Vejer de la Frontera : Rommalee & Dan : Part Two

Lilac rain, unbroken chain, song of the Saw-whet Owl
Out on the mountain, it’ll drive you insane, listening to the winds howl

Unbroken chain of sorrow and pearls, unbroken chain of sky and sea
Unbroken chain of the western wind, unbroken chain of you and me

The journey has a soundtrack in my head, my internalised juke-box, as I write these words and I absorb these images. I can hear it clearly in my mind; I can listen to it on speakers here. Maybe you could too, in the background, in a separate broswer tab. That’s what I’m doing right now.

Paul Theroux (once upon a time Louis was the son of the famous travel writer; now Paul is the father of the famous documentary maker) in The Happy Isles of Oceania describes a moment when sat atop a mountain in New Zealand he could look down and see with great clarity the things occurring in his life back in London. It’s what travel represents to me as much as experience of the new. A great deal became clear to me on this trip with regards to what I do. It might seem trite to say it has nothing to do with the location, it’s all about the people, considering the location in this case but that’s the simple truth of the matter. Being there, wherever it is, because you want to be there, wherever it is. It makes all the difference. Naturally I take great professional pride in delivering a service; my fee is equivalent to what I once spent on a particularly fine second hand car (I no longer have the car but I still have photographs of it, featuring it, one in particular of my daughter whilst still a baby, being changed in the back seat against a Bath city backdrop en route between Dorset and West Wales; food for thought perhaps); professional service is a foregone. It makes all the difference though when first and foremost in your mind is that you’re there because you want to be there. That drives the framing of an image, the choice, the timing, often as much as any notion of aesthetic construction. It’s the same on every commission, every collaboration. This one simply epitomised it. When you’re atop that unfamiliar hill or on that long unfamiliar road getting there, why you choose to do something becomes a great deal clearer.

I awoke with the birds on Rommalee & Dan’s wedding day… (Stop me now! :~) (Actually bird song was quite a feature of Vejer de la Frontera. Prolific, abundant and, well, pretty much constant. It repeatedly reminded me of the incidental soundtrack in numerous portions of many a Spaghetti Western. Then I remembered that Sergio Leone did shoot his westerns in Spain. It all makes sense now.) I awoke with the birds on Rommalee & Dan’s wedding day…

The shoe safari was going no further than this. Do you realise how hot it was out there? At 10.00am? It’s not that I’ll not go the extra mile; I will, but I’ll be needing a good reserve of energy when I get there. Lovely view isn’t it?..

There was quite a breeze passing through the apartment; good thing too. I asked Rommalee if I could hang her dress from a rafter (pure photo-journalism all the way; bite me) but told her I was worried about it falling on the floor. “If it falls on the floor,” she said, “we can just pick it up again.” Being there, wherever it is, because you want to be there, wherever it is. It is all about the people…

I think there were in the region of 60 guests at Rommalee & Dan’s wedding. There were 16 little ones too. Maybe it was 60 including the 16; I’m not sure. What I am certain of is that there were more little ones at their wedding than I’ve yet encountered at UK weddings of the same size or twice as big again in numbers, and it was great. Also a fantastic testament to the draw their wedding day had on family and friends prepared to undertake so long a journey, not a simple one with the wee ones in tow…

And at the centre of it all, Rommalee & Dan’s crowning achievement…

…and her cousins…

And the flurry scurried as quickly as it had… appeared…

Dan was hoping to get a turn at the sink? Maybe I was seeing things…

Down one floor…

Dorset to Gatwick. Gatwick to Malaga. Malaga to Vejer. All that way and I get to see a set of Love From Hetty & Dave originals. I haven’t been this thrilled about broochware since the unveiling of the Cakenport

Whilst a small town, by big town standards, Vejer has distinct little districts, little pockets often encircling a prominent gathering place. The quarter we were located in had a magnificent fountain as its centrepiece. Unmissable really, it made for the perfect gathering point for a band of travellers from afar…

I tried photographing the fountain in its entirety. It simply didn’t work though. It didn’t make sense. It was too eclectic for the human mind to absorb. Better digested in smaller morsels…

Best Hombres Jim and Mat led the band of wedding goers to the very top of Vejer, as if we weren’t high enough (up) already…

Rommalee & Dan followed on a short while later. They were quite a hit with the tourists…

Mat officiated over the ceremony. Jim conducted readings. Rommalee & Dan had dealt with the legal niceties of marriage shortly beforehand in the UK (options for a non-resident to do so in Spain proved rather limiting) but make no mistake about it, this was as real a marriage ceremony as any, bathed in radiant light. A lot of light. More light than the human eye could register as it happens. A great, big, huge helping of fulsome Spanish light. A truly lovely ceremony (and a quick plug for The Any Campaign as we enter it)…

I’m still getting there with the group photographs. After a thousand miles, the last few feet can prove difficult to navigate…

And they marched them down again…

Little known fact: I traverse 5.75 times the distance of any other individual involved in a wedding day. I love my shoes. I respect them deeply at least. I’ve only just noticed this is quite a nice picture of Rommalee’s shoes too…

