Life IS like a box of chocolates
Hello and welcome to the Ross wedding blog. There was a rather unusual start to this wedding for me. Having NEVER met the Bride and Groom before their actual wedding day I had absolutely no idea what they looked like and the only information I had was the name of the venue and a time to arrive. Wise man once said "life is like a box of chocolates" and that is just the way I like it.
When I arrived at Abi's Mum Julie's house to shoot the Bridal prep I thought it would be good practise to squeeze in a brief consultation with the bride before she had her hair done at least.
The consultation went a little bit like this:
Me: So who's the bride?
Me: Oh hi Abi, nice to meet you. I'm your photographer. So did you have a chance to look at my website at all?
Me: So do you have any idea if I can even use a camera?
Abi: Erm no, but it'll be alright.
Me: Oh OK, well then you can't be disappointed I suppose can you?
The laid back bride
I have met some laid back people in my life, even encountered them in the form of brides on many occasions but I have never encountered a bride quite as laid back as Abi. She wasn't bothered about having many formal photos, in fact I don't remember her even asking for any on the day and her only pre-wedding question was how long I would be there for. She was obviously just keen to marry Gary and crack on with the party. A most impressive attitude to a wedding wouldn't you agree?
"How Deep is your love" is the song I have chosen to accompany the beginning of Abi and Gary's wedding story. It was played during the reception where I heard it for the first time. The girls seemd to LOVE it and so this one is for the girls!
Bridal prep. Hair extensions, bubbles and bomb shells
Bombshells is the only description I can find appropriate enough to describe Abi's bridesmaids. Seriously, as if the day wasn't hot enough with the endless and abundent, glorious summer sun!
Abi had selected a fine collection of girls to make up her bridal party. Included were her two Sisters and Sister Josie was also her maid of honour (I do LOVE a family affair). The morning was a wonderful mix of emotions and giggles and Abi's Mum Julie was fully involved in the chaos and the prosecco of course whilst Nan sat quietly observing and taking it all in.
The Beautiful Bride
I was given the impression before the wedding (by a reliable source) that the bride and groom weren't too keen on having lots of photos of themselves taken on the day. The whole couple shoot thing was not really their bag. In fact I think they just wanted someone there to take some decent photos. Hence the relaxed attitude to their wedding photography (I assume).
Many people actually aren't that comfortable having their photo taken (myself included) but professionally this only excites me. In fact it makes me more determined to catch people when they are at their most natural which is usually most beautiful. This is why I enjoy shooting the bridal preperations so much because it is during this time that the Bride is so focused on what's happening and what is going to happen that they are not aware of me shoving my camera and a big lens in their face.
Women aren't easy creatures to please (I am one so I should know) but a wedding is the perfect opportunity to feel at your best, your most feminine and definitely most beautiful. Abi, you are no exception and I for one think you look STUNNING!
Time to shoot the bomb shells
They hadn't even got their dresses on and already these girls were looking so hot!
With prosecco flowing steadily and everyone getting increasingly giddy with excitement, Abi threw in a lovely surprise for the girls, Mum Julie and Mother-in-law. She had gifts of jewellery for each of them as a thank you for all their efforts and contributions leading up to the wedding. Ahhhh, a small indication of the kind of girl she is I reckon.
It was soon time to stop hugging, gushing and toasting and time to get upstairs and prepare to rock some frocks! The bridesmaids hadn't seen Abi's dress yet so it was up to her Maid of honour Josie to help her get in to it and complete the finishing touches.
And the dress is on and she looks elegant and classy all in one PERFECT package. Time to get a bit more emotional me thinks and so therefore time to change the background music..
The reaction of the girls was just as perfect. I absolutely LOVE moments like these.
Meanwhile, back at Hampton Court Golf Club..
a certain gorgeous boy is awaiting the arrival of the bride. This is Jay, Abi's Son. He had the honour of walking his Mum down the aisle. Now if that's not guaranteed to force any guest to get the kleenex out I don't know what is... well that's what I thought until I heard the Groom's speech, but that's later.. for now here comes the bomb shells AND the Bride!!
