Author Archive

Awesome Ways To Entertain Your Wedding Guests

Posted on: November 12th, 2021

I could, of course, sit here all day and talk about the virtues of hiring an acoustic guitarist and singer such as myself to come and perform for you on your big day (!) but I want to dedicate this post to talk about some of my industry colleagues, suppliers that I would recommend very highly. While I would encourage you to book me for your ceremony, reception drinks, wedding breakfast or first dance, I’m also a huge fan of these other professionals – I guarantee that they’ll do a great job for you. Find yourself a wedding entertainer below…

Greg-Camburn

Greg Camburn

Nick-Brown

Nick Brown

Zoe-Alexandria

Zoe Alexandria

Greg Camburn

Greg is a phenomenal saxophone player and a great guy! You can’t beat a bit of sax, and Greg is accustomed to playing along with a DJ to really get the evening celebrations started. He has also played for drinks receptions and ceremonies. Some sure fire wedding entertainment for your ears and dancing feet.

Lovelight Entertainment

Dean and his team are exceptional DJs that pull out all of the stops to ensure you have a great night. Their rigs are exceptional, using premium Martin Audio speakers. They will be sure to rock your reception (using plenty of decibels). You can’t go wrong with them, whether you are looking for wedding entertainment local to you, or in London. A DJ really is an essential part of a wedding day, even if you are combining it with wedding entertainment bands or solo singers. Lovelight offer the ideal solution when it comes to DJ entertainment for weddings.

Zoe Alexandria

Zoe is simply fantastic. She is able to take requests on the spot and performs a huge selection of music on piano. She has played in Radio 1’s Live Lounge before and it is easy to see why. A ‘luxury wedding pianist with a twist’ as she puts it. If you are stuck for wedding entertainment ideas, look Zoe up.

Nick Brown

Bring a touch of magic to proceedings with Nick Brown. Nick is a close magic specialist and is vastly experienced in entertaining guests. Magic and music go wonderfully side by side you know (deliberate hint). Nick is great for the daytime or evening wedding entertainment. If you are short of wedding entertainment ideas, he’s a solid bet.

There are a whole range of different options to choose from to keep your guests entertained, no matter where you are in the UK. Along with the formalities and the food, entertainment is one of the most memorable parts of any wedding day, so having some surprises up your sleeve can really pay off. Live music and magic are a sure fire way to have your guests talking about your wedding for many months to come. Wedding entertainment hire can be a complicated business; I hope the names above offer you a good place to begin.

Have any questions? Please fill out my contact form – it would be great to hear from you.

15 Ed Sheeran Love Songs You Need At Your Wedding

Posted on: November 11th, 2021

I often ask couples what sort of music they like, and while it can be difficult to think of a specific song on the spot, it’s easier to pinpoint your favourite artist. Naturally Ed Sheeran is a firm favourite of many of my clients. The Suffolk-born sensation has had countless hits, and many of them are very well-suited to weddings. Here are some ideas:

15 Ed Sheeran Love Songs
15 Ed Sheeran Love Songs
15 Ed Sheeran Love Songs

1. Perfect

The song that is *perfect* as a first dance or aisle anthem. Ed at his most romantic, singing with gusto about the woman he loves.

2. Thinking Out Loud

I regard this as the OG of wedding songs, along with A Thousand Years by Christina Perri and All Of Me by John Legend. Beautiful lyrics, expertly written.

3. Tenerife Sea

“You look so wonderful in your dress.” It doesn’t get much more ‘wedding’ than that! A really endearing choice for one of the key parts of your day.

4. Lego House

One of Ed’s earliest and finest compositions, from his debut album +. This is very well suited to a solo acoustic guitar and vocal performer.

5. Shape Of You

It’s not just about the soppy tunes at a wedding – we need something to dance to! This song is one of the most streamed of all time and is sure to get your guests moving.

6. Castle On The Hill

Released at the same time as Shape Of You, Castle On The Hill tells of Ed’s upbringing but the big singalong chorus can make it a sure fire hit at a wedding.

7. Cold Coffee

One of Ed’s lesser known songs, composed with Amy Wadge (Amy also co-wrote Thinking Out Loud). Simple and effective, with a lovely melody.

