2020 wasn’t the year I expected it to be…
Usually I would be looking back through my favourite work from the previous year now, and sharing a slideshow of these memories with you, though I’m doing things a little differently this time. 2019 was my busiest to date and I was so excited going into the New Year with lots of photography work to look forward to, then the dreaded pandemic happened.
As a big chunk of my work is based around community events and social gatherings for all occasions, many of these were sadly postponed. I did however have the pleasure of photographing two weddings a graduation and a handful of family photo shoots. The families I got to know and share moments with were warm, kind, thoughtful, and incredibly patient.
I’m using this first blog of the year to share with you two courageous couples who despite it all were able to tie the knot in-between lockdowns and become Mr and Mrs.
Stephanie and Neil
I originally exchanged emails with Steph and Neil back in 2019 and they liked my portfolio so much that we scheduled a meeting for early in the New Year. Their wedding date was all set for the 22nd of June in Rochester, and they had planned a small intimate wedding with two witnesses. After tying the knot they would then collect their 3 children from school and surprise them with the exciting news.
Throughout the first national lockdown we kept our fingers crossed hoping that as this was such a small gathering (7, including me, and the registrars) that it wouldn’t be cancelled. Of course the first wave of the pandemic meant that the ceremony was eventually postponed in May and their special day was moved to the 16th of November. With a stroke of luck in June the registry office called to say they had an earlier date available on the 15th of August, though I could not photograph the ceremony as they had to stick to the rule of 6. Now that the children were at home they were filled in on the secret, and the girls could help mummy get ready in the morning.
Finally we met in July to take photographs around Rochester which gave me so much inspiration for the big day. The high street has the perfect backdrop for wedding photographs with its cobbled streets and Dickensian feel. Just around the corner the historic town has its own Cathedral and Castle, we made the most of the beautiful backdrop.
The big day finally arrived, I looked out the window and of course it was raining heavily. Luckily we had a backup plan. I had my camera’s protected and between us we had two birdcage umbrellas, we also knew we had the arches and doorways we could shelter under. Amazingly when I arrived the rain stopped and it stayed this way for just over an hour.
Steph’s dress had the most beautiful delicate beading design all over it, this and Neil’s suit came from Next. The flowers were arranged by a very talented local florist called Scented Flowers by Maddy and incorporated a soft pastel palette using White Scabiosa, baby blue delphiniums, pink roses, and white dahlias to name a few.
As we walked around Rochester so many people were smiling at us 🙂 They congratulated Stephanie and Neil so many times. I guess their wedding was a reminder of love and happiness after darker days we had recently come through.
Samantha and Philip
Sam and Phil chose a twilight wedding on the 2nd of May at The Historic Dockyard Chatham for their special day. Getting ready in Commissioners House saying “I do” aboard HMS Gannet, with a reception planned in the Mess Deck. In early March we met at the venue for an informal chat and relaxed photo shoot. It’s important to meet and discuss all of those final details, to plan where the main photographs will be taken. It also helps break the ice as we still all think that photographs mean posing. Not with me 🙂 The best photographs capture those intimate loving and silly moments between you.
Anyway at the time there were whisperings of how the pandemic was picking up pace and that a national lockdown could be on the cards. Just 8 days later this is exactly what happened. The Historic Dockyard closed its doors and did not re-open until July, leaving all weddings temporarily postponed including Sam and Phil’s which was moved to 2021.
In the months that followed we kept in touch. Come October I received a message from Sam saying that they had decided to go for it in 2020 and they were going to do this on Halloween giving themselves just 2 weeks to organise everything. Of course I was so excited and available 🙂 Other suppliers involved were Little White Dress in Gravesend, for Sam’s wedding dress and the flowers came from Ginger Lily in Rochester.
Now a twilight wedding in October (when the clocks have just changed, and the weather is temperamental) is a very different wedding to one in sunny May. The Dockyard kindly let me visit again at this time of day for a trial run. It was important to see what available light there was, for example from street lamps, buildings and spotlights shining onto the boat.
On the day it felt a little like groundhog day. You guessed it, it was pouring with rain. Amazingly once again angels were clearly looking down on this lovely couple as the sun came out and the rain stopped moments before the ceremony. Sam, her 2 bridesmaids and her mother got ready in Commissioners House (you can also get married here). We took photographs here before taking a short walk down to HMS Gannet where the ceremony was conducted in the Commanders Cabin. The vows took just 20 minutes, and there were only 14 guests. Though it was short and sweet It was such a happy occasion with Sam and Phil’s nearest and dearest by their side.
With the light now fading I took some beautiful low light photographs and got creative with the spotlights around the boat. One thing Sam had always wanted was one of the Historic Dockyards famous locomotives in their wedding photographs. Throughout the day “Overlord”, an 80yr old diesel locomotive had been going up and down the track with pumpkins at the front. I mentioned this to the organisers and the wonderful railway volunteers made this possible. It just so happens that evening Boris Johnson addressed the nation again asking us to “Stay at Home”. Sam and Phil’s wedding was timed perfectly as they were the last couple to get married at the Dockyard in 2020.
I would like to say a big thank you to the newlyweds Mr and Mrs Chambers and Mr and Mrs Crane for choosing me to be their wedding photographer, being apart of your special day was wonderful. Thank you also to everyone that supported my business and made me smile in 2020.
Although things are uncertain in 2021, the most important thing is that we stay safe and positive. Remember that not everything is locked down. Sunrises, sunsets, fresh air, family and friendships. Creativity, prayers, hobbies, hopes and dreams. Music, kindness, learning, conversation, imagination, and above all hope. Be thankful for all that you have and make plans for your future. Get in Touch
Thank you for your understanding when our plans had to change, but above all, thank you for such beautiful photographs that we can look back on and remember our special day 🤍
We can’t thank you enough for capturing our special day. We are so thankful you were available and able to be there. We had the most amazing day.