I'm sure any fellow wedding photographer will tell you that one of most rewarding things is to photograph the wedding of a close friend. I have been friends with Heather since secondary school and we were long overdue a catch up, so needless to say this one was highlighted in the diary.
Heather and Gavin's big day happened in Sheffield where they both currently live. I made the journey up from Whitby the night before and stayed over so I was fresh and ready to go. First up was bridal prep, Heather was getting ready at The Hilton in city centre accompanied by her bridesmaid. True to form Heather was as chilled as ever, making for a great atmosphere to capture some lovely candid moments as the conversation flowed. I started off by capturing the jewellery, shoes, flowers and dress before a handful of natural documentary shots of hair and make-up and generally pre wedding goodness.
After bridal prep it was time to head for the ceremony via an Uber... The Chimney House on the infamous Kelham Island in Sheffield was the venue and having not photographed here before I was super excited to see it. I had researched the Chimney House prior, so I had an inkling into what to expect, but the building and styling of the space blew me away and was so Heather! Furnished and decorated creatively with a plethora of green plants, lit candles, stylish old school seating and even graffiti you really have to see and feel the space to fully appreciate how amazing and truly unique it is.
I arrived at the venue just as guests began to do the same so I took the opportunity to capture a few of them as well as getting a few shots with the groom Gavin before the ceremony. The ceremony itself was a beautifully intimate occasion with a handful of family and very close friends. The stunning 'meeting room' within the Chimney house seemed tailor made for Heather and Gavin's marriage and it was an absolute pleasure to capture. Smiles were beaming all around, none bigger than the ones on both Heather and Gavin's faces and their was a real collective sense of happiness throughout.
After the ceremony it was time to get some photos on the historic waterway on Kelham Island. I'd been looking forward to shooting here for a while. The industrial backdrop and cobbled streets provided the perfect setting for Heather and Gavin's group shots and portraits. We started with the classic confetti shot on the quaint cobbled street which is always a great shot and moved to several locations within just a stone throw from the Chimney House. The locations could not of been better suited for these two and I think this is reflected in the photos I managed to get.
After all of the excitement is was time for food and with drinks in hand everyone returned to the Chimney House where they had reset the meeting room with a huge central communal table for what was to be an absolute feast! The food on offer was as equally fantastic as the space it was served in. A fusion of pulled jerk style beef, roasted sweet potato and a fennel based salad went down an absolute storm, with me as well as the wedding party. Shortly after an indulgent desert it was time for the speeches, one of my favourite part of any wedding to capture. A whole lot of laughter (some at the Groom's expense), a few moments of reflection and even a tear or two made for some lovely natural moments which I managed to capture using a long telephoto lens. It was also lovely to hear what Heather's father had to say about his daughter having been a friend of hers for some time, I genuinely felt a part of the wedding party at times.
With the speeches echoing and complementing the whole feel of the day the drinks were now flowing and before I knew it it was time for a swift city centre stroll with Heather and Gavin to the Mowbray for the evening reception. I couldn't resist practicing a bit of street photography on the commute as I photographed the happy couple hand in hand as they made the journey through the city streets.
The Mowbray is the Chimney House's slightly larger sister venue and a similar vibe was definitely encapsulated in both the architecture and the styling of the space. The scale of this space is comparable to a warehouse, however the hanging Edison lighting and warm glow from the candle and bottle table centrepieces create a friendly and cosy ambience. Joining the party at the Mowbray were around another 120 guests consisting of family and friends so it didn't take long for the atmosphere to reach fever pitch!
Surprises are always a winner on a wedding day, and the unannounced arrival of Back Chat Brass to the fray went down an absolute treat with all of Heather and Gavin's guests'. Playing all your favorite catchy tunes on brass instruments including trumpets, trombones a saxophone and even drums, they really got the party started! Heather and Gavin had told me prior to the wedding that they hadn't planned to have a first dance so I was delighted when they spontaneously had one to the brilliantly jubilant sound of Back Chat Brass with all of their family and friends circled around them.
I still get a buzz after finishing photographing a wedding day and a mix of adrenaline and accomplishment always make the journey home a real high. After this one I way buzzing all the way from Sheffield to Whitby! Knowing Heather made this one super special and every element of the day was Heather down to the ground. Weddings are always a reflection of the couple and this one was a great example, Heather and Gavin absolutely nailed it in their wedding planning, it was perfect for them and I hope that they can re-live their special day when looking through their photographs.