Jonny and Sophie in Patney, Wiltshire
When I first met Sophie Snook and Jonny May in a Bristol Hotel bar, I was struck by what a lovely couple they were - really relaxed, and looking forward to their wedding day which was then still about a year away..
Fast forward a year, and it was time for a phone call to run through the final details. When couples are really busy, live far away, or both, a phone or FaceTime consultation is more practical, and in the case of Jonny and Sophie, we'd already met in person when I took the booking so all was good.
During the call Sophie was great at giving all the important details, and surprisingly even Jonny had a good idea of what he wanted too - a rare twist, impressive. It was then that he surprised me by mentioning that he had a 'shoe sponsor, and could we get some shots of the shoes'. Naturally, I had to ask, and it was only then that I realised that Jonny May was the (then) Gloucester and England Rugby Union winger! I had sort of missed that! I love watching rugby, but since taking up wedding photography my Saturday afternoons had been a bit busy and so I had not really kept up with the current crop of talent. Anyway, the good news was that he was not at all phased by meeting Nick Church :-)
On the day, there was some glorious sunshine in the morning and the epic journey from Bristol down to Patney was lovely. Although I had no idea you could drive for so long and still be in England, yet alone Wiltshire! At Sophie's parents' farm where the wedding was being held, Sophie was just in the process of getting ready with rest of the gorgeous girls. At one point I had to move my car, so that the decorated tractor could get by. It was being driven by Sophie's younger brother George, totally suited and booted. Standard.
The stunning weather was however not due to last, and the forecast sadly did not look good. We made the most of it with some bright 'getting ready' shots, but I was now preparing to have to wait to get some more outdoor shots later in the day.
The Church of St. John the Baptist in Chirton was the ceremony venue, and I got there just as Jonny and his groomsmen were welcoming guests. It was around this time that, despite my absence from my armchair view of rugby, even I started to spot a few players that I recognised. If they recognised me, they did not mention anything They're classy like that, rugby lads.
The service was really nice, and intimate. The vicar pulled the rabbit out of the hat with stripping off the ceremonial outfit to reveal a Gloucester RFC shirt underneath. This went down enormously well, and would have stolen the show if it was not for Jonny losing his footing when coming back up the aisle, and nearly doing one, dragging Sophie, into the front row (the props one would call them I guess). Luckily I was there (as always) to shoot the carnage - the expressions are perfect, especially Jonny's Dad in the background. Brilliant!!
Then as we exited to confetti and a waiting tractor with George driving (it was all starting to make sense), the heavens opened. But the Mays and the Snooks are a genuine, happy, fun-loving couple of families and they did not let this dampen their spirits and they made for an amazing day. Back at the marquee, the speeches were shocking, the cocktails were flowing and then even the rain stopped for plenty of outdoor fun, fires and photos.
We got a great shot of the rugby boys all together, and another classic of Sophie's crew getting in my face with fingers full of attitude. Love it!
Here are a few of my favourites... and for those that are worried, yes I did manage to get some of the shoes, but only while at the ceremony; once were were back at the farm and the wet grass the shoes were done for!