Hampshire Wedding : Sarah & Tim : Part Two

It looks a little incongruous, a groomsman stood alone on a Hampshire lane. It would look a little incongruous in any county. A van pulled up, a window wound down, a driver asked, “Is there a wedding?” Yes there is. It’s Sarah & Tim’s. They’re ten foot tall apiece don’t you know?

A bit of context, a somewhat significant bit of context at that, can be found in Part One of Sarah & Tim’s wedding day.

I assumed this was a marvellous example of a tradition that had fallen by the wayside. I'd never seen it at a wedding before. Then I realised this was the first time I'd documented a wedding where the post-marriage celebrations took place at the couple's home.

"What are we supposed to do?" "I think we're meant to laugh or something." I got the impression that Sarah & Tim might have briefed some of their guests on my approach.

Sarah and Father Murtagh didn't need briefing on what to do. She's been photographed by me before and he's appeared in Hello Magazine.

The marquee that Tim built. With trees. And a Hessian roof.

I was exceptionally impressed by the catering crew from Moodies. Tim, the on-site manager, was already busy at work when I'd arrived that morning. He and his crew were still busy at work when I left late into the night. I've never before encountered a fellow service provider at a wedding who has arrived before me and left after I've packed my cameras away, long after I'd set off for home at that. It's not something that's usually necessary from any other aspect of provision. Having said that though I did get the impression they were also managing the broader logistical flow of the occasion, in a manner one might expect from an event management company, not just delivering food and refreshments to tables. It was a highly transparent process if that was the case though; I'm just naturally attuned to such things through practice. I felt guilty leaving before them. Sarah & Tim were about to depart themselves though. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of the story here. At this juncture I'd come across Tim briefing his crew. From hearing all that was said it was clear that the company pay a great deal of attention to their clients' needs and preferences. I've worked alongside excellent caterers elsewhere who no doubt adhere to the same practices in order to achieve that excellence but Moodies were certainly representative of the very best that I've encountered. The food was superb too :~)

Tami's Teruteru-bozu were still doing their job marvellously.

I’m a people person, photographically speaking. If I could spend all day simply documenting the dynamic of a group of people, their interactions and individual nuances I’d be more than happy. I do of course pay attention to material details; a great deal of emotional investment will have gone into their selection and deployment and they do add meaningful brush-strokes to the picture of the day. My usual practice is to devote around 15 minutes to documenting all the details in a banquet room before the guests are seated; it’s an important thing to record but in all honesty I do find myself itching to get back out amongst the crowd where I can do my thing, so to speak. Having photographed the layout and the details in Sarah & Tim’s wedding marquee I stopped to review all the images on the LCD screens on the back of my cameras, to ensure that I had everything I needed. As I scrolled through the images I realised that I’d photographed everything, twice over; having traversed the marquee I’d continued to do another lap, I was that lost in the splendour of it all. Even though I was now conscious of what I’d done, I still had the urge to continue once more around the floor. It’s the first time I’ve ever had to drag myself away from an uninhabited space to continue photographing in a space full of people.

Still, I'm all the more happy when human presence anchors the scene.

And when it's awash with people, all the better.

I’ve noted a growing trend in recent times for the speeches to be delivered before the wedding breakfast is served. In most cases I sense this decision is driven by a desire to dissipate the nervousness people have at having to stand and speak in front of a crowd. Get them out of the way so everyone, not least the speakers, can then enjoy their meal. It’s a perfectly natural thing to feel, though never in my experience a problem come the delivery; it’s from the heart and everyone is on your side. I do find though that speeches delivered prior to the breakfast tend to be dispensed with expediently – everyone’s hungry by this stage – whereas those delivered at the end of the breakfast tend to be digested with relish. Were my advice asked I would always suggest not rushing to get them over and done with; they do serve an important function as part of one of the most significant rites of passage in two people’s lives. Sarah & Tim, I believe, hit upon the perfect balance for this aspect of the wedding day. Starters were served and consumed so the edge was taken off everyone’s hunger, then the speeches were delivered prior to the main course and they were consumed with relish (both the speeches and the food!) I’m not certain how easy it would be to negotiate such an order of events when one’s special day is being celebrated at a traditional wedding venue however; one certainly has a great deal more control when it’s all being done at home.

