In reviewing the weddings that I photographed during 2014 I stated that it “may well have been the most intriguingly interwoven year that I’ve experienced as a wedding photographer.” I’m not certain that 2015 proved to be any more intriguingly interwoven but I dare say that it proved at least equally so, interlinked from beginning to end quite literally if not throughout exclusively.
My first wedding of the year took place in the middle of January in Bedfordshire, my final in the middle of December in Dorset. That first wedding saw Tom marry Nicki. The last saw another Tom marrying Lizzie. Both Toms served as ushers at each others weddings and indeed the ushers teams at both weddings included grooms from weddings I’d photographed in previous years – Huw whose marriage to Kim I’d photographed in 2010, and Ben whose marriage to Lit I’d photographed the following year – and both Toms had served as ushers at those weddings too. A neatly sewn up pattern that gave me pleasure to behold and all the more pleasure again to weave myself into the fabric of, even more so – yet again – by virtue of the fact that both Toms, Huw and Ben, and a number of others again at all of these weddings had been students of mine during the previous decade.
This is some of what I saw then – and in between – throughout 2015…
Mid-February, Valentine’s Day no less, saw me in North Devon for the wedding of Nathan & Zoe and a warm hearted band of people to weft my lens amongst. The minister conducting their marriage ceremony, Olly, had been a guest at a wedding that I photographed in the south of Spain back in 2011, that of his brother Dan as he married Rommalee. Olly had shown my photographs from that wedding to Nathan, himself a talented and frequently published photographer, and the latter subsequently kept tabs on my work until marriage appeared on the horizon for he and Zoe. Early-March saw me travelling to Ireland, into the countryside to the north of Dublin for the wedding of Stephen & Isobel. Stephen’s brother, Gavin, had been a student of mine some years back and in subsequent years a guest at a wedding I photographed and Gavin in effect bought my services as a wedding present for his brother. I would have quite happily stayed a great deal longer than time allowed but the music from that wedding lingers on in my ears still. Late-March saw me in Devon – I might say ‘once more’ though technically a different county to North Devon, but both are run through with the same magic – for the wedding of Helen & Darrin. Dare I say it? Helen was a student of mine some years back too. It seems at times to be a specialism of mine. It’s always an additionally immense honour. Helen & Darrin’s was a small, fun-filled affair, akin to a family day out featuring ferry crossings, steam train rides and fish and chips at the harbour side with the not insignificant fact of a marriage ceremony dropped into the middle of it all.
In early-April I photographed Hannah & James’s wedding at Lulworth Castle in Dorset. This was my first wedding of the year that carried no connection to any that I had photographed previously nor any discernible connections outside of that realm but that diminished the significance of the experience for me not an iota as I got to spend time with two of the most genuinely lovely people one could care to meet and they brought a train of marvellous people along with them for the celebration. Next was the wedding of Susan & Alejandro, a whirl of taxi rides around Bournemouth and a fantastically enriching day the significance of which, to me, was added to by the fact that I’d worked alongside Susan for a good number of years as a lecturer. Further in to April I found myself in Kent for the wedding of Gemma & Simon who in turn had also been guests at Dan & Rommalee’s wedding in Spain, thus a triangle of sorts was formed across two counties and two countries, two separate years four years apart. I think that makes a pyramid, perhaps.
And then came May. And May became rather a busy month.
Harriet & Gellan married just 15 minutes down the road from where I live and celebrated just 15 minutes up the road in the other direction, at Sopley Mill in Hampshire. Not linked to previous weddings (nor to former students :~), Gellan had first been directed to my work by Luke who in turn, I presume, first became aware of me as an avid, re-tweeting fan of his dancing as part of the Dancember duo. Aaron & Natalie married in the Bath countryside at Priston Mill and whilst having found me independent of other connection, provided me with an opportunity to directly witness the flowering of coincidence and connection anew as two of their guests had also booked me for their wedding the following month, neither couple knowing beforehand that they had found and settled upon the same photographer. Jess & Hugh had a lovely, home-spun wedding with a celebration in their Wiltshire village hall. They had simply found me out here, floating around on the Internet. Good thing too. Paula & Bill’s wedding saw me travelling to the far ends of the earth, more specifically Norfolk. I never knew that flat countryside could accommodate so much variety and interest; the wide open skies made for a veritable shifting canvas. Next was Kent, Shirley & Alex, the latest in my longest running chain of interconnected weddings that had seen me photographing those of Shirley’s good friends in 2009, 2010 and 2013. I rounded off the month in my own bed, having first of all photographed Harrison & Maria’s Bournemouth wedding. Whilst not a former student of mine, Harrison had studied in the same school whilst I was still working as an university lecturer. Though he’d found me online, I feel certain that I had once met him up a tree but that’s a story for another time. And that was May; a vibrant grouping of couples that contributed further to my faith in humanity.
