In opening his speech on his and Julia’s wedding day, Simon pointed out that whilst it was considered traditional for the groom to make his thanks for having been welcomed into the bride’s family, he didn’t need to employ such words at this juncture as he had been included immediately and fully in that family since his and Julia’s relationship had begun quite some years earlier. His saying this struck a resonant chord in me; it spoke clearly of a family that act in an inclusive manner, open, warm-hearted and welcoming and I myself have enjoyed and appreciated that shared spirit in my encounters with them now dotted across several years.
I had first met them in early-2010; a family gathering of seventeen – sixteen humans and one characterful dog – joined to celebrate three birthdays; an eightieth, a fiftieth and a seventeenth. Julia was then working as an events coordinator at a lovely rural Dorset venue – Holton Lee – where the year before I had photographed one of my earliest weddings and having seen my photographs from that wedding she asked if I might be interested in photographing a family gathering that they had planned. Accustomed already to immersing myself amidst throngs of people up to a hundred strong or more, I wondered if my presence as a stranger, as a photographer might prove a little unsettling to a relatively smaller and tight knit group but all seemed wholly accepting of my presence from the off, were thoroughly welcoming and they proved to be the most enjoyably enthusiastic subjects that I might wish for as I went about my craft. It was a great pleasure indeed to experience the dynamic of this group.
Five years later, I had a throughly enjoyable time in photographing the wedding of Julia’s sister when Nicola married another Simon and it was fantastic to be able to do my thing amongst these same people once again. Some months either side of that wedding I also had the pleasure of working alongside Julia at a couple of weddings, she in her capacity as a wedding planner demonstrating complete command of the role wrapped in a demeanour imbued with grace.
Then came 2016, the final month of the year and it was Julia and Simon’s turn to tie the knot, another family gathering of great note and an excited me along for the story-telling ride. In some sense I’d been photographing Julia & Simon for seven years at this juncture, albeit not continuously but invariably a fun thing to do what with Julia’s aforementioned grace and her particularly kind spirit and Simon’s irrepressible humour and bonhomie. They married at Christchurch Priory in Dorset and celebrated into the night at the Larmer Tree in Wiltshire. This is the story of Julia & Simon’s wedding day… View full post »