Oh my goodness where do I start with this incredible wedding? I have so much admiration for this wonderful couple and their Covid Wedding Belles in Fairford (for those of you thinking my spelling has gone awry; “belles” refers to Sarah’s bridesmaids rather than the Church bells which could not be rung due to restrictions at the time.).
Their original wedding day had been planned for Saturday 30th May this year; right in the middle of lockdown. A wedding for 280 re-planned for just 27 took place on Saturday 22nd August instead. They just wanted to get married. How romantic is that!
Those of you who know me personally will also know that Sarah is a most treasured friend. My bestie! We have known each other and been friends since we were tiny babies. Our prams next to each other at the Mother and Baby group in the village where we also went to school. I was due to be one of Sarah’s bridesmaids and my fabulous team of Charlotte and David were going to be on duty on the original date leaving me free for bridesmaids duties (and general photography supervision of course!). However as the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK and things changed beyond all measure I multitasked that day as both bridesmaid and photographer.
I think that this just goes to show how wonderful small weddings can be even given the current restrictions, the constant hand washing, wearing a mask (yes it does fog up the view finder on the camera!), keeping your distance and not being able to hug anyone!
It was an absolute honour and such a joy to watch and capture such special moments for them both. I have never seen Sarah so happy, there’s not a word to describe adequately how radiant and happy she looked that day. And so without further ado, here is the Wedding Story of Sarah and Ian in their own words (with a few notes from me!)…
Nikki’s Notes… I commissioned Carlé & Moss to create this bespoke backdrop for Sarah and Ian’s wedding day.
“Sadly, Ian’s mum Rosie passed away in January 2019, but shortly before she passed she gave Ian her engagement ring and made him promise to marry me (Sarah).
On the 21st January 2019 Rosie was laid to rest. After the funeral, when surrounded by family, whilst remembering Rosie and celebrating her life, he got down on one knee and fulfilled the promise he had made to his beloved Mum.
It might sound odd to some, but it was perfect and exactly what Rosie would have wanted. She was there looking over us all and smiling, knowing that her boy had kept his promise to her and that she was such an important and intimate part of the very special proposal.”
“The perfect dress – Lou Lou, Annie dress. Strapless, sweetheart neckline, full length silk organza dress with a rose print floral under lay. I am so in love with my dress and am looking for excuses to wear it again!”
“My sister, my chief bridesmaid, Claire. Claire did so very much. She pretty much single handily organised the new wedding. She made the night before a night to remember with fun and laughter and a pre wedding night bedroom fit for a princess. She did my nails, my hair, my makeup. She dressed me and made sure I was ready and everything was perfect. I really do have the best sister in the world!”
“Beautiful Bridesmaid Jen made necklaces for all the bridesmaids and a cheeky garter for me.”
Nikki’s Notes… One of the wonderful things about smaller weddings is that you have a little more time, purely down to fewer people to organise. This means that I was able to spend some time with Sarah on her own just after bridal prep to take these personal and beautiful images.
“We went for smart casual. Navy chino’s or trousers, with a white shirt, pink tie and waistcoat with grey and grey/pick check with navy back. They looked very handsome.”
“We chose Fairford Church because its our local church. Its absolutely beautiful and would easily hold the 280 guests on the original invite list. We stayed with Fairford Church because its our local church and its absolutely beautiful.”
Nikki’s Notes… Bridesmaid Jen who is a dear friend of Sarah’s (and mine!) had created and organised some thoughtful and sentimental future heirlooms for Sarah and Ian for their wedding day. One of them was this beautiful Mother of the Groom pin for Ian to wear in loving memory of his Mum Rosie.
“Roses, for our darling Rosie.”
Nikki’s Notes… Ian had secretly organised the transport to and from the Church with Pete Price and his Dennis F108 Fire Engine!
Nikki’s Notes… thank you to Penny for sanitising and then pressing the button on the camera for this shot (above)!
Sarah’s engagement ring was Ian’s Mum, Rosie’s engagement ring. Ian’s wedding ring was Rosie’s wedding ring and Sarah’s wedding ring was Grandmothers wedding ring. A trio of heirlooms for their wedding day.
Sarah walked up the aisle on the arm of her Father to Pachebel’s Canon in D Major
Software consultant Sarah and gardener Ian met in their twenties in Route 66… a “cheesy night club” when they were very young! Who would have thought some twenty years later this would happen!
Old = the rings.
New = the wedding dress.
Borrowed = the beautiful diamond cross necklace.
