I met Emili in 2019 when we met up for a brew at a coffee house and discussed her wedding plans. Ben lived down south so sadly couldn't attend. We got on really well and the day they had planned sounded amazing. The plan was a church wedding followed by a reception at Mrs Dowsons farm, yes ice cream and all. Sadly 2020 had different ideas!
Covid 19 put the UK on lockdown in March 2020 and no one knew when we would be able to have marriage ceremonies again. Everyone of my brides postponed until 2021, completely understandably so. The rare few kept out hope that marriages would go ahead as normal and Emili was one of them.
As the date came closer it was announced small weddings would be allowed, wedding receptions would be allowed for 30 people meaning the day could go ahead with a few changes. I was so happy they could get married as planned but Covid and the government had other ideas. A week before the big day it was announced wedding receptions had to be cancelled and this meant once again everything changed.
Showing both courage and strength Emili and Ben were not going to let a small thing like that stop them. The wedding was going ahead no matter what. They had the amazing idea to invite guests to Avenham Park to sit in small family/household groups and to live stream the service to them. Once the wedding was finished they would head to Avenham and cut the cake and do speeches on Facebook live. I thought this was fab so called my second photographer and asked her to come and get some photos of the family and friends in the park meaning we could still capture the day for them as it was certainly going to be one to remember.
I can honestly say it was the most relaxed wedding day I have ever photographed, or been a part off despite what was going on in the UK. Everyone had to wear masks in the church but in the park everyone was so distant it wasn't necessary. It still felt like a wedding though, the excitement, love and joy was in the air and Emili beamed from ear to ear.
I asked Emili about her and Bens love story this is what she said
"Our story about how we met is not as romantic as many other stories but it's our story and we wouldn't want to change it! To be honest, we lived so far away from each other that we probably wouldn't have met in person had it not been for the dating site we used.
Ben has always been the one to lead our relationship. He sent the first message (albeit it was a question about my church), he asked about meeting for the first time (and made it clear it was not a date!), he even asked if he could kiss me (he's a gentleman). We shared our first kiss along a not so romantic street in Preston at the end of our not-a-date-date. This where Ben asked me if I would go on a proper date with him, of course, I said yes. He then asked if he could kiss me, of course, I said yes.
We will always remember our first date. Ben took me on a small tour of Penrith where we went to 3 different restaurants, one for each of the different courses.
As Ben was from Whitehaven and I was in Preston our 'meet in the middle' place was the Lake District, and what a place to meet it was! We spent many of our dates walking around different lakes and exploring the natural beauty of the north.
It was no surprise that Ben chose to propose at one of the lakes. We took the steamboat on Ullswater and walked up to Aira Force, a gorgeous waterfall. He found a quiet spot next to one of the smaller falls and whilst I was trying to play with the waterfall, he produced a gorgeous ring!
As people with strong Christian convictions, we spent our engagement living in separate houses. Unfortunately, this was made trickier by the presence of COVID-19 and we ended up spending the 12 weeks of the lockdown completely apart.
Although our wedding completely changed from what we had originally planned, we are very thankful for all the people that God has put in our lives. We had a lot of support from our friends, family and everyone around us. We are so grateful to Christina at Fish 2 for everything she helped us with. In fact, all our suppliers were absolutely wonderful and so accommodating. We held fast to the knowledge that God had a plan for us and it was all under control. We couldn't have asked for a better day!
We are now back from honeymoon and back into the real world where we have to work and do day to day running of the house. We can't wait to see what's in God's plan for us next."
Here are a few of my favourite photos from the day. Enjoy!