Danielle and Calum had their wedding and reception in the Grange Manor Hotel in Grangemouth, Falkirk. They had been planning their Christmas wedding for some time and while they didn’t get snow they did have a Christmas tree and decorations. It all felt pretty christmassy, which is a good vibe to start a wedding with.

I began by photographing the bride and her party in her hotel room. They were all wearing matching pajamas, which I suspect was no coincidence. While the bride got dressed I popped out to get photos of the groom and best man. All the while I was also getting shots of guests as they arrived. This is frequently how I work in the build-up to the ceremony; I have a set time to see the bride before she gets dressed. I catch the groom and groomsmen for portraits while the bride is dressing. In between I got shots of guests and follow the action. This is always a good time for family greetings and the excitement in the build-up to the ceremony; long-lost relatives turning up, arms being flung around them, smiles, laughter, joy.

Once Danielle was ready I headed back and took some portraits of her and her bridesmaids and Dad, before going back downstairs to get shots of the guests seated in the ceremony room. This is the point I take the last portrait of the groom as a single man!

During the ceremony I made myself less conspicuous at the back of the room and used a longer lens to get the close-ups. Where I am during the ceremony, if the celebrant allows photography, is up to the couple. I can be more forward, in front of the audience, getting closer-up shots, or I can be out of sight at the back of the room. Both produce good results.

Following the ceremony Danielle and Calum spent a bit of time being congratulated by guests, having a drink, and mingling, before we did a few group photos. This seems to me the most natural way to do things – everyone wants to congratulate the couple after they are married and everyone wants to pick up a drink. Only then, when everyone is ready, did we start the group photos. In order to make the group photography go quickly and smoothly I always ask the couple to prepare a list of the groups and who will be in them. I also ask that an usher or member of the family has a copy of the list and can help gather people. This way we keep the posed photo time down and everyone can get on with celebrating more.

With Danielle and Calum I did a few portraits of them before, during and after the group photos in the grounds of the hotel. They didn’t want to go off somewhere for portraits, so again we managed to save some time, allowing them to be with their guests for longer. Some couples do want to go to another scenic location, and again, like the group photos, planning is key to making it go smoothly and have them away from their guests for the shortest time possible.

Danielle and Calum were piped in to the wedding breakfast and had the speeches straight away. I have not been keeping count, but perhaps slightly more than half of all couples opt to have their speeches before the meal, thus allowing the bridal party to relax knowing their duties are done. As you can see from the photos below, the groom needed some consoling from his new wife during the best man speech. Ah, the perils of getting your older brother to be your best man – he knows all the embarrassing things you did as a child.

Finally, one of the nice touches at this wedding was that one of the guests had brewed a beer for the occasion and every place-setting had one. He called it “The Knot”.

This being a half-day booking I finished-off once the food started to be served.

Thanks, Danielle and Calum, for choosing me as your wedding photographer in Falkirk.