8. Sing

Another dance floor banger. Ed really made the most of working with Pharell Williams, who has brought out all the liveliness with this song.

9. The A Team

Not necessarily wedding fodder but it’s an Ed Sheeran classic, winning the Ivor Novello award for songwriting. One of those ‘haven’t heard it for ages’ iconic pieces of music.

10. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You

This song is great fun, with the potential for rapping and looping. It’s one of Ed’s oldest songs and brought him international fame and recognition. See how many lyrics you can remember.

11. I See Fire

Made famous in The Hobbit movie franchise, this is a soft and lilting song that is surprisingly well-known.

12. Photograph

*Don’t mention the lawsuit*. This is archetypal Ed Sheeran writing at its finest, with a great singalong falsetto chorus.

13. Don’t

A slightly aggy song, but a good one all the same! Ed showing his feisty side. This song can easily be mixed with others into a funky mashup.

14. Galway Girl

Not my favourite Sheeran tune, but plenty of people seem to like it! He goes back to his Irish roots to deliver this feelgood jig.

15. How Would You Feel (Paean)

Channelling the Van Morrison vibes, this is an enchanting piece of songwriting that works brilliantly as a first dance.

Ed more or less has something to fit every mood, for every part of your big day. Go and check him out! And if you’d like to hear a clip of any one of these songs, get in touch with me here.

A Cornwall Wedding: Gareth & Millie at Trevenna

Posted on: August 31st, 2021

Road trip! It was a real pleasure to sing at Gareth and Millie’s wedding in the heart of rural Cornwall. The journey down had to be completed the night before, and I found an excellent place to stay at a B&B in Devon. The sun came out as soon as I arrived at Trevenna, and it promised to be a gorgeous day.

wedding singers cornwall

Guests were really in the swing of things come the evening.

cornwall wedding singers

A blazing hot day in the perfect setting.

My first set was pre-ceremony, as guests gathered for a drink. It’s a slightly unusual time for me to play but the couple wanted to make the most of having me there and it was good fun. Almost the entire wedding party had travelled from the Bishop’s Stortford region in Hertfordshire, so all guests were keen to get the celebrations underway as soon as possible.

Once the ceremony had taken place on the picturesque lawn, I played my second set for afternoon reception drinks. Trevenna was becoming a real suntrap by now, and guests spread themselves out on the grass.

The sprawling fields of Cornwall.

The sprawling fields of Cornwall.

Guests made the most of the lawn.

Guests made the most of the lawn.

The wedding breakfast was beautifully laid out.

The wedding breakfast was beautifully laid out.

Expert photographer Tom Halliday was on hand to secure the snaps.

Expert photographer Tom Halliday was on hand to secure the snaps.

Before long it was time to head in for the wedding breakfast. I played a progressively livelier set, including some new songs such as Head and Heart by Joel Corry and MNEK, and Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles.

Once speeches were complete, guests had another opportunity to venture outside and enjoy some cocktails.

My final duty was to play a party set to follow the first dance. Naïve by The Kooks has been popular of late, as has a mashup of Shape Of You / No Diggity / No Scrubs. There was just enough time to squeeze in a beer before packing up. Another terrific day and I got to see a new part of the English countryside. Win-win.

A Hertfordshire Wedding: Danni & Stuart at Knebworth Barns

Posted on: October 21st, 2019

There really are some spectacular venues in the south east of the UK, and one such setting is Knebworth House & Barns in Herts. Autumn had set in, providing the perfect backdrop for the wedding of Danni and Stuart.

The couple had booked me to perform during their ceremony, afternoon reception drinks and wedding breakfast. Danni walked down the aisle while I sang Amazed by Lonestar, then I performed I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You by Elvis Presley and Have I Told You Lately by Van Morrison during the signing of the register. The newly-married pair then exited the ceremony to Stand By Me by Ben E. King. All of these songs are classic suggestions that were a pleasure to play.

Knebworth Barns offers plenty of good opportunities for photos outside, so Danni and Stuart headed out with their guests to achieve those key shots. Once they returned to the barn, I performed a chilled out set as reception drinks and canapés were served. Before long, it was time to head in for the wedding breakfast.

