Walking in a winter (wedding) wonderland

I can admit now that I was nervous about shooting Kate and Ed's wedding. A wedding any time between the end of October and beginning of April means there will be limited daylight, and given that my approach is predominantly reportage in nature and I rely a lot on natural light for natural photos, this had the potential to be tricky. Especially considering it was on the 19th December and the ceremony wouldn't be ending until 3pm, with sunset at... oh wait, what do you mean it's already SET?! But we've barely left the church! 

I jest of course. It wasn't quite so extreme; we clung to 45 minutes of moody December rays before all was dark. But the thoughts entered my head beforehand and I knew I'd need to be creative with some off camera flash and make the absolute most of whatever input the sun had to give. It turned out to be a really wonderful, magical wedding and I thoroughly enjoyed very minute. It was challenging, yes, but we turned the limitations into silver linings and caught some moments. 

I only met Kate and Ed over Skype before the big day as they live in Singapore, but I knew it would be a great fit because they were super relaxed and their ideas for a Christmassy-yet-not-cheesy wedding day sounded perfect. They had a church ceremony followed by mince pies and mulled wine, filling the church with delicious aromas and guests' tummies with festive warmth. To make the most of the light and avoid widespread hypothermia, we had a quick turn around of group photos and couples shots soon after the ceremony. I can tell you now that announcing "as soon as we're done you can go and have loads of mulled wine!" is a sure-fire way to put a smile on the freezing faces of a bridal party. The bride, who was the least covered up (aside from a woolly poncho I threw around her in between photos) and outside for the longest smiled gracefully the entire time. And I can tell you, it was COLD. 

The reception and wedding breakfast was held in the garden of Kate's parents' house in Kent, in an enormous 'Tentipi'. It had a rustic, festival feel to it and I was seriously impressed when I got inside: a roaring log fire, Christmas trees, Baby's Breath to match the bouquets and twinkling fairy lights made it magical. I think I wasn't the only one who felt more than a little bit Christmassy at this point, and it wasn't difficult to capture lots of smiling faces in the candid guest shots. Christmas crackers filled with tiny corked bottles of homemade Sloe Gin and massive green Christmas hats for a select few guests just added to the cheer, and I'm sure it's one of the happiest weddings I've attended.

So I don't think anyone needs to be afraid of winter weddings. Granted, not all will be rain-free like this one, but then neither are summer weddings. Make the most of the mood, scatter fairy lights all over the place, use every second of daylight you can and keep your guests' hands warm by a fire and you're laughing.