English weather – a hot, dry Spring…talk of drought…then crisis talks held in dark Government meeting rooms. But outside, TV reporters sheltering from torrential rain, talking about the threat of hosepipe bans as the rain clatters the microphone – someone has a sense of humour up there! So got a wedding this summer? Expecting it to be sunny? What if it rains?
Everyone dreams of a warm summer wedding, beautiful light pouring across the reception lawn. The photographer in 70’s fashion-lens-flare-nostalgia mode with the portraits. But as this summer starts – what will we get, dry and sunny or rather damp? Not so clever this week it seems. But ‘what about the pictures?’ So when it rains, how does the wedding photography change?
Since my days at The Times, an essential item in my camera bag has been at least one chamois leather. Rain isn’t the photographer’s friend but it isn’t his worst enemy either. The pictures change – the practicalities can be a challenge – but the images are no less telling, rewarding or interesting. Rain brings with it a “Blitz spirit” to many a wedding – a ‘get-through-it” approach. Sure the sun ain’t shining – it might later – but the day can still be fun!
It may be battling through the elements to get to the church relatively dry….or dismissing it as ‘nothing’.
I can remember one wedding when two burly roofers joined the gathering congregation on an emergency call to deal with a dripping roof, water landing where the bride and groom were due to say their vows.
Then there is getting from the church to the reception. What should have been an idyllic summers’ procession down the village lanes or across the fields from the church to the marquee, becomes a dash through the downpour and for a photographer a target rich environment. People become more relaxed – some may be grumpy, still a picture – but on the whole they are laughing at the absurdity of the English summer weather and themselves.
Even before this, not every bride and groom emerges from the gloom of the nave to dazzling golden light – can’t stop the smiles though.
And onto the reception and still it pours!
So is this what we should expect from England and it’s weather?
Well the wettest wedding I ever covered wasn’t here – but in the South of France! I had gone with my family for a holiday during the week running up to the wedding. Gorgeous hot days on the beach and in the mountains. Packed the family off at the airport. Then the next day, the wedding day, torrential rain all day. Darker outside the church than in it. Didn’t spoil the fun. ( next day, warm sunshine again ).
So a final ‘wet wedding’ shot. Note the message on the umbrella, ‘enjoy England’ – it might rain at your wedding but it’ll still be fun, just go with the flow. With our weather you have too!