Holly & Tom - A year on
The life of a wedding photographer is often fast-paced, you spend a good portion of your time meeting with couples and organising the flow of their big day. A day which we play such a huge role in, whether we are documenting the wedding or shaping scenes, our photographs are there to showcase the spirit and magic of each wedding.
It doesn't end there however, afterwards you'll spend many hours of hard work editing the photographs and once you deliver them to the expectant couple, you carry on to the next incredible adventure. With weddings sometimes close to one another, it's not unusual to have lots to edit at the same time.
You never forget the couple, nor the smiles and the laughter, or the wonderful scenes of family and long-kindled friendships. It's fair to say, the genuine joy of each day never leaves you. The truth is however, that we are just busy sharing other people's big days and editing their photographs too.
More often than not you won't see the couple for a while. Even though I like to keep in touch, before you know it, a calendar notification pops up and that wedding you remember so well was nearly a year ago!
I say it too much but I often can't believe how quickly the anniversaries come around....A little over a year ago, I found myself back in the Walton Hotel in Nottingham, to start off capturing the amazing wedding of Holly and Tom.
From the Hotel to Tom's home town of Wollaton, with a church that's steeped in history, to the amazing reception in the heart of the City itself. It was a day of stunning flowers, amazing hair and makeup, a beautiful dress, 2 pairs of fabulous shoes and Tom's local designer suit..... I caught up with Holly & Tom to talk about their first year as a couple and look back on their memorable day.
Happy anniversary! What do you remember most about your wedding day?
"We have so many lovely memories from our day, from getting ready with my mum and bridesmaids to the drive to the church with my dad and Tom's dad as chauffeur! I wonder how many brides have spent their drive to the church listening to 'Killing in the Name' with their future father in law turning the volume up and down accordingly so as not to offend the father of the bride. I think my favourite part of the day was just after signing the register - there was a sense of 'we did it - party!'
Would you do it any differently a year on?
"We wouldn't have changed a thing, but I do regret forgetting to take a tier of our wedding cake back to our hotel with us - Tom's mum sent it to us at home a few days later. My shameful (not so secret anymore) is that I was so desperate for cake that I went out and bought a small one from M&S (who we bought our wedding cake from) and ate all of it. Tom didn't even get a piece. I redeemed myself by taking most of the tier into work when it arrived! Shameful."
The church and reception venue were stunning, what made you choose the Arkwright Rooms?
"Picking a venue and arranging for the church to also be available on the same day was the only really stressful part of wedding planning for me. After that was done I relaxed and enjoyed it. You'll notice I said 'me' and not 'us' because Tom checked out on the planning early - couldn't take the heat I guess! I was really taken by surprise by how much I loved the venue. Compared to the other venues I had visited it was a perfect mix of modern and vintage, was super clean, pretty, sunny and bright and it was very important for both of us to celebrate our wedding in the heart of the great city of Nottingham, where we met."
Can you tell us a little bit about your wedding suppliers for the day;
"We were recommended our florist Rebecca Caddell (Floraldeco) by friends. Rebecca is absolutely wonderful. She invited us to meet with her at her home in West Bridgford and we (mostly me..) spent time discussing ideas with her. We chose pretty seasonal blooms (ranunculus, roses and early peonies) and foliage (hazel, eucalyptus), arranged at random/asymmetrically, in keeping with the modern, yet romantic/vintage feel of the venue and complementing the wedding parties.
My ivory silk and tulle 50's/60's style tea length wedding dress and veil were both made for me by the fabulous ladies at Fur Coat No Knickers in London, which very sadly has now closed. I was so sad to hear this, especially as they made the experience of creating my dress so special. I had a very specific idea in mind and they more than exceeded my expectations. Tom's suit had to be Paul Smith for our Nottingham wedding. I'm biased but I think he looked amazing in it.
My hair was done by the very lovely Helen Sutcliffe who is Nottingham based. Helen was wonderful on the day, and recreated perfectly the 60's style half beehive that really complemented my wedding dress. She was super calm and professional and it was lovely to feel so well looked after by her and by Cristina Lazzarotto, who did my make-up. With my make-up I really wanted to look like the best version of myself, not someone Tom wouldn't recognise! I think Cristina totally pulled that off. I felt confident that the look would last all day, and it did. I would absolutely recommend them both."
I had the pleasure of working with the extremely talented Rebecca from Floraldeco at this wedding, I was absolutely blown away by her work. Rebecca was kind enough to talk a little about Holly's amazing bouquet and flowers.
How much of a bouquet is your creative flair and how much do the couple influencing things?
"It varies hugely. The couple, or more often, the bride can have as much or as little input in their floral designs as they like. I always like to have some kind of starting point even if it's very vague. After the first meeting I create mood boards for them just to ensure we're on the same page.
From this point, some clients like to work with me closely, while others are much more relaxed and leave the end result with me."
How often do you meet with a couple before their day?
"Normally I meet clients a couple of times before their big day to chat about their flowers, although they're always welcome as many times as they wish. Very occasionally, if a bride lives abroad or out of the area, and isn't able to meet me, everything has been planned over the phone or by email.
How nice is it to see your work throughout the photographs?
"I don't get to see the photos of every wedding I do, but I'm always very excited when I see a really amazing image of my work!"
Holly's bouquet; absolutely stunning, what's your secret?
"I love making the bridal bouquet, and it's such a special moment when I hand it over to the bride on her wedding morning. I've had some wonderful reactions from shrieks of delight to literally sobbing with joy! While I'm making a bouquet, I often think that I'm creating something that will be remembered by the bride for the rest of her life, and that's really special. It's very rare for me to repeat a bouquet, I like to think that they're all unique, and created just for that one one person on that one day! I love putting interesting textures and unusual colours together, that's one of my favourite things"
I also got to work with the superb and wonderful Helen Sutcliffe Hairstylist again and asked about her memories of the day;
"When I met Holly at her hair trial we spoke in depth about her wedding; her dress, her shoes, the venue styling and it was clear that she had a strong understanding of the look she wanted to create, which was an amazing start, as I too could share in the vision of how it would work together.
Her tea dress wedding gown was as fun as she was, with a hint to 50's retro styling I followed this through into her hair; with lots of lift on the crown, her full yet soft fringe, and slight flicked out movement in the hair, she looked a picture of vintage femininity, so very natural to her styling.
The individuallity in all my brides really is a special part of my job, I get a chance to become creative within the brief that I am given, hopefully making each girl feel confident, and their very best for a day that will hold so many brilliant memories."
For me, Tom's speech was just incredible. Are people still talking about it like I am?
"I loved Tom's speech so much - it was the perfect blend of funny, self-deprecating and lovely. It was just so him. I have a copy of it and have a read of it from time to time. I keep encouraging him to do stand up! My dad's speech has been the one most people have talked to me about - more than a few friends have said it made them cry. I love my dad."
Thanks guys. I'm still very grateful and honoured to have been there.
What does 2017 have in store for you?
"We loved having you there! Our wedding photographs are exactly what we wanted - beautiful, informal and candid. We honestly can't thank you enough. 2017 is hopefully set to be the year that we buy our own home, fingers crossed! We're going back to Italy, this time to San Gimignano to explore Tuscany and eat ourselves through as much Italian food as possible."
I can't thank Holly and Tom enough for taking the time to chat with me.
I'm also really grateful to Rachel and Helen for talking to me about their involvement in the day and how they work. Please visit their websites to learn more about their amazing work during the day;
Make up: Cristina Lazzarotto
Church: St Leonards
Reception: The Arkwright Rooms
Hotel: Walton Hotel