Sometimes my shirts clash quite spectacularly with the carpet!

Sometimes my shirts clash quite spectacularly with the carpet!

This was an ideal, cost autumn wedding.

This was an ideal, cost autumn wedding.

Knebworth House is a stunning sight.

Knebworth House is a stunning sight.

Danni & Stuart walked in to the wedding breakfast while I sang Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison. The couple chose to have speeches at the beginning of the meal rather than the end. Once the father of the bride, the groom and the best man had done their bit, I played an increasingly lively set during the meal, culminating in It Must Be Love by Madness and Faith by George Michael.

A rustic barn hosted the drinks reception.A rustic barn hosted the drinks reception.

Stuart and Danni chose some great songs.Stuart and Danni chose some great songs.

The couple had their names up in lights, complemented by a delicious cake.The couple had their names up in lights, complemented by a delicious cake.

As the evening guests drifted in, it was time to really get the party started, and my work was done!

Are you searching for an acoustic guitarist and wedding singer to add some sparkle to your big day in Hertfordshire? Contact me here.

A Kent Wedding: Sarah & Sam at Preston Court

Posted on: September 11th, 2019

It’s not often that I venture to Kent for a wedding, but what a pleasure this was, and what a venue! Preston Court is a sprawling estate located not far from Canterbury and features a lovely main house, outside barns and a quaint courtyard. The owner of the venue is also a steam train enthusiast, and has an impressive collection of locomotives spread around the place.

For Sarah and Sam, I was booked to play during the wedding ceremony and the afternoon reception drinks. The ceremony took place on a little island surrounded by water and accessed via a white bridge. Guests were seated on the other side of the water, while the bridal party, including those who were performing readings, made their way onto the island. The couple chose A Thousand Years by Christina Perri for the procession, Perfect by Ed Sheeran and The One by Kodaline for the signing of the register, and Crashed The Wedding by Busted for their exit. The Busted choice was a particularly interesting one – not often that I play Busted at a wedding but it was good fun!

A picturesque setting for a wedding.

The ceremony took place on a small island.

Reception drinks then took place, initially on the lawn. I remained on the island and played a few more songs. Then the rain started to fall, so the wedding party decided to move onto the courtyard. There was plenty of entertainment to enjoy in that area, including a carousel, hoopla and various other fairground attractions. It’s a good idea to have plenty for guests to do during this time, keeping them occupied before the wedding breakfast starts. I decided to join guests in the courtyard and play some songs acoustically and unamplified. Requests included Frank Turner and Foo Fighters, another two artists that rarely get an outing at weddings. Very refreshing.

There was plenty to keep guests busy in the courtyard during reception drinks.

Guests prepare to throw confetti.

The sun came out for Sam and Sarah.

Are you planning a wedding in the south east of the UK? Thinking about booking live music for the big day? Contact me here.

A Destination Wedding: Megan & Nick in Cavtat, near Dubrovnik, Croatia

Posted on: August 29th, 2019

I’ve already been fortunate to perform at several weddings in Italy, and now I was invited to travel to Croatia to play for Megan and Nick. Cavtat, on the Adriatic Coast, is a stunning town and the setting of Hotel Croatia could not have been more beautiful.

The couple had booked me for the full day, including ceremony, afternoon drinks reception, wedding breakfast and first dance. Guests gathered for the ceremony in all manner of formal and informal attire, and the groomsmen were wearing full black tie. Fair play to them – they looked great but must’ve been boiling!

Before long the ceremony was underway, and was conducted in Croatian as well as English. The couple chose

The picturesque wedding ceremony.

I played instrumental music as guests took their seats.

The town of Cavtat is a real gem.

I sang as Megan and Nick exited the ceremony.

The wedding breakfast took place by the water.

My friend Cass was a great help on this trip!

The best man delivers his speech.

Nick and Megan prepare to cut the cake.

The lovely couple and myself, complete with strapped up leg : /

May I Have This Dance by Meadowlark for Megan to walk down the aisle to, When We Were Young by Adele and Lego House by Ed Sheeran for the signing of the register, and This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole for their exit.

