Dorset Wedding Photography : Lizzie & Tom

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Lizzie & Tom’s wedding made for the perfect conclusion to a year of photographing such occasions up and down the country and a highly pleasing completion of a pattern that seems increasingly to permeate my practice. Tom was an usher – he delivered a reading during the ceremony too – at my first wedding of 2015 (that of his friend, another Tom as he married Nicki) and his and Lizzie’s wedding day was to be my last of 2015, on the weekend just before Christmas. It was a cracker of a day. Yes, I just did… that :~)

In fact, Tom was a groomsman at Huw & Kim’s wedding in 2010, alongside Tom of my first wedding of 2015 and another Tom again; Ben (whose wedding I then photographed in 2011 as he married Lit), Gabriel, Matt, Amir and Joel (who was the best man at that one and at Lizzie & Tom’s, and come to think of it, at Ben & Lit’s in the interim) and one additional fellow whose name I can’t put my finger on and wasn’t part of the pattern I’m piecing together though of course that makes him none-the-less important in the context of Huw & Kim’s wedding. The following year, Tom, Tom, Tom, Huw, Gabriel, Matt, Amir and Joel served as groomsmen at Ben & Lit’s wedding, alongside Ben’s brother. Come the start of 2015 we were down a Tom but it was Tom, Joel, Amir, Matt, Gabriel, Ben and Huw ushering at Tom & Nicki’s wedding then come the end of the year and this wedding, we had Tom, Matt, Ben, Huw, Amir, and Joel (doubling up as best man again) serving as groomsmen at Tom & Lizzie’s wedding.

I’m out of breath.

Maybe I should draw a large diagram criss-crossed by lines.

(As I’ve been cross-referencing the photo-sets from each wedding, it’s been fun seeing how their hairstyles have changed over the years, or indeed – in some cases – haven’t :~)

All of the Toms along with Matt, Ben, Huw, Amir, and Joel had been course-mates on the same degree back in… whenever, a while back, a course on which I taught and a couple of them were project supervisees of mine, too. It’s just struck me that I’ve known them all for more years across an epoch of weddings than the years that I knew them as students. Throughout both eras they’ve always been an admirable group of people, it’s been a pleasure to see them all do so well in their careers on top of the pleasure it was to see them flourish as students (as it happens, I’ve just been reading Tom’s – Tom of this wedding, that is – final year undergraduate study, ‘A Spectrally Based Method for the Emulation of the Technicolor Process on Digital Images’, a copy of which I found online) and it’s been both a great honour and fantastically good fun to be involved in a number of their weddings.

Tom had studied not a million miles away from Lizzie’s family home – 9.9 miles via the shortest road route, to be precise – but they met, entirely coincidental of that locale and period in time, some years later in London. I have to say that it’s been an utter pleasure being around Lizzie and spending time getting to know her prior to her and Tom’s wedding, especially seeing her express herself so resonantly throughout the wedding day itself. A person imbued with great positive energy that just rubs off on you. This is the story of Lizzie & Tom’s wedding…

(Opening with something not strictly apropos to the central narrative of this story but I was taken by the apparent physiognomy of this home, nearby Lizzie’s, which I spotted as I arrived towards the start of the day…)

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Lizzie & Tom’s cat travelled down from London with them…

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Lizzie’s niece :~)…

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Just a few minutes walk away, Tom and his groomsmen were gathering at a local hotel. I include this image not just by way of introducing Tom into the visual narrative but in particular because I’m fascinated by the fact that I keep seeing Huw turn up for weddings (in as much as less than a handful of incidents provides for sound statistical analysis) bearing a sandwich and a bottle of juice. I believe it’s a sign of someone very well looked after (good job, Kim, I think I might be right in saying :~)…

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Ben of 2011…

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Tom of (the start of) 2015…

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(That started to feel as though I was introducing the latest episode of a serial with a montage of characters introduced in episodes one through three :~)

(Perhaps that is what it… is :~)

A practice that I first witnessed when Tom of the start of 2015 met up with his groomsmen, Tom of this time had pre-tied all the ties for his groomsmen too. Innovators and fast-learners, the lot of them…

