Kim & Carls Wedding at Samlesbury Hall
Well, this is an interesting one! For those of you who follow my very irregular tweets, you'll already know that a few weeks ago I was "called in" by Samlesbury Hall in an emergency! Yes indeed, a couple were getting married at 2:30pm and at 1pm I got a call asking if I could help! I dropped everything, grabbed my (always ready and charged) gear, ironed a shirt and flew to Samlesbury Hall which luckily is only 15 minutes away! Normally before a wedding you get to meet a couple, talk about their plans, group photos, everything, but as I drove there I knew only that they were called Kim and Carl and they were getting married at 2:30. Thats it.
So, as I drove I wondered what to expect, but then I thought more about it and realised having shot as many weddings as I have I'd rely on my experience, skills, training and creativity to make it all work. Then I thought a bit more, what would the bride and groom expect?
How much stress had they had in the morning after they found out their pre arranged photographer wasn't going to be there? Who was this replacement?
For those of you who have looked or are looking for a wedding photographer, you'll have realised theres a wide range of standards, styles, quality, experience, packages as well as the weekend warriors (those who have a go for a bit of spending money) and to be honest the list goes on and on. Its a totally deregulated industry and anyone who bought their first a camera last week can say, "Hey, I'm a wedding photographer" and in the last few years hundreds have popped up in the north west alone making just being seen incredibly hard.
Maybe one day I should cover this in a separate post but the point I'm getting at is this, after months if not years of planning, one of the worst things had happened on someones wedding day, their photographer didn't make it. How must Kim and Carl have felt and most importantly expect!
So, I took my first picture at 1:23pm, the sign on the side of the road and then ditched my car near the lodge. As I did so, the Best Man all dress up was walking to the lodge and I introduced myself and then I found out, Kim didn't know! They'd not told her! So, I waited outside the lodge while he went in to tell her. A few minutes later I followed him in to introduced myself.
What should I say?
What should I do?
Kim walked up to me, looking a little tense (rightly so too!) and in a split second I decided to do what I would have wanted if the situation were reversed to be reassured.
So, before I started snapping away, looking for light or meeting the bridal party, I put my camera down, introduced myself and in a few minutes I had explained, who I was, what I do, my experience, that I am a professional full time wedding photographer and most of all, dont worry.
Thats the thing, a bride or groom doesn't need the stress on a day like this. So heres the important message, the call just half an hour earlier had not come from Carl or the wedding party from an internet search or a phone book, Sharon at Samlesbury Hall contacted me directly, but why? So I've been thinking and the thing is they know my character and standard of work and I was flattered that out of the hundreds of photographers who come through their doors, I'd got the call was both massively pleased and at the same time excited that I was able to do this!
Hang on though, heres another thought? How many venues really care about their clients so much that they would jump in and get involved? I can think of a handful of venues in Lancashire who would (its not appropriate to list them here though), and its the staff at those venues who are keen to make relationships with wedding suppliers and provide the best service they possibly can to their clients.
So, for anyone looking for a venue, if your torn between, the gardens at Venue A and the Dining Room at Venue B, ask them the question - "If something goes wrong on my wedding day, that is nothing to do with the venue, what will you do to help me?" Seriously ask the question and in case I'm not being clear Sharon, Angela and the team at Samlesbury Hall are outstanding.
Likewise, the same question could be asked to photographers. I've adjusted underskirt lengths with a needle and thread, mounted buttonholes, laced and buttoned up dresses, picked confetti out of hair, put in veils, taken out veils, re-pinned hair styles that have fallen out and the list goes on. Its not a photographers job but on someones wedding day, I'll do anything to relieve stress, keep the day flowing, and most importantly ensure the bride and groom have the most amazing day of their lives.
Anyway, Kim and Carl, did have an amazing day and they were great to be around. Even though I could only be with them from before the ceremony to speeches I was proud to be a little part of it. So, I'm going to let the pictures tell the story and as always this is just a handful of the big day to give you an idea.