It has to be noted how Jay took full responsibility for the ring. In every shot I have of him at the venue he had it in his hand and was not going to let it out of his grip for no man! I absolutely love this moment where he takes Abi's hand and prepares to walk her down the aisle. He looks as proud of her as she is him. Abi looked like her heart was going to burst when she saw him in his suit for the first time. Any Mother would have felt the same. What an absolute credit to his Mum he is. This kid is AWESOME!
The moment has arrived... nervous Gary? I couldn't quite tell..
Abi and Gary's ceremony was short, sweet and seemless. They were soon exchanging vows and rings and signing the register and officially made Mr and Mrs Ross. Yippee!
Now that the Ross family had become complete it was time for celebrations, more bubbles and erm... Jaegar bombs?
Presenting... Mr and Mrs Ross. Gorgeous family.
Outside the sun was still glorious and the back drop of Bushy Park was absolutely stunning. The guests had plenty of time to relax, sip some prosecco and enjoy the pleasant surroundings (before the serious drinking began).
This is Gary's Dad. I noticed how emotional he was during the ceremony and the speeches, this man is a kleenex man.
Group shots at weddings
Ordinarily getting a group together at a wedding can prove challenging at the best of times, and a group of lively lads- well I would have thought more so. UNLESS however (as I discovered at this wedding) they are mostly made up of a football team which then in actual fact after a couple of beers it becomes easy. I have learnt that not only do they learn to kick a ball together, they also learn to assemble in a perfectly orderly manner in to a team photo position. Job done boys. Nice one.
I am so HAPPY that Abi and Gary agreed to go off to take some photos of just the two of them. At most weddings the couple actually don't spend that much time together so this is a lovely opportunity. With Hampton Court Golf Club being situated in Bushy park we were spoilt for photo opportunities and what better way to explore them than.. in a taxi...?
...OR a golf buggy OF COURSE! The boys LOVED this and this was without doubt a highlight for the younger (and older) ones. I t was certainly a speedy trip to the fountain but I didn't fear for my beloved camera (which I held on to like a new born baby) so not too hairy. Phew.
For the last song, I have chosen this by Sia. Abi probaly doesn't remember but I hang around by the DJ for a while sipping my end of wedding beer just to watch the dance floor for a bit before heading home. This song came on and Abi knew ALL the words as if she had written it herself. It was one of those "dance like no one is watching" moments. So this one is for you Abi Ross. You certainly looked like you felt like you were swinging from a chandlier.
The Battered Bouquet
In keeping with certain traditions, Abi decided it was time to throw her bouquet and it was caught with the best reaction I have EVER seen. Almost everyone was jumping up and down, girls were squealing and even the boys were going nuts! It turned out that the girl who had caught it had been promised by her boyfriend earlier in the day that if she caught it, he would marry her. He wasn't here to witness this and was to find out after everyone else...
Not so in-keeping with traditions, Gary decided he would carry out the same idea, bouquet in hand he tossed it in to the crowd of boys behind him.. only for these beautiful flowers to be punched in to the air (in his defence - instinctively) by one of the boys, resulting in a very battered bouquet. I have to admit, it was VERY funny.
Once the Sun decided to start setting on the horizon of Bushy Park we took another opportunity to squeeze in a few more cheeky photos to make the most of the glorious light...
and with the help of a new friend...
After a few more Jaegar bombs and plenty of celebratory drinkies, it was time for everyone to take a seat and endulge in some DELICIOUS food (including myself - THANK YOU).
I have no problem admitting I am prone to shedding the odd tear when I shoot weddings. Emotion is everything to me and engaging in it is at the heart of how I work.
However, Gary's speech on this occasion really struck me. It was so heart felt, so genuine and so full of love for Abi and Jay. There wasn't a dry eye in the room, including my own. What a lovely lovely family.
The evening started out as predicted. The wedding favour shot glasses on the tables said it all for me.. things were going to get very very LIVELY.
By this stage everyone had had a good old drink, laughed and cried and the only thing that remained on the wedding agenda was to PARTY!
This has to be the liveliest wedding I have shot this year and under the circumstances of our meeting I am delighted that I got to be Abi and Gary's wedding photographer. They were the most easy going couple to work with and most importantly they obviously had the best day ever and I was there to catch it all (except the bit where Abi fell on the floor- I was too busy crying from the speeches).
THANK YOU MR and MRS ROSS. You guys were an absolute pleasure and I loved it!