Neil and Corinne, Old Mac Daddy. Want to hear some really cool stories and catch a glimpse of some of the behind-the-scenes goings on at a wedding? Then read on, because here we go…
So how’s this as a start then… Once upon a time there was this 11 year old girl. She’d just moved to Jo’burg from Cape Town and had no friends. She was kind of lonely. One night, as she was standing outside her home, she spotted her neighbours, a young boy and a girl, peering through a telescope at the stars. They saw her standing there and invited her to come over to take a peek heavenwards. She happily accepted. She was amazed at what she saw – billions upon billions of twinkling stars. Way cool. Her neighbours were pretty awesome as well – really friendly people. Soon she became good mates with them, often sneaking over her fence to meet the boy, chat and laugh. The years passed and soon the girl was 17 years old. She and the boy grew close. They enjoyed each other. One thing led to another and they became boyfriend and girlfriend and all that yucky stuff as one tends to do at 17. But then the girl had to move back to Cape Town and so the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing came to end. More years passed. She was 25 now. Suddenly, they found each other in the same neck of the woods again. She looked at him, he looked at her and they realised that, hang on, we actually still like each other. No wait, it’s more than that – we love each other. And that love my friends, came together at Old Mac Daddy in Elgin. First during the day under the trees as they exchanged vows, and then, well then under the stars as they celebrated their awesome union. But hold on a sec? Who was that girl standing with Neil as a young boy of 12 as Corinne joined them to look at the stars? Well, it was Neil’s sister, Roxanne who Corinne chose as her Maid of Honour all these years later. Amazing. But there’s more, read on…
I have always maintained that the entire mood of a wedding begins in the bride’s room. If the living is easy, the stress levels are low and the chit-chat and laughter high, then the wedding will follow suit. One of the first things Corinne said to me as I walked into her room was: ‘Hey Warren, I want you to take a photo of me in the bath hey!’ I kind of hesitated, looked at her with a slightly weird and worried expression and trying to be as tactful as I could replied: ‘Um Corinne, is there going to be bubble-bath in it?’ With that she burst out laughing and said: ‘No man, I want to be in my dress when you take the photo!’ And that was that, ice broken, camera out and from that moment on the tone was set for a very fine day.
So off to Neil I went who was getting ready in the Mills & Boon caravan. We’d agreed to meet at 1.30pm so that I could shoot him and the men getting ready. And here is an absolute 100% true fact about grooms and their groomsmen at weddings – they will NEVER be ready for you at the predetermined time. Never, ever, ever. Not once has any groom of mine been in any state of readiness at the prescribed time. This one has gone off to fetch his socks, that one’s popped off for a poo, the other one has disappeared into thin air and no one knows where he is. And so it goes. Were Neil and the boys ready for me? Nope. Back to Corinne I went. No surprises there then. But it was all good, because time was on our side. Half an hour later I was back, the boys were good for go, Neil’s best man handed him a gift from Corinne and the first indications of a tear or two made an appearance. Yes my boy, way to go!
Ceremony time. I popped down to shoot the decor which was awesome. It just fitted in perfectly with the entire look and feel of Old Mac Daddy. ‘Hmmmm, darned nice this’ I thought to myself as I ambled past a group of very fine looking guests. It turns out that Neil’s company had made all the decor! Very talented man this, because the decor was beautifully designed and made – solid, outstanding craftsmanship. What also struck me was that each and everyone one of his team who erected the decor was extremely polite and approachable – happy team, great business. Anyway, decor aside, the ceremony started, down came Corinne and with that, Neil’s emotions just overflowed from tears into laughter. It was extremely touching – so much so that even as a seasoned wedding warrior, I found myself choking up, then wanting to whoop with excitement, then choking up and repeat.
Okay, so I’m all for doing your wedding YOUR way. It’s your day, not anybody else’s day. I’m also quite big on getting the formalities out of the way so that you can actually just relax and enjoy your wedding. I suggested to the guys that they get their speeches and cutting of the cake out of the way as soon as humanly possible. Which they did. It turned into a chilled, relaxed half hour with Neil absolutely nailing his speech to the delight of one and all.
