A blog category where you can find all the North Wales and North West weddings Stacey has photographed

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A Stylish Wedding in Windermere

Back in the days when I worked in newspapers, I worked with Sam (the groom)’s sister at the Daily Post. Even though I was in professional photographer mode, it was really nice to be able to spend the day with her and shoot her brother’s wedding.

The Belsfield Hotel is part of the Laura Ashley hotel group, so as you can imagine, the décor and styling of this venue are good enough to feature in any glossy interiors magazine. Sat at the edge of Lake Windermere, the views from the hotel are exactly what you would expect in an area of outstanding natural beauty, sweeping landscapes and dramatic expanses of water – although there was a little too much water on the day!

 

Puja and Sam

Samuel and Puja at The Belsfield, Laura Ashley Hotel in Windermere.

The heavens opened from the moment the bride and groom woke up in the morning and thunderstorms were forecast for later in the day. Although the rain was pouring down, spirits were high as Puja was getting into her dress, the backdrop of the Cumbrian hillsides and the lake looking spectacular despite the heavy showers. The view truly was stunning.

 

Thankfully, the thunderstorms kept away, but the rain meant we were inside for the photographs. Luckily, we were in one of the most elegant hotels I’ve ever seen, and we ended up doing pictures of the happy couple on the stairwell, which actually is my favourite shot of the day!

We made our way to Puja and Sam’s room, The Grand Wedding Suite, with the intention of getting some more romantic shots. Literally, as they walked through the door, blue sky popped through the clouds and the sun started shining. We quickly went outside and made the most of the amazing location.

After all the rain, the day ended with one of the nicest sunsets you can imagine.

It was a perfect end to a perfect day and to top it all I have just found out I won a gold award with The Guild of Photographers for the image of Puja on the staircase.

 

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What a hoot: Owl attacks the best man!

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!

All in all, my image was featured in loads of major news sites:

The Mirror

The Independent

The Sun

The Telegraph

BBC News

The Guardian

Fox News (US)

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.