Sometimes its easy to become distracted and fixated by things that don’t go quite right on the run up to a wedding. The flowers that the florist can no longer source, or the weather report that predicts rain instead of sunshine. That wasn’t the case with Imogen though. When I text her the day before the wedding to wish her a relaxing evening, she told me that one tier of her four tier cake had collapsed (sponge on the bottom layer combined with a heat-wave!) and that the car that she was to travel in, kindly loaned by a family friend, had broken down! Nevertheless she was still smiling! Never losing sight of the things that were really important. The cake was fixed (now with 3 tiers) and a replacement car was found. No problem! Nothing could be done about the weather report, but as it turned out this wasn’t going to be much of an issue at all either.
Imogen had chosen to get ready for the biggest day of her life in the comfort of her parents’ house, which was conveniently just around the corner from the church. Her Dad Trevor was out delivering Imogen and Adam’s dog Bella to the dog sitter, leaving his daughter in the capable hands of her Mum Erika and her bridesmaids Lindsay, Lisa and Isobel. Lisa’s baby boy Jacob also joined them, along with his Dad.
James and his assistant Ben from James White Hair were styling Imogen when I arrived, so I took the opportunity to start photographing the details, starting with the beautiful Trudy Lee dress supplied by Soar Valley Brides in Sileby. As is so often the case, this wasn’t the style of dress that Imogen had set out to buy. She tried it on first as a whim, and then couldn’t help coming back to buy it.
Shortly afterwards Imogen’s brother Ed arrived bearing gifts. Now, did Imogen do the right thing and wait to share the opening of the gift with Adam? Her new husband and love of her life? No! She quickly tore off the wrapping paper to reveal a novelty door hanger, and two beautiful hand drawn pictures. The first was a pencil drawing of St Mary the Virgin Church where Imogen would shortly become Mrs Cain. The second was a coloured pencil drawing of their dog, Bella, which really captured her character! Ed is an art teacher and clearly a talented artist, as you can see in the photos below.
Lisa made a fantastic job of Imogen’s makeup, and then in a bid to stop Lindsay from eating the family out of house and home, the bride decided that it was high time that she and the girls got dressed for the occasion.
As is always the case, lacing up Imogen’s beautiful dress was a trickier job than it may first appear, but her Mum made it look very easy (after a couple of false starts!). It had started raining a little, so an umbrella was required to get the bride to the car, and from the car to the church.
Ben was my less-than-glamorous-but-very-helpful assistant on the day, and he had already met with Adam, his best man Gary and his ushers Ryan, Symon, Matthew and Ed. The groom was coping pretty well with the pressure, so we’ll assume that the little bit of perspiration that appeared on his brow as the ceremony time came and went was completely down to the July heat!
Imogen arrived five minutes late – which is entirely fashionable – and processed down the aisle with her father to a musical accompaniment provided by her brother Matthew and her godfather Ray, both on trumpets. The brass sounded absolutely incredible in the church, and fitted the occasion perfectly.
The ceremony went off without a hitch, except that the moment for their first kiss never quite presented itself. They more than made up for that during the day though! The readings were duly read by James and Hayley, and then during the signing of the register songs from the shows were played on flute and piano by Alisa and Will respectively.
We could hear the rain beating down on the church roof throughout the second half of the service, and it showed no sign of easing up as the new Mr and Mrs Cain made their way back up the aisle. We decided to make a run for the cars and get the group photos at The Priest House later.
Upon arrival at the venue the guests were greeted with a glass of champagne and a canapé or two, and with the sun bursting forth from behind the clouds with such an intensity that it was quite hard to believe that it had ever been raining at all. Imogen and Adam arrived, and we were able to get the group photos, the confetti shots and a few bride and groom portraits before it was time for the receiving line and the meal. Then it began to rain again. Ferociously.
This little anecdote will give you an idea of how hard it was raining. During the meal we usually unload the last of the gear from my car, and grab the laptop to back up the photos from the morning. Ben and I waited for the rain to ease off a little, and then made a dash for the cars. When I arrived at mine, there was a problem.
A small boating lake had materialised around my car. It was stranded in about six or eight inches of water. Funnily enough I had chosen to wear my standard black shoes that morning, rather than willies, and so I was about to strip off both socks and shoes and go for a paddle when Ben made a suggestion. And so it was that I hung out the boot of his car as he reversed up to mine, allowing me to open my car door and clumsily pour myself into my driver’s seat, before moving the car to a higher and dryer part of the car park!
After the meal came the speeches, which all went down very well. Imogen’s Dad is a retired teacher (it’s a family thing) and it was obvious from his confident manner that he is used to addressing groups of people. Then Adam’s Dad shared a few words, and graciously and generously made good on a prior commitment to pay back every penny of board that Adam had paid while he lived with his parents. This amounted to a single crisp £5 note!
Adam admitted to being nervous before his speech, but you couldn’t tell that this was the case at all, and he hit every punch-line perfectly in one of the funniest and most sincere groom’s speeches I’ve heard this year. All this before he was routinely humiliated by his best mate and best man Gaz, who told the story of Adam’s life and loves through a series of well-researched and well-found photographs.
The final two formal parts of the day took place a little later downstairs in the room given over to the evening do, where Mr and Mrs Cain cut their wedding cake and then danced their first dance as husband and wife.
It was an absolutely fantastic day, not in the slightest spoilt by the rain. Congratulations again to Mr and Mrs Cain!
Jon Cripwell Wedding Photographer in Derbyshire