Sopley Mill Wedding Photography : Harriet & Gellan


It rubs off on you. People’s energy. It rubs off on you and sinks deep below the pores and when that energy is abundantly positive, when it’s intertwined with compassion of spirit, emotional creativity and a thirst for what’s right in life, well, that’s just so good a thing to bathe yourself in, from time to time, to absorb, to carry with you beyond. Dip a toe in. Take a paddle. Plunge. Glide across the surface and swim deep below. It rubs off on you, it journeys in to you, and it lasts. In memories. Memories that can trigger those same feelings all over again. Energy can be neither created nor be destroyed, but it transforms from one form to another.

Harriet & Gellan married at St. Alban’s church in the Charminster district of Bournemouth, Dorset, and celebrated at Sopley Mill in splendidly rustic countryside just across the border into Hampshire. Working with them, serving as their story-teller in images that are still, relating a story effervescent with the motion of life; all provided me with a solid recharging of the old emotional batteries.

I’ll plug them in here. Tell a story. The story of Harriet & Gellan’s wedding day.


As I was working on editing the image set from Harriet & Gellan’s wedding, some weeks after the fact, coming upon the following image prompted a realisation, a not quite fully formed realisation though, one that seemed to be condensing in to fully realised form behind my eyes. A question really, in the first instance. Hadn’t there been a videographer there when I was photographing all of this? The photographic record hadn’t been showing any evidence that there had been one, but indeed there had. Been. This was the fourth wedding at which I’d worked alongside Alex of Wedding Memories. Alex has this fantastic ability, not only to create fantastically engaging wedding films (whenever he posts a new wedding on his Facebook business page, a wedding that I had no involvement in, no personal emotional connection with, I’ll click on it to take what I think will be just a brief look – more often than not this comes during a brief break in editing images of my own – and several minutes later I’ll find myself rooted there, still in the film, now emotionally connected with a thing that I had no prior awareness of…)… I’ll start again :~) Alex has this fantastic ability, not only to create fantastically engaging wedding films but also to fantastically – or more so undetectably – dematerialise every time the frame of my camera swings towards a space within which he happens to be positioned. It’s always a great pleasure to find myself teamed up with him. At the same time, bearing in mind my philosophy that everything that happens within the broader frame of a story – the bigger picture, that is to say – is a part of that story, this talent of dematerialisation that Alex seems to have makes it mighty tricky for me to ever get a shot of him in action. I always do though, eventually :~)

And yes… car reversing!…


St. Alban’s…


Perfectly cut out to serve as MC for the day, Tim is frontman for the Momo:tempo Electro Pops Orchestra. I’ve never sat comfortably with the expression, “I’m a big fan of…” because it reduces the connection to too simplified a form, at least for the way my scattered brain operates, so let’s say I’ve been deeply compelled, utterly engaged and thoroughly entertained by the work of Momo:tempo since I first saw a video posted on Facebook featuring a live performance of their number, Dead Good, at Sixty Million Postcards in Bournemouth. I can no longer find the video but you can listen to that performance on Soundcloud and see if it connects with you. I’m listening to it now, as I write this. (Yeah. I’m a big fan :~). I enjoyed a good conversation with Tim later into the wedding evening. One’s mind, one’s thinking on things, might (I suppose; why not, just for now?) be analogised as a series of cogs, large and small, interlinked, one turning against whilst working with another or more that in turn, turn others. Sometimes you wait for a cognitive outcome, an answer that you know should be there, at the end of a loose and long association of wheels and interlinking teeth and it’s just slow in coming, so slow it never seems to come. Then in the midst of a conversation someone says something and you realise that one of those wheels just wasn’t quite in the right alignment with the next and it’s nudged, by that something that was said, it jolts forwards a few degrees, cognitive teeth engage with cognitive teeth and wheels further down the line start to move as you’d been waiting for them to move and even if the answer doesn’t come immediately in a flash, there and then, you know that you’re getting closer to something that makes sense. Nothing like a good natter, really :~)


At the church, I discovered the trick to actually capturing an image of Alex in action. As long as he’s engaged in direct physical contact with a subject, he’s unable to port out. The pillar had shielded my approach from his rear-facing brain radar and I came upon him wiring Gellan up for… I’m not certain; some kind of covert operation perhaps. Either that, or he’s the world’s worst pick-pocket…


The Reverend Stu Miller, one of the happiest vicars I’ve come across at a wedding; many of the guests later commented on how great a pleasure he’d made the ceremony…


And something that I have not seen any wedding ceremony celebrant at any form of wedding ceremony do before; I was struck by such thoughtfulness and know that Harriet was herself touched by the kindness of the act…


It wasn’t the best time for Gellan to realise that he was in urgent need of paying a visit…


Sopley Mill…


Words couldn’t ring as being more genuinely expressed in relation to all that I witnessed…


Harriet’s Dad delivered his speech through the medium of video…


And it was absolutely amazing.


I’m laughing all over again at the memory of the speech delivered by Gellan’s best man, Guy :~)


Best man’s speech bullseye :~)…


I’ve been following Luke on Twitter since first coming across his mind-blowing happiness-elevating advent calendar videos made with friend Lewis, under the guise of The Art of Dancing (I’ll leave you to dig down a bit into their Twitter feed to find said videos, should you be minded to, and you perhaps should be minded to if you’re not averse to a solid dose of happiness :~). It was Luke that had first pointed Harriet & Gellan in the direction of my work so come their wedding day, I felt that I should take a photograph, by way of thanks, showing him in a good light. Unfortunately it was in incredibly mixed light with the sun setting over yonder and a tree casting a shadow over… well, hither, and a resultant mix of orange and green hues but Hello and thanks again, Luke, all the same! :~)…


Nigh on invisible in the photographic record but highly efficient, effective and friendly to boot, I’ll also make mention of Bellissimo Wedding Planners who Harriet & Gellan brought on board to help with final planning and the smooth logistical running of the day. Melanie, the owner, and Julia whom took over the running of events at Sopley Mill, were an absolute pleasure to work alongside.


Later into the night, into the deep dark of deep night, a suited form, couple of cameras dangling and swinging precariously from either shoulder, might have been witnessed  in the shadowy corners of the surrounding gardens pirouetting not at all balletically – almost as though wrestling with a crocodile, truth be said – in a valiant attempt to stop an excess of (it must be said, particularly high quality) jam pouring out over his waistcoat from a doughnut of truly superior quality. Nobody was there to photograph the phenomena though. Thus, it never happened.


Lovely day it very much was, too…


Congratulations Harriet & Gellan and thank you ever so much for having me along to bathe in such a wealth of happiness, enthusiasm and positively charged energy! :~)

Contact Dorset Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : : 07870 696248

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