In the words of Hollywood, 'My Best Friends Wedding'
Emma & Tom - Chicheley Hall - 20th February 2016
Photographing weddings can be a highly pressurised task at the best of times, but when you're photographing one of your best friends weddings, the pressure is REALLY on! I've known Emma since secondary school and we've been friends for over 15 years. Emma and her lovely husband met at Brunel University 12 years ago and have been together ever since. Emma even popped out the gorgeous little William 2 years ago and the only thing missing from making it the perfect family was a ring on Emma's finger. Tom proposed to Emma in November 2015 and before we knew it the date was set for February 20th 2016 - Emma doesn't like to hang about! I was lucky enough to be asked along to take the photos.
Emma and Tom are a very laid back and easy going couple so I knew the wedding day would follow suit. The guest list for the day was just family members with the their friends being asked along to the evening festivities, meaning the whole day would be just as they wanted it, a low key, intimate celebration.
The wedding ceremony was to take place at St Andrews Church in Bedford with the wedding reception being held at the beautiful Chicheley Hall after. I started the day by arriving to the venue to get some snaps of Emma and her bridal party getting ready. The hotel was beautiful and the bedrooms where the girls were getting ready were enormous with huge bay windows on every wall, perfect for some 'makeup and hair' shots. As predicted Emma was her usual laid back self but with a few nerves here and there. The ladies from 'Makeup and Hair by Stevie' made Emma and her bridesmaids look just beautiful. The bridesmaid dresses had a 1920's feel to them and were simply stunning. Emma chose one of the classiest dresses I've seen and the final result was an utterly gorgeous and elegant bride.
We soon left for the church, Emma and her bridesmaids travelled in her Dad's car which had been polished to within an inch of its life for the special occasion. We were greeted by the handsome groom and his groomsmen and the star of the show, two year old William, who was dressed in his little tux. There was a slight delay to the ceremony due to one of the taxi's taking some family members to another church 30 minutes away! Poor Emma had to sit in the car while we all waited for them to arrive... she was worried people walking past might think she'd been jilted by the groom : )
The ceremony soon got under way, the rings were exchanged and the register was signed. Emma and Tom also lit a candle during the service in memory of Emma's Mum, Mary - which was a very emotional moment for everyone there. Emma and Tom, like many bride and grooms, were quite pleased to get the ceremony done so they could relax and enjoy the day from here out. Emma was very relaxed with what photos she wanted on the day, but one shot she really wanted was the confetti shot - a favourite of mine. Given that there were only 50 guests, it was nice and simple to get this shot organised. It went really well and they were both completely covered in petals by the end, Tom more so than Emma.
Then it was back to Chicheley Hall for the wedding breakfast. Emma had chosen to host the dinner on one large table where everyone sat together. It was such a beautiful and intimate set up and really brought everyone together. The beautiful flowers were designed and made by Tom's dad who is a florist and he really went all out for his son's big day! The favours were mini bottles of everyone's favourite spirit, mine just happened to be Jaegermesiter... they know me too well. Emma's Dad, Jim, gave a little speech before everyone sat down to eat which was so warm and loving, it brought a little tear to my eye. Although he soon moved on to taunting Tom, the content of which I couldn't possibly write about : )
After enjoying the gorgeous 3 course dinner, the evening guests soon started to arrive and the cake was then cut. Emma is an amazing baker, and the cake proves this. Not only was it beautifully made, but it tasted amazing! It's one of the few weddings I've been to where the cake was nearly all eaten before the end of the night, the majority of it by me and my husband.
Emma had bought sparklers for each guest, so about 9pm we all went outside and lit them. I arranged it like a confetti shot where Emma and Tom would walk through the crowd with everyone waving their sparklers at them. After a few drinks, I wasn't really thinking about the safety issue here, just the need to get the perfect shot. Luckily, all went to plan and nobody was left with third degree burns, and we ended up getting some great shots (despite Tom looking quite afraid in some of them).
Emma (and Tom of course!) planned this wedding in just under three months and she did an outstanding job. The dress, flowers, ceremony, venue, cake and the sparklers all had some of Emma and Tom's personality and it was an absolute honour to not only be there as the photographer, but as their friend. Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness!