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A Wedding at St Michael’s Manor Hotel | Octavia & Tom

Playing Best Man/Photographer at St Michael’s Manor Hotel

9 years ago I photographed my first wedding which was my sisters. This year I got the chance to photograph my brothers at St Michael’s Manor Hotel.

My brother and Octavia got engaged on New Years/New Years Eve night this year which then sparked their wedding planning. They planned their wedding at St Michael’s Manor Hotel in St Albans for early August and unbeknownst to me there was only one photographer for the job. What I later found out was there was also only one best man for the job. Both of these if you haven’t worked it out by now are me! After a quick engagement shoot whilst on a family holiday we were ready for the real deal.

So how does one photograph a wedding at St Michael’s Manor Hotel whilst also being the best man, oh and brother, I hear you ask? With a lot of planning, great difficulty and a really great fellow wedding photographer friend who’s willing to tag along for the ride. That’s right, this wedding, I probably only shot about half of, if that! The rest was photographed by one of my best friends, Laura Rhian Photography. The main photographs I’ve featured have been taken by myself but bride prep, candids, speeches and family photographs were all taken by Laura and then edited by myself.

Myself and Laura’s wedding photography journeys started around the same time and whilst I explored a different career for a few years she shot past me treading the relatively unknown path of self employed wedding photographer to become a great alternative wedding photographer. So then when it came time for me to take the plunge their was only one person to lean on for all the unfamiliar scenarios I found myself in. I owe a lot to her and this wedding is another one for the IOU bank.

They’d planned a fairly traditional layout of the day with a catholic service at Octavia’s family church before wining and dining at St Michael’s Manor Hotel. All venues being within minutes of Octavia’s home making it a real trip down memory lane for her I’m sure. With no photographs allowed within the service myself and Laura worked our magic mainly at St Michael’s Manor Hotel.

Being an often attender of the odd wedding or two I knew all the pinch points for Tom so when Octavia walked down the aisle I whispered some silly Adam-ism line into Tom’s ear thinking it would make him cry. Next minute I’d only gone and made myself cry! Tom was fine as I was left in a facial waterfall moment at the front of a church. Bloody emotions.

Special mention has to go out to my wonderful fiancee Sarah for taking in a quick photography lesson in the morning to capture a photograph of my hands in knots whilst tying my own tie. The one part of the day Laura couldn’t capture the opposite action for. My awesome brother in law Rick also took a few quick ones also. To be honest I think a lot of people had a go.

Being a St Michael’s Manor Hotel Wedding Photographer

With Tom obviously being my brother and thus being inundated with my work 24/7, he and Octavia had complete faith for myself and Laura just to be our truest selves and really just do whatever on the day. Although Tom & Octavia see my photographs they don’t often see the creation. So when it came time to take a photograph by the St Michael’s Manor lake and I started to adjust the metre by metre glass table top in front of them I got a couple of funny looks and Laura was even interested in my workings. Earlier on in St Albans town I’d also seen the reflection of our white wedding taxi against the glass fronts of the shops and my brother said I can never actually work out what you’re taking a photograph of. I love this as it must make things a little exciting on the day as I do strange things.

The more and more I shoot with natural light the more and more I’m getting excited by it. As we walked down the St Michael’s Manor Hotel grand staircase for the wedding breakfast the light was piercing through the window at the top causing a great back lit moment for Octavia. I’d seen this mirror the day before and thought how quirky it would look in a photograph. As she walked down I grabbed a few shots but it wasn’t until I was home I saw the potential of the photograph where in the mirror the light is all natural and outside the mirror the light is all artificial from the lamp making the same wall paper on both sides of the room look completely different. How awesome is that!

 

So How Did It All Go?

This wedding brought a whole new experience to me and it was a definite unique experience which I’ll never and I imagine many others will never repeat.

Truth be told I would have loved to have been the best man/brother and left the photographs to someone else. Having family isn’t about thinking about yourself all the time though. A big part about it about making sacrifices for each other so you can each help the others to a better place. I sacrificed part of my day for I knew Octavia and Tom would be forever grateful and it would mean the world to them.

Planning a wedding at St Michael’s Manor Hotel?

I photograph weddings all over the UK. So wherever you are, give me a shout.

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