Every now and again, a wedding comes along that on paper sounds perfect, but sometimes, reality doesn’t quite meet expectations.

I thought I was done for the season with a final wedding on the first weekend of October. But then, Tanya & Tim came along. Quite why they were so ‘late’ in booking a photographer is another story and not relevant to this story, but whatever the reasons were, it ended up being my gig.

I’d better add before I get too ahead of myself that this wedding not only met expectations, but blew them out of the water. Literally, because we were never more than a couple of 100 metres from the sea on the beautiful Île de Ré. Saint Martin de Ré to be precise.

For anyone that doesn’t know the place, it’s an island off the South-West coast of France close to La Rochelle. It’s very flat, even more idyllic and a popular place to holiday. We first visited a few years back and especially enjoyed Saint Martin de Ré so when the opportunity came along to shoot a wedding there…

But it’s not just about location or what’s been planned, but who. And the ‘who’ in this case could not have been more special because not only was I engaged to capture the 1/2 day prior as I do with around 90% of all weddings, but be a part of the wedding, staying with and eating with everyone invited as a guest.

For someone who at that stage you haven’t even met, is a great honour and privilege but really allows me as a photographer and filmmaker, into the heart of the wedding. Especially when it’s an intimate gathering of just the very nearest & dearest.

My part in proceedings began on the day prior when upon arriving at Le Clos Saint Martin Spa where the guests were staying, I was escorted to my villa. Own villa, – check me out…and then it was off to meet Tanya & Tim for the first time.

After a ‘practice’ photo-shoot on the seafront, it was out for dinner & drinks at a local restaurant which was highly enjoyable.

And then it was the wedding day itself.

First order of the day was an optional bike ride around the island led by Tim. I went off and did some background landscape stuff and bridal prep, but they had a good time.

The ceremony (and rest of the day) took place at the boutique hideaway that is La Demeure des Jardins, tucked away just off the harbour. You would not know it’s there as it has a rather innocuous entrance as these types of places tend to have, but inside is a beautiful garden, courtyard and orangerie.

Now one of my concerns ahead of this wedding was the weather. I don’t get many engagements for coastal weddings (though I wish I did as they are my favourite without question) and with a mid October date and knowing what the coast can be like at this time of year… Well no such worries as it remained glorious all weekend. The final fling of the year as it turned out!

The beautiful outdoor ceremony took place in the garden followed by drinks and canapes in the courtyard and photoshoot on the seafront.

Speeches and meal took place in the orangerie and the food was superb. Had to keep an eye on the alcohol being that I was working, though no driving as it was going to be back to the villa just a few streets away later.

The evening concluded with a band, The Generations and again, ‘on paper’ I was thinking, “Band? So few guests? Potential empty dance floor?” WRONG!

Some days, the planets just align. On the 12th & 13th October 2018, they lined themselves up and stayed that way for the duration. A perfect end to a great season.

A couple of special mentions: The celebrant was Rebecca Rowlinson and hair & makeup by Carey Hawkins.

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