About once a year I get to photograph a ‘city’ wedding in Norwich and they NEVER disappoint! While I love shooting in the plethora of stunning rural wedding venues, barns and country houses across Norfolk, the complete change of setting that a city wedding provides always delivers a welcome creative boost and a fresh set of challenges.
This year it was Bernie and James’ alternative wedding on 1st September that brought me into Norwich for the day. The day started with preparations briefly at Norwich Arts Centre with James before heading to the St Giles Hotel to join Bernie with bridesmaids and mum Carole. From there we walked through town to the ceremony at beautiful Strangers’ Hall (a first for me) and finally back to the Norwich Arts Centre for the reception.
I think September is my favourite month for photography with that perfect balance of warm weather, long enough days, colours forming in the leaves and low often soft sunlight. It’s not often that the stars align for the perfect wedding shoot from start to finish but 1st September this year was one of those days. More important of course than backdrop, weather or light is the people and from the moment I met Bernie and James I knew that this was to be a very special day. I’m not allowed to have favourites but, if I was, I’d say that I don’t think it would be possible to capture a wedding for two more perfect people. Passionate, fun, deeply in-love, creative, in-the-moment sort of people, living life to the full and surrounded with absolutely lovely family and many, many like-minded friends – people photography gets no better than that in my view.
I often find myself offering some advice to couples on their day and it was no different with Bernie and James. While I’d never offer unwelcome advice or try to influence a couples plans, attending many weddings each year has given me a good idea of what works in terms of timings and use of light. Discussing plans with Bernie and James proved to be really useful, paving the way for the chance to stroll through town first with Bernie, her parents and bridesmaids on the way to the ceremony, enjoying wonderfully relaxed speeches in the beautifully lit bar area of the Norwich Arts Centre, smashing up a piñata wedding cake that James had created and using the very best of the light and city backdrops during the evening.
So many elements of James and Bernie’s wedding were unique and personal to them. Capturing them just being their fun-loving and so relaxed selves revelling in every stage of their day was an absolute privilege. There were so many highlights for me. Bernie’s love of colour and birds reflected in the incredible decorations of the Norwich Arts Centre which can never have looked better. Grabbing some photos as we passed the Bicycle Shop Cafe where Bernie and James had their first date, observing them practicing an absolutely incredible first dance as the sun set on Pottergate, capturing an epic party to the quite brilliant ‘The Lov’in Handful’. I could go on.
Suffice to say, James and Bernie absolutely smashed the perfect Norwich wedding day. Spending time with these guys and their lovely families and friends was an absolute scream and made 1st September a highlight of 2018 for me. The final shot shows a beautiful thank you cake that Bernie and James surprised me with one evening a few weeks after their wedding day. Such a lovely, spontaneous and caring thing to do and a complete reflection of who they are. My son said to me after his first mouthful of this cake “dad, I only want to eat this cake from now on”. After Bernie and James’ wedding day, I said similar about wedding days!
Finally, a shout-out for a couple special ‘suppliers’ who helped make Bernie and James wedding so very special: