Wedding photography, Blackpool, Lancashire
Amy and Stivs wedding in Blackpool
A couple of weeks ago I packed my bags and headed over to the seaside town of Blackpool, Lancashire to photograph Amy and Stivs wedding elopement. I have known Stiv for about twenty-five years so it was great to catch up and be his chosen wedding photographer.
Art B & B
When chatting to Amy and Stiv at the wedding consultation they told me that everyone was staying at the Art B & B the night before. I decided that it would make my life a lot easier if I did the same so the night before I headed over. It was lovely to sit in the bar and chat with everyone. In fact, Gnome and Shelley were there (I shot their wedding nearly seventeen years ago) and it was my first ever wedding so to catch up with old friends was a lovely way to spend a Sunday evening.
Wedding part one
The elopement was part one of the wedding and it was only the Blackpool fifteen that attended and it was a lovely intimate time. Everyone at the party was really lovely and treated me like family. Monday was the big day and everyone gathered for breakfast. It was so nice to start the day off with full English (thank you Stiv) everyone was in good spirits and there was excitement in the air. Before I go any further, I knew this wedding would be unlike most weddings but more to come on this.
After breakfast, the bride and groom said their goodbyes and they knew they weren’t going to see each other until the ceremony so off to their rooms they went. As per usual, I headed off to see the bride. As soon as we got up to the room it was party time. The tunes went on and the preparations started. When I say preparations I mean drinking and making a bridal bouquet.
I mixed my time up by going from room to room. Whilst the girls were flower arranging I went to the groom’s room to see what was going on. Stivvy, Gnome and the kids wasted no time getting ready. When I got there I noticed all of the leopard print and purple so I just captured everything as a documentary wedding photographer does. The theme of the wedding was leopard print and dinosaurs which is a very eclectic mix but absolutely perfect. I’ve always said it but the best weddings are the ones with personality.
The morning was mainly spent going from room to room and capturing the wedding story happening. The boys headed off to the pub and time was getting on for Amy to get into her dress.
Being a male photographer I always have this moment where the bride is getting her dress on, so I just clear the room and ask for them to call me in as soon as everything is ready. Whilst a bride is getting ready, I look around the room and look for an area where I can grab a quick portrait of the bride. The Art B & B was stunning (more on this later) so all I had to do was quickly move a sofa and I was ready to rock. I must admit, I didn’t know what I was expecting from Amy’s dress as she had described it to me as a costume. In fact, she got it as a joke for the hen party off eBay for a tenner but she liked it so much she kept it as her wedding dress.
The dress looked fab, it just goes to show that you can get a fantastic dress and create your perfect wedding on a budget if you put that extra effort in. The time was ticking, the pressure was mounting so I grabbed a ten-second portrait of Amy before heading down to see dad.
I know, I say it every time but the pictures of dad seeing his daughter in her wedding dress on her wedding day is such an important moment. These pictures last forever so I need to capture them! Amy’s dad certainly didn’t disappoint, with lots of tears, hugs and emotion exactly how it should be. It was time to head out into Blackpool for Amy to get married.
I had done a little recce in the morning to find out the most picturesque backdrop for the walk to The wedding Chapel and had found my way onto the promenade. Amy came out of the hotel with her dad, maid of honour and her daughter and oh my word it looked like a scene from “Shameless” their words not mine. Gary (dad) was supping a bottle of Newcastle Brown, Amy had a ten-pound wedding dress with a pink leather jacket, Laura and Evie had leopard skin clothes on and it looked hilarious. Everyone was laughing and it was a very special moment.
On the way to the ceremony we stopped at a shelter and had a quick picture with some random old dears, I even managed to blag a pork scratching off one of them. The rest of the walk was full of excitement and it was such a lovely moment to see Amy and her dad react.
Stiv the groom was in good spirits and was very excited and a tiny bit nervous and everyone else was ready for the ceremony. All of a sudden I heard “You’re so cool” by Hans Zimmer and it was go time, it was literally True Romance (sorry) more on this later. Amy and her dad walked in and the room lit up and it was time for them to get married.
Although the ceremony was short it was very emotional, with loads of tears from the bride and groom and even Gnome the best man shedded a tear. I absolutely LOVE weddings like this, give me an intimate personalised wedding every time and I would be very happy. After the ceremony, there was a weird moment where the registrars had done a runner and I actually thought I would have to end it and introduce the new Mr & Mrs Boulton but we got it sorted.