June saw me in East Sussex for Danielle & Tom’s marvellous outdoor wedding ceremony, my involvement stemming from a recommendation made by a fantastic wedding photographer, Guy Collier, whom happened to have already been booked on their wedding date. Matt & Lauren’s wedding found me closer to home, just across the border into Hampshire. Matt was a work colleague of Jo whose marriage to Ash I had photographed the year before. Sara & Paul found a wedding of mine somewhere in the wedding inspiration blogosphere and decided I was just the photographer for their New Forest adventure. Then I was off to Stowford Manor Farm in Wiltshire for the wedding of Abi & Matt, who had been guests at Aaron & Natalie’s wedding though as previously mentioned, had found me coincidentally (having just reviewed a chain of correspondence I note that it was Lottie whom had first recommended my work to Matt; I’ll be photographing Lottie’s marriage to Maurice later this year too :~). Another month imbued with great human spirit and energy.
Cambridge made for my first port of call in July for Caroline & Daniel’s wedding. Caroline had been a guest at a wedding (whose, I do not know) and had been talking with another guest there (who, I know not once again) and said guest recommended to Caroline that she look at my work. My gratitude to that wedding guest for directing a particularly lovely couple towards me. Next I was back in Dorset for Charlie & Matt’s Purbeck wedding. I never did find out how they in turn had found me but I was so happy that they did :~) Then it was back to long distance travel to round out the month and start off the next with a two day wedding celebration spanning the Lake District on the final day of July and Staffordshire on the first day of August. I’ve known Stuart & Bekki for a number of years. Stuart is a top-notch wedding photographer and I was particularly flattered to have been chosen to photograph his and Bekki’s wedding as he rubs shoulders with a great many photographers of note in the field.
Further in to August I had a fantastic time photographing Becky & Chris’s Suffolk wedding. As they were good friends of Matt & Anna whose Somerset wedding I’d photographed back in 2013, I assumed they would be a vibrant couple to work with and my assumption proved perfectly correct. Then I was back to home territory for Nicola & Simon’s wedding, incorporating Christchurch Priory and Sopley Mill. I’d first met Nicola & Simon when photographing a multiple birthday celebration involving various of Nicola’s family members in 2010 and I’ll be photographing her sister Julia’s marriage to another Simon towards the end of this year so by now I feel, in a way, like their family photographer. All lovely people to spend time amongst. Next, to the hinterlands of Dorset and across the border into Somerset, a profoundly energetic Hora Loca at Lindsay & Hugo’s wedding capped an already wonderful day. It’s difficult to describe exactly what a Hora Loca is. Literally it translates as crazy hour. Crazy and downright fun it was. My final wedding of August saw me back in North Devon with Cheryl & James, another marvellously energetic couple who had found me, out there, floating about amongst the bits and bytes.
I commenced what was a gentler September on the travel front with Daniel & Diana’s Oxford wedding. The height of pleasance to work with, they had found me through an online search for photographs of their chosen venue. My tally of two September weddings was rounded off with a visit to the West Midlands to spend a day with Emily & Dan and a warm-hearted and enthusiastic troupe of guests. Emily cited the Pie & Mash wedding when first making contact with me. Those that know that which she speaks of… know; a wedding at the epicentre of a great many that I have photographed since. Two again for October, first of all Joanna & Dylan’s Berkshire wedding; especially lovely people yet again to spend time with, I’d been recommended to them by the frighteningly talented Ross Harvey who was already booked for their wedding day. Then back to Priston Mill for the wedding of Ashley & Jack. I was recommended to Ashley by Matt, whose marriage to Cheryl I’d photographed in 2014. Ashley & Jack’s is one of far too many weddings that I hadn’t had time to blog during 2015 (I’ll certainly be getting down to writing about all of them over the coming weeks) but I’ll have a great deal that is positive to relate about the experience once I do.
November… What did I do in November? I edited a million images :~)
And thank you very much indeed from me to all of those couples that invited me to share in their wedding days throughout 2015, not just for allowing me to practice that which I do in the most absorbing circumstances that I might wish for but also for so consistently bolstering my faith in people and what they can be. Positive influences one and all. I look forward very much to all that 2016 has to bring.
Contact Dorset Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : firstname.lastname@example.org : 07870 696248