It was Fate
Who does not love a good rom-com! It often starts with a somewhat insignificant encounter between a man and woman and later on through pure serendipity, they realise they cannot spend the rest of their life without one another. Well Simone and Alain are the main characters of this rom-com. While I am not going to disclose their life stories here, I can however confirm that they did not meet in a small travel book shop in Nice, she wasn’t either the cleaning lady in a house he rented to write his latest novel in Portugal. No! nothing of that sort. Let’s say their paths had crossed 20 odd years ago and recrossed again when the stars were finally aligned.
My first elopement
While I have documented a lot of intimate weddings over the years, the vast majority of my weddings counts around 120 guests. We often say “the more the merrier” but it is not necessary true for everyone’s special day. Having too many guests at your wedding can end up making you feel like you are stuck in the dungeon of the big fancy Scottish castle you booked for your big day. It can be very challenging to make it your own. Hence many choose home to say I do.
Since I mentioned a Scottish castle, it might not be your cup of tea either and you may be interested in a more rustic environment.
I was going to be one of the two official witnesses for that union (Gabrielle was the second). It does not get more intimate than that!
I had not planned to mentioned it but since I posted the above photograph, some (especially fellow wedding photographers) who read this article may wonder what the experience is like to photograph a wedding while wearing a kilt.
Let me start with how much I love kilts. I own 5 of them which is 5 more than the majority of Scots. I think that unlike the traditional suit, it fits everyone and contrary to what some people may think, I believe this is highly masculin. Now, is this the most appropriate attire to shoot a wedding? Absolutely not! While one looks very elegant in one, if you do not mind me saying, it is simply not practical if like me you tend to lay on the floor, climb on chairs and do whatever it is necessary to get the perfect photograph. So why did I wore one on that day?
The truth is, I was torn the night before. I knew Alain, who is French, was going to be the only man at his wedding (with the exception of the piper ) and he made the right choice to hire a kilt for the occasion. I did not want him to feel alone or weird in this estrange country, wearing this estrange attire on the hottest day of the summer. Yes, Simone and he thought it was fun to bring with them the French Riviera sun for the weekend instead of the typical gloomy dramatic Scottish weather I love so much (I am not even sarcastic here). So owning my responsibilities as the witness of the groom, I picked one of my favourite kilts and joined the festivities, with swag.
As I always say to the brides and grooms that approach me, there are 3 characters in a wedding story and while the couple is the main one, the venue(s) is the second. Here Simone and Alain had chosen the beautiful Cringletie Hotel near Peebles in the Scottish Borders. Surrounded by the green hills where the sheep graze in peace. I love the Scottish Borders, it is such a lovely part of the country and over the years, I had the honour to document many great unions there. When I first visited Cringletie, I was blown away by its quietness. Perched on a hill slope, surrounded with magnificent trees, a beautiful back lawn and the obvious ever so Scottish stone building. This venue is rich in photographic potential both indoors and outdoors. Will Haegeland (General Manager) and his staff were so kind and helpful in every detail. It’s worth noting this elopement took place on August 9th 2020, so in the middle of the Covid pandemic. Everything was organised in a smooth manner. I really look forward to my next wedding in Cringletie.
The story is now secured in an album and prints
We live in a digital era, but there is undoubtedly no better experience to revisit your wedding story than through a beautifully handcrafted album and prints. Hence I include a storybook album in all my wedding collections. My wedding albums are lay-flat which means there is no gutter in middle so you can enjoy your imagery fully spread. The pages are thick (about 2mm) providing you with a deep experience when turning each one of them. That thickness also means it will last for generations of page turner. Given the special bond between you and your wedding album, you may want to customise it. Simone and Alain choose the smooth aluminium cover with genuine leather binding.
As a fine photographer and printer, I also crafted a gorgeous Fine Art print of their beautiful monochromatic portrait by the window.