‘Whoooops! Tricky. Uh-oh.’ Call it what you will, but Carla and Ian’s wedding at Solms Delta, Franschhoek rendered the singularly most show-stopping moment of any wedding I’ve ever shot. Picture the scenario. I arrive to shoot the girls getting ready. Bride has legs that stretch from here to Timbuktu, bridesmaids are chirpy, champagne is flowing, guest house has magnificent grounds, weather is perfect. It’s all good. I head off to Solms Delta, shoot the pre-drinks, guests are all from overseas and loving the SA hospitality, groom is mellow and relaxed. Perfect. Guests move to ceremony area, string ensemble play on island in middle of lake, soft breeze sweeps under bedouin tent, a child laughs with delight. Happiness personified. I walk through bamboo forest to meet snappy as heck bride (with legs that now seem longer than earlier on) arrive on farm tractor. I give the girls a quick motivational chat, fist pumps all round, time to get the show on the road. And so down the aisle come the bridesmaids – 1, 2, 3, 4, all 5 of them. And then it’s time for Carla to walk the walk. Which she does, smiling radiantly, pulling her moment off like a champ. Then dad takes Carla’s veil off but he doesn’t quite get it right and it sits like a bit of a tea cosy on top of her head. So I turn to Sam, the bridesmaid closest to me and say: ‘Sammy, just take her veil off the top of her head.’ Sam moves in and pulls the move off to perfection (I train my bridesmaids well I tell you). But Sam doesn’t come back. She just stays up front chatting to Carla. ‘Anyone for a cup of tea and rusks?’ I think to myself. The chatting continues. I shift legs. Something’s not quite right. And then it hits me! DO NOT TELL ME SHE HAS COLD FEET.’ I go into full red alert combat mode and step forward. There’s complete uncertainty in Carla’s eyes. And a bit of bemusement (I think). I muster a semi-confident and hushed: ‘whazzuuuuup girls?’ Carla turns to me and says” ‘My mom’s not here.’ So I’ll say it again – ‘whooooops, tricky, uh-oh.’ RIGHT! Bit of a train smash. I call the bridesmaids over, we all have a brief ‘please be patient we have a problem’ talk and with that we go into reverse gear. Bridesmaids walk back down the aisle (smile and wave girls, smile and wave), Carla walks back down the aisle, and properly confused guests look on. Bit of a cross between a murder, drama and comedy show all wrapped into one. Hollywood would battle to make a movie like this. Then it’s the mad scramble – the troops are sent out to fetch mom at her guest house back in Franschhoek and Warren is running backwards and forwards like a headless chicken between bride, bridesmaids, guests and groom trying to keep it all together via a series of short speeches and one-liners. Had to throw the bloody kitchen sink at this to keep it on track at one or two stages. But as I always say: ‘don’t stress it, it’ll all be okay in the end.’ And so, an hour and a half later mom arrives and we hit the play button again. Down came the bridesmaids, down came Carla, Ian beamed a big broad smile and we had a terrific wedding day. I don’t think I stopped smiling all the way home that night. Another cracker of a memory.

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