Looking back at all my weddings since having Amélie has been pretty special and totally made me realise how lucky I am to do what I do. I’ve also realised I’m all about the hugs. Yep, man do I love a good hug! Hugs, smiles, moments and relationships, that’s what I seem to seek out when I’m shooting and these are the photos that, when looking back, seem to leap out at me most. Don’t get me wrong, I love a beautiful backdrop, but only if I felt it was true to the couple and recalled a special moment between them. I’ve had a blast capturing all these stories, every one unique and every one special to me in some way. I have to admit, this is more like a 2014/15 post (although I’ve only showcased a handful of my 2014 weddings). Unfortunately, with a very young baby I didn’t get round to doing a 2014 round up post so here you go, one big mammoth blog post!
The last 18 months have taken me all over the UK, Kent, Yorkshire, Suffolk, London, Devon, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Dorset and, of course, plenty of time local to me around West Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. I’ve also been incredibly lucky to capture some damn fine love stories abroad in Ibiza, Tuscany, Provence, Chamonix to name but a few and once again I’ve been blown away by some unbelievable light and some incredible venues. The most incredible top 3 are…
1. Villa Catureglio in Tuscancy, Italy, which provided the most stunning backdrop from Natalie & Duncan’s wedding,
2. Chateau de Robernier in Provence, France and all the wonderful suppliers I met there (see post – http://www.helencawtephotographyjournal.com/2015/09/10/wedding-photography-at-chateau-de-robernier-france-ian-menas-beautiful-day-en-provence/)
and lastly 3. Vickki and her venue Elixir in Ibiza. Vickki continues to send enquiries my way meaning that I get to return to my favourite isle in the world on a regular basis
I think my favourite UK venues have been Botley’s Mansion in Surrey, Northbrook Park nr Farnham, The Fuzzy Duck nr Stratford-Upon-Avon, Stubton Hall nr Newark, Burcombe Manor nr Salisbury, Highcliffe Castle with it’s stunning ceremony room and beautiful beach, Rhinefields House Hotel, Brymton House in Somerset, Leeds Castle and of course the stunning Ely Cathedral. Let’s not forget my old favourite local haunts, the beautiful Southend Barns, the gorgeous Duncton Mill and the ever picturesque Upwaltham Barns. I’m also super excited to have 3 weddings booked in for Millbridge Court in 2016 as part of Millie & Belle Photography, my joint venture with Camilla Arnhold.
I can’t write this without mentioning the amazing photographers I’ve either worked with (Hayley Savage, Camilla Arnhold, Sharron Gibson, Mia Hooper, Nicki Rhodes, Bev Downie, Zoe Collyer, Jacques Lloyd, Fiona Cone, Charlotte Razell, Kelsie Scully, Rachel Haward) or just had the pleasure of getting to know (all you lovely Sync girls and my Way Up North roomies Stephanie Swann, Lina Ahnoff and Amanda Thomsen). You all rock and are amazing at what you do. I love that we work together, helping each other out rather than viewing each other as competitors and long may this continue… Hurrah!
In terms of suppliers, there is some insanely amazing talent out there and I’ve been privileged to work with some wonderful people… I won’t list you all (you know who you are) but I just wanted to mention the stunning girls from ID Salon, who won Wedding Make Up of the year at the Wedding Industry Awards, so well deserved! It was also a real treat photographing Kat’s stunning bouquet by the lovely Emma from Ladybird flowers and also, pretty much anything designed by Kate Avery! Mari Hudson, Jacaranda & Kalm Kitchen, you’ll always be my favourites caterers and Irene Piera & the ladies from Reel Love Films, you’re both my number 1 recommendations for videographers. Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams, you are a Wedding Planning legend and it was beyond amazing getting to shoot you and your beau Matthew out in Ibiza in September.
On a very personal note, shooting my first wedding season with a little person has been extremely challenging and at times, felt downright impossible. Trying to find my way as a full-time Mum whilst still trying to give 100% to my own business has taught me so much about myself. I’m not as strong or as infallible as I once thought I was, I cry A LOT, I can cope with being tired, but only to a certain point, after that, I’m in total meltdown. I’ve learnt that you just have to let some things go and deal with some things not being quite as perfect as you’d want them to be. I’ve learnt that the only way to be strong, is to lean on others for support, and for this I owe my amazing husband Dom and my super Mum Jane a whole heap of gratitude. Without them, I’d still be editing my March weddings and probably huddled in a corner crying & shaking! This all being said, being a Mum to Amélie is also incredible, and makes me happier than I can ever express. She’s a little package of love and I think Winnie The Pooh said it best with this quote… “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts”.
I’m hoping 2016 will be just as epic, but with a little more balance and calm! I haven’t had the time to use my Contax or take on any personal projects so hopefully this year I’ll have time for both of these. I’m also looking forward to some much needed snowboarding & mountain time in March for my husband’s 40th (oh yes it’s true) birthday. I’m so excited about Dom’s change in career – he’s now writing recipes and doing the Home Economy for S Mag. I’m looking forward to seeing this new role develop for Dom and I couldn’t be more proud of him. 2016 is all about spending time with the people I love and simplifying life. Cheers to that!
Thank you x a million to all my brides and grooms, who have let me into their lives so I can tell their stories. Each wedding has been an adventure and each couple I meet teaches me something new. I apologise in advance for the 150+ images below, you don’t have to look through them all, it’s been more of a personal project putting this together and rediscovering exactly what it is I love about shooting weddings. Here’s to 2016 and all the hugs, smiles, moments and relationships I get to witness and capture. Let’s get cracking! Helen xxxx