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Wedding at the Villa Negri, Italy – Giulia and Elia
There are certain weddings that go above and beyond what I expected on the day. Often in part it’s down to the sheer difference of the location, the colour, the light as well as the people themselves that make a wedding new to me all over again. Giulia and Elia’s wedding is one such example.
Mainly I shoot weddings in the UK and this is a massive safety net for me, I know what to expect, the language, the format and it’s a simple case of driving along the motorway to your destination. This time though it’s Heathrow, a flight, hotel, new language, location and temperature to consider too.
As a rule, I’ll head to an overseas wedding a day or two in advance as it gives me the chance to view the venues, see the couple and be in a good place before the crazy starts!
On arrival at Malpensa airport I drove to my hotel and met Giulia and Elia who after hugs, showed me the venues involved. Giulia was going to get ready at the Locanda Lugagnano. It’s a very old house and inside there was so so so much colour and directional light to work with. Then we headed to the wedding venue which was the Villa Negri.
Set along a large fast flowing river this gorgeous villa was covered in Jasmine which smelled divine, was colourful and beautiful. The gardens particularly were going to be perfect for me to work in – shade was available when needed and the decor in all the rooms was really well considered too.
Elia was going to get ready there as well so I was able to cover both sides as both locations were only 5 minutes apart.
Before the wedding though, they invited me to dinner at a restaurant called Il Fienile Dei Monaci with some of their close friends who helped me understand the menu and avoid the calamari. It was around this point that I was convinced this wedding was going to be a new type of experience for me. I was getting more emotionally invested with each passing hour. I do with most weddings but I normally get there around halfway through the day and not so early on.
Or it could be the Aperitife’s they were throwing my way. (Which apparently are good for digestion but I think they just got me drunk).
Because of the heat in Italy (this was the first week of June) early ceremonies are a great idea. But it means an early start. With an 11.30 ceremony I was at Giulia’s door for 8.30, camera in hand and ready to rock. I still treated the day as normal in the way that I shoot but there was so much more colour and points of interest that I would usally find. Although it’s easy to sell this as when something is new it has more ‘value’. I was bowled over by the yellow buildings outside, the weather blue storm protectors on the windows, the terracotta and the way the light bounced off it.
Around 10am I headed off to see Elia and his guys getting ready. His best Man Michele was helping him and also not helping him by playing dramatic music off his iphone. I’ll be honest in that this turned into a comedy act when everyone arrived with lots of emotions running free.
I’ve been itching to cover a wedding at Elmore Court for years and while I shoot a lot of weddings in the west country Elmore court had escaped me…until this May.
I started the day with Sophie in Quedgeley before heading off to see Adam and the guests at the Rose & Crown – with the view to follow the boys down to Nympsfield Church. Once at the church I was really impressed, it’s a typically classic english church, with a nice long walk down to the entrance and a semi isolated setting. A pretty place to be!
Once Sophie arrived with her dad, the ceremony started and after they had some down time with their guests. Then we went to leave for Elmore Court, but first, we had a bit of tradition to cover. The Lynch Gate was tied and we had to bribe the children on the other sided to be freed.
This was a new one on me, so I did some digging and the origin and ‘purpose’ of the custom, relates, from the groom’s point of view in that he has to pay ‘bride-price’ to the bride’s family, for taking their daughter away (as they were bound to hand her over with a dowry), this is a ‘final payment’ demanded by the children of the village, for losing a ‘sister’.
So there you go, smarter every day.
The church was nice but I was totally spoilt once at Elmore. Sophie and Adam couldn’t of timed their wedding date better. Everything was in full bloom, there were bluebells and the grass was freshly grown and long with masses of cow parsley to hide amongst.
Once they’d had some time with their guests we went off to these spaces for photos and I got spooked a couple of times as there were pheasants sitting in the field. I was taking the lead and every now and again one would sqwauk and flie out. Much to everyones amusement. Ha.
Karina and Joe’s wedding at Cripps Barn in September was just a lovely wedding to shoot.
I had everything I needed, they both got ready next door to each other so I could cover everyone equall, inside the church the vicar was super cool and I had absolute free reign to go anywhere (and that means a lot), their reception was at Cripps Barn and it’s just gorgeous there and the dancefloor was packed all night.
What’s not to love?
What I will add is that all this meant nothing without these two and the way they were. I felt totally and utterly connected to this wedding as if I’d known them for years and I felt as equally wrapped up in the wedding as the guests were.
Sure, I connect with every couple, it’s almost as important to have that ability as it is to take photos. But every now and again you get something more out of the day and even now, looking back, I’m still romancing this particular wedding.
I just can’t explain it.
We had a lot of opportunities for photos as the weather was just so nice but it’s to be expected of September and in the evening the full moon was out for us too.
Casting my mind back to May one of the biggest weddings of the year was Liz and Mark’s. They live in Lancashire, and had their wedding at St James’ Church in Brindle with their reception in a Tipi on the family farm down the road.
I started at the farm with Liz and family getting ready, I took in the views across the country and spent some time initially with the details before heading off to Mark and the boys at their home 5 minutes away.
It was here that I met Ralph, their Welshie and as a dog lover I was a bit smitten, he even has his own Instagram page: Ralph the Welshie.
