Updated: Nov 7
A breezy autumn day at Leeds Town Hall, Yorkshire set the scene for Sam and Lou's big wedding.
Guests gathered on the steps and a nervous excitement filled the air as the brides arrived in their vintage Bentley.
Sam had contacted me earlier that day to explain that they didn't want any distractions, so had decided to leave all phones at home (hold on to that thought, it comes back in the story).
After a few minutes inside the car finishing off the Champagne, Sam and Lou were ready to kick of the day. Nate - Sam's son - ventured out of the car, LGBTQ umbrella in hand to help Sam out of the car whilst a shower passed overhead. Lou skipped out of the car, excited to see friends and family. Luckily, Dad was on hand to be the CEO of Umbrella duty and shot over to help.
The ceremony wasn't until 1.30pm so we had lots of time to stand under the stunning Leeds Town Hall structure at the top of the grand steps, where I could watch on as everyone laughed and smiled waiting for the call from the registrar.
Despite the changes of 2020, today was about one thing only - celebrating Sam and Lou's love for each other and they embraced these new traditions. Once inside, the brides went straight to the ceremony hall and the guests waited outside for the call from the registrar, face masks on. I was lucky enough to be allowed into the hall with the girls so I could capture those nervous smiles and glances to one another (in one spot, no moving around for me anymore). This moment is my favourite part of the day. I love to capture the stories of a wedding day, and what better story to tell, than through the image of 2 people who love each other looking, chatting and laughing whilst they wait for those words that everyone knows - "Do you Sam, take.........".
A little late drama added a twist to the story. Remember when I said no phones? Well, just as the wedding was due to start we realised that two guests were missing. No phones, no contact details...no problem. Luckily I had my phone to hand (on silent of course) and thanks to the miracle of Facebook, Sam was able to track down said friends and call them (from a random man's facebook account). Of course they didn't answer, to be truthfuI I would have been fairly judgmental if they had :). So a message was the next best thing, which did the trick and now with all guests safely in the hall with masks firmly in place, it was time.
The newly weds exited the ceremony straight onto the veranda, which sits at the top of the Leeds Town Hall steps and is a great spot for a classic confetti walk, followed by some lovely family and friends photos. I am always conscious to allow the couple some time to enjoy the moment, particularly straight after the ceremony. This allows me to stand back and grab some shots of the reactions of the wedding party and one shot in particular was beautiful. Nate, suddenly grabbing his mum to give her the biggest cuddle was a moment to cherish forever.
After we snapped all the pre-arranged shots around the Town Hall, including the classic groups shot on the steps, the guests drifted off to the restaurant whilst Sam and Lou spent some time alone to get some couple shots around Leeds. Nate and Farook were on hand for umbrella duty. I love urban photography and had previously 'scouted' a couple of spots I knew would make great backdrops, so off we went. We didn't stray too far from the 5 minute walk to Dakota and we timed it so that Sam and Lou could get used to calling each other 'wifey'. One piece of advice I always give, is to try and stay in the present because these days pass so quickly. That's just what Sam and Lou did.
The champagne bar was ready, friends and family were seated and when the beaming couple arrived, the entire restaurant lit up with smiles. As we have already mentioned, today was about embracing the new ways of celebrating so I now headed off for a few hours, nipping home to have tea with my little girl, before meeting the couple later on for a small meal with some more friends and family in True North, Halifax.
Sam and Lou had some time to nip home, where Lou's cousin, Tammy and her partner Mark surprised the couple by completely filling their hall with 100's of balloons and banners. As all the guests arrived for the dinner, the rain really came down, Yorkshire style. However, luck and planning were on our side and the giant canapy, coupled with some huge heaters allowed everyone to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail outside (or pint, depending on your taste). Meanwhile Sam and Lou bravely battled their way through the now, balloon, banner and glitter infested house, determined to make the dinner. This inevitably caused a small delay, but hey, they are the stars of the show and we all know that if you want to make an entrance to be remembered you need to make sure the rest of the party are there first.
As the rain bounced off the canopy, Mrs and Mrs Fryer-Butterworth arrived and sprinted towards the restaurant. Now, we all love a good surprise, and as the girls readied themselves to embrace the guests - BOOM - everyones' heart skipped a beat. Confetti rained down on us all like, well, the pouring rain that had soaked some of us through already! Confetti 2020-style indeed... who needs boring standard confetti when you can get a giant party popper to blast up into the sky and rain down on you like the super stars you are.
So, with that I made sure I snapped some more shots of everyone having a great time before they all sat down to enjoy the meal. What a wonderful day and an absolute pleasure to be part of Mrs and Mrs Fryer-Butterworth's beautiful wedding.