You never know where this job may take you! In June, I had the absolute honour to be chosen to fly out to the South of France to photograph Leanne & James' Wedding. (A big thank you for Heather's sister for recommending me!)
So... there was only one thing for it, we had to get our daughter her very first passport!
Flying out a few days before, the run up included spending time with their family and friends at pre-wedding drinks, before joining the couple to visit their venue and plan, extensively, for the day ahead. As soon as I saw the location they chose, 'Hostellerie De L'Abbaye' in La Celle, a tiny village just outside Brignoles, I knew we were in for a pretty special trip. When you think of a quaint, traditional french village, this would be it - colourful terraced houses, a 12th century benedictine monastery, a vineyard and to complete the picture, a fountain in the square with an old french woman washing her draws!
Saturday came and I started, as always, by meeting the girls at the hotel. Leanne was every bit the understated, elegant bride that I knew she would be, epitomised by her stunning Diana Harbridge fishtail gown and Swarovski jewellery.
As they were married late in the day, James played a round of golf with his mates before arriving at the hotel to start getting ready into his bespoke, handmade, three piece suit. Leanne surprised him with the most beautiful pocket watch with the simple inscription - 'about time.'
They were married in the monastery by an English vicar (what a find!) which was lit by candle light only. In a lucky twist of fate, the local choir were practising in the adjacent church, their voices echoing through the walls to make the most stunning soundtrack for their vows.
The three of us then strolled around the town with the beautiful old french architecture as our backdrop to grab some couple shots, before joining their guests for drinks and canapés on the lawn.
Leanne & James managed to find an amazing acoustic duo, Becky and Belha, who are based in France, to play throughout the day and who complimented the relaxed and continental feel they were looking for.
Enjoying the cooler temperature later in the day, they sat down for their wedding breakfast outside in the shade of the chestnut trees, which was cooked by a Michelin star kitchen no less. Us suppliers have never had it so good! They also had champagne sent from Champagne - how cool is that!
It was then time for the speeches which were both heartfelt and humorous in all the right places. Leanne has a lung condition which threatened to ruin their plans as the operation that she was putting off until after the wedding had to be brought forward. With James ever attentive by her bedside as she recovered, when it came time to put those experiences into words, James, not to mention halve the congregation, was naturally very emotional but he worded his feelings towards Leanne beautifully. She has recently become a member of the board at LAM Action, a group aimed to provide support and advance research into this rare and serious disease as she to helps to gain donations to this worthy cause.
What could be better than grabbing the couple again to watch the sun go down in the vineyard, overlooked by the mountains, before returning to the monastery to begin the dancing in the atmospheric environment transformed by the evenings entertainment.
All that was left was to catch the flight back to Birmingham the following day, content in the fact that hopefully the trust and faith that they had put in me had paid off.
... and to finish a little word from Leanne & James to their family and friends for making the day what it was!