I met Cheryl and Steve through an old world colleague, Alan, who was a close friend of theirs and suggested me for their wedding. They viewed my website, rang me up and the first meeting was arranged. I travelled over to Swinton where the final arrangements were made. The wedding was to be held down the M6 at the Chimney House Hotel which is just between Sandbach & Congleton, beautiful gardens surround the hotel which has tonnes of character.
I arrived early on the day in enough time, so much so, people were still waking up. I went to the hotel bar and ordered a coffee while I waited for everyone to stir. Outside the mist was still burning off in the morning sun forcing it’s way through and I hoped it would clear in time for the wedding, or at least the afternoon photos.
I found the rooms where both Steve and Cheryl were staying, in Cheryls room there was hair driers going, music channel on the TV and Prosecco chilling in the ice bucket. I introduced myself to everyone and got myself set up and seen my first opportunity for a photo, the dress hanging on the rail…and then another, the flowers on the bed..it was definitely a busy room that morning.
Cheryl was having make up applied by her friend Dee as the flower girl watched on wondering if it will be her big day when she’s older. I settled in taking shots as the room filled up with friends arriving for the days event. This was my opportunity to go to Steve’s room, where he and his best man, also called Steve were tying the ties and splashing the aftershave. They had put a few bets on the horses for that days races and were folding the slips into their top pockets. The rings were the final things to go into the pocket, but not before I got the shot.
The time was getting nearer for the wedding so I made my way back up to Cheryl’s room for some final shots of the final touches of make up and not forgetting the pop of the cork in the Prosecco bottle. I think this was the signal the time was getting nearer. She looked divine as she stood in the mirror for the final checks, mother, Bernadette, had a small tear in her eye too, as did I.. The final shot with her parents for the family album and we were ready for Cheryl to become Mrs Steve Latham. A kiss from dad, Bobby and the bouquet placed in hand, Cheryl was ready. The bridesmaids led the way with the flower girl and son Jamie down the stairs to the big day..!
I made it to the front of the room where Steve was waiting, slightly nervous.. and all the guests were waiting anxiously. I made my way back to Cheryl for some last minute instructions as I walked in front of her nice and slow. Cheryl gave the signal, the music started and the day was about to begin. I backed up towards the top table and happened to knock over a candelabra with about 7 candles in…all lit as well…oops, was this the sign of how the day was about to unfold…?
A gasp from the people there made my embarrassment all the more painful, I extinguished the small flames, stood it back up and carried on as normal. Thankfully there was no damage. Back to the wedding, she was here.. Steve’s face was utter joy as she arrived by his side, they held hands as they stared into each others eyes, that look said it all… they couldn’t wait to be married.
The service was short but meant the world to these two, their faces told the story of the love they have for one another, pure emotion was running through the family and friends of these two, at last, they were Mr and Mrs Latham. They made their way towards the hotel reception where champagne was awaiting the newlyweds and guests. Everyone mingled in close to congratulate the happy couple and pose for photos taken on mobiles and the odd camera, even I got one or two in too.
By now the sun had burnt off all the morning mist which looked like it was going to be there for the day, but mother nature did her best to give these two a fantastic day. Everyone spilled out into the gardens of the hotel where the children could stretch their legs at last, mums and dads could also have a stretch and sip the champers in the sun. I milled around taking off the cuff photos of everyone enjoying the big day as I waited for the sun to dip slightly for a nicer ambiance for the portrait photos. I grabbed the newlyweds and headed for a large oak tree to shade us from the now beaming sun in the sky for some portraits. Son Jamie came along too and was a bit shy when it come to a mum and son kiss. We headed back for the family shots where up first, it has to be the in laws of all the parents, so Cheryl’s parents, Bobby & Bernadette, made their way over and Steve’s mother, Pat was there waiting and I think his dad, Harry was at the bar. He rushed over, pint in hand and settled in. Had an absolute ball trying to get the stereotypical family and friends shots that afternoon. This crowd were a great laugh.
The room was set, the time was nearly upon us for guests to take their seats so I got the pics of the room before it filled up with hungry people. The room looked amazing, guests took their seats as they awaited the entrance of Mr and Mrs Latham. They came in the room, beaming faces to see all their guests efforts in getting to this day from as far as Liverpool. Dinner was served, the children were dying to get to the slush machine in the corner, mind you I think we all were is was getting that warm outside. I took this moment to relax myself, find the comfiest seat in the hotel and recharge my batteries.
Time for the speeches, first up was Cheryl’s dad, Bobby, typical Liverpool humour, had us all in stitches from word one, just his face made us smile. Steve said a few but meaningful words about his new wife, Cheryl, tears once again were in a few people’s eyes, he’d finally married his best mate, lover and soul mate. Their family was complete. Next up was Steve number two, the best man, his mate from years gone by. The tales were told, the japes encountered on his stag do which mentioned a drag queen and their fondness for the groom to be, so much so they even sent a gift over for the big day. Gifts were handed out to bridesmaids, people who helped bring this all together, the children and obviously both the mothers.
The sun was setting nicely so I seized the opportunity to get some nice portraits with Steve & Cheryl in the warm evening sun, it was perfect. We headed to the gardens once again to catch the last rays of sun and so they could relax as Mr & Mrs, alone together. A perfect chance for me to get some romantic moments on camera, they didn’t disappoint. We headed back inside as evening guests were arriving in numbers all wanting to see the bride and congratulate the happy couple.
The DJ had been setting up while we were outside, so when we got into the room, the music was warming up. The time had arrived to cut the cake so everyone got their phones and cameras at the ready, in went the knife to applause and cheers. The dance floor was open, the music was set for the first dance as Steve and Cheryl took to the floor. They danced, embraced, kissed and hugged each other tight, another tear or two was shed. The dance floor soon filled up with other guests and the night was set up for a belter. Then out of nowhere…spiderman appeared, an evening guest arrived in a spiderman morph suit and led the dancing on the dance floor, swinging Cheryl round the floor and leading a dance round the room for the children to follow, we couldn’t stop laughing.. I still to this day don’t know who he was but what a guy. I knew this night was going to be an absolute scream.
I took them outside again for one last time for some night time photos in total darkness for some off the cuff style pictures. It worked a treat, the lighting was perfect.
My night ended with a drink to toast the happy couple and to say thank you for allowing me enjoy their day with them, I had an absolute scream of a day with some awesome people and was pretty sad to leave, but, I had a long drive home.