A Very Happy 60th Anniversary – Clare, Suffolk – August 2021

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The Summer of 2021 is likely to be one of the busiest Summers I have had to date. With COVID restrictions lifting and everything going back ‘to normal’, I was delighted to be kept so busy by so many clients needing photography for such a wide range of shoots.

It was approaching one weekend and it looked like it was due to be a fairly quiet one when, all of a sudden, I received an email and text message enquiry:
”We are missing a photographer, is there any chance you could help us?”. This is heavily paraphrased, of course, but there was a real urgency in the enquiry. I was free in the morning on that day, so of course I took the booking.

So why the urgency? Had they just left it until the last minute? Sadly, no. The enquiry had come from the grand-daughter of a couple who were just about to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. A week or so prior to this, they had been due to have a vow renewal in Devon, with accommodation booked and paid for, along with a photographer. All as part of a package. When they had made their way to the venue, there was no record of the booking, and there was a film crew on site undertaking filming for a reality TV show. The family, including the grandparents, celebrating 60 years of marriage, had been scammed.

The idea of someone still doing that to people these days still upsets me. It is such a special occasion, why ruin it for good, honest people?

Anyway, I digress.

The next day rolled around and I set off to meet the client at their aunts home in the beautiful Suffolk village of Clare. A place that I had never been to before, but reminded me of somewhere you would see on the front of a box of sweets that you get on holiday, or on a postcard. Beautiful.

The family group were gathered in the beautiful garden of the aunts home, and it was there that I started to take photographs. These were mainly group photos, but some documentary style images as well. We used the ‘fairy-garden-like’ background to our advantage and found a nice spot to take the photos.

The family had been able to arrange for the vow renewal to take place in the local church, a short walk from the house. The church was stunning, a real shame about the scaffolding on the outside, but it really was a stunning piece of architecture. We were greeted by the vicar. I introduced myself as the photographer for the day, as I always do at these type of events, and I asked him if there was any restrictions on photography in the church. He simply replied “Just take some nice pictures”. What a decent guy.The family entered the church and sat at one end, close to the vicar and couple. I was able to capture the emotion in the families eyes as it progressed. There was a real sense of respect, happiness and relief, that this was finally able to go ahead.

After the proceedings in the church had come to an end, the family gathered for more photographs outside before moving to the local pub, where a room had been booked to continue the celebrations. I stayed with them for a little longer than booked, to give them maximum coverage.

I am always so thrilled to be asked to cover special events in families calendars, but this was something special. A really significant moment for the family, and after all they had been through to get to that moment, it was a pleasure and a privilege to be there with my camera to be their photographer.

About the author 

Chris Bedwell

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