Bride and groom pictures and confetti time
I had been told that we were allowed onto the balcony for a few pictures. In my mind, I thought I would have a tiny space to shoot some pictures but the balcony was massive. it overlooked the sea with the Blackpool Tower in the background which was absolutely perfect! Anyone who knows me knows that I am all about storytelling so having this at my disposal was amazing. Stiv and Amy needed no help in posing, they are absolute naturals and just cracked on having a laugh which was perfect. This was my idea of heaven being the documentary wedding photographer that I am.
After a few minutes on the balcony, it was time to go outside for confetti. The fifteen people that were there did a fantastic job of confetti, in fact, better than most weddings that I attend and we got some fab shots.
I may have mentioned that this was a DIY wedding and after the ceremony, we were winging it. Plan A was that everyone was going to go on to the pier, get ice cream and fish and chips and then we would do some group photos, sounds like a perfect plan. We found out that Mondays out of season isn’t the best day for Blackpool, lots of shops are shut and the pier was closed for maintenance. Time for Plan B. It was freezing cold so it was time for everyone to go for a drink so everyone headed to Yates wine bar.
Quick family pictures
The problem with going to a pub is that people don’t want to leave and this was the case. Stiv and Amy had an appointment with a tattoo shop at 3 pm and it was now 2:55 pm and I still needed to create some family portraits. I got the bride and groom out first and they did their thing and everyone else then followed. It was literally five minutes to shoot all of the group photos which I thought was impressive and I actually love the pictures.
When in Blackpool or at any seaside location going to the arcade is a must, so some of the guests headed to the arcade. As mentioned Monday wasn’t the best day for Blackpool so we couldn’t go to the best arcades. some of the guests chucked their money into machines hoping to get a return and played games. The other guests headed back to the hotel and secretly decorated the bar for the wedding couple’s return.
The bride and groom had booked to get a tattoo from Wonderland Tattoo which was something quite unique. The tattoos that they were getting were going to be the same tattoo from the fabulous film “True Romance”. Amy decided that she would go first. I realised I had never actually been in a tattoo studio before so it was an experience for me. Amy sat like a champion despite having a cherub tattooed on her neck.
Whilst Amy was getting tattooed I was enjoying trying to corporate The Wolf of Wall Street into the pictures (which was playing in the background). Once Amy had finished it was time for the groom to get the same tattoo.
Old man’s pub
After the tattoo session, Stiv and Amy were supposed to be heading to their meal which was booked at 5 pm at The Beach House but it was only 5:20 pm (they are always late) so on the way there we found ourselves in an old man’s pub. It was brilliant, everyone was so friendly and made the bride and groom feel so welcome. In fact, one chap actually paid for their drinks which was a lovely thing to do.
Sunset and skaters
Whilst we were in the Beach House I could see that there was going to be a lovely sunset. After the first course, I asked if the bride and groom would pop outside for a few minutes to shoot some pictures. I knew that it would only take a few minutes to create some amazing silhouettes and it was pretty cold. We nailed the shots very quickly and we noticed some skateboarders.
I had the idea of trying to create a picture with the bride and groom with the Blackpool tower, with loads of skaters doing tricks around them. Unfortunately, I had found the kids who couldn’t do any tricks, but we got something with a little encouragement and I even had to get on the board myself and show them how to kickflip (never lose it). The rest of the evening was spent eating, drinking and having a good time.
Magic pictures out of nowhere
After lots of food and drink, it was time for everyone to head back to Art B & B. When we got outside the Blackpool Tower was looking stunning, illuminated with a heart that was pretty much perfect. The bride and groom decided that they wanted pictures of this. So, it’s pitch black, freezing cold, I had limited equipment but there’s always a way. I grabbed the best man Gnome and we headed off to the spot where it would look the best.
I knew I had two minutes to create these pictures as it was pretty freezing so with the help of my voice-assisted light stand, a flash and fifteen years of know-how we got some pretty cool looking pictures.
It was discussed that we would create some fab pictures using the hotel. At Art B & B all of the rooms are created by artists so I knew it would be a great place to create some fabulous wedding photographs. One room we went into had a light display installed on the ceiling. One room was a Movie room with a cinema seat and projector and the bride and groom had a room devoted to Willie Little a fictional entertainer in Blackpool.
The whole day was amazing! I felt very privileged to be a part of this special and unique day. It made me realise that these are the weddings that I love more than anything.
A massive thank you to everyone who made me so welcome and congratulations to Mr & Mrs Boulton.
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