Blue = the cheeky sparkly ‘I Do’ on the bottom of our shoes.
Nikki’s Notes… How cool are these bespoke masks!!!
“It took 16 months to plan the wedding that was cancelled…6 weeks to plan the new revised wedding.”
Nikki’s Notes… Sarah and Ian’s beloved dogs Georgie and Millie made an appearance!
“We made signs for the photos that represented the socially distanced photo groups. We came up with the ideas for the invitations and the Order of Services that the lovely Katie then designed and created.”
“This photo was never taken…the amazing Nikki took a series of photos and worked her magic to put them all together without breaking any social distance rules…she really is amazing!!! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. Some people have completely moved from where they were when they had their shot done!”
Nikki’s Notes… To see more on how I did this and read more about socially distanced group photographs during the current restrictions have a look…
Roses (oh and Screw you covid!)
“The original reception venue had to be cancelled and at the time of booking the 22nd August we weren’t allowed to have a reception. However that restriction lifted shortly before the wedding day and our local pub, The Marlborough Arms in Fairford came to the rescue and allowed us to pre-book some socially distanced tables in their marquee and bring our 27 guests back to celebrate with a few drinks, pizza and cake!”
“A one tier semi naked cake. 3 x layers, 1 x vanilla, 1 x lemon and 1 x chocolate. It was delicious!”
Nikki’s Notes… August 22nd was a very special date as that was the date of the vow renewals for Ian’s Father Harry and his late Mother Rosie a few years back. How romantic are the men in this family!
“Pizza and Cake 😉”
Nikki’s Notes… Everyone had allocated tables and distanced at the appropriate distance as per the guidelines but still everyone had a wonderful time!
“I could go on and on and mention everyone as every single person who came to the wedding and were part of the wedding day was amazing and I can never thank anyone enough. It’s really hard as I could offend lots of people by not mentioning them by name, but where do you stop?”
Nikki’s Notes… Both Sarah’s parents and Ian’s parents have had wonderful long marriages. Talk about setting the standard high!
Did everything go to plan?
“If anything didn’t go to plan it really didn’t matter”
Nikki’s Notes… I love how chilled out they were! They just wanted to be married – nothing could stop that.
“Remember that the day is about you and what you want. We were planning the big wedding, which would have been wonderful, but somewhere along the lines it became more about everyone else and not necessarily what we wanted. When we were forced to downscale, and we were able to refocus and remember what was most important to us.”
There’s always time for a giggle (above)!
A huge huge thank you to Jane for letting us use her riverside garden for these gorgeous images. The generosity of strangers is such a wonderful thing and it shows just how kind people can be. Without her approval for us to use her garden we never would have been able to take these stunning photographs that evening.
“Duh…because you are the best! There was never any question about who we wanted as our wedding photographer.
I simply adore how you capture such beautiful, natural, relaxed images. Okay, yes, you are my best friend and some might say that I’m biased, but I have admired and loved your photography literally for years.
You love what you do and that shines through in every picture you create.
You are also practical and you know how very important it is for a couple to have the right photographer for them, so despite 46 years of friendship I would have had no qualms about not picking you if she wasn’t right for us, and you would have never held that against me.
However, you were always perfect for us. You took out engagement shoot, you took our promise photos and now of course our wedding photos…and I’m am not exaggerating when I say that I love, love, love every single photo (You witnessed me crying like a baby when I saw them!).”
“How do I pick just one favourite part. I genuinely loved every moment!”
Nikki’s Notes… of course being the UK the weather is always unpredictable but hey you just have to roll with it! [Above]
The local land mark of Dilly’s Bridge over the River Coln in Fairford.
“Nikki you worked so incredibly hard and went way, way above and beyond to make sure you captured the day perfectly, and you did this all whilst also being a perfect bridesmaid and brilliant bestie.”
Nikki’s Notes… A huge thank you to my guest wedding helpers that day!
Ceremony venue: St Mary’s Church, Fairford
Reception venue: Marlborough Arms, Fairford
Flowers: Oops a Daisy
Dress: Wedding Days of Cheltenham. Lou Lou, Annie Dress
Bridesmaid outfits: H&M
Groom’s outfit: Ben Sherman
Cake: Mummy Tankielun (she does make most marvellous cakes!)
Catering: Marlborough Arms
Transport: Pete Price and his Dennis F108 Fire Engine
Stationery: Katie Payne at Every Event Company
Hair and beauty: Sister of the bride Claire Manning
Rings including engagement ring: All family heirlooms