It may sound like a cliché, but for me, being asked to photograph a couple’s wedding really is an honour and a pleasure – Linda and Gary’s wedding was no exception. I know, like so many couples, they had to reschedule their special day at least once because of Covid 19 and they decided on Friday, June 11th a while ago, back when no one could have predicted that restrictions would still apply when most of us thought that the pandemic would be in retreat.
But that wasn’t the case and they had to adapt their plans to accommodate the restrictions, which meant they had a cap of 30 guests and weren’t allowed to have a proper evening do with dancing and music. Nevertheless, it was a beautifully intimate and relaxed wedding. Here’s how the day unfolded from my perspective.
I arrived at Fanhams Hall, a stunning wedding venue near the town of Ware in Hertfordshire a couple of hours before the ceremony time of 3 pm. I always like to arrive early, it’s a great opportunity to scout around a venue and seek out the best spots for those all-important group pictures, as well as looking for special places to take the bride and groom for a collection of couples shots. I was lucky to have a second shooter with me, Catherine (www.catherinebrooksphotgraphy.com) who arrived at the same time. I think it’s always a good idea to have a second photographer – it gives the bride and groom a bit more variety in terms of photographs from different angles, especially during the ceremony. Fanhams Hall has some truly spectacular places for photography, the grounds surrounding the main house are large and impressive with a variety of formal gardens and water features.
I know the venue reasonably well so had no problem in tracking down Linda and started the day off by taking a few getting ready pictures. I then moved up to the next floor to the room Gary and Jordan (Gary’s best man) were using. Gary was almost good to go, just tidying up his tie and he seemed calm as he joked around with Jordan. I’ve seen so many grooms who are like this, trying to hide the fact that they’re really pretty nervous!
Next, I moved into the Long Gallery – one of the ceremony rooms at Fanhams Hall and waited for Linda and Gary to arrive along with their guests. I love these few minutes of spare time in an empty ceremony room. Time to capture those special details that make every wedding a bit different. For Linda and Gary, it was the candle-lit aisle and the beautiful flower arrangements on the altar table and throughout the Long Gallery. There was also a Piper, dressed in a kilt and ceremonial dress. He started playing his classical tunes and I knew this was going to be an emotional affair – there’s something very special about the bagpipes.
Fast forward ten minutes and Gary was waiting with Jordan for Linda to arrive. I could see he was nervous, despite his best efforts to hide it. The room quickly filled up with their guests and then Linda appeared with Rob; she looked beautiful as she walked into the Long Gallery and made her way to the ceremony area. Gary glanced nervously around as the music played and his face lit up when he saw his bride for the first time that day.
The ceremony was very special – short but full of emotion and feeling. The registrar was very professional; calm and friendly, with just enough humour to tackle any nerves. He was also photographer-friendly, which was brilliant for me. The Long Gallery at Fanhams Hall is a perfect room for weddings, with high and intricately decorated ceilings; lots of windows (perfect for natural light) with lovely and well-maintained décor. I was positioned behind the registrar, facing Linda and Gary, and with Catherine near the back of the room we captured every moment of this very special ceremony.
The day moved on and Linda and Gary had post-ceremony drinks before the wedding breakfast. This was the moment when I managed to get everybody to take part in the confetti throw, followed by family and friends group photos. I then took Linda and Gary to the Japanese Garden to capture some images of just the two of them. They were driven to the gardens in a buggy by the Fanhams wedding co-originator, as Catherine and I legged it behind struggling to keep up – that’s what I call service.
The Japanese Garden is truly spectacular from a photography perspective, providing a superb range of different backdrops and scenes – including a Pagoda, ornamental ponds, and ornate footbridges. I would definitely recommend any couple marrying at Fanhams Hall to check this out.
The wedding breakfast was just superb. I was working with Catherine in a separate area from the main event, but we got to taste some of the food (thank you Linda and Gary) and it was delicious. Then came the speeches, wow – Gary spoke for what seemed like a long time, possibly ten minutes. He spoke from the heart. Emotional, funny, and very honest. This magical wedding ended with the fantastic wedding cake being cut and Linda and Gary having their one and only dance as the seated guests looked on, clapping and cheering.
People often ask me about my job and how stressful it must be, but from my perspective, being a wedding photographer is the best job in the world. Obviously, there is stress, like any job, but being able to capture a couple’s most important day and give them memories that will last a lifetime more than makes up for that.
If you’re interested in finding out a bit more about me and my style then click here: https://timpaynephotography.com/about/
For more information about Fanhams Hall and the wedding packages they offer click here: https://www.exclusive.co.uk/fanhams-hall/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=local&utm_campaign=hotel-fanhamshall
Linda’s wedding cake was her own design but was made by a family friend; Jill Turner who lives in Hertford and Linda’s florist was Andrea Crane, based in Hertford Heath.