In over seven years of photographing weddings, I've never, missed, one. Until now. And I feel absolutely terrible about it.
It was two days before the wedding, all was fine and I was out working as normal. But that evening, my body shivered uncontrollably for at least six hours through the night. Be it a fever or the flu, when I awoke on the Friday morning, I knew one thing was for certain, I would not be well enough to photograph the Carys and Dan's wedding the following day and I had to get somebody else to cover the wedding in my place. The important thing was to have that in place before I contacted them to break the bad news. The last thing I wanted was for them to be panicking the day before their wedding day.
So I put the feelers out to see if anybody was available. At this point, it's worth pointing out that I'm very fortunate to be part of a great network of photographers - some I'm very close to and speak to most days and others who I speak to less frequently and whom I've never physically met. Within half an hour I had a photographer who was willing to take on my wedding for me. Relieved, the next thing to do was to contact the couple. I was so ill that I could barely speak let alone walk so a phone call was out of the question. I relied on a Facebook message and a phone text, which just felt wrong but there was nothing else I could do. The main point of my message though after revealing the bad news was the reassurance that I had arranged a replacement photographer.
It then took all of my energy to get my laptop out and email over all the information over to the new photographer, the hero of the hour or more commonly known as Dougie! But the story doesn't end there. I've worked with Dougie a few times and know him well and I knew I could trust his judgement when it came to the wedding. Which is good because the wedding didn't really feature in my thoughts that day, I just wanted to go back to bed and feel better as soon as possible.
Dougie was a true professional. He contacted Carys, the bride, and arranged to meet her later that afternoon, in his words, to give her peace of mind. And that's not all, Dougie even made the effort to go and visit the venue the following morning prior to starting the wedding coverage, what a trooper!
Because of Dougie's efforts, the Carys and Dan didn't panic and they never worried about anything photography related on their wedding day. And what's more, they appreciated me going to the effort of arranging a replacement photographer.
I never ever thought the day would come where I was forced to pull out of a wedding. But it did. I am human after all and these things happen I suppose. The main reason for me telling you all this is to reassure couples who are planning their wedding that they're in good hands and that I too am in good hands in terms of a fantastic network of fellow photographers. We all know it could happen to any one of us which makes us all more than willing to step forward at a moments notice should we be asked to.
Despite what happened, I still feel...oh I don't know, a sense of huge disappointment in that I didn't get to share Carys and Dan's wedding day with them. I had met them a few times and done an engagement shoot with them. We had built up a relationship and got to know one another. It left us all hugely looking forward to the wedding day. So to miss the main event makes me feel very sad. I never got to meet their friends and family. Every wedding day means so much to me so to miss out on one is pretty devastating.
Looking through all their wedding images I've got to in some sense witness the events of their wedding day, but it's just not the same as having been there in person. That said, Carys and Dan will still love their wedding photos and after all is said and done, they had a photographer on their wedding day to capture it all and that's what matters most.
For now, a massive thank you to Dougie Cunningham from Leading Lines Photography for covering for me. Here is a small taster of what's to come.