The drinks reception and canapés then got under way, with the local beer tasting especially great in the heat! Local DJ Petar had set up speakers all around the hotel complex, while I brought my guitar on the flight with me along with mic and leads. Having equipment at the venue and a native speaker on hand to coordinate it is so helpful. Added to this, I am still on crutches at the moment after breaking my ankle, so having my friend Cass there to assist was also hugely appreciated.

A spectacular cake cutting.

Croatian DJ Petar got the party started.

After the drinks were over, we headed down by the waterside for the wedding breakfast. The sun was starting to set and the tables were laid out wonderfully. I played a more lively set during the meal, including my Craig David medley. One of the young guests came up to the mic and we sang A Thousand Years together, which was very sweet.

Next up were the speeches, and then we moved to the middle level of the hotel for the final part of the evening: the cake cutting, first dance and party. Megan and Nick chose Can’t See Straight by Jamie Lawson as their first dance, and then Petar rounded off the evening with the dance floor crammed full. Nick surprised Megan with a saxophonist, another lovely moment.

All in all it was an absolute pleasure to sing at this wedding. Are you getting married abroad? Looking for live music? Contact me here.

A Cambridgeshire Wedding: Jasmine & Allan at Bassmead Manor Barns, St. Neots

Posted on: August 21st, 2019

It was my first time travelling to Bassmead Manor Barns in Cambridgeshire, and what a venue! It has a very rustic feel but is also contemporary. Jasmine and Allan chose well.

I was booked to perform during the ceremony, afternoon drinks reception / canapés, during the wedding breakfast and for the first dance. Jasmine had chosen an instrumental version of You Are The Reason by Calum Scott to walk down the aisle to. I then played Someone Like You by Van Morrison and Lego House by Ed Sheeran while the register was signed. The newly-married couple exited the ceremony room to Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher by Jackie Wilson, a great exit song choice, as I discussed in my recent choosing ceremony music post.

The ceremony was held in a beautiful setting.

It is always a pleasure to play for such a delightful couple as Jasmine and Allan.

The photographer took a shot of the whole wedding party as they gathered in the courtyard.

The wedding party then broke out into the courtyard for photos, while drinks and other refreshments were served. It was a nice bright day with a lovely blue sky, making the photographer’s job that bit easier. I played a set inside the barn during this time as friends and family drifted around and caught up with each other.

Before long it was time to sit down for the wedding breakfast in the barn, which had been very tastefully decorated. I played a wide range of songs during this time, progressing into more lively material as the day wore on. This worked out well, as some of the guests started singing and jigging
along.

Wedding breakfast setup, featuring a fabulous cake.

Time to cut the cake!

My final duty was to perform the first dance, which followed the cake cutting. Jasmine and Allan chose I Won’t Let You Go by James Morrison as their first dance, another strong selection. Other couples were then invited to join them on the dance floor as the DJ got the evening under way.

Are you looking for a live singer for your ceremony, drinks reception, meal or first dance? Tell me about your plans by getting in touch here.

How to Choose Music for Your Wedding Ceremony

Posted on: August 8th, 2019

Your wedding day is one that you will never forget, and it all begins with the ceremony. There are two main types of wedding ceremony: one that takes place in a church, and one that does not – often referred to as a civil ceremony.

A civil ceremony is conducted by a registrar or celebrant, and there will be a second registrar present to ensure that the official documents are signed properly and the marriage is properly recorded. This ceremony generally includes a declaration that both parties are free to marry, an exchange of vows and rings, and sometimes readings by guests. Over the years I have heard very formal and sincere readings that cite everything from classical poetry to Winnie The Pooh.

A church ceremony tends to be longer than a civil ceremony, and may also include readings by the priest who is officiating, as well as the singing of hymns.

Weather permitting, it is lovely to be able to have your ceremony outside, as long as the location has been duly sanctioned and licensed for marriages.

Celebrants are brilliant at putting the couple at ease and injecting humour into proceedings.

