension or arrogance. We value the people and animals in our lives rather than being materialistic. We also both believe that a wedding day should be about celebrating the joy of a relationship and commitment. So that’s what we wanted for our wedding day when we got married in 2015.
Food and drink were important to Toby, so we invested some of our wedding budget there. Photography was (obviously!) particularly important to me, so I put the effort into researching and finding a great photographer. We also wanted a special venue where we could hold the ceremony, reception, and evening celebrations, so we decided to save to afford the wonderful Cripps Stone Barn near Cheltenham (Toby’s home town).
We kept everything else nice and simple. We made all our own bunting for the decorations, working together on some long evenings with a sewing machine - a new skill learned!. Our wedding was in the spring, so our flowers were £1 bunches of daffodils purchased from the supermarket. Our living room was a sea of yellow for a few days before our wedding as we sunned them to ensure they all bloomed for the day itself. Our suits were bought in the sale from Next. We chose lovely but inexpensive titanium wedding rings, and I designed all our wedding stationery myself. I still can’t believe that Toby talked me into having a ‘maths’ theme - he can tell you a bit more about that! And our wedding cakes were simple Marks and Spencer plain celebration cakes, with our edible faces printed on top. We got a kick out of the fact that our guests were going to have to eat our faces on our wedding day. There was even a cake featuring our cat Fatwans too!
We wanted to forgo too much pomp and circumstance, so we left out many of the aspects that sometimes many of us feel we ‘should’ have on our wedding day, and instead concentrated on what we wanted. We even arrived at our venue with family and friends in taxis together, before Toby and I walked up the aisle hand in hand.
The most important thing to us is that at the end of the day we would be husband and husband, and that along the way we had some great fun and shared that with our family and friends. I’ll always be glad that we finished our evening with a fabulous ceilidh band. If you want a fun way to celebrate your wedding day, an unforgettable and very different first dance, and to make sure absolutely everyone feels they can get up and shake their stuff, a ceilidh band is the perfect way to do it.
Personally we both feel that weddings aren’t all about the dress (especially in our case), how large the diamond ring is, or about arriving in a horse-drawn pumpkin. Those are all nice things to have, if that’s your thing. But when it comes down to it wedding days are about standing there in front of your family and friends, and saying “Look! I’ve found someone I REALLY love, someone totally awesome, who makes me happy, and we want to spend the rest of our lives together. Thank you everyone for helping us both get to this point”.
I like to think our approach to wedding photography encapsulates all that. We try and document each wedding in an authentic and genuine way, with virtually no posing, just capturing the fun and festivities as they naturally unfold. We try to capture the individuality of each couple, the things that make their wedding day unique to them.
At this point I’m going to hand you over to Toby. He’s probably going to insist that our eyes did meet over a game of Twister that fateful day, and probably claim he won too! He may even be able to justify why we had a ‘maths’ theme for our wedding day.
Hi, guys. The Twister story is all true. But I can’t believe Phil missed out the baby oil and the loincloths…
He also didn’t say that he nearly stood me up on our first date. A short while after the agreed meeting time I received a text saying he’d had to rush his brother to hospital because of some sort of medical emergency, and he would be late. “A likely story”, I thought, and then felt bad when I later discovered that the brother concerned had been struck down with acute kidney stones, and had actually been very ill. I’m very happy to say that he’s fine now.
Phil and I clicked from day one. We share many of the same tastes, but also brought a lot of new things to the relationship for each other to try. I introduced Phil to really hot curries - the poor guy cried when I cooked the first one for him. I may have slipped when adding the chillies because I remember struggling with that meal myself. Whoops.
Phil brought his little dog Archie into my life. I’d always been much more of a cat person, but grew to love Archie dearly. Sadly Archie is no longer with us, but we still have the devastatingly beautiful feline Fatwans keeping both of us firmly under her paw, and being rude to us on Twitter…
Phil’s said about how we concentrated on what was important to us for our wedding day. We invested in the things we really wanted, and left out (or improvised) the rest of it. I work part-time as a registrar, so I actually get to marry couples, which is great fun, and very rewarding. Occasionally I’ve seen brides or grooms getting stressed on their wedding days because the sweet trolley (for example) wasn’t quite what they imagined. Here’s my advice: if the sweet trolley is going to stress you out on your wedding day, the sweet trolley shouldn’t be there! Get that sweet trolley right out of your life! Throw the sweet trolley out of the window! (Corporate note: Philip Dignum Photography cannot be held responsible for any injury or damage caused by sweet trolley defenestrations. Please enjoy your sweet trolley-throwing responsibly.)
For some couples, I know that having professional photographers present at their wedding is less of a priority. Uncle Keith has a nice camera, and everyone’s got a phone, right? But if you’ve read this far I’m guessing that having experienced and creative (and fun!) photographers capturing the events of your unique and special day, in a way that’s a little bit different, is important to you, and worth investing in. In that case: we’re the guys for you.
Of course, the REAL reason you’ve read this far is because you’re dying to know about the maths theme for mine and Phil’s wedding day. Know this: I am a nerd, and I love the patterns and puzzles of mathematics. Phil and I originally planned to marry at the Stone Barn on the 13th of March 2015. Then, as I was looking at the calendar, I saw something wonderful about the next day. Written the American way (month / day / year) that was:
3 14 15
Full nerd marks if you’ve spotted why I got so excited: that’s the first five digits of pi, the vital statistic for all circles (and wedding rings!). Pi Day was celebrated all over the world, and there won’t be another five-figure one like that for a thousand years! Pi is my second-favourite number - if you want to hear what tops it you’ll have to ask me in person, though make sure you’re sitting down. Phil took a bit of persuading that a Pi Theme was a good idea, but I think we can guarantee that our mathematical wedding stationery, bunting, and table signage was unique.
So, if after all this, it sounds as if Phil and I are the right guys to capture all the fun and personality of your special day in our unique way, we’d love to hear from you!
Photos by the amazing and inspiring ©RobTarren