I spent some time here before going back to the farm, and then on to the church. Chorley Church is gorgeous inside, it has the biggest stained glass windows. It’s as if one side on the church is made up entirely of glass! Liz walked in with her dad and with Ralph watching they said their I-do’s before heading to the Tipi through a wall of confetti!
Once at the Tipi there was lots to enjoy and check out with Liz and Mark having their very own Honeymoon tent! During the reception we had some photos around the farm.
One minute we were in a field of buttercups (where we were visited by a chicken or two), the next, the sweeping views across the gorgeous Lancashire landscape.speeches were read with food served shortly thereafter.
The Barbican had been on my radar for a while leading up to Sarah and Ian’s wedding. The post apocalyptic 80’s system built structure really floats my boat and sparks off memories of the old films they used to show at 6pm on BBC2.
They got married in the first week of February so the inside added a strong contrast to the cold and grey atmosphere outside. We were in a slightly surreal setting and such a beautiful one at that.
As a result of Sarah and Ian meeting on a bus they made up a replica front end as a backdrop for the ceremony and it looked really cute there. After a few readings the reception kicked off, photos and dinner followed.
We used most of the Barbican for photos and in the evening used the theatre area too. It was a different place at night!
It was an experience being somewhere like this. It’s such an unusual venue and I’m looking forward to going back!
It goes without saying that if I shoot a wedding on New Years Eve I’ll certainly be seeing in the new year with everyone there. What better place to do so that at someones wedding, (there’s usually a lot of free cheese around too).
This was the case last NYE when I was covering Polly and Ben’s wedding at the Banking Hall in London.
The venue is pretty much opposite the Royal Exchange in Cornhill so you couldn’t get any more London if you tried to.
It was black ties all round for their wedding and a lovely to experience to be a part of. Polly arrived with her family via London routemaster while Ben was waiting at the end of the marble aisle for her.
The venue is such that the walk to Ben was a long one and this started from the top of the staircase. The music played Polly in and they tied the knot a little past 4pm.
Straight after we had a big group shot on the stairs and some confetti outside before the usual photos and mingling took place.
Their band sang the night away as Polly and Ben danced together before the dj took over and saw the New Year in with a large number of confetti cannons fired from the DJ box when the clock struck midnight.
It was a lovely wedding and something that little bit more special because we saw in the new year with them.
Hot off the presses from yesterday is Laura and Matt’s pre wedding shoot.
March is a risky time of year to plan anything outside, you never know what the weather will be like and rain was forecast either side of their shoot time. Even though it wasn’t raining there was a lot of fog about.
We started off at the National Trust’s West Dean Gardens in Chichester which is a stones throw away from their wedding venue, Farbridge.
Even though spring hasn’t sprung yet there was lots of colour, shape and interesting spaces to shoot in. This was my first time there and I was really surprised by just how big the place is.
For our next location we went to West Wittering beach and this is where the sand, beach huts and the colours all came together. The fog also really added to the atmosphere of the shots and being March, the beach was really quiet so we weren’t distracted.
If you’ve never been to the Brompton Oratory in London you really should go. It’s beautiful. A church that is simply stunning, huge and open to the public pretty much any time.
This was the stage for Magda and Clarence’s wedding ceremony who in October said their I-do’s before heading off on foot with their family and guests to the Ognisko restaurant for the rest of their day.
I started with Clarence in Canary Wharf, he’s an avid cyclist and has several bikes of which he’s very proud. My wife Laura was with Magda getting ready and we followed them to the Oratory.
Truth be told, this is Laura’s couple. We’re both independant full time wedding photographers and as a result we rarely work together but when we do it’s amazng. (You can see her work here: www.lauraellenphotography.co.uk)
So all the pre wedding shots of Magda are Laura’s with the rest being mine. If you’d like to see more, head over to Laura’s site!
October is such a lovely time to get married, the temperatures and the light are pretty much perfect. It attracts more laid back couples and it’s a really colourful time of year.
Where Ognisko is situated was really convenient and we used the Mews nearby, there’s also a park which is directly accessed from the back of the restaurant as well as a nice mix of urban colour locally as well.
Here is Amy and Dave’s wedding from January – they got married at Mayfair Library with their evening reception at Brunswick House.
Shortly after this wedding they moved back home the Australia, but as they’d lived in Brixton for a number of years they wanted to have lots of photos in the area in order to have some great keepsakes for the future.
I started at their home and on the opposite side of the road their family was also getting ready in an air b’n’b. This meant I was able to bounce between both sides.
Once ready we walked to the skate park at the end of their road for photos, then towards town through the market and then onto the tube for Mayfair Library.
Between points we stopped in a local pub for a spot of lunch with their guests and made our way to the ceremony.
They also had their recent addition to the family, baby Josh who stole the show a lot of the time and it was really nice to see him included in so much (including the walk down the aisle)!
It was an early ceremony to allow for Josh and afterwards we went to Brixton Village for a mini reception and some photos there. Time was on our side today.
Afterwards it was on to Brunswick House were everyone was waiting for the dinner and evening do. There wasn’t any evening entertainment / dancing as they wanted to focus on their guests before leaving the UK and I loved Brunswick House for shooting in, it’s my kind of place.