Somerset Wedding Photography : Ellen & Lee

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You’d always wish for good weather on your wedding day and Ellen & Lee got just what they deserved in that respect (perhaps it was a tad too hot at times, so I’ll perhaps revise that statement to say that they got the blue skies they deserved :~). I simply wish for nice people, come rain or shine, and I got my wish too!

They married in a beautiful church in Bath city centre then celebrated into the night at Wick Farm out in the Somerset countryside, an especially lovely couple of people to spend time alongside bringing together an especially lovely band of friends and family to share in the celebration of it all.

This is the story of their wedding day…

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I arrived at Ellen’s family home on the fringes of a small village in the Somerset countryside to find that all was calmness and peace; a highly tranquil start to the day. Ellen was sat carefully preparing napkins and place-names for the wedding breakfast, all Zen-like composure :~)

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Nothing like a spreadsheet to build up the appetite :~)…

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I’ve ruminated recently on the nature of photographing bridal preparations prior to a marriage ceremony and what people might expect to see that reflects this important aspect of a wedding day; the build up to the fulcrum of that day. I always simply photograph what I see, without prior expectation of what I’ll come away with in the image set. In adopting this position, simple yet – to me at least – fascinating things can manifest themselves. Ellen set about preparing breakfast for everyone. We discussed the notion of creating a bridal breakfast cookbook :~)…

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Out in the garden, Ellen’s father rehearsed his speech, advised on oratorical nuance by daughter, Nuala…

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Meanwhile (more strictly speaking, approximately 30 minutes later when I’d made my way to Bath), Lee was making his final preparations with his groomsmen, at the Halcyon Hotel, just a hop and a skip across the road from the church…

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As is perhaps common to many hotel room bathrooms the world over, I found myself in what to some might be a lighting nightmare, to me a Chiaroscuro dream…

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The architecture of St. John’s Church, the interior in particular, was captivating…

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Chiaroscuro churches too…

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The marriage ceremony was conducted by one of Ellen’s uncles…

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This week’s answer to the existential crisis of wedding photography (I’m there, though somewhat more visibly so in the high resolution version :~)…

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From beautiful city to glorious countryside…

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Sometimes I wonder if others in turn wonder if I actually take group photographs where people are looking to camera. Yes I do, of course I do, I respond to my wondering self and to those imagined wonderers. I can’t help but be fascinated though by what goes on in between expected moments (and yes, there is a nice set of the expected, too :~)…

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Tractor! Meme satisfied :~)…

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Ellen & Lee’s signing board, featuring a photograph…

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…one of a number that I’d taken when they booked me to visit them in London for a pre-wedding shoot some months back…

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Back again some months forward, to the now.

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Certainly no contravention of the Trades Description Act in the labelling :~)…

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Some exceptional food to come (and thank you to Ellen & Lee for arranging for me to be fed some of the tastiest fare I’ve yet enjoyed at a wedding, too)…

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Lee’s brother, Simon, served as master of ceremonies…

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(And a little side note here, as it was something that was simple yet resonated deeply with me. I was in the process of photographing Ellen & Lee’s entrance for dinner and swung around at this juncture to see what I could capture of the guests’ reactions before turning back to capture Ellen & Lee emerging through the throng; the kind of image that relies almost entirely on what is happening in my evolving line of sight and that I have to record quickly as these events within a bigger event are so fleeting. The lady in the green dress – and how fascinatingly, beautifully made that dress is – had her ‘phone raised ready to take a photograph of Ellen & Lee but on seeing that my camera was now pointed in that direction, she immediately lowered her ‘phone and joined in the applause. Whether the split second decision on her behalf stemmed from an intuitive understanding or a consciously arrived at one, I’ve no idea, but I did appreciate the display of understanding that I was taking a photograph for Ellen & Lee’s benefit. So something simple, yet profound to me and really very considerate, and it was just one of the more pointed examples of the demeanour of Ellen & Lee’s guests in general; all there to share and to celebrate with enthusiasm, all really thoroughly decent people to be amongst).

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So I did a spot of audience reaction research with this one; that is to say, I showed it to my daughter, now eight years old. “That’s really lovely Daddy. All the girls are holding the bride’s dress.” Then a brief pause. Continued examination. Then hysterics as she spotted the same thing that I had. “That’s really funny, Daddy!” Reaction research successfully concluded. Your turn :~)…

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Eddie, all the way from Miami (I did also photograph his face; I’ll let you see if you can match the tie to him in other photographs :~)…

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I’ve no idea where Antonia was from though. Maybe the addresses were printed on the reverse side…

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The Ellen & Lee Quiz had a cliff-hanger ending…

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A lovely set of speeches followed from Ellen’s dad, Jim, from Lee, and from his best man, Matt…

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DJ Aldo Vanucci, Plymouth’s 14th best DJ* :~)…

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*A self-declared honour from Aldo’s Facebook page :~) Certainly not just any old wedding DJ. One of the very best I’ve encountered.

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“Take a photograph of my shoes!” Always happy to oblige, even if it’s twice on the same night. This was the second attempt. I prefer it by far to the first :~)…

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Congratulations Ellen & Lee and thank you for having me along to experience your wedding day to its full, and for being really very lovely to work with along the way.

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