Wet wedding at Mere Court Hotel in Cheshire
When I first started out as a wedding photographer, I feared the bad weather days. No one, especially the bride and groom, wants rain on their wedding day, although it is considered good luck. If you have a winter wedding, or even if you don’t, we live in the UK and we have very unpredictable weather. I was terrified of the rain because that meant no one wants to go outside, where usually the best light is for getting the best photos. How would I cope in the dark conditions or get away with asking all the guests, including Gran, to brave the freezing cold for 15 minutes? A few years and 200 weddings later I don’t have those fears anymore. Here is a short story of how the photo above at Mere Court Hotel came about.
Just two days ago in early December 2013 I was photographing Jamie and Heather’s wedding day at Mere Court Hotel. Heather went for a winter wedding theme and hoped for a crisp cold winter’s day. Although unlikely, snow would have been amazing, but unfortunately they got RAIN! It didn’t just chuck it down and then stop, it rained and rained ALL day and didn’t stop at all. Reluctantly they both braved the rain for a few natural-light shots outside in the grounds of Mere Court, but only for a short time. We all had the most delicious meal, then some amazing speeches. There was an hour to kill while the venue turned the room around for the evening reception. Jamie was at the bar, pint in hand, and Heather was doing the rounds with her wedding guests. I was happy with the photos of them both together but we hadn’t got a shot that said ‘WOW’! Heather took very little persuading to come back outside into the freezing cold and dark, Jamie, a little more work was required (pint in hand remember!) – but wasn’t it worth it!!
I set my camera to allow for some ambient light, so the hotel itself and the lights on the bushes were clear. It would have been so easy to have ignored this, as the native settings on the camera would have made the background totally dark (iso1600, f2.8, 1/20th sec – for those interested). Without one key element, Heather and Jamie would have been as dark as the sky and not seen at all. What was needed was a splash of flash! I set the flash at 1/2 power, connected it up to my wireless transmitters between the camera and flash and asked a keen guest to hold the flash behind them and point it at Heather’s veil. Boom – as simple as that, every droplet around them at that moment was frozen in the photo creating the incredible photo above.
A big thank you to Heather and Jamie. To Heather for braving the cold, the rain on her hair and walking on wet grass in that beautiful dress (although of course it didn’t even slightly ruin her hair or dress). Thank you to Jamie who lost his pint to his best man. I sent this photo to Heather via Facebook whilst she was eating breakfast the morning after. She posted it on Facebook and made it her profile photo. In just 10 hours she received almost 400 likes and 100 comments – that’s what stunning photos do. I’m really proud of this shot – looking forward to my next rainy wedding…