As with so many couples in 2020-21, Laura & Tom were on their 3rd attempt to get married after the tumultuous upheavals caused by the various lockdowns we had in the UK due to the global pandemic. They had previously booked another photographer and on their 3rd go, their original photographer wasn’t available to cover the couples new date. Not sure what to do, the couple turned to Hitched to search for suitable replacements and they stumbled on my profile, and reached out to me. And I am beyond glad they did! We exchanged some pleasantries on the site messenger and set up a zoom chat. I remember it clearly as Tom was getting ready to watch football, Laura explained to me what she wanted captured for their special day. I absentmindedly mentioned that I was 6’4” and almost immediately Laura said you’re hired haha - as she realised because of my height I would have no issues with capturing flattering images of her and her loved ones!
Before I dive into their story, I’d love to give a shout out to Laura’s other suppliers who helped to make her day truly special:
Main Venue: Ham Polo Club; @hpcevents
Getting Ready venue: Richmond Hill hotel - @rhillhotel
Wedding coordinator: Isabel Stewart
On the morning of the wedding day there was a torrential rainfall that looked determined to ruin the day. I had arrived super early - normally I aim to start after initial makeup is done - and I calmly set to work capturing all the details and getting to know the family. During this time, myself and Laura kept a watchful eye on the weather and we both got excited when we saw the first patch of blue skies. Not that this would have been an issue for me, as I always have a rainy day backup plan. As it happens, apparently, rain in the morning can be seen as a sign of good luck. So ‘they’ say.
One beautiful surprise in the morning, that stood out to me, was that of a unique dress stand that Laura’s sister-in-law gifted for her amazing wedding dress. I’ll be honest, I’d never seen anything quite like it before. So of course I had to get multiple images of it!
Another beautiful and deeply personal moment was the inclusion of her grandpa & nan on her bouquet, so that they could be with her throughout the day:
Whilst Laura’s bridesmaids and mother got their hair and makeup done, there was a very special moment that I have to highlight. I don’t fully recall why Laura was behind the screen, but when she popped her head up to look over it I had to take this photo. It is still one of my favourites from the day. Perhaps ever.
Finally, it was Laura’s turn to have her makeup done, I set about capturing this as per usual. But on this occasion I knew there was one particular shot I wanted which required technical expertise. Through the use of off camera flash, gridded and with barn doors to control the spill of light I carefully pointed it in the direction of the mirror. This one technical move, does three things: one it creates a dramatic backlight emphasising her hair, secondly the spray particles are accentuated and thirdly, most importantly, the reflection off the mirror created a fill light which detailed her beautiful makeup.
I stepped out for a moment so that her best mate and mom could have the privacy to help her into the dress. But I returned in time, to get the final buttoning up and placement of the veil.
Some of my favourite moments to capture during the bridal preparations has got to be the reveals, the time when the bridesmaids and father of the bride see her for the first time in the dress. Capturing those raw emotions from the gasps to the tears! And wow, Laura looked so radiant in her beautiful dress.
We made our way to the ceremony at Ham Polo Club where Tom was greeting the guests. Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for had arrived. Laura in a red car, with her father in tow, made her way down the path to the ceremony hall, past the stables. The workers cleaned up the path and Isabel, their wedding planner, greeted them. The bridesmaids and children joined her before the emotional walk on the last leg of the journey.
As Laura walked down the aisle, Tom – who swore he wouldn’t on the zoom chat – began to well up upon the first look of his bride to be. The ceremony was beautiful, full of laughter and tears, it was an honour to witness and document their love.
After the witnesses had signed on the dotted line and the couple walked back down the aisle as newlyweds, I captured a special moment from behind the glass doors. The moment it hit them that they finally did it!
I left the couple to enjoy the moment together and set up for my second favourite part of a wedding to capture – the confetti throw. I love those moments, when the couple are having petals thrown at them, as you never know exactly what you will capture but one thing for sure is the shear joy and happiness from not just the couple but also from their guests. And immediately following this is usually the greetings which is always lovely to capture.
I gathered up all the guests, with a bit of help from Tom’s best men, and we took some lovely shots of everyone together on and near the steps. ** click images to expand for full length view
The guests gathered around the roof terrace at Ham Polo Club for the canapés and drinks reception, with the band playing some great tunes, caricatures were drawn up, and hearty laughter filled the air as the guests chatted with the newlyweds.
Whilst everyone was busy on the roof terrace, I slipped away to capture some of the detail shots of the beautiful décor.
Before the speeches, I whisked the couple away from their guests to get a quick couples shoot during golden hour. Due to the time of year, this had to be quick so that the couple could get back in time for the wedding breakfast. Now Laura, was very adamant on this not being too posy, so I had the couple just go for a walk together and have a small conversation. I often find that if I position my couples in the right composition and ensure that there is proper lighting, then if they have a laugh and go for a short walk this leads to beautiful natural and relaxed images that allows them to show the camera who they are as a couple. As I’m sure you will agree when viewing these below.
For the speeches there were to be four speakers. From the embarrassing stories to the special stories and the ‘awful’ jokes, I captured all the moments of laughter and tears of the guests and couple. One moment I particularly remember vividly, was seeing Laura pointing and laughing in the direction of where the guests were seating, quickly whipping around from my vantage point, low and behold I saw one of her girls from the hen-do had on a mask of Tom! I just had to take a snap of this, of course :)
Following the speeches, Laura and tom greeted their evening guests and I set about setting up my external lighting. Co-ordinating with their DJ I made sure we were on the same page, so that when it came to the cake cutting he would initiate a countdown and for the couples first dance there would be no lighting out of my control. Once the couple finished with the 1st dance then he would take over with the balls of DJ lights so that the party could be in full throttle.
Before setting off, I grabbed the couple for one last couples shoot in the dark.
Honestly getting to know Laura & Tom was a highlight of my wedding season in 2021! Such a happy and bubbly couple and I even had some special prints done for them afterwards. I am forever grateful they chose me to cover their big day. And I especially loved reading their lovely review below. I can’t wait to see them again on their anniversary shoot at the spot they met each other in Richmond!
"Having Martin be our wedding photographer was one of the best decisions we made! We were lucky that we had a few options of photographers but were so pleased we went with Martin. He was so responsive through the whole process and captured our day beautifully. He listened to what style of photos we wanted and gave suggestions on the day for some shots he thought would work well.. and they came out amazing! He did not disappoint and Martin, we really won't be able to thank you enough for capturing our day like you did. Would recommend for anyone looking for a wedding photographer!"
As always I hope you enjoyed reading this little insight into the couple’s day, especially as I am terrible at writing aha. If you would like to book me, get in touch and let’s make it happen. Also feel free to have a look at my other blog entries below!