All work and no play makes Jon a dull boy! Therefore I decided that I needed something totally different to write about at the start of this week, and it just so happened that in a radical departure from the standard weekend, I spent most of Saturday at a wedding… as a guest!
I love weddings (you may have figured that out by now), but I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be at one purely as a guest. It was so much fun! We travelled down to Chelmsford in Essex to celebrate the wedding of my wife’s cousin Nicola to her fiancé Glenn at the beautiful Little Channels Wedding Venue. Nicola looked absolutely stunning and both she and her new husband couldn’t stop smiling all day long.
I’ve been told that the ceremony itself was lovely, but I can’t confirm that personally because I spent most of it chasing our two year old daughter around outside. We had travelled down the day before and stayed in a hotel overnight. I have to say at this point that the Premier Inn at Chelmsford was absolutely brilliant. The rooms were nice, the beds were comfy, but above all that the staff were just brilliant. Friendly, welcoming and extremely helpful. Lenny Henry clearly offers good advice.
Despite all this I’m afraid to say that the change of scenery meant that Ellie didn’t sleep very well and consequently was rather overtired and couldn’t sit still. She did ok for five minutes and then I took her outside to burn off a bit of energy. After umpteen high-speed laps of the inner courtyard Ellie made a dash for the other side of the building and I took off in pursuit. If anyone in the ceremony room had glanced out of the row of windows to their right they would have seen a small blonde girl zoom past, right to left, followed a few seconds later by me. Then in a Benny Hill style she turned around and chased me – left to right as viewed through the windows.
I had initially intended not to take my ‘big’ camera and to pack my point-and-shoot Canon instead. I’m glad that Anna talked me out of it as she rightly suggested that we’d like some photos of Ellie at her first wedding. But I didn’t want to take on the mantle of ‘Uncle Bob’ – the name given to the over-enthusiastic camera-toting guest found at every wedding who spends the majority of their time trailing the wedding photographer and asking questions about gear. There’s nearly always one, and I didn’t want it to be me! So for the first few hours (until the official photographers left) I was like a ninja, producing the camera only to record documentary-style shots and snap photos of Ellie. As soon as I sensed that the official photographer was nearby I reverted to casusal-guest-at-a-wedding mode and they were (probably) none the wiser.
It was great being on the other side of the lens and remembering what it is like to be a guest at a wedding. I was able to use some of my professional experiences to my advantage by winning the wedding speech sweepstake (25 minutes and 24 seconds). But the real highlight of the day for me came in the evening. It was brilliant watching Ellie enjoying her first disco! She danced away for about 90 minutes, copying other people’s moves (especially her Uncle Dave’s – that man can throw some serious shapes) and chasing the lights around the dancefloor. Then as the buffet was served and the dancefloor crowd thinned, her song dropped. As the opening bars of ‘Let It Go’ – the seminal Disney classic of 2014 – reverberated around the room Ellie took her place in the centre of the floor, Peppa Pig toy clutched under her arm. The hours and hours of dedicated training paid off in spectacular fashion as her audience looked on in awe while she sang every word and performed every action to the song. It was a very ‘Proud Dad’ moment.
The effort and pressure took its toll though, and Ellie retired to do some colouring at a table. In fact we left not long afterwards, all three of us ready for bed. We left Anna’s parents – who had been brilliant at helping us look after Ellie all day – and her brother and his fiancée there to enjoy the rest of the evening. It was only 10pm – earlier than I often leave a wedding! But what a fantastic day. Congratulations again to Nicola and Glenn, and thank you for a brilliant day.
I’m looking forward to sharing lots of things on the blog this week, including Sarah and James’ wedding photofilm, a feature on some fun wedding favour ideas, advice on how my clients receive their wedding photographs, and to end the week on a I’ll blog the wedding of Alicia and Jason at Rosliston Forestry Centre!