Hannah Drake

Paul + Aimee's Wedding

PhotographyHannah DrakeComment

I’m a little bit hesitant to share today’s post, because I am not a professional photographer. I definitely feel like a fauxtographer. But I’m really proud of the work my friend Pete (you might remember him from his guest post a few weeks ago) and I did, so why not? Who knows what the future holds. Though, Pete is well on his way to being an actual pro!

Here’s a bit of background: Our friends Paul, who is British, and Aimee, who is American, got married this summer in the States. Because half of their guest list lived in the UK, they decided to do a second wedding (ceremony, reception, and all) in Birmingham in September and hired Pete to capture their day. Pete then brought me on as a second shooter. We met with Paul the week before the wedding and did a little bit of prep before the day, but it was Pete’s first time shooting a wedding and by far the most important thing I’ve ever photographed, so needless to say there were some nerves. It seemed like a great opportunity to start though because it was our first time shooting a wedding and their second time having a wedding. They had already done the bulk of their portraits in the States and gotten a few other key shots that we didn’t need to worry about.

In the end, Pete and I made a pretty great team. Pete knows a ton about photography and has been steadily building his arsenal of lenses and equipment for years. Meanwhile, I bought my current camera less than a year ago and didn’t get a prime lens until a month before the wedding. However, I had just gotten married so I was on the other side of the bride-photographer relationship and could use some of that experience to guide me on this side of it. The day was absolutely exhausting, but it was a total blast. I really loved setting up the detail shots and sort of “directing” people when we were doing portraits. Pete worked his magic like the pro he is, and hands down the best moment was when he popped up in the window of the chimney in the middle of the ceremony for a photo of the room. Anything for the shot, amirite?

So let’s get to the good stuff!

Aimee and Paul met online in the summer of 2016. They communicated a bit before their first date, emailing, texting, and even using this antiquated form of communication called phone calls! They weren’t living in the same city at the time, Aimee in Birmingham and Paul about a two hour drive away in Manchester. Aimee said she was very impressed that Paul was willing to make the drive on a week night after work to take her out for the first time.

They hit it off that very first night and the only problem was Paul had to make the long drive back home, otherwise they would have stayed out longer! They didn’t see each other again for two weeks when Aimee took the train to Manchester to spend Saturday with him. It quickly became their routine for the next year and a half. Paul would drive to Birmingham one Saturday. Aimee would take the train to Manchester two weeks later.

Paul knew Aimee was the one not long after they started dating, but it took Aimee a bit longer. He went to visit her and her family while she was home in the States in the summer of 2017 and after seeing him with her family where she had spent most of her life, she knew he was the one. Later, Paul told her that he wanted to introduce her as his fiance at Christmas with his family!

Paul proposed in December of 2017 and they immediately started planning the wedding and for Paul to move to Birmingham to be closer and settle into what would become their first home. They knew they wanted to get married in Virginia while Aimee was back for the summer, but they also wanted to have a celebration in the UK, knowing many of their family and friends wouldn’t be able to make the journey across the pond in July.

With two ceremonies, they had the unique opportunity to incorporate their respective cultures and traditions into two different ceremonies. They got married in the church where Aimee grew up, incorporating many American traditions, but making sure to include some British traditions—like signing the marriage certificate in the ceremony—as well. Paul’s two best men weren’t able to make the American wedding, but recorded their toasts to be played during the reception.

After a honeymoon in Asheville, North Carolina, they came back to the UK to settle into married life—and plan another wedding. Their British celebration looked and felt exactly like a proper British wedding. This time, Paul donned the classic morning suit, coattails and all. During the ceremony, they sat in the front row of the seats, like most brides and grooms do when they get married in the Church of England. They were surrounded by their friends and family from the UK, and even Paul’s brother who now lives in California, made a surprise visit!

Paul’s two best men were great friends from different stages of his life who had actually never met until the wedding. Both gave another toast, this time in person, and rumour has it, it was a bit more of a roast, like the Brits are accustom to.

Aimee didn’t have bridesmaids for the ceremony, as they were all back home in the States, but she did spend the day getting ready with her closest girl friends, who made sure Aimee had everything she needed and was as loved and pampered as the last time! They even arranged her bouquet for her!

After a pig roast feast, Paul and Aimee cut their “Better Together” topped cake, before stepping onto the dance floor for their second first dance as their loved ones looked on.

How lucky be able to marry the love of your life twice!

Check out Peter Horrox Photography for more.