A few weeks ago I posted a few shots from my first ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ wedding, Tracy & Dele’s ‘Eastenders’ themed east London wedding. The show is definitely a guilty pleasure. How any bride trusts her groom to organise their wedding astounds me each time, but somehow they always manage to hit the spot and get it just right.
For those of you who haven’t watched the show, the groom is given a budget of £12,000 to organise a wedding for his bride-to-be including booking the venue, deciding on a theme, choosing the dress, sending out invites, organising the entire wedding from start to finish – all in 3 weeks. And here’s the thing – the bride has no input at all. Nada! No contact is allowed between them after they’ve said their goodbyes and parted. The next time they see each other is when the bride walks down the aisle!!
No pressure then.
So Dele manned up and decided he was brave enough to take on the task of organising his wedding to Tracy and literally two days before their nuptials, I had a series of phone calls from Dele between takes, asking if I’d be able to shoot their wedding, well, 2-hours of it anyway as the budget had pretty much run out so wouldn’t stretch to a full day’s coverage. Thankfully, he’d realised the importance of having more than just a few i-phone photos from friends, so a few days later, with just an address and start time, I headed off to York Square just of the commercial road in east London.
I’ve shot lots of weddings but knowing that a film crew would be following the pair around separately filming their every move, I literally had no idea what to expect, so I arrived extra early to speak with the “Don’t Tell the Bride” production team as I knew Dele would be busy with final preparations. After getting the ground rules from the team, it wasn’t long before Joe Swash (Mickey Miller from Eastenders) their celebrity celebrant arrived and things started to get going. Guests began to trickle in and fill the square which had been set up for an outdoors ceremony – brave choice Dele – and after some takes and re-takes, Dele and his groomsmen arrived and took their places. Dele’s nerves then began to show as the final moments unfolded….. And then Tracy arrived – the big moment had come. With a crew of about 10 taking the key positions, it was a job trying to stay out of shot and get some decent viewpoints to shoot from, but all went well. Tracy appeared totally delighted with the plans Dele had made and they kissed madly when they saw each other after three long weeks apart. The wedding happened. They got married, kissed, laughed lots and kissed some more … and then went off to be filmed again. A local pub had been transformed into Walford’s Queen Vic for their reception and whilst guests were being filmed taking their seats, I had the chance to do a few shots in and around the square before the couple were whisked off to start their reception, which is where my coverage ended. East End hospitality beckoned and I stayed on for pie and mash and a pint before heading off.
These weddings are not the norm but they’re real. They may not be ‘one take only’ like all the other weddings I shoot, but it was great being there to cover Tracy & Dele’s wedding, something different and a lovely heartfelt experience for all. Thanks Dele for making that phone call (and to my fabbie mate Shen www.shakeyfacephotography.co.uk who recommended me) and thanks to the crew who were amazing to work with.
Tracy & Dele – huge congratulations again to you both. Here’s a selection of images from the time I spent with them. Enjoy!