Absolutely loving this shoot – I swear, Aaron found all the coolest street art pieces in London and they even shot at my favourite Barbican! And look at these guys – all laughs!
TELL US THE STORY OF HOW YOU MET
It was May bank holiday weekend in 2009, Stuart had his sister visiting from Liverpool and I was out on the town with a group of friends. We both ended up in the Boston which is Northampton’s local Gay bar.
I remember walking in to the bar, ‘Number 1’ by Tinchy Stryder was playing, the way I recall it Stuart was on the dance floor, he has all the moves! I’m more off your classic two step ‘dad’ dancer! He has amazing dimples and I couldn’t stop looking at him!
We got introduced by one of our mutual friends Marc, over the course of the night we kept finding reasons to talk to each other aided by Stuarts sister Laura [Stuart would say I was finding reason to talk to him].
We found it easy to talk to each other, found each other interesting and we both didn’t want the night to end, when it was time to go, we exchanged numbers, from there we arranged our first date. Which was a drink at a local pub, we joked if I didn’t come back from the WC then I’d have climbed out the window… I didn’t climb out the window.
DO YOU HAVE AN ENGAGEMENT STORY?
Stuart just rolled his eyes at this question…. Corny as hell! It was Valentine’s day 2011. He gave me lots of gifts over the course of the day, then cooked a romantic meal in the evening, he wasn’t intending to propose, the day was so perfect, and everything was going so well that he decided to surprise me with a last ‘gift’. Got me to close my eyes, (I had no clue) when I opened my eyes, he there was on one knee… I couldn’t stop crying it was so perfect! And he had to prompt me for an answer… of course it was a Yes.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS SHOOT?
We were very much lead by Aaron’s advice as we had seen lots of his work on Instagram. To be honest, we had never heard of a pre-wedding shoot until we chatted to Aaron. One of the main reasons to have one was to get comfortable with the camera and Aaron could get to know us a little more so that on the wedding day we could almost forget about the ‘process’ of the wedding photos and focus on enjoying ourselves.
We had a discussion with Aaron about what type of portraits we both liked and disliked. We wanted the pre-wedding shoot to have life within each photo. Neither of us are huge on attention, so we needed the back drop to do a lot of the work for us, to provide context and theater without losing us as the subject of the images.
Living just 60 minutes from central London we had a wide range of options open to us. We narrowed it down to a handful of locations where Aaron knew of interesting street art and backdrops that could work.
It was a full day, starting at Borourgh Market, up to Spitalfields and into Shoreditch, finishing up at the Barbican. It was amazing fun! We are so proud of the results there isn’t one photo I wouldn’t have displayed on a wall.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR WEDDING PLANS
We’ve had the wedding now! We both grew up in the school system where section 28 was in full swing, for those reading this that don’t know what section 28 is, it prevented the teaching of homosexuality within England and Wales. It effectively drilled into many of us that conformity was good, coming out was bad! We didn’t want to conform to any wedding stereo types… We wanted our day to sweep aside people preconceptions and see us. Two people declaring their love for each other.
We attended a few wedding fairs locally, sadly while everybody was hugely welcoming everything was centered around ‘traditional’ heterosexual weddings, with all the trappings, brides’ maids, page boys, father of the bride… for anybody planning their wedding, google and websites like GWB will be your best friend! I’m a project manager by trade, so I worked from the desired outcome [to get married, drink, eat and dance] and worked backwards, considering the legal requirements and practicalities around getting married, we then filled in the blanks with us! Reading this back, it might sound un-romantic, it wasn’t at all, we where then able to really enjoy and live our day, all the mechanics had been taken care off.
HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER?
Aaron’s style really met our brief which was candid & natural. There are 100’s of photographers out there! I can not stress how important it is to look at their portfolio’s, after the dust has settled each image will be a tiny time capsule of your day, which will prompt little memories.
Don’t tell Aaron this, but we short listed a few photographers, and then met with them to see if we ‘got on’. Through our discussion with Aaron, he validated our ideas, also he didn’t just accept our concept for what we wanted but provided challenge and suggestions to supplement what we had in mind and frankly telling us that some stuff just wouldn’t work! We got what we wanted straight away, we just clicked [pun intended].
Your photographer provides your only record of the day. They must be your critical friend, be confident and take no nonsense from way-would guests.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Aaron Collett Photography