I was thrilled to be asked to photograph Alice and Chris’s truly unique wedding in July 2014, which even held a few surprises for the bride and groom….
The couple had put so much effort into the preparations and luckily were rewarded with beautiful blue skies and a warm summers day; a perfect backdrop for the outdoor wedding in Cornwall they had planned.
For me, the day began taking pictures of Alice and her bridesmaids as they got ready. I always try and fade into the background during the preparations so everyone can relax, but with Alice there was no tension – she was full of smiles, and couldn’t wait for the celebrations to begin.
Alice arrived with her dad in a Coastguard 4×4 to the church in St Agnes, where every pew was packed with friends and family. It really felt like a proper village wedding, complete with very smart groomsmen in top hat and tails.
After a really touching ceremony and some enthusiastic confetti throwing, the happy newly-weds departed for their photos on the beach at nearby Chapel Porth.
The beach was busy and there was a memorable moment when people applauded and waved as Alice, Chris and I took a stroll down to the sea – Alice barefoot and Chris still wearing his top hat. Again, at times like this I try to stand back and let the couple have some space and share a moment together, rather than set up posed shots which feel unnatural.
We then took the short journey to St Agnes Head for a few more pictures. In a lovely gesture, Alice’s parents had organised a hamper with strawberries and champagne; they even packed in a mini table and chairs so Alice and Chris could enjoy a private wedding breakfast for two!
However, a further surprise was in-store. Alice’s Dad had arranged for a helicopter to land on the headland, which whisked them both off for a scenic flight down the coast to St Ives and St Michaels Mount. Alice’s Dad had already prepped me about this surprise, and my job was to keep them busy right up until the helicopter landed. I then took a step back and photographed their reactions, which was priceless! I’m sure they will look back on those pictures and laugh for years to come.
Meanwhile, the guests were all at the reception, which was held in an enormous marquee at Newdowns Farm, also on the spectacular St Agnes Head. Brilliantly, none of the guests – even close family – knew that Alice and Chris were about to arrive at the reception by helicopter…. Luckily I had time during their flight to get back there to photograph their arrival and the reaction – these are some of my favourite photos of the day, when my reportage wedding photography really came into its own.
After this, the reception and the party continued in full flow, during which I captured the infamous ‘pyramid of groomsmen’. I don’t go for formal shots and like to let things unfold naturally – this is a classic example of how the best pictures are the result of very little direction!
The blue and white stripped marquee was a lively setting for the speeches and meal, during which I documented Alice, Chris and their guests enjoying the occasion; it was wall-to-wall smiles and the odd joyful tear.
After the meal, guests were invited to join in and sing some good old Cornish songs, and live music followed from an awesome local band ‘The Harry Peanut Show’. After some dancing, I took the couple back down to the cliffs to capture a few final shots at sunset: a perfect end to a beautiful and memorable wedding.