Nathan & Chantal had originally booked their wedding for Rome, then due to COVID cancelled then rescheduled it at The Belsfield, Laura Ashley Hotel in Bowness-upon-Windermere.
Then like many others, they rescheduled to a new date, then sounded me out about their two backups dates as they were getting nervous as weeks turned to months at the start of the pandemic. Then out of nowhere, they thought, sod it, “let’s just do it” and get married in a registry office. Nike would have been proud!
When I rocked up at Julie’s house (Chantal’s Mum’s) I have met their 4-year-old son Theo who has such a calming hypnotic presence about him. The fact that he preceded to shoot me 101 times with various guns was all good fun. Plus, it enabled his Mum “The Bride and star of the show” to shine and get ready in peace. Wherever I went Buzz Lightyear & Theo followed int the next galaxy which happened to be Sale Registry Office.
This was one of the finest Registry Office’s I’ve ever seen once the formalities were over, we all journeyed to a nice little Chinese Restaurant a mere dozen miles away in the upmarket galaxy of Alderley Edge. Normally I like to research a venue properly beforehand but as they only decided on this venue at the last minute, there was no opportunity to do this.
This was no ordinary Chinese as it had won Restaurant of the Year, and Alderley Edge is home to many of the Manchester footballers and media stars at the nearby Media City. To say the light was a real fusion of colours and moody was an understatement so it was lucky that I’m one of only a few photographers who shoot manually.
During the reception I was chatting to this tall guy who had a bit of style about him, he even wore a cravat before Theo and Mr Lightyear buzzed him away. Afterwards, Nathan’s Dad mentioned that this nice guy was Tom, the lead singer of the group, The Blossoms. Now I’m a fan of music but I’ll admit that I was oblivious to this band from nearby Stockport who just so happened to have had a few number one albums. Since the wedding, I’ve really got into the band and it always nice when someone is down to earth and hasn’t let success affect them.
The intimacy of the wedding reception was special, and as soon as the food was served, I swear it went silent. The food was quite literally to die for, and it was no wonder the place had won Awards. Talking of which (hu, hum, “I’m an award winner too”) I wanted to get an image from inside the restaurant that would really W.O.W. Chantal & Nathan as well as document the informalities of their reception.
At the end of the bar was a backlit mosaic panel and behind this was a small corridor that the waiters used to bring food from the kitchen to the tables. In front of this panel which measured no more than a meter squared was a small cubby hole just big enough to house a spare and a few bits of clutter. A plan was hatched.
Long story short, I played with the lights in the corridor and moved the chair and clutter meaning that there was just enough space to photograph this panel by using “live view” on the camera. Within minutes Nathan & Chantal squeezed into the gap and boom, the shot worked. The staff were looking a bit bemused but when you see the results, the red lights give an almost 3D quality to the image and by shooting manually the newlyweds were silhouetted for dramatic effect against this mosaic panel.
The best thing about this wedding is that we get to do it all again this summer, as Chantal & Nathan are holding a big bash so this time, I might get a selfie with Tom, and it may be rude not to ask Theo and Buzz.