Saul and Alma had the most magical day and I was thrilled to not only be able to capture a few beautiful moments of the happy (and I mean seriously happy!) couple, but more importantly, I was deeply honoured to have been there as a guest to celebrate their love with them. I have known Saul since we were first years at 11 years old at Warwick Academy, and then was lucky enough to reconnect about 12 or so years ago. Saul came to Ben and my wedding and about five years ago, when we met Alma for the first time, we knew that she was the missing centre puzzle piece in Saul's life. They fit so perfectly together, and it has been so wonderful to be a witness to their infectious adoration for each other. One of my favourite things about weddings is that they are a constant reminder of Ben and my own amazing day and how blessed we were to have found each other the way Saul and Alma have found each other. I am going to really go on (and on and on and on) about these two and this wedding in this post, so if it all seems a bit much, just look at the pretty pictures and don't read any of my text. But for Saul and Alma - this is for you!
As expected, Alma looked utterly stunning. She is a bit distractingly beautiful - when I first met her, I had a hard time keeping eye contact as she was so gorgeous, but then her genuineness shone through oh so brightly and now, although I can see how lovely she is, it is her loveliness that beams from within that actually is even more distracting. I know I am gushing a bit, but really love these guys!
The ceremony took place in a dramatic Exhibition Hall on the Maritime Museum property. It was old world elegant and I wanted to capture all of it, but Ben insisted I enjoy most of the day, and especially the ceremony as me, not as a photographer. I am so glad I did for even though I often weep when I am shooting weddings, even with people I don't know, the tears I cried during Alma and Saul's service were not only born out of the beauty of the words and music, but also out of my happiness at our dear friends shared something so special. I was very glad to see it with my eyes in full periphery rather than through my lens. So I took a few on the way in, and a few on the way out, and the in between bits remain in my memory as clear as these images.
The interior had been extremely low light so I had been shooting at iso 6400 (for the photo geeks out there) but when they went to the door, I quickly tried to change my settings but then missed setting up to capture this moment perfectly. The first shot was completely out of focus, but I think I adore it most of these doorway ones - the almost kiss, the anticipation and then intensified with the romance of the lack of detail - I just swoon.
After the ceremony, we headed up to the Commissioner's House where the cocktails and dinner were taking place. On the way, Saul pointed out the cave and took Alma down. I didn't have the heart to tell them I didn't have a wide angled lens. Part of my promising Ben (and indeed Saul and Alma) that I would enjoy the wedding, was only taking couple shots. So I only brought one camera with my fave portrait lens but it is not great at capturing an entire scene. So the light wasn't ideal where they were for anything but the scenic, but again, because I wasn't the official photographer, I felt strange taking control the way I usually do. And when I wanted to move them, all the guests had descended behind me and were snapping away too so I just jumped on the band wagon and worked with the space and light. I was a bit paranoid afterwards, but actually love these all the same. Think having a couple as easy on the eye as these too, and as madly in love, definitely made my job a little easier.
They suddenly noticed there were about 75 cameras pointed at them...
When we arrived at the Commissioner's House, everyone was there already so we decided to enjoy cocktail hour and take the rest of the photos once everyone had headed up to dinner. These two had delightful pink lemonades as their drink fo choice. Saul has never been a fan of alcohol anyeay and Alma is now not drinking as they are expecting a little love bug of their own. As Saul made clear during his speech, which we all obviously knew already given how long ago we received the invites, the pregnancy happened long after the engagement, but these two couldn't be happier to be starting a family as soon as they can and they will be the best parents in the world. Of course, one can only imagine how utterly gorgeous the little sweet pea growing in Alma's belly will be. Perhaps a wee girl for Oslo to set his sights on in the years to come??? But a boy would be just heavenly too...
Oslo and Indigo had been excited about this wedding for almost a year. They kept asking how many sleeps until the big day and I was so happy when I could finally start answering them in numbers under 10! Indigo had her dress picked out for months and Oslo was pretty chuffed at the opportunity to dress smartly as well. I was so pleased when Saul and Alma said kids were invited. Children at a wedding brings a whole new element of bliss and excitement and I had as much fun watching them and their sheer glee as I did the newlyweds.
It was really breezy up on that hill so I was pretty impressed with Indigo as she danced up and down the canon like it was a tightrope. People kept asking me if she was a gymnast and now I am feeling like a naughty mummy never having given her a chance to see if she likes gymnastics. But with my history of a bad back (all better now!) and loosey goosey hyper mobile joints, I decided to steer her clear away - she can do yoga instead! Oslo is the king of agility and scales any wall or cliff, as long as it is high and will bring a look of terror to the faces of spectators.
