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Dan & Gemma - Hagley Hall

Dan and Gemma are old friends from Uni days. I knew Dan through my 2nd and 3rd year and only got to know Gemma briefly in the final term of our final year as 'Dan's new girlfriend'. Now, a number of years have past (too many to bear counting) and Dan's 'new girlfriend' is now his 'new wife'! In the early days of working as a wedding photojournalist many of my clients were friends and acquaintances. These days it's far less the case so it was particularly special to shoot the wedding of someone I know so well.

The day started with me covering Gemma's bridal preparations at her parent's home just down the road from the wedding venue, Hagley Hall. It was a really relaxed start to the day with loads of time to get ready, drink champagne, eat breakfast (note that the champagne came first!) and generally be in nothing even approaching a hurry. As you'll see from the images below it was a mirror-laden morning. I tend to prefer to let things follow their natural course with minimal intervention on my part and with mirrors left right and centre, many of my favourites seem to be reflection shots!

Hagley Hall is a large private house in the Palladian style and with the rather beautiful Hagley Church only a stone's throw away it's a really superb wedding venue. The state rooms are large and bright and the renovated downstairs area makes for a first class location for a proper party. The weather, though otherwise fine, was punctuated by some seriously strong winds. Despite wearing a veil, Gemma did an excellent job of controlling the situation!

Weddings can be nerve wracking times even for the most laid back of guys, but on arrival at the church I found Dan - always a man with a ready smile - on fine form. Gemma turned up in style, in her Father's Maybach. I nearly spat my breakfast when her Dad showed me round the car. I'll admit that I initially thought he was joking when he mentioned that this would be her mode of conveyance!

I've met some seriously lovely people so far this year, and at Dan & Gemma's the prize was a three-way tie between Gemma's two lovely bridesmaids Emma and Rosie and Dan's brother and best man Joe. Despite spending 3 years of Uni together I'd not met Joe prior to the wedding rehearsal. Joe should start running classes in 'Best-Manship' - he was that good. He was attentive to the needs of everyone on the day, delivered a fine speech and has the gift of being able to talk to just about anyone while putting them all that their ease in an instant. Cheers guys for being such a terrific wedding party.

I've shot wedding for people I know before, but rarely in front of so many friends that I know personally. It was an interesting proposition and one that, though by no means unpleasant, made me feel distinctly 'watched'. There's something very different about standing up in front of crowd you don't know and another where you've shared so much with so many faces. It was an intriguing experience!

Right, enough waffle from me. As ever, below are a selection of some of my favourites. Dan & Gem - thanks very much for letting me cover your day, I hope you're thrilled with the pictures!

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