To say this wedding was an important one for me is a complete understatement, for so many reasons. The journey the beautiful bride and I had been on together musically playing in her band for some years and for the journey she had recently been on, being diagnosed with cancer only months before her wedding and the chemo sessions causing her hair to fall out. To top it off two great people perfectly fitted for each other were getting hitched and I was the lucky man that was going to capture it.
Catherine and James’s big day for me started after cruising the seas around Noumea and Vanuatu, we arrived into Sydney’s Darling Harbour at 6am, we left the ship and went straight to the Beautiful Venue at Bella Vista Newcastle. A little while before the wedding I was told Womans Day would be covering the Wedding however after seeing my work it was an honour for them to give me the responsibility of supplying them with photos from the wedding for the magazine.
Still with my sea legs on (they almost made me slip down a small hill later in the day) I headed to Bella Vista were the girls were getting ready. I had an amazing time with the girls in the morning having laughs and Skyping with friends overseas who couldn’t make it, and drooling over the beautiful Flowers by Lorey. They had a very relaxed morning sitting around the table catching up, as one of her friends was from the US and haven’t caught up in sometime. With a whole lot of cheeky banter and so many laughs we hung out for the morning while the girls make up done by the amazing Lee Hanley. It then came time for her beautiful wig. The whole day was filled with such courage, beauty and happiness.
My 2nd photographer and mate Josh Witheford headed out with James and the Boys and had a crazy good time. Starting off with James sneaking out to write his vows. They got a little haircut at the Barbers (name here), had a few beers, lots of laughs and then headed to Bella Vista on the Newcastle’s Famous Tram to get James hitched.
As much fun as we had already had it was only the beginning. Catherine arrives looking stunning, in her amazing dress made by the ever talented Melanie Ford walking down the aisle to none other then THE Paul Kelly and Bill Chambers (Yes Kasey Chambers dad). But the surprises didn’t end there once her Dad Steve had walked her down the aisle he then assumed his position as marriage celebrant and married our gorgeous couple. But wait for it………. They then announced the bombshell that they were already married and had been for two years when they eloped in Las Vegas. It made for a wonderfully exciting wedding and some great moments for me to capture. It really was a perfect ceremony. Laughter and happy tears among the backdrop of the beautiful Bella Vista gardens.
True Novocastrians born and bred, they wanted the landscape of Newcastle Beaches to be a prominent part of their photos. So we loaded up the tram with photographers, videographers, assistants, Bridal Party, Rascal (their dog), a well stocked esky an headed (via dropping Rascal home) to the iconic Newcastle Nobbys Beach for photos. The beach was packed, but I love a challenge! Working with the with the most amazing The Mountain Folk Films we explored every avenue of the beach. Weather was perfect, and a little overcast, which us camera geeks love. We had a ball!
Starting with the bridal party on Newcastle’s sand dunes and we got some amazing shots. Some natural and some posed, they sure turned it on for us. Amazing moments, and laughs were had and captured. After being happy with the shots of the Bridal Party, we then sent them away so I could spend some moments with Catherine and James.
I wanted them to have some time just take it all in and enjoy the moment. Just the two of them, no distractions. This always makes for some of the most amazing natural photos filled with love and emotion. After our time in the sun, we headed back for the reception entrance.
What an entrance it was! I’ve never seen an entrance like it. They danced into the venue with a New Orleans Second Line band while they were waving the New Orleans traditional white hankies. They guests loved it and really got into it
There was some heartfelt speeches, an interesting re-worded take to an Elton John song for Catherine, and some umm.. interesting and hilarious words from the Best Man.
After the first dance, there was a lot more dancing, and including an Impromptu performance by none other than one of my heroes, Paul Kelly. Talk about a packed dance floor, and honestly I was probably doing more dancing than shooting at this point. Catherine got up with Paul and Bill and did an amazing version of “From little things big things grow”
It’s great to recall such a beautiful day as I’m writing this. I felt the happiness, love and gratitude, and so honoured to be apart of it. To see two amazing people who will make it though anything, and not only do that, but destined to do more amazing things. Catherine and James, thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be there for you guys. Love you loads!
P.S Funny side story, I drove Paul Kelly home in my MINI piled in with loads of camera gear, plus his guitars and bags. It was a little funny looking over and seeing him cramped and covered in gear. Yep, that’s Showbiz! 🙂
To read the full Womans Day article click here