The Commissioner's House grounds are perfect for kids - the canons, the moat where they chase those (poor) sheep, the long wavy grass and the plethora of hiding spots. And what a view!
Ben watched from the terrace as the kids frolicked down below. I sipped champagne, mingled, watched the kids and occasionally snapped away, with either Ben or myself having to race down to rescue one or the other of the kids every once in a while. Just relaxing and fun.
All the children at the wedding loved the setting and I longed to capture all of them in the way I had photographed my own kids, but again, I had to remind myself I was not working but was indeed a guest so instead I accepted the waiter's offer of some more pink champagne!
By the time all the guests had gone upstairs to dinner and the lower terrace was empty, so was my champagne glass. I was a bit (well, a lot) tipsy, and I was rather worried about having to take any more photos (an indeed focusing that lens).
Don't these two just suit this entry way so perfectly? Lord and Lady of the manor welcoming their guests? And then a kiss passionate enough to be straight out of Gone With The Wind.
Indigo was just looking at these photos and said she wished she could marry Alma. Then she added "and Saul". There is something about these two that just draws one into their love - it's a beautiful thing. Alma is the smiliest person ever but when she is serious, one can really see her structural beauty. I meant to ask her to be unsmiley a bit more, but is just felt wrong as these two have so much fun together and with such good friends, I didn't feel like I could intrude on their day, even during "official photos" the way I might usually. But in this shot below, I did ask for one soft serious look...
...and it lasted for all of about half a second.
Below was such a delicious moment - once again, I almost like it more because it is out of focus (am I saying that because of the champagne?) - they just cracked up so much they doubled over (very them) and do you want to know the best bit? They laugh in exactly the same manner. When Alma first came to our house for dinner and I heard her laugh, I nearly cried it was so cute (and so similar to Saul's). This image below is just so them - love love love.
They were keen to get a jumping pic, which I always think, when done right (as in no pencil jumpers), is fabulous. I backed up until I nearly toppled over the edge of the cliff and it is a miracle that the flag pole and ropes aren't in the image. I would have adored to get the whole of the Commissioner's House in the background, with all their guests on the top level looking down on them, watching them jumping in the heat, but alas, only had my one lens and without a wide, it was not an option. Still I adore these shots and once again, they look like they are just having so much fun and that glorious door and welcoming arms in the background give a feel for the setting just the same.
As you can see by these heels, Alma is quite keen to bridge the gap between their height differences. What a super star she is always moving so gracefully, despite such high heels. I tend to even trip in my flats so I have some serious heel walking admiration going on for Alma.
When we joined the party on the upstairs terrace, I was honoured to see my seat, Ben and our lovely houseguest just opposite and left of the bride and groom. They had the most impressive table I have ever seen. Once again, I know I am gushing a lot about this wedding, but this table really was amazing. It was the entire length of the south facing terrace - one massive rectangular table with at least 150 people on it - it was so regal. And with place cards to boot - the time it must have taken them to decide who should sit next to whom, and it was very clearly well thought out. We loved having Louise and sweet Baby Julian stay with us for 12 days - she came from Sweden and we have now become dear friends in our own right. And that baby was a dream - in the entire 2 weeks, I only heard him cry once the night before he left because his teeth were coming in. Louise is such a devoted and anticipatory mum so she knew his every need almost before he did. I wish I took photos of the scene on that terrace - again, wrong lens, but it was awe inspiring so please just take my word for it.
One of the best bits of the wedding was the theme - a tandem bike. Their invite, rsvp cards, menus, and name cards were all with the same tandem bike imagery. And I adored that Alma walked down the aisle to the music of "A Bicycle Built For Two". How cute and original is that?
I don't know how it came about that Indigo was holding Alma's train off the floor, but the look of pride and feeling of importance at her role made me go all mama-bear-gooey. I just had so much more fun at the wedding since my children were there for me to experience their joy too. Ooh how I could just gobble them up sometimes.
Saul and Alma - thank you both for allowing the four of us to be such a big part of not only your wedding, but indeed the entire lead up to that special day. We loved hosting the dinner for your amazing friends, just adored having Louise and Julian to stay, and most of all, loved witnessing you two exchange such personal vows and enjoy your special time. The speeches were epic, the setting breath taking and the entire event truly magical - I only hope these images can scratch the surface of how wonderful all of it was, and indeed offer a glimpse into the deep connection you two share. We love having you as neighbours and can't wait to see what the future holds with such a lucky baby due to come into the world to join such a wonderful family. Please forgive the gushiness of this post, but suffice to say, I love you both - so much! Congratulations and hope Italy is a dream. xxxxxx