This was serendipity at it’s finest!
I had a reunion recently with a bunch of friends that I hadn’t seen since we were all teenagers – a lifetime ago! It was one of the best nights I’ve ever had, loads of laughs, plenty of nostalgia and old stories, lots of old photographs handed around, and the realisation that these friends are still so important to after so many years.
Two of them (there were seven of us) announced that they were getting married the following year, so I immediately offered to photograph their weddings. Talk about right time, right place! And what are the chances of that happening – it was obviously meant to be! Who would have predicted back in our teenage days that I would be photographing for these friends years later.
It really was an honour to photograph both weddings, and it meant so much to me that they asked me to be their photographer. The story even made it into the local newspaper.
Here’s the first one, Samantha & Ray, who were married at the Grand Hotel in Folkestone, Kent. I asked them a few words about their day:
Where was your wedding and why?
We had our wedding at The Grand Hotel in Folkestone, Kent. We chose this venue because the place is quite old fashioned and fitted well with our theme. The staff were incredibly helpful and it felt like home every time we visited. It also has great views over the English Channel and and one of my favourite authors has stayed at the hotel – Agatha Christie.
Theme/style of the wedding
We based our wedding on a book theme … This was reflected in the flowers which were handmade from the pages if old books, to the wedding favours we gave to all our guests – all books read by the bride mostly and some by the groom.
Tell us about your dress
I went shopping one day for my wedding dress with Kate my friend purely to try them on and get an idea of what styles there were. I didn’t intend to buy anything. I had in mind that I wanted a pale blue wedding dress but was not sure about the style. The first shop we went in, Signature Brides in Hythe, had a sample blue wedding dress. The lady made me try it on and it fitted me perfectly. I bought it there and then and had to take it home straight away. I had to store it in Mum’s wardrobe for over a year.
And what about your shoes?
Jimmy Choos … What more can I say … Except they cost more than the dress!!
Did you wear any special jewellery or accessories?
I’m not into fussy jewellery and things so wore a very simple necklace and crystal headband. My wedding ring was made to fit around the engagement ring Ray bought for me in Milano when he proposed.
Who did you ask to do your flowers?
They were all made from pages of crime novels by me!
And who made your wedding cake?
It was based on our book theme this was made by a very talented young lady Michele Saint! I had intended to make my own cake initially but left it a little too late. Michele came to my rescue!
Who were your Groomsmen?
Ray Turner, nicknamed belly(!), is Ray’s oldest friend and they worked together at Canterbury fire station for almost twenty years. Ryan (Ray’s son) and Tommy (my nephew) were ushers for the day.
And who were your Bridesmaids?
Eliza, Lydia and Isabel Cowling my three gorgeous nieces. I had to choose them or they would never have spoken to me again! Jessica and Lauren Arman – my dear friend Kate’s gorgeous girls … Well they were so cute I had to have them … I love kids 🙂
Did you have any wedding favours?
These were all old books that I have read … Ray has read one or two of them. We tried to match the books to each person’s personality or things we know they like.
Invitations were designed by me and created by my work mate Dawn. She’s brilliant.
What was your most memorable moment from the day?
There is not one part of the day we can choose from, the whole day was utterly wonderful. We felt calm and relaxed, and thoroughly enjoyed it all! You have captured this in all your photographs so we can relive the day over and over. I must say I was bowled over by Rays glasses, teeth and hat combo when I first walked down the aisle!!!
Do you have a favourite photograph from your wedding day?
It’s impossible to pick one photo as they are all so amazing! We love Ray in his hat, glasses and teeth, me and mum smiling at each other, the family shots, Ray and I outside on the balcony, the one of us facing the registrars laughing … Shall I go on?
Do you have any comments about Natural Expressions Photography?
Just amazing! You are a miracle worker!!! But seriously you’ve captured the day completely, the happiness, love and laughter in every single shot you’ve taken. You are BRILLIANT.
Where was your honeymoon?
America. We flew into San Francisco and hired a Mustang convertible to visit Santa Barbara, Carmel (Clint Eastwood is one of Ray’s all time favourites), Beverley Hills, and finally Las Vegas. The highlight for me was Alcatraz and for Ray it was driving the Mustang along the coast to each destination.
Here are a few more photographs from the day…