Well, there’s no doubt at all that this is a year like no other – at least for wedding photographers! I’ll be honest: I truly hate the platitudes of ‘unprecedented year’ or ‘the new normal’. To me, these seem to trivialise the emotions and life changes that everyday people are having to go through – particularly if you happen to be a couple who were hoping to get married!
We are so lucky to have built incredible relationships with our clients and the venues that our clients use. And I really do mean incredible relationships. We have felt every bit of their frustrations this year and we have done everything we can to stay positive and driven and, with a little luck (and maybe a vaccine!) we’ll get ourselves through this thing.
One Of Our Favourite Venues
One venue that we have always had a wonderful relationship with is Belmond’s Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. This simply incredible ‘restaurant with rooms’ (as Raymond Blanc OBE likes to refer to it) has been our venue of choice for weddings and celebrations for about 14 years now – we love everything about it. And, more importantly, we love every-one who works there. Simply the very best of the very best.
So it came as no surprise that as soon as the restrictions allowed, the first post-covid-lockdown wedding for us was at this incredible venue. The team down there threw everything they had it – the setting was pristine, the service was second to none and the food? Well the food was as you’d expect: utterly, utterly devine. And the PPE that the front-of-house service wore was almost invisible.
At no time did it feel that they were restricted in any way and, yet, they took everyone’s safety so so seriously: it’s just that the hotel made the bold and brilliant choice in their face masks – utlra clear and without a head band. From a distance (actually, even from close up) you could barely tell there was a layer of polypropylene between you and 2-Michelin starred service. The PPE was so good, in fact, that we have invested in the same product for us here at the studio! It’s great because you can still see expressions and make out words but is also completely protective.
It's A Story Of Two People
Of course, though, the venue and their service are only a part of the story of a wedding. At the end of the day, it’s a story of two people coming together for the rest of their lives. And for a photographer, the process of capturing that joy no matter what the restrictions are.
And Claire and Ed could not have brought more joy, excitement and humour to their day. They clung on to the date for all they were worth, refusing point-blank to move it. And thank goodness they did or I would have missed out on a truly memorable day. A day that I will remember and talk about probably for the rest of my career. Stories of laughter (Claire and I had a pre-wedding-day phone call that lasted an hour or more simply because we couldn’t stop laughing), stories of surprise (when we found out last-minute that we could have a little pre-recorded music for Claire to walk into and the somelier recognised her description of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel something or other” and instantly plugged an iPhone into the sound-system and flooded the rooms with the beautiful melody), stories of service (I am used to Le Manoir’s exceptional team, but Jenny from the Events Team, Karen on Front Of House, the chefs and, well, everyone pulled something truly awesome out of the bag), stories of photography (Ed’s dad turning up with two Nikon 850’s fully loaded with pro-spec lenses – but his wife couldn’t get to grips with them!), stories of laughter (bride, mum and sister in hysterics as they prepared for the big day), stories of floristry (Sofia at Le Manoir produced the most incredible display!) and ultimately stories of romance (simply being around Claire and Ed, the bride and groom, was infectious.)
Oh, and we observed the safety constraints every step of the way – even the group shots were done in their bubbles!)
One or two of their images would look stunning in a frame! But hey, I would say that wouldn’t I?
What more can I say?
Enjoy a few images from this utterly incredible day.