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Penny & Danny’s lockdown wedding

Let me tell a little bit about Penny & Danny…

Penny & Danny decided to get married at one of my favourite venues Chevin Country Park Hotel. It’s a gorgeous venue, hidden in the woodland with a beautiful lake in the middle.

I met them both more than once in 2020 to chat about their day and to have some fun at the same time.

Penny expressed her desire to have shots at Chevin view point and at the hotel. Asking if it’s possible. Answer is yes. The view point is less than a 5 minute drive away from the hotel. So we decided to have a test run at the view point and the hotel.

Now I love Chevin hotel, the staff are fantastic and will help wherever they can. Communication is always key, setting out expectations before the wedding day, helps not only for me to capture everything you would like but the venue to prepare for the next stages.

We started at the hotel, first time meeting is always a bit awkward until wedding plans are discussed and it quickly turns to excitement.

We went for a walk after our chat, with the talk of Covid about we decided to plan as normal and take each month as it came. No one knew what was going to happen at this point.

Walking around the grounds, we discussed potential ideas and laughed about being silly, which helped me capture some of those natural smiles from them! All in all, everything was great. Penny and Danny brought along their son Leon who we also had some lovely shots with. It also helped me build a small relationship with Leon so I wasn‘t a stranger on the day!

We left Chevin hotel with a plan in place for a full wedding. A normal wedding day happening in September 2020.

The pandemic hit and things started to change.

Now Penny mentioned the view point before, but we never made it there on our first meeting. So this time we met at the view point. By now, pubs were bookings only and hotels were shut. So we booked at table at the pub across the road to the view point.

Walking to the view point, we started to realise how busy it was, however that wasn’t going to put us off from trying to capture some shots while we were there. Challenge, people. Lots of people!

We had a giggle as we walked, it now felt like we were old friends meeting up for a walk! Everything was so relaxed from the beginning. The adventure of the view point photoshoot begins!

I think it was a great success! It was busy. It was hot but we got the shots we wanted and an idea of how long we would be there on their wedding day. We talked about where to go and where not go when we go back. We didn’t want Danny sliding down the hill in his shiny shoes!

Now, everything changes with Covid. Weddings were reduced numbers, so we planned for a normal day and a lockdown wedding.

The big day arrives …

My second lockdown wedding. 30 guests only. Face masks are a must in the ceremony and social distancing when possible.

As you can see from Penny’s mums face, it still had that magical feeling of a wedding. Danny still had that ‘nervous to see his bride’ look. Penny still looked every much the gorgeous bride, I knew she woul be.

There was still tears of joy, love and happiness.

After the ceremony we drove straight to the view point. It allowed time for guests to check in and the hotel to turn the room around ready for the wedding breakfast.

Oh the joy of finally being married! This time, we knew exactly where we were going for photos and wasn’t bothered by the other people walking past!

Back in time for speeches. Penny was a little worried about what her maid of honour had to say about her in her surprise speech! After some of the best speeches I've ever heard, I was laughing with tears, I was in tears, I honestly got wrapped up in the moment listening to them and captured some lovely photos at the same time. Before I stole Penny & Danny, we captured some more family and friends photos and some that the guests then I took Penny and Danny off for a walk around the hotel grounds. This gave the guests time to get changes and freshen up in their rooms and do as they wished, while the staff turned the room around, ready for the evening. We even managed a few fun shots with the besties!

Walking around with Penny and Danny this time felt different. There was more love in the air, excitement for the future, appreciation for everyone and well, just being a family together. We all had in the back of our mind about the threat of another lockdown. There was family and friends at Penny and Danny's wedding that couldn't make it because of Covid restrictions. So there was definitely something a little bit more about this wedding, that words can't describe it. We were all relaxed, caught up in the day, happy it had been able to go ahead, when so many haven't been able to.

When I met penny and Danny the second time before their wedding, we discussed having sparklers and coloured smoke grenades. Now the talking part is easy, pretty colour smoke, you and your best boys and girls holding them, looks amazing. Picking the colours, is easy, matching colour schemes is easy. The fun part is trying to get everyone to look at you and not be distracted by what they are doing, at the same time, it's how the moment went and if people aren't looking and speaking to someone else, saying 'how cool is this!' then it's part of the moment.

Danny and Penny chose red and blue as their main colours, to fit in with the colour scheme of the day. At Chevin Country Club and Spa, they have an amazing balcony above the restaurant and the amazing staff there allowed us to use the smoke grenades up there. A lot of venues, wouldn't allow us to have the smoke grenades, let alone be on a balcony! So this was amazing news.

The smoke grenades are classed as a firework, they have explosive materials in them, this is how you get the pretty colours! I always go through and health and safety check with everyone that will be using them and I also demonstrate how to set a smoke grenade off and how to dispose of it. This is where I become a bit strict, I go into like a 'Mom mode slash army teacher' listen to me or you won't participate! Even though my insurance covers me for the use of the grenades, I won't have anyone being silly with them. I warn everyone that they spark and hot ash can fall down from them etc I don't want any accidents. When things go well and the wind plays ball, we can have 90 seconds of colour flowing into the air! Something a little different.

Sometimes I just give sparklers to couples to bring out their inner child! To get those natural, happy faces and for a little bit of fun. With a little extra help from my lighting, I was able to get some beautiful silhouette photos, even a couple with the smoke grenades going off in the background and the light showing its colour off in the background.

A beautiful way to finish the day.

Penny and Danny were amazing, letting me try new ideas with them - Thank you guys!

Regardless of it being a lockdown wedding, it didn't feel anything like it. With 30 guests, myself and the staff at the hotel, Penny and Danny were able to still have a fantastic day and even speak to all their guests. Live streaming key parts throughout their day on a private Facebook group (I was able to watch the videos back the next day!) It was truly an honour to be apart of their day. I felt so welcomed by everyone there and we all worked together to make the best of the day. Seeing the happiness in Penny and Danny, just transferred to the rest of us. The atmosphere was unreal, true love, laughter and appreciation was in the air.

It makes me excited for the future and what's to come with all weddings.

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