Gareth and Laura's Engagement Shoot started for me at 9am in a very wet and windy Seaton, Devon. I had driven down with the girls the night before from Hertfordshire so they could have a relaxing day near the Sea with my parents, whilst I nipped up the A303 to Whiltshire to meet up with Gareth and Laura for their shoot.
I started the morning with caffeine and calories, and jumped in the car to head up to Laura’s parent’s house in Gastard which is a few miles out from Chippenham. One of the first things you hope for as a photographer when you are heading outdoors to shoot is good weather, with lots of amazing light to work with. My hopes were soon dashed when the weather presenter on the radio started the report with 'Well as is typical, the weekend has arrived and the good weather has departed'.
We had planned the day so that after a tour of the various wedding venues and a pub lunch, we would head to the local Lacock Abbey just before sunset to capture some amazing images..... which would of course be bathed in golden sunlight from the setting sun. The weather presenter had made it very clear in no uncertain terms that this was not going to be the case today. The ability to react to any situation is a key skill of any Wedding Photographer, and I had recently purchased a new pair of posh wellies which were in the boot of the car. Today was my opportunity to see if they were worth the investment (which is exactly how I justified the purchase of these particularly expensive wellies to my wife, Kelly...as an investment!).
I arrived at Laura's parents beautiful cottage in Gastard to meet with Gareth, whilst Laura was out and about doing other wedding related things during the morning. I know Gareth from School, and his Dad 'Taffy' was my rugby coach growing up. All wedding's are special, but it add's a little something extra when you know one or both of the couple beforehand.
Gareth and I spent some time looking around the cottage as this will be the location for the bridal preparations on the wedding day. Laura's parents are in the middle of a renovation of parts of the cottage which will include (in time for the wedding day...hopefully!) a new conservatory leading out into the garden. This will make a brilliant setting for some of the first bridal party shots on the day itself. We then headed over to the stunning St. Bartholomew’s church located next to Corsham Court in the center of Corsham. It's a stunning church which backs onto parkland and will be an amazing back drop on the wedding day.
Finally we headed over to Hamswell House where the reception will be held. I can't tell you how excited I am to shoot there, it's an awesome venue. From there, we met up with Laura and nipped over to The Pear Tree in Whitley for some lunch, and to talk through the plans for the big day.
Throughout the day, I had being keeping on eye on the weather, hoping for the rain to stop and the sun to breakthrough. It didn't. I thought it best to ask the guy's if they were still happy to stick to the original plan for the shoot itself, bearing in mind the stubbornly persistent precipitation! They were both game, possibly spurred on by a glass or two of red consumed over lunch!
A massive part of the Engagement or Pre-Wedding shoot is to get any photography related nerves out of the way before the big day. There are very few people who are natural in front of the camera and we all suffer from nerves under these circumstances to a greater or lesser extent. To have a few hours together in advance of the big day having fun and getting used to being in each others company is invaluable and ensures more relaxed and natural shots on the wedding day.
So, wellies on and off we went on a little trek around the parkland that surrounds Lacok Abbey.
We encountered mud, stiles, bridges and a ford. We were also joined by some friendly horses (I did initially have visions of myself and my gear being trampled into the mud by an angry horse - but they were very accommodating to us trudging through their field!) which made for some great shots.
Gareth and Laura were unperturbed by the worsening conditions and were awesome throughout. I really enjoyed my time with them, and cant wait for the big day!
The wellies were a great investment.
If you are planning your wedding, I would love to hear your plans.