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Tom’s dad, a seasoned professional photographer, heads up a masters course in photojournalism at a London university which some decades ago I’d nearly gone to, to study photography myself. I was intrigued by the beautifully constructed old Leica cameras that he brought to the wedding. I’m sure they’ve been directed at a great many interesting things in a great many places down the years…

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I recall clearly from the photographic record that Tom of the start of 2015 had proven to be commensurately adept in the art of applying a buttonhole at Ben & Lit’s wedding back in 2011. His mind may have been distracted ever so slightly on this particular day though (more of which later)…

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Back at Lizzie’s…

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Then just a short walk through a small warren of backstreets to the church. I hadn’t been expecting to see Huw of 2010 just stood there…

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But stood there he was, doing a perfect job of ushing…

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Amongst the broader flow of observational photography that defines, very much in the main, my approach, I will from time to time take simply posed photographs that are solely about the record of presence and identity. It’s not normally my way to feature such images in blog posts but I had a particular motive for requesting and directing this one of Tom of the start of 2015 with Tom of the now. Nicki, Tom on the left’s wife, was due to give birth to their first child somewhere around the time of Tom on the right and Lizzie’s wedding day. It transpired that baby was going to celebrate this wedding too, by making its entrance into the world, so Tom would have to jump on a train straight after the marriage ceremony and make-way to London for the birth, the new arrival… arriving in the very early hours of the coming morning. A weekend of fantastic, positive life-changing events :~)…

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I’d spent all year – inspired by Matt’s beard at the last wedding – building up my physiognomic shrubbery to a similar level of grandeur then found at this one that he’d trimmed his right back, which in many respects was a perfectly wise thing to do. I’ve lost a set of car keys and a small wallet in mine…

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Lizzie was driven around the block by her father, in a car called Custard…

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Et voila!…

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Lizzie had been a member of her college choir, developing a set of solid, lasting friendships with other choir members. All contributed with aplomb to celebrations throughout the day and added a note of beauty to the signing of the register…

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It was a windy day, to say the least :~)…

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On countless occasions I’ve observed the most capable of wedding guests thoroughly bamboozled by the aerodynamic properties of confetti but not so at Lizzie & Tom’s wedding where plenty worked out quickly enough that you simply had to drop it from slightly above eye-level and the wind would look after the rest…

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To Highcliffe Castle, rather less windy…

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It’s what happens when people get wind of the fact that you’re a dab hand with a camera :~)…

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I’m trying to remember now what this was about…

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Ah yes; we didn’t want it getting stood on by a hundred people.

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Being the weekend before Christmas, what else? :~)…

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The gifts inside the crackers were a cut above what I’m typically accustomed to. Mine contained a metal fish skeleton bottle opener, which has since been put to good and proper use. Here, Zoe sports her new miniature, fully functional grater, ideal for grating very small pieces of cheese, diminutive carrots, all sorts really…

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Where did you get that hat?

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And indeed many thanks to Lizzie & Tom for seating me as a guest! :~)…

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I knew I could afford to put my feet up for a while…

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Pass the port, onto the… tequila?…

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This week’s first-dance off-camera lighting set-up models…

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Lizzie & Tom’s first dance, beautifully executed, contained at least three-hundred different set moves…

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Then Lizzie, her mum and sister decided to give the band’s singer the night off…

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Actually, Lizzie & Tom found themselves a karaoke band – The Live Karaoke Band – who played requests for guests to sing along to. The band’s singer would be on hand to help out if anyone struggled or to fill in during periods where nobody felt brave enough to stand up there in front of the crowd, neither of which occurred from the very beginning to the very end.

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The class of… class of… I daren’t count back the years. I’m imagining how it might have been had they done project presentations like this…

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I’m not sure I’d have coped with project presentations done this way, though…

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Congratulations Lizzie & Tom and a very big thank you for doing me the honour of having me along to tell the story of your wedding day, and for bringing such great enthusiasm to bear in front of my lens.

Contact Dorset Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com