Katie and Craig were to be married at the Ghillie Dhu. As an Edinburgh wedding photographer, this was exciting as it would be my first time at this iconic Edinburgh venue. It was also a bit daunting. The Ghillie Dhu is famously atmospheric; unfortunately for wedding photographers, a lot of this atmosphere is created by heavy drapes, dark wood, candlelight and low-level (and sometimes coloured) artificial light. Probably the best news was the ceremony was to be conducted in Rutland Square. Weather permitting, this was to be the first outdoor wedding for the Ghillie Dhu.
The forecast was for the day to be largely overcast with some sunny spells and a 50:50 chance of rain at the time of the ceremony. In some ways overcast weather is the best for photography as it provides a nice, bright, even lighting. It can be somewhat flat but with the trees in Rutland Square now in full bloom the alternative would be dappled lighting which can look gorgeous but is tricky to expose for.
Katie, her mother and sister were staying in the Caledonian Hotel, across the road from the Ghillie Dhu. Katie had asked that I take some reportage style shots of them together to record what she felt was a special time for her.
I was also with them when Katie's bridesmaids arrived. Their first view of Katie in her fabulous vintage dress were some of my favourite images from the day. It certainly helped that the grey of the room coordinated beautifully with the bridesmaid's outfits. Katie's brother Tom was to walk her down the aisle and her friends and hair stylists Chris and Ian had returned to do any last minute fixes.
Because of the proximity of the Caledonian to the Ghillie Dhu, I was able to move between the two fairly easily and capture the atmosphere of both. At the Ghillie Dhu, Craig, in his bright Buchanan tartan, was greeting family and friends as they arrived. The sense of anticipation was building.
To a bagpipe acommpaniment, the guests made the short walk down Rutland Street to Rutland Square. This now looked magnificent with the trees in full bloom and the grass peppered with daisies. The celebrant waited by the trellis that Katie and Craig had commissioned to commemorate the day. The guests were enjoying themselves, but Craig's tension was by now clearly visible.
The bridal party were piped in. Craig gave me a smile and had one last sharp intake of breath. There was a reassuring look from a bridesmaid and then Katie arrived with Tom.
The Ceremony and afterwards
The humanist ceremony was joyful with a few tears. The elation felt by everyone immediately afterwards, was clearly visible. If you move quickly, this is a great time to capture natural images.
Finally we took a few group shots before heading back to the Ghillie Dhu for the reception. Beforehand we had discussed whether to head off into Princes Street Gardens for some shots but Rutland Square had proved so beautiful that we just stayed there. Everybody dislikes waiting around for formal shots so anything that can be done to speed things up is great.
Reception, speeches, relaxation and dancing
I always find images of the first dance unpredictable. I like to setup off-camera flash lighting in such a way that I know that a certain area of the dance floor is well lit. Usually this means a couple of light stands, a couple of umbrellas and a trigger on my camera. It might be just me but this rarely seems to go to plan. In this case one area where I needed to setup a lightstand was being grumpily occupied by a photobooth technician. The other was periodically required by the much more affable band. Anyway this is what I got.
Overall I thought it was a great day and I was pleased with the images which I think will provide Katie and Craig with some great memories.
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