Wedding at Manor Lodge in Sheffield
Whenever I become a recommended supplier by a venue, I am immensely flattered. To me being recommended by a venue is a hallmark of my approach and my work as they are prepared to trust their reputation with me.
As a way of saying thank you, I always suggest doing some form of publicity shoot that both parties can use. So when Sheffield Manor Lodge made me their “go to” photographer, we arranged a shoot based around their open day in early April 2016.
Sheffield Manor Lodge is a heritage site just out of Sheffield city centre. It is basically some ruins and a turret house that is certified for civil wedding ceremonies set in a beautiful managed meadow, all with ties back to Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey and Mary Queen of Scots. It caters for couples who are looking for a DIY wedding, which typically attracts the Boho Set due to its location close to the creative centre of The Steel City. When we agreed on a date for the shoot, which was to tie in with their open day in early April 2016, I was asked to do it with a Boho theme so they could use it in their marketing.
Another factor on the shoot was a thought process I had been having for a while. It feels as though weddings have become more about the inconsequential trimmings like candy carts, chocolate fountains, personalised hangers, etc. rather than the more traditional requirements. This in turn was eating into a couple’s wedding day budget, meaning less to cater for the venue, flowers, dress, cake and of course the photography. I understand that this is a self biased view, so I will under write this by saying that I totally understand that the wedding industry is going through some form of metamophosis and the traditional wedding as we have know it is all but a distant memory. I am also of the opinion each to their own. However, the effect of this wide spread of spending is that brides are turning to cheaper vendors to supply items that they consider “vital”. A lot of these vendors are part time in the weding industry, having full time jobs outside of whatever it is they are providing. There have been many stories around Facebook groups where brides seeking a deal have gone to an individual promising a deal to good to be true, only to be let down at a monetary cost to them. Or they had a more pressing engagement come up, say a family holiday, or even they had not estimated the amount of work and investment in time correctly, so cancel.
Every photographer will tell you the old mantra, “After the cake is eaten, the champagne drank and the guests are at home nursing their hangovers, the pictures from your wedding day are all that is left.” I refer to it as my clients as their “legacy”, strongly advising that they get an album done, or at least take their USB and get a shoebox of 6″x4″ prints done so that they can go through it with their grand-kids. So I wanted to approach the shoot in a minimalist requirement form, Dress, Flowers, Venue and Photography, these four things are the ingredients that show in your legacy as a couple getting married. The dress is obvious as this is what the bride wears, for this there was only one choice. Kelly at KMR Bridal and makes all of her own dresses, and they are truly stunning. When I discussed the shoot with her she knew immediately what dress she was going to use. For the flowers I turned to one of the best floral creative brains in Sheffield, Sam from Fantail Designer Florist. In my mind this was always going to be a flower crown, but when Sam pulled out the horizontal bouquet, another Alice band head piece with matching bouquet and a flower ring! I was gobsmacked, she also did a different take on the button hole with a square “medal strip” that sat in the grooms pocket. The scene was supposed to be set around an afternoon tea, so for the cake I used The Snowdrop Cakery, who when i asked for some cupcakes gave me some of the most stunningly detailed (and delicious) fairy cakes. this is Ange just “knocking something up”, you should check out her wedding cakes. And the vintage china just set everything off, Debbie at Sherbet Pips has a beautiful and extensive range. So we had accumulated some of the best wedding industry talent in Sheffield.
The groom model was wearing, a mix of his own clothes and actually mine. Levis 511 black jeans, a Grey woolen jacket from TK Maxx that cost £40 and a Grey woolen waistcoat from ASOS that was £25. Again all very very realistic.
Although this was a stylised shoot, I wanted to keep it honest so I didn’t want professional models. I also decided against hair and make up artists. Going back to the financial aspect of a wedding I wanted it to be minimal, so the bride did her own hair and her own make up. I wanted it all to feel very achievable. So onto the models, they are actually my own son Oliver and his actual girlfriend Danielle who being a fiery red head was perfect. Neither have had any modelling experience at all, but I knew that being an actual couple I would get real emotion rather than perfect poses. There was also a pre-existing connection between us, something that if you ask any of my clients is something that I work on to ensure they trust me on the day.
On the day of the shoot the weather was against us, we had been forecast snow and near freezing temperatures….. well come on this is the UK! The forecast had given us about a 2 hour window mid afternoon, and for once the forecast was actually right. Again, staying true to the mentality of the shoot, I approached this as a if it was an actual wedding day although the client was not the bride and groom, the small window of opportunity and the pressure to get the shots was still there. I knew Danni was going to be nervous, so I spent the first 10 minutes getting her used to being in front of the camera. I refer to these as the throw aways, there is no expected output in terms of pictures, it is just about getting people relaxed and in a similar mindset. From there on it just got better. We kept wrapping Danni in coats to keep her warm, especially when the sun vanished behind the clouds and dropped the temperature. All of us are extremely happy with the results.
Venue – Sheffield Manor Lodge – www.sheffieldmanorlodge.org
Dress – KMR Bridal – www.kmrbridal.co.uk
Flowers – Fantail Designer Florist – www.fantaildesignerflorist.co.uk
Cakes – The Snowdrop Bakery – www.thesnowdropcakery.co.uk
Vintage Crockery – Sherbetpips – www.sherbetpips.com
Photography – Stu Ganderton – www.stuganderton.com
***** Update ****
You know when you get it right when shoots like this get attention from the industry. This shoot will be published by Brides Up North on 19th May 2016.