When you’ve been shooting weddings over a certain number of years, it can often be those where everything doesn’t quite go accordingly to plan, that most easily spring to mind. The 12th June 2010, in Bordeaux, was such a case.
I’d photographed the bride and groom getting dressed in their hotel rooms, they were relaxed, the pictures were going well.
A few shots of family and friends arriving at the Town Hall, so far so good.
We enter the courtyard of the majestic building and find ourselves with several other wedding groups, each waiting their turn to be summoned inside. More than 20 couples will be exchanging their vows that afternoon in Bordeaux. For my bride and groom, this is the main ceremony, there will be no religious blessing afterwards.
It is 3.30pm and we have been called in….
Suddenly the couple turn to one another- “who’s got the rings?!” “oh shit, we’ve left them back at the hotel”.
With no time to go and get them, I turn to the groom, take off my wedding ring and offer it as a last-minute replacement. The bride’s mother does likewise.
I find myself reliving a scene from “ Four weddings and a Funeral”. In the spirit of the film, this episode, which could be many couple’s nightmare scenario, merely adds to the fun and conviviality of the occasion.
The exchange of rings proceeds with plenty of laughter and good humour, and I have the rare privilege of photographing my own 12 carat-gold band !
After the ceremony, a few group shots and then off to the hotel to retrieve the real rings!
With the mood now set, and a great rapport having been established with the couple, I was confident of capturing natural and expressive portraits of the couple in the beautiful surroundings of the botanical gardens.
But before all that we decided to have some have fun and re-enact the exchange of rings..
I have kept very fond memories of this day in the company of Alexandra & Gilbert, a slightly non-conformist couple, who emanated warmth and good humour from beginning to end, and for whom, if truth be told, an unfortunate incident merely served to capture the true and individual personality of their wedding.
Organising a wedding can often be a stressful affair, so allowing for the unexpected and being prepared to go with the flow, often pays dividends for all concerned- the couple, their guests and the photographer!
This article was published in French on the Groupedesdix wedding blog.