I don’t actually know if the order was underscored by any sense of nervousness at speech making in this case; as a listener myself, I didn’t sense that to be the case but it certainly serves as a great example on approach, as did many aspects of Sarah & Tim’s wedding day.

Sarah's Mum, Ros, opened proceedings. A marvellously warm, effusive and touching speech.

Ros reveals how Sarah, at a young age, had set about her campaign to save the planet. Nothing to be embarrassed about at all Sarah! ;~) From my first meeting with her and Tim I've found myself making little changes myself. No longer showing up to consultations with small bundles of paper based information. Gladly accepting my little one's behests to save the planet and carry her to school under a big golf umbrella when it's raining ("Don't worry Daddy! I'll be dry under the umbrella!") Having in the first place encouraged her of the fact that we don't need to take the car to school, then enjoying the logical cut and thrust of explaining why I'm not saving the planet by still using the car to take us both to the supermarket for the weekly shop. It's the little things that add up. Anyway, this is someone else's speech I believe.

Tim, with a background in theatrical stage management, wasn't ever going to falter in delivering a fine speech himself.

And Best Man Jar tied up all the loose ends with aplomb.

Martin spotted the Teruteru-bozo. Not an abstract attempt at a greeting card slogan. Just a record of the facts.

Nobody noticed that Ros had left the lens cap on.

Unicycling. A great aide digestif.

First act of the night, Edwin Brooks and The Burning Glass, warmed everyone up with their quirky, eclectic and highly humorous musical act. Certainly more of a festival oriented group than a wedding band, as such outfits have come to be known, I can't imagine a better act to have along for a wedding where everyone loves... quirky, eclectic and humorous music and song basically.

Tim's disarming personality always shone through.

I was intrigued by the offering of Brown Bread Ice Cream. I had to try. It was remarkable, for all the best reasons (made with Granary bread for one). Dylan's Ice Cream. Excellent product. Exemplary service with a smile.

Headline act The Flying Toads. Energetic Irish musicians. They're just warming up at this stage (and did they ever warm things up soon!)

Sarah & Tim had their first dance; they didn't see any need to leave everyone else out of it though.

To say that Sarah & Tim’s wedding blew my socks off might be considered hyperbole but there are now two new craters on the Moon with a piece of cotton footwear buried in the base of both of them. A remarkably inspiring day, it was a beautiful thing to witness. I’ve enjoyed reliving the story enormously.

Thank you Sarah & Tim for having me along on this part of the journey.

Roll call of remarkable service and delivery:

Contact Hampshire wedding photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com : 07870 696248

The Flying Toads - The Flying Toads loved playing for Sarah and Tim. It was a beautiful evening ;-). These are beautiful photos of it.

Avelaine Scyrup - There are so many wonderful photos here. Great job! Beautiful storytelling. You must be using a tilt-shift on some of these? They are most awesome :)

HayleyRuth - Phil I can’t pick a favourite there are just too many stunning images to choose from. This is a truly beautiful wedding with the most stunning photography to record it as such.

Tobiah - Wow you did an amazing job. Absolutely loved this one!

Daniel Dunlap - Absolutely love this set Phillip! Your PJ work is top notch sir.

Amy Wass - WOW. Beautifully styled, beautifully photographed and what am amazingly personal and memorable wedding day.

Amy Wass - WOW.Beautifully styled, beautifully photographed and what an amazingly personal and memorable wedding day. Love it so much

Amy Wass - so much I said it twice, with a bit more. :)

Matt Stanton - Superb story telling, your style fits their day so well. It looks beautiful from start to finish.

nadine - Yeah, I’m going to echo the “wow”. Also, I like how you blog the story.

Heather - Stunning. Awesome work. I’ve enjoyed viewing this wedding so very much! The “bride and groom” portraits were the icing on the cake.

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