Dorset Wedding : Katie & Tom : Part One

branded wedding invitation

7.00am – Wake up.

Katie & Tom’s wedding day was somewhat akin to 24. Except without the guns, rogue devices and underscoring elements of the not so gentle. And the gaping logical plot flaws. There was none of that on Katie & Tom’s wedding day. It all made perfect sense really, especially when it came to the speeches later in the day and that honest, heart-felt, loving delivery of biography and appraisal that allows you to join all the dots and realise that what you sensed about the people at the heart of it all very much fitted an ongoing lifelong pattern. People that I thoroughly enjoyed working for. I’d received a boxed set of all of the seasons of 24 for Christmas; that’s where that came from. The first two seasons I found rather gripping, despite the plot flaws. My interest waned rapidly as season three descended into pantomime. None of that though for Katie & Tom’s wedding day. There was some fantastic dancing though. Where was I?

7.00am – Wake up.

That wasn’t for me, thankfully. Not that I’d not have embraced the need, had needs be, but you know. Catch me fresh and all that. Katie & Tom experienced quite a journey in the bringing together of this wedding, from Antipodean regions all the way to Dorset with unexpected changes in time and space (or rather, place) along the way and it was fantastically well planned, inch perfect and down to the minute whilst remaining utterly relaxed throughout. My journey brought me from a mile down the road to Katie’s family home, well slept and utterly relaxed myself.

dorset wedding bouquets
wedding make-up
bridal make-up
engagement ring
wedding shoes

I’ve worked alongside some truly fantastic make-up artists. Add Annabel Hornsby high on that list…

Katie’s mum, Pam, made the bridesmaids and flower girls’ dresses and the page boys’ costumes too. That’s not all she made though for the wedding day. This is just for starters…

Katie’s mum also made dolls for each of the bridesmaids and flower girls…

And the pièce de résistance, she also made Katie’s wedding dress, a two piece affair with an alternate skirt for the first dance. I’d have been impressed with the dress had it been bought from a boutique and was all the more impressed in meeting the hard working creative talent behind its making…

You’re not going up the aisle wearing that are you? The camera that is. The dress more than impresses. I’d have been impressed though if Katie had worn her camera too. Amongst an array of talents to her name, Katie is an avid photographer and runs a successful family photography business in Melbourne

Katie & Tom were to marry and celebrate their wedding in the Italian Villa at Compton Acres, Poole. En-route though she had to stop off at the nearby Harbour Heights hotel to meet someone special…

Alex, owner of Wedding Memories, had a seeming sixth sense for when he was straying within the photographic frame and proved the most difficult subject for me to frame and capture throughout the entire day, he was so expert at getting out of shot. It was important to me to capture an image of him at work though; to me it’s all part of the story, what goes on in the background as well as in the foreground. Excellent service with a gentle touch on proceedings and his creations are brilliant too, immensely evocative wedding films…

Katie & Tom’s marriage ceremony was scheduled to run from 3.00pm to 3.30pm. Being the eve of New Year’s Eve, by the time the wedding party and guests had emerged fully from the ceremony room the light of day would be turning, well, dark. This certainly wouldn’t have put a stop to the usual round of posed wedding party group photographs being taken, a simple matter of rigging up some flash lighting, but Katie knows her photography and knows what she likes and in particular wanted those photographs taken in daylight. She also had the timeline of the day in mind, the compromise that always comes about between posed photography and the natural flow of mingling, congratulation and celebration that runs through such events, so an alternative plan to the norm was drawn up. Taking the posed family group photographs pre-ceremony would though require Tom to be present, and quite rightfully so! So they opted also to do the first look – that point at which a couple most often first see each other as one approaches the other up the aisle – prior to the group photographs.

I must say I enjoyed this process. The first look had all the emotional qualities and intensity of any I’ve witnessed at the commencement of a ceremony, possibly all the more pointed due to the relative intimacy of the act. When it came to the posed group photography, there was no sense that anyone felt a need to be elsewhere doing something else; this time was set aside solely for the purpose. Later on, post-ceremony, there was certainly no compromise between posed photo-taking time and mingling time and that certainly contributed to everyone’s level of relaxation and enjoyment. These are my views. More important to me is how my clients feel about what they do on their wedding day so I emailed Katie and asked for her reflections. This is what she had to say:

Personally, we loved doing the first look and group photos before the ceremony. This was because:

– We were aprehensive about the ceremony, so seeing each other beforehand helped to take the edge off the nerves.
– It got all of the formal photos out of the way and allowed us and our family to mingle with guests for all of the drinks reception.
– The younger bridesmaids and flowergirls all looked fantastic in the photos because they had only just got dressed, with no opportunity to get messed up!

Having said that, I do think some of the magic of the processional for Tom and I was probably lost as a result of us having seen each other already. We were forced to do things the ‘wrong’ way around by the sunset times, but upon discussion, we’d pick that timetable again even without the restrictions of the light.

So there you have it, the most expert view on a first look one could ask for.

It was a pity that the rain put paid to taking photographs outdoors but the south-facing ceiling to floor windows in the Hytes Suite did their job nicely enough.

Straight onta Compton…

The degree to which lighting conditions were technically challenging throughout the day was directly proportional but entirely unconnected to how much fun Katie & Tom’s wedding was to photograph. Their wedding was fantastically good fun to photograph. The lighting challenges tend to come with every wedding but all the more so for Winter affairs where tungsten, fluorescent and daylight tend to hang out together a lot more than they otherwise might, then realise they just don’t get on with each other. None of this diminished my enjoyment any though. The following is an image that might not otherwise had made the cut on technical grounds, the flash from a guest camera coincidentally went off as I pressed my shutter, it’s all a bit surreally blue once the skin tones are balanced (and the black and white version somehow doesn’t enunciate the same things that leapt out at me, things other than the blue that is). I was endeared to this image immediately and irrevocably though; it’s the body language, the facial expressions, the focus, the concentration, the smiles, the stiffness that betrays the potential kinetic energy behind the anticipation and excitement that shows clearly on the surface. They look like they’re fit to pop (and whilst much of the magic of the first look might have been transferred from one time and place to another, the emotional intensity of the ceremony itself was in no way diminished)…

Tom’s best man, Alex and Katie’s chief bridesmaid, Fiona. A number of times throughout the day I saw the two of them together, how they interacted, and found myself thinking… and the exact words were, “Those two are so going to get married.” Eventually it clicked. They were already married. The fact of their sharing common surnames on the list of details Katie provided me with prior to the wedding might have served as a clue. I’m so intuitive, me…

Katie & Tom, those two are so about to be married…

I think I managed to respond fully to the second instruction but the first one had to wait until now…

Carol & Martin; I never forget a name…

Congratulations indeed Katie & Tom, and more to come again in Part Two >>>

Contact Dorset Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com : 07870 696248

Leah Muse - You did such a beautiful job capturing every moment of Katie & Tom’s day!

Heather - Such a gorgeous couple & adorable wedding!

Lyn Ismael-Bennett - Love that photo of the bride peeking from the door up in the stairs! Great eye!

Matt - That stairs shot is a real winner!

Stuart James - Such a great coverage – love the expressions you’ve captured along with the elegant storytelling moments. SO refreshing to see a First Look – and great call by Katie on that front, a girl who knows her lighting, and found the perfect photographer to capture it!

Ric Latham - Love the details!

Phillip Allen - Thanks all :~)

Derek - Gorgeous wedding! Love your eye for detail and all the emotions you captured!

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