Back in December, just three weeks after our own nuptials, we were fortunate enough to shoot the wedding of our good friends Becca (née Davies) and Lee Dutfield. In brief it was a heart warming family effort with a large amount of purple butterflies, chocolate crispy wedding cake with purple ribbon and...purple in general.
We've known these guys a couple of years from uni and count them amongst our best friends, so it was a major privilege to be involved behind the scenes and share wedding planning with them. Getting to know Becca's family during the hen party and preparations was also a joy.
Becca did a good job of sticking to what she knew she wanted and not letting people persuade her of what she 'should' have, with the exception of a Christmas tree in the chapel - that was Lee's idea, and it worked out well. Most of their day was custom made by Becca's Aunties and other family members, from the dresses (the bride's and the bridesmaids') to the wedding favours (little parcels of hand-wrapped Welsh cakes).
We arrived the evening before the wedding in time to hang out at the rehearsal and work out some shots, after which we divided into men's and women's groups to collect take away food for the separate households. Becca ended up collecting a huge order of chips for her side of the family, much to the amusement of the chip shop staff, whilst Lee and the boys got an order from Domino's. Then it was full steam ahead putting finishing touches to the table plan, favours and dresses, before finally heading to bed pretty late.
The following morning we split forces. Malcolm followed the groom and groomsmen who, after rising early to help putting finishing touches on the hall, headed to a café for Lee's last cooked breakfast as a 'single' man.
Meanwhile, I watched the girls as they had their hair and makeup seen to. Becca had four bridesmaids, two young ones and two her own age, plus aunts and her mammy to help her. But in the end she seemed to be the calmest of the lot. Becca doesn't agree with 'faff'.
This wedding was nothing if not Welsh, which is obviously not a criticism coming from two graduates of Wales' finest higher-education establishment. Of course, while the rest of the UK was coated in a beautiful white blanket of snow, it drizzled greyly in Neath.
The service was taken by the dad of best man Pete, John MacDiarmid, or as we like to call him, The Big Mac! John was especially excited to lead the service because Pete and Lee have been best friends since primary school, and gave a visible happy heart skip as the newly-pronounced man and wife kissed for the first time.
I'm not sure Becca even noticed the rain, and it did provide a lovely opportunity for the couple to greet their guests: they walked down the aisle as man and wife to find they had no desire to head out onto the church steps in the rain, so headed straight back into the church to the applause of all their family and friends.
The bride had apparently considered asking all guests to wear a purple item in line with the theme. She eventually decided not to, although many guests embraced it of their own accord.
A highlight of the day came as Becca decided she would add a few words of gratitude to the end of the men's official speeches. Her words were confident, genuine and spoken in a 'tidy' Welsh accent. She thanked her mum for encouraging her to make a bigger deal out of the reception because - and we all half-believed her - 'we'd all by in McDonald's by now' if she hadn't.
After eating and speeches the guests broke out their moves on the dance floor. The disco, provided as a somewhat last minute rescue, didn't disappoint. This was especially true for the Aber crowd who, through a lack of a serious clubbing environment, have learned to throw shapes to just about anything.
As many we know have commented, Becca and Lee have rarely seemed happier than when they're together. We're confident their marriage will be a loving one.