Nottinghamshire Wedding Photography : Rachel & Alex : Part One

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When, in her very first email to me, Rachel stated, “I’m marrying an excellent man in my parents back garden, and would love some excellent photographs to prove it,” I was as much taken by the literary meter of her words as I was by the sentiment conveyed, each aspect elevating the optimistic potency of the other. Over a period of several months in the lead up to the day that she would marry Alex, I very much enjoyed the chain of correspondence that was shared in; it provided a genuine sense of inclusion in a journey, nurtured understanding of what everything was about.

Rachel & Alex live in a town on the eastern shores of Ireland, fronted by the sea and backed by the Wicklow Mountains, to the south of Dublin. They would marry in the small Nottinghamshire village where Rachel had done much of her growing up. Rachel is a particularly talented artist and designer, something that I worked out for myself through much of what became evident on the wedding day itself. Alex is himself a highly visually oriented person, a director and editor whose work Rachel took understated pride in directing me towards in the lead up to their wedding, work that I very much enjoyed viewing (in particular it was a great pleasure to watch again the wedding film made for Rachel’s cousin whilst piecing together this post; quite a few familiar faces whirling around :~). As well as their visual talents, both have an abundant talent for engaging with people, reassuring and a simple pleasure to spend time with.

I made the journey from Dorset to Nottinghamshire the day before Rachel & Alex’s wedding and the weariness of being forever on a road of Friday traffic was instantly washed away, from arrival, by a river of warmth and hospitality, a river that flowed throughout the weekend and beyond to the sea.

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I was invited to join an eve of wedding meal at the village pub, an opportunity for the crew of friends and family that had worked so hard to pull everything together for the wedding day to relax and share good food and good company.

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Rachel had sent me a menu to select from in the days leading up to the wedding and having never knowingly had scampi from Whitby before, I was intrigued. I’m none the wiser as to what differentiates Whitby scampi from that landed at ports to the north or to the south but it was delicious :~)…

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Big day on the Wolds…

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A hundred thousand welcomes, certainly an appropriate expression. Rachel’s family made everyone feel abundantly welcome indeed in their home…

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Rachel’s sister; a portrait painted by Rachel…

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A heart-warming sight for one such as I :~)…

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As Rachel and her family enjoyed their wedding day breakfast, it was a breeze and an enjoyable one at that to exit a door and enter the marquee wherein the wedding ceremony (and subsequent festivities) would take place. It’s been a while since I’ve pondered the existential crisis of being a wedding photographer :~)…

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The box that Sam built…

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I spotted this rug positioned at just the point upon which the ceremony would be conducted. Naturally I took a photograph of it; it would no doubt prove to be of significance. A little later on, I asked Rachel if the rug did bear any particular significance (being minded of such things since photographing a wedding day on which the aisle carpet at the church had originally been the stair carpet of the bride’s grandmother). I was told that it was just a rug that had been bought. That put me straight on my grand notions of symbolic inter-connectedness :~) Then Rachel told me that having stood upon it alongside Alex to exchange their vows, it would then have significance as the rug that they had married on, and that it would then be placed in their new home together. I very much liked that :~)…

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The menu, designed by Rachel, looked as fantastic as the food itself tasted later into the day…

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It was with some degree of excitement that I reported back to Rachel my having discovered the bonfire, during my exploration of the grounds. She told me that it was specially for fire-lit portraits that night. This was oh so ticking all the boxes :~)…

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Much of what I do, photographically, is informed by aural cues often-times as much as it is by visual ones. Whilst I was photographing Rachel’s preparations in an upstairs room, I heard the unmistakable sound of a stiff brush being run across tarmac and leaves filtering through the window. The simple enough notion that someone, nearby, was doing something by way of preparation for the wedding was more than enough to pique my curiosity. Countless narrative vignettes, big and small, all of which have meaning. Rachel’s dad was tidying up the driveway in preparation for the arrival of the day’s guests…

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I’d not seen one of these before, nor have I since; a counterfeit fingernail detector perchance?…

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From countryside to city, over in Nottingham Alex and his band of groomsmen were getting ready for the day ahead…

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Thence back to the village…

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Clearest Guinness I’ve ever seen…

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More like it…

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A bouquet from the Korean ambassador to Ireland, no less…

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Thanks Shallot :~)…

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Rachel & Alex had themselves a truly powerful, uplifting and deeply personalised ceremony; conducted by friends, flanked by family, tailored as an expression of their two true selves.

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Speeches were delivered in the immediate aftermath of the ceremony by both Rachel’s and then Alex’s dads…

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Sam got himself a lot of mentions in a lot of speeches that day; countless thanks for countless things made for the wedding day…

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It’s hard to think of it having been a rainy day, most likely because it didn’t really rain that much where rain wasn’t welcome. The rain had been rather heavy at points during the ceremony but with everyone under canvas, that just added a layer of cosiness to the atmosphere; the dramatic peals of summer storm thunder from time to time certainly added something too!

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Those images that I like to make, images of people candidly observed, smiles, laughter, expressiveness, they do usually take a bit of a while to build up; a bit of watching, quite a lot of listening (that aural cue thing again), some patience and timing added to the mix. I suspect I was like the proverbial kid in a candy store amongst Rachel & Alex’s guests though, wall to wall expressiveness wherever I looked, no need to bide my time waiting for an expression befitting of the joy of a wedding day. I was very, very happy indeed to be in the thick of such very happy people :~)

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Talk with the hands…

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More of the same (happiness) and yet more again >>

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