Dan found time to fit in a quick gun-fight before the reception…

El Duderino…

Maybe something about an imminent football fixture? I’ve no idea really…

What this image epitomises for me: Planning, organising and bringing to fruition a wedding is a mammoth task, wherever it takes place. Rommalee & Dan created a wealth of beautiful material for their wedding day, had it shipped across to Spain in boxes, hoped it would all arrive, it did, and put everything together with the help of family and friends (the staff at Hotel La Casa del Califa were fantastic too). Seeing the bride pull all the final details together during the reception; it spoke volumes to me about Rommalee…

Dan has design skills. My thanks to the wedding guest, hidden behind the table plan, for holding it in place for me :~) Yeah I’m documentary all the way but it was a tad windy at this point and the terracota plant pots were hiding the truth (or at least the corners of it)…

I was seated at Wuthering Heights. I had great expectations of the meal and they weren’t disappointed. What the Dickens, my ability to differentiate between nineteenth century authors is neither here nor there. Nor is my ability to separate Emily Brontë from Kate Bush in my mind. Ah-Ha! Only joking. (It was a really hot day and I didn’t have a sun hat). And my thanks to Rommalee & Dan for doing me the honour; how many flavours of culinary heaven have I thus far visited…

The receiving line goes back to basics; spontaneous, natural, Rommalee & Dan’s first full opportunity to make sure they could thank each and every one of their guests in person for coming all that way…

I’ve seen grooms break a sweat over speeches in far colder climes…

¡Olé! Mint Mojitos for the toasts! Out on the wiley, windy moors we’d roll and fall in green. I’d always assumed Kate was referring to grass. Must have been Mint Mojitos too! ¡Olé!..

The denizens of Wuthering Heights couldn’t wait for the speeches. I don’t mean that in the metaphorical sense…

Rommalee’s Dad, George, commenced speeches. Said some lovely things about Rommalee. Easy to do really (not that it’s easy to get up in front of a crowd and speak, but it’s easy to find good things to say about some people)…

Seems the Mint Mojitos were going down well, considering this was just the first toast. Make mine a barrel…

He’d always known it was true!..

There’s a school of thought that says a single photograph should be capable of telling a story in full and that it shouldn’t need explaining. School breaks up at 3:25 every day though and then what do you have? I often find myself beholden to multiple images of seemingly the same thing and have no qualms about pointing out what I see in them, especially in an Internet age of skating across the surface of things. I was indeed going to select one image to deliver from a sequence here but as I sought out the best one to keep I noticed the interactions taking place. Dan’s Mum and Dad observe him delivering his speech (top left). His Dad’s eyes switch to Rommalee as Dan says something in particular; his Mum switches focus, internalising what he’s just said (top right). Both look back to Dan (bottom left). The image bottom right is the touching denouement of the sequence; as photographs they’re straight forward but that’s of no consequence to me, as a moment between family it stops me in my tracks and makes the hairs stand on my arms…

Dan rounded off his speech with a Limerick penned in Rommalee’s honour (a tradition held between them on special occasions over a number of years)…

Time for the Best Hombres to deliver the cleansing fire of the speech…

It’s the last time they’ll be invited for supper… (in fact I believe they’re round at Rommalee & Dan’s for dinner just… about……. now *hits Publish*)…

And in comes the rhetorical mirth grenade of Cadiz…

The photographs don’t do justice to the food. I’ll hold my hands up and admit that. The images are merely a record; they make me want to weep with joy though. The taste was exquisite. That of the Moroccan lamb with baked apple certainly was. I’m sure the other dishes were likewise. I couldn’t exactly say to people though, “I’m going to be writing a report on this so would you mind if I ate your dish too so I can provide a honest first hand account.” But… maybe I could? In retrospect I bet those tomatoes, top down with a macro lens, would have looked delightful but eating is more important…

El Duderino II…

Un poco…

I know exactly how she felt…

Umm…

I am the Anti-Bob!…

The daughter of one of the hotel’s owners was really loving this wedding. She kept drawing pictures featuring hearts and happy smiling couples and delivering them to Rommalee. She also displayed the same powers of levitation that Rommalee & Dan showed off in the first instalment of this story. Must be something in the local water…

Join us back in the alleyway and through into the night’s celebrations in the next instalment >>>

<<< Vejer de la Frontera

Contact Vejer de la Frontera – Andalucia – Spain Wedding Photographer Señor Phill : phill@misterphill.com : +44 (0)7870 696248

Amy Wass - Wow. This is what destination weddings are all about. Looks like a relaxed fun day in a beautiful setting. Love that the groom wore shorts. Look forward to the next installment

Angela Ward-Brown - Wow – fantastic stuff, love the colours & those killer wide angle shots. Looks like an amazing day.

Rommalee Young - I’ve looked at the photos 100 times already and I’m still finding new things that make me smile. Thank you for adding a touch of magic to our wedding day story.

Phillip Allen - Thanks Amy and Angela :~) Thank you so much Rommalee for having me there to experience it all.

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