When LA came to The Savoy: Melissa and Jake’s Epic WeddingBy
“Blake they are absolutely UNREAL! You totally made my dreams true. I’m just obsessed! Thank you for everything, you blew our expectations and were such a pleasure to have around.”
This day had EVERYTHING. A heartfelt ceremony led by our old friend Rabbi Benji Stanley in the Abraham Lincoln Room, the TOTEM Gospel Choir, intensely loving families and loyal friends, spontaneous Dance-offs, giant Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Squads, breathtaking flowers by Miri, our ‘Press Wall’ for guests during the drinks reception, dancefloor injuries, Jake being thrown into the air more times than we could count, that ‘Vanity Fair’ shot, embarrassing old videos, and even a trip to the traditional British PUB on our recommendation. We wanted to make Jake’s preparation shots about as British as possible, so a pint on The Strand seemed an apt way of doing so!
Having not spent a huge amount of time with the gorgeous Millie and Jake before the big day, we weren’t too sure what to expect from this wedding, apart from that it would be utterly spectacular. What we found was a crowd from London and a huge crowd from LA who pretty much came over to these shores to teach us all how to party. It was NON STOP. Even ‘The Glue’ Toastmaster Jamie Paskin found himself dancing on stage, it was difficult not to get swept away in such an electric atmosphere.
We loved the planning stages of this amazing day, both with Amy from TOTEM and also with Daniel, the Father of The Bride who turned into ‘wedding planner extraordinaire’ and was simply a total mensch towards our team on the day. It was also a pleasure as always to be with the talented team from Imaginarium Cinematography who will make a stunning movie of the day.
A little message (hint) for the LA crowd… we travel all over the world for our clients. Come and get us, we would LOVE to come to LA. There were so many incredible moments with an enigmatic and fun-loving Bride and Groom at the centre of it all. The morning after the wedding, totally deprived of sleep, Blake wrote a ‘Behind The Scenes’ account of the day. Here it is, adding a different perspective to the story…
BE: “I’ve received lots of requests to write more, to share more about my experiences, to add context. Many people want to know what happens behind the scenes whether that be professionally, emotionally or logistically.
So, it’s 09:00 the morning, the day after the night before. Here is a little ‘behind the scenes’ context from a sleep deprived photographer, I’m sure that tiredness will render this a series of thoughts rather than a flowing piece, but here goes…
This wedding was over a year in the planning, I was on-site at The Savoy at 10:15am and left at 02:45am. During that time I sat down for 8 minutes.
The first time I was booked to shoot a wedding at The Savoy I felt like it was the ‘holy grail’ as it is so iconic. It was one of those moments where I had to pinch myself. Walking into the Ballroom still takes my breath away. We were at a party nearby a couple of years ago, and once we left I took my wife for a walk to The Savoy as I wanted to show her the Ballroom. It was completely empty, so we walked into the middle of the room and had a dance in silence.
Yesterday I was the first person into the crew room and the last one out. We had a team of four photographers covering various elements including a ‘Step and Repeat’ board for guests. Our team brought 10 professional DSLR cameras, 22 lenses, three large studio lights, four smaller off-camera lights, three LED panels, 6 strobe lights, 12 light stands, a ladder and some cereal bars.
We shot a total of 23,000 images in around 13 hours of shooting, we will look at EVERY one of those individually and assess whether to include it in the final edit.
We knelt down on the floor, climbed ladders, then ran up and down stairs to capture as many special moments as possible, as beautifully as possible. I made a hugely detailed schedule which included a minute-by-minute breakdown, shot lists and behind the scenes instructions about the movement of equipment… but we were flexible enough to change plans wherever needed.
We sweated, we had our feet trodden on during the dancing, and we barely took a break. We loved every moment.
The photography went from formal to informal, indoors to outdoors, posed to candid, artificial lighting to natural light, calm to crazy, quiet to loud, individual portraits to large groups. It was a series of 1000 different photographic projects in one day.
Over the years of photographing private events, I’ve gotten to know and become friends with many others who find themselves at the same events, and it is always lovely to share these experiences with people whom I count as friends, whether they be musicians, videographers or toastmasters. You all know who you are.
I promised the Bride and Groom a selection of photos by the time they woke up, and delivered 25 edited images to them at 07:00 so they could wake up to these shots on their first day as a married couple. I’m still singing the songs played last night, from ‘Im Eshkakech’ the traditional Hebrew song, to DJ Luck and MC Neat’s version of Masterblaster. I’m mentally ‘buzzing’ but physically exhausted!
My feet hurt, my hands hurt, my back hurts. During the evening I walked to the side of the Ballroom for a moment to stretch my hands and arms, and found a videographer doing back stretches with a look of pain on his face.
It can be very demanding. It’s like doing a middle-class Tough Mudder whilst maintaining the demeanour of a Harrod’s shop assistant.
The words said by the Bride and her father to me as I left were so complimentary, so thoughtful and so kind. Melissa and Jake were so awesome, as were their friends and family. The whole crew room was buzzing as everyone talked about how amazing the crowd was! What a party.
These photos will stay with the families forever, and be passed down to future generations after us. They’re precious. They’re important.
The clients could have hired any photographer in the world, but chose myself and my team… and I’m forever grateful for the trust they placed in me and the important role I played in creating their legacy.”
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