Sopley Mill Wedding Photography : Mat & Sam

In his opening enquiry email to me, Mat suggested that I was unlikely to remember him. He’d been one of two best men at a wedding that I had photographed all the way back in 2011, that of Rommalee & Dan. I did remember him well though as I did all of the key players at that wedding, one that had been seared into my memory in large part by virtue of what an excellent adventure it had made for but also, in part, due to the searing heat of a mid-day outdoor ceremony under the Andalusian sun. I’d been able to make Mat out clearly during the pre-ceremony preparations and later, as evening settled in, but everything was a bit of a blur during the ceremony as my eyebrows failed in their evolutionary duty to hold the perspiration back from my eyes. The photographs though were tack-sharp (praise be to modern auto-focus technology) and all composed as I would have wished (praise be to aspects of human visual evolution that quickly allow one to identify which blurry outlines are human and which are… other than human). Seven years later I looked forward to finding myself again amongst familiar faces, faces belonging to people that had made for an exquisitely energetic entourage. I’m all out of iteration now. :~)

By rights, having been set for the first weekend of the month of October and in the UK at that, Mat & Sam might not have expected anything approaching Iberian weather on their wedding day. 2018 had of course seen us enjoy (or not enjoy, dependent upon one’s personal feelings – qualitatively and quantitatively – with regards to temperature) the hottest summer since 1976 (if you were indeed there to remember that one; I was!). Then we had a September with more rain than a month of weddings might wish for. Come the day of Mat & Sam’s wedding though, the sun broke through with abandon; I dare say it was positively hot. It then rained the day after, underscoring all the more just how – deservedly – blessed they had been by the weather.

They married at Sopley Mill in Dorset. Built around 1780 and functioning as a working mill until 1946, Sopley Mill is a marvellous four-storey brick building… actually, I was about to write ‘three-storey’ but then I looked at an exterior photograph of the building and counted four. I have photographed a number of weddings at Sopley Mill and have always found myself traversing three storeys of the building. The additional storey is a mystery to me. I somehow find myself contemplating the film Being John Malkovich. Anyway… Sopley Mill is a marvellous four-storey brick building housing an array of rooms and spaces both small (and cosy) and large (yet still cosy in feel). It affords perfect flow for a full wedding day. As long as you don’t get lost in the mystery storey :~). This is the story of the day that Mat & Sam made there…

Though I started off at Mat & Sam’s home; Elvis making sure that everyone knew what was going to happen on this particular day!…

I photograph anything and everything that catches my eye on a wedding day. The most every-day of acts – to my mind – have great significance by virtue of the day that they happen to be conducted on. Much later into this particular day – come the speeches and that delivered by Mat’s best man, Dan – I learnt that Mat places great stock in Weetabix making for the best possible start to a day, food wise. I was all the more happy upon hearing this to have been in the right place, at the right time, for this particular ritual…

Weetabix consumed, it was time to get tied up…

Best man Dan arrived and found everything entirely amusing (Dan, by the way, is the Dan of the aforementioned Andalusian wedding. He’s also Dan the designer; the designer of everything to do with the identity of my business bar that which I create myself (the photographs; the words that tumble around my head and spill out onto these pages :~)… my logo, my Web site, my information brochure and the packaging that my clients receive their final image sets in)…

Mat had prepared his father’s Lotus Elan Sprint for wedding day transport…

My light shines on

My light shines on

My light shines on…

Myyyyy liiiight shiiiiines onnnnnn…

Whisky donned his space helmet. And his space tie…

I’ve been documenting the trials and tribulations of grooms and their buttonholes for a decade now :~)…

Mat though became an instant expert in the process…

On to Sopley Mill where Sam was getting ready, along with her and Mat’s delightful little man…

Nana P, a VIP… In effect I was Nana P’s wedding gift to Mat & Sam :~)…

Mat couldn’t disguise his identity for long…

Taking Nana P for a spin…

Ceremony time. Best man Dan conducts the orchestra…

I wonder how Desmond Morris would describe the content of this image :~)…

Mat & Sam skipped straight to the end of the ceremony…

…only to be reminded by the registrar that all that was for later! :~)…

You may now, and etc. :~)…

Not your expected October scene, weather wise :~)…

The small matter of a speech to be delivered…

Top floor speeches…

*Waves to Rommalee*…

A text book example of how to raise a glass in response to a toast. Whereas most, in my experience, raise their glass pretty much from table to lips with the most cursory and fleeting of motions upwards of the head, this is how it should be done; unambiguously held aloft. If I’m to get a good photograph, that is :~)…

And a well stocked bar :~)…

This week’s dance-floor off-camera lighting test model, best man Dan, simulating the first-lunge…

Danoglyphics…

All manner of shapes indeed…

Mat felt the need to have a little lay down…

For the best part of a decade I’ve been following this man all over Europe as he break-danced (broke-danced?) his way through wedding after wedding…

Dan innovates with upright break-dancing…

Congratulations Mat & Sam and thank you for your great energy and enthusiasm, and for being so downright lovely to spend time with! :~)

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