Steph and Jack’s wedding at Woldingham Golf Club was a particular booking that I had been quite excited about taking on; a very photogenic couple and a lovely new venue to explore!
Further add to that the groom to arrive in style in a red Ferrari, and a rather cool weathered groundsman’s lock-up in their Church’s graveyard… I was always going to be relishing this wedding from a creative point of view.
Woldingham Golf Club Wedding
Woldingham had been another local venue that had eluded me until this particular wedding, and again it was one that I was keen to photograph at.
I’d been there once before in an ‘off-duty’ capacity as a guest in the past, so had seen first hand the lovely natural landscape that it boasted, as well as the grand external stair case to the clubhouse.
I have to admit that the staircase had grabbed my attention immediately, it was big, grand and I knew straight away that it would offer a dynamic backdrop for some striking bride and groom portraits.
I’m sure the staircase has been used to death in the past by other photographers for group shots and the like, but I just knew that it offered something far more than just an option for some formal group shots, and I think that we nailed some pretty cool portraits that I’d like to think possibly haven’t been shot there before.
No doubt someone may well come back to me informing me that I’m wrong, I certainly don’t say it in an arrogant way to suggest that my images are better than anyone else’s, I merely imply that I’m aware that I have quite a ‘qwerky’ style that is a little bit different. Thankfully there are couples out there who like it, and of whom hire me purely for that exact reason
A red Ferrari
Being a typical guy, it’s always interesting when the groom arrives in a trendy sports car.
They don’t tend to come more trendier than a red Ferrari! Now, that is arriving in style, and always grabs everyone’s attention without fail.
Such cars are great for me, as they double up as a useful prop for the groom portraits; it looks great, it’s stylish/iconic, it’s masculine and it’s just damn right cool.
Funnily enough this wasn’t the first wedding that I’d covered that featured a Ferrari, as I’d covered Matt & Daniele’s wedding from back in 2011 and also Sam & Stacey’s wedding last year.
I know that Jack certainly enjoyed the Ferrari, and I definitely enjoyed photographing him with it. Great fun.
St Mary’s Church in Caterham
Unlike the golf club, I had photographed at St Mary’s Church before, so knew it well.
If I’m being brutally honest, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the wedding ceremony itself… nothing to do with Steph and Jack, nor any concerns with the interior of the church itself or low lighting conditions (that said it isn’t the brightest in there!). No, the thing that was worrying me was being refused permission to photograph the ceremony – just as I had been four years back for a previous wedding there.
I held some hope when my bride and groom informed me that it was a lady vicar carrying out the ceremony, and i had recalled that the previous time had been with a man, so a different personnel might have meant a change in parish rules?
Those hopes were soon dashed when I approached the lady vicar prior to the start of the ceremony and she then informed me that I would only be allowed to take photos from the back of the church and nowhere else (aside of signing of the register).
Now, this is a subject that always both disappoints and frustrates me.
Fortunately it doesn’t happen all that often, and most churches are incredibly reasonable and grant us photographers and videographers permission to stand somewhere at the front of the church through the ceremony to capture all those tender moments during the vowels and throughout the whole service.
I accept that maybe in the defence of a church that refuses, that they might have had a bad experience(s) in the past with photographers, and I bet that there is a good chance that a photographer may have neglected the trust that was shown to them to photograph discreetly and within certain areas. In which case I can understand why a stance may have been adopted.
The problem is that by restricting the photographer, they aren’t punishing the photographer, they are in fact only punishing the bride and groom as it is their photos and not ours that we are capturing. This is the same people who are paying the church a healthy sum for the occasion.
It ironically in fact makes the photographer’s job easier in stark contrast, as they can’t capture as many images as they normally would, so are technically working less, and will have less images to edit as a result afterwards!
Whilst that is the case, I certainly would always prefer to be be allowed to do my job and ensuring that I capture all the shots that I normally would at the front of the church, resulting in giving my couples those natural documentation images that they want and will cherish.
So, sadly, I had to do as I was told and remain at the back of the church for the duration of the service, although I did manage to persuade the vicar to allow me to at least stand at the front of the altar briefly at the very beginning to capture Steph walking down the aisle.
One of the positives that I did take from being sentenced to the back of the church was that I was able to capture a brilliant visual prank on the groom that had been enstowed upon him by his best man.
Frank had managed, unknowingly to the groom, to use tippex to write ‘HE’ on Jack’s left shoe sole and ‘LP’ on the right one. Basically this meant that when the groom knelt down at the altar alongside his bride for a blessing, his two feet were placed together with the soles united next to each other and facing back towards me which spelled out the word ‘HELP’!
Of course the congregation just like myself noticed this, and there was much laughter and giggles as a result, much to the bemusement of the bride and groom.
It was very funny, and a prank that I’ve not seen before. It went without saying, of course I obliged to take a photo of it!
You can view all the mentioned photos and references in the slideshow video at the top of the page.
See what you make of the Woldingham stair case… please let me know your thoughts