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A Most Unusual Arrival…

The well-wishers were gathered outside the venue, hoping to get a glimpse of the bride’s much-anticipated outfit.  This was The Wedding of the Year, planned meticulously to the last detail, and as the time drew closer to the nuptials, the excitement was palpable.  Finally, the wedding entourage arrived and drew gasps from the crowd…  Well, it’s not every day you see the bride and groom on bicycles and kitted out in brand new lycra!

As you’ve probably guessed, although it was 19th May, this wasn’t The Royal Wedding, but it was just as memorable and emotional as Harry and Meghan’s day.

Guests gather outside Theatr Clwyd in Mold.

Guests line the road leading up to Mold Registry office.

Delwyn Evans and Sue Evans have been together for over 20 years and we’ve bumped into each other over the years as we have mutual friends, so it was lovely to be asked to photograph their big day.  It’s always really special photographing a wedding, but it’s especially nice when you already know the couple who are getting hitched. I knew this day would be out of the ordinary and I wasn’t disappointed.

It was a gorgeous, sunny morning as the guests awaited the arrival of the bride and groom at Theatr Clwyd, armed with a colourful barrage of balloons and Welsh flags.  They had no idea that Delwyn and Sue would be turning up on their bicycles, also covered in balloons, and wearing brand new cycling outfits!  A huge cheer went up as they appeared, and the happy, relaxed mood continued throughout the day, making it such a fun occasion.

I don’t think the registrar at Mold Registry Office could quite believe that the couple she was going to marry was wearing their cycling gear! The joviality carried on throughout the ceremony as Delwyn got a little bit mixed up when saying his vows, much to the amusement of his guests. The whole congregation burst into laughter, and the happy couple enjoyed the moment very much too.

Arriving at the registry office.

Del and Sue saying their vows.

After the ceremony, Del and Sue slipped into something a little less close-fitting before heading off to The Glynne Arms in Hawarden, where the laid-back feel of the day continued into the balmy summer evening. Wine and food flowed, with lots of laughs enjoyed with friends and family.

I have never shot a wedding like this before, not only was it a unique arrival by the bride and groom, but it was really relaxed and fun, and I felt so privileged to be able to capture the day for such lovely people.

Del and Sue said the memories will last a lifetime and I certainly won’t forget this fabulous day in a hurry.  Seeing two people get married in such a unique and chilled out way makes me realise how lucky I am to do a job I love.

Del and Sue slipped into something a little less close-fitting before heading off to The Glynne Arms in Hawarden.

Top 5 Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

Picking the right photographer to capture your wedding can be daunting and you might be feeling overwhelmed about making such a big decision – after all, your photographs will be a lifetime reminder of your special day!

Here are my top 5 tips to help make that decision a bit less stressful.

Know exactly what you want

You need to have a very clear vision of how you want your wedding photographs to look.For instance, my style is very informal and relaxed, I like to mingle and capture those special candid moments.  Some photographers might do a highly stylized shoot with lots of formal pictures or a fine art approach where the photographer’s style is very much evident, and they have free rein in the creative process?

Looking through magazines and on the internet can help you decide the kind of feel you want for your wedding pictures.  Keep a Pinterest board of your ideas, or even a good old-fashioned scrapbook!

Have a budget in mind

Paying for a professional photographer is possibly one of the biggest investments you will make in a lifetime. There are photographers out there to suit all budgets, but this is not a time to scrimp! A good guide is that around 10% of your wedding budget should go towards your photographs.  The flowers will fade, the cake will get eaten and champagne will all be gone, but your photographs are forever.

Make a date

Once you’ve narrowed down your style and budget, get in touch with photographers that fit the bill and arrange to meet up. I always like to meet my clients in person, for me, it’s the best way to get to know you (although some photographers do offer a Skype call, I believe you can’t beat the personal touch).

Finding a photographer that you click with (pardon the pun) is as important as finding the one whose style you like. It’s no good if you love their work but find out they are a miserable so and so who nobody likes hanging out with. I can’t stress how important this bit is.

Getting to know your photographer a little before the big day will make a huge difference, you’ll feel more relaxed and your photographer is more emotionally invested – you might need to lend them a hankie though in case they get teary-eyed during the ceremony.

A good idea is to meet at your venue, so the photographer can get a real feel for you and your wishes for the day. Engagement shoots are also a great opportunity to get to know your photographer a bit more and you get to practice posing for the camera!

What to ask

When you meet your photographer it’s good to go prepared with a list of questions. For instance, what time they start and finish on the day, do you need to provide food for them, how long after the wedding will you get your photographs?

Ask to see a completed wedding album.  You want to make sure their work is consistent and that their business web page isn’t filled with ‘lucky shots’ from lots of different weddings!  You might have certain photographs that are very important to you that you really want to make sure the photographer gets on the day – one of you with a special friend or relative, the groom getting ready, the father of the bride seeing his daughter for the first time in her dress– whatever it is, make sure your photographer knows.

All professional photographers should have insurance, but it’s always good to check, and it might be a good idea to check they have a Plan B should anything go wrong with any of their kit on the day.

Book it!

Wedding photographers are usually booked a year or two in advance. If you’ve found your dream person, book them as soon as you can. Make sure you look over their contract carefully before you sign – but you don’t want some else to swoop in and pinch your day!

I hope you find this blog useful, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to have a chat about your big day.

What a hoot!

It’s every photographer’s dream to capture a moment so unique that the whole world will want to see it. You hope that it will happen to you one day, and every time you press the shutter button you wonder, will this be the one…

I had no idea as I arrived at Peckforton Castle on Saturday morning that just a few days later I would have the world’s press beating down a path to my door for one of my photographs!

The photo in question was one of an owl, a surprise performer at the wedding of Jeni Arrowsmith and Mark Wood. The owl had been trained to deliver the rings to the best man, landing on his arm after a short flight from the back of the hall.

Ready for take off…

It was all going perfectly, but as the best man tried to remove the wedding rings from the pouch carried by the owl, something obviously was not right. The owl started to flap and fidget – and then I realised another of Mark’s best men (he had several) had lifted his arm and was pointing at the feathered ring bearer.

The thing is, the owl is trained to see this as a signal to fly to the hand, so off it goes and dive-bombs the guy – who happens to be terrified of birds. He’s so startled he falls off his chair, and as he’s cowering from the owl, I keep my finger on the shutter button and…

COPYRIGHT STACEY OLIVER PHOTOGRAPHY

It was one of those moments I’ll never forget. The owl caused such a to-do that the registrar had to calm everybody down before they could carry on with the ceremony. I had no idea though how crazy it was about to get.

Requests for the photo started to flood in. Suddenly I’m on the BBC News Channel. Then I’m having a chat to a Canadian radio station after the story went viral and was featured in the Daily Mirror, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail plus US networks Fox News and ABC.

It’s unbelievable. I didn’t eat all day. My dream has come true. I’ve gone viral! It’s gone worldwide. My Twitter is going off every second and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I was so excited I even tweeted Harry Potter author JK Rowling about the owl photo!

I feel so lucky to do the job I do. I’ve heard it said that taking a photograph is like pressing the pause button on life. In one single image a whole story can be told, a story that will last long after the speeches are finished, and the wedding cake has all been eaten. Although I’m enjoying this moment in the limelight, I also know that having my camera means I’m always one click away from creating memories that will last a lifetime.