I very rarely put any family pics onto my website simply because it would take forever and also because I’m bound to leave out key people in the selection premier-pharmacy.com/product-category/anti-anxiety/ process which could lead to my darling brides and grooms shouting at me. So leave the family pics off I say. But here’s an exception. You see, I get told a LOT that ‘my mom is a bit nervous about the camera, my dad gets really grumpy when photos are taken, my Uncle Eddie is def going to tell you what photos to take and how, and Aunt Lilly is just about dead so can we prop her up with rocks or something.’ My response is simple. ‘Chaps, leave it to me – don’t give it a second thought – I’ll have them eating out of my hand in no time.’ Family photo time is where your skill as a wedding photographer really does have to come to the fore. You really, really are dealing with a very diverse mix of people. Add to that the fact that it’s often extremely hot or windy, or cold and you are seriously up against it. My approach is to quickly explain to everyone how the shoot will work and then I launch into it like a missile. The trick is to get people to have an awesome time so that they forget that there are photos being taken. I talk fast, latching onto what people are saying, constantly interaction, constantly teasing and having as much fun as possible. Now in all of this, my mind has to work one step ahead of the camera. I say something, get the reaction and smash the shutter button. But what often happens is that I might say the wrong thing. Like calling the father of the groom Colleen instead of Colin. True story. That’s what happened. Colleen this, Colleen that, until he walked off to one side in a huff saying: ‘My. Name. Is. Colin.’ But he wasn’t really in a huff, he was simply having a superb dig at 1 x photographer. It was excellent stuff and all part of a quite extraordinary time with a bunch of people who I won’t forget for a very long time. Oh wait, later that evening Colin called me Wayne. I smiled – I know the feeling bro!
The photo above and below were really super moments during the family pics. I saw Corinne standing to one side laughing at Neil and his family as I took their photos. She was just so happy and engaged so I turned the camera towards her and zapped the photo. As I did so I said: ‘Oh wow, that’s such a cool pic of you.’ Next thing, Corinne and her family were up. I turned to the left again and yup, there was Neil standing in exactly the same spot. I said: ‘Oh niiiiice Neil, wife gets photo in corner looking like the bomb and not to be outdone, groom needs to now start posing in corner hoping photographer will see moment and take pic. What a complete tart!’ As I always say, every photograph has a story.
What’s my favourite part of a wedding? Oh come ooooon! ‘Bride and groom you’re up! It’s showtime!’ Yes, it’s true that every part of a wedding is amaze-balls, but when that bride and groom of mine step up to the plate, I feel like an international rugby player running out for a Test match in a packed stadium. These are the thoughts that race through my mind each and every time: ‘am I up for it, will I succeed, will I fail, will they go all out with me, am I going to put them in the right spaces, will I have enough vision to win this, am I going to perform to the best of my ability, will we all remember these moments forever?’ Then I put all those thoughts behind me and just go with my natural game because I absolutely cannot afford to have a bad day out. As we made our way around Old Mac Daddy I could hear Neil saying: ‘oh ja, nice, how’s that light, oh man, you look so hot.’ Then he’d laugh that trademark laugh of his and continue: ‘Ah, I was wondering what you were going to do there; hey I didn’t see that coming; Warren, where are you?’ as I emerged from behind a bush. The bottom line is what you put in is what you get out – and this is what Neil and Corinne got out…
Once we’d finished the bridal shoot I was standing and waiting for Neil and Corinne to make their way around the dam. As they made their way up, they stopped and had a chat about something or another. I took a series of shots of them as they chatted, ending with Corinne finding whatever it was they were saying highly amusing. These are the kind of moments that happen once, perhaps twice during the course of the day where any guard is completely dropped and if I’m lucky enough, I get to capture them. And if I do happen to capture them, I count myself extremely fortunate. So there you go, that’s Neil and Corinne, Old Mac Daddy. Guys, have an amazing life together. And buy a telescope for your kids one day so that you can show them those stars. Love you forever.
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