So how does music fit in to all this? In my time performing as a wedding singer and acoustic guitarist I have played during many marriage ceremonies. The most common times to have live music during a wedding ceremony are for the entrance of the bride, the signing of the register and for the exit of the newly-married couple. I generally advise that couples select four songs: one for the entrance of the bride, two for the signing of the register and one for exit.

It can be quite nerve-wracking to tie the knot, but the joy afterwards is clear to see.

A wedding ring is an unbroken circle and symbolises never-ending love.

There are endless options to choose from when picking songs, and it very much depends on the individual taste of the couple. Emotional and stirring music is very effective for the entrance of the bridal party, with popular choices being ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri and ‘Tenerife Sea’ by Ed Sheeran. Sometimes an instrumental with no singing can be effective, but often songs are chosen for the power of their lyrics (Tenerife Sea’s opening is ‘You look so wonderful in your dress / I love your hair like that’). Live music really is the best choice for this special moment, and tends to get a few tears rolling!

Although some prefer the grandeur of a church wedding, civil ceremonies can be just as spectacular.

I am often asked whether I can sing as guests take their seats before the bride appears. Even though it can be effective to do this, I advise that it is best to save the singing until the bride arrives, as singing earlier than this will lessen the impact of the entrance. Not to mention the fact that guests have only just arrived and will be more concerned with greeting friends and family and finding a seat than they are about being entertained at such an early stage.

Songs during the signing of the register work very well. Guests can be left wondering what to do with themselves while the signing takes place, as no photos are permitted until the marriage certificate has been finalised. Live music is therefore an excellent option, and I have performed all manner of laid-back tunes during this time. Popular choices include ‘Only Love’ by Ben Howard, ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson and ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran.

Once the signing of the register has concluded and guests have had a chance to take photos, the person responsible for conducting the ceremony will ask guests to stand, before announcing the newly-married couple for the first time. The couple, followed by flower girls, page boys, bridesmaids and groomsman, will then exit the ceremony room, followed by all guests.

Live music is the ideal way to conclude the ceremony, usually with a nice upbeat number. ‘Happy’ by Pharell, ‘Best Of My Love’ by The Emotions and ‘Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher’ by Jackie Wilson are good examples. The classic is of course ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder.

And then it’s on to the drinks reception and the rest of the day!

Thinking about live acoustic music for your wedding? Looking for a wedding singer? Contact me here.

A London Wedding: Kim & Will at Greenwich Yacht Club

Posted on: August 7th, 2019

It’s always nice getting out to see new places and playing at new locations. Visiting Greenwich Yacht Club on the south bank of the river Thames for the wedding of Kim and Will was a lovely day out! The couple wanted acoustic guitar music for their ceremony, drinks reception and first dance, plus an additional evening set to keep guests entertained.

Kim chose ‘Grow Old With Me’ by Tom Odell to walk down the aisle to, and ‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars to walk back down as a newly-married couple. The clubhouse of the yacht club provided the perfect setting for the ceremony; plenty of natural light and splashes of colour. It was a very informal, relaxed setting and guests really enjoyed chilling out in the sunshine during the afternoon.

After the ceremony, I moved outside onto the decking to play some more songs while guests had canapés and reception drinks. Old school songs such as ‘All You Need Is Love’ by The Beatles and ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’ by The Police went down particularly well. To fit with the informal vibe of the day, there wasn’t a traditional sit down meal as such, but a BBQ instead. The sun was out and it is always pleasant to be beside the water; we had the O2 on one side of us and the Thames Barrier on the other.

It was a very chilled out yet moving ceremony.

It was a very chilled out yet moving ceremony.

The sun setting on the Thames is a beautiful sight.

The sun setting on the Thames is a beautiful sight.

It was a nice bright sunny day out on the decking.

It was a nice bright sunny day out on the decking.

O2 and the London skyline beautifully illuminated.

O2 and the London skyline beautifully illuminated.

For the evening we moved to a separate building suspended above the water. The couple chose ‘You Are The Best Thing’ by Ray Lamontagne as their first dance, followed by ‘Candy’ by Paolo Nutini. The guests seemed to really enjoy the evening set, especially the younger children, who were dancing away. A friendly bunch, and it was a joy to sing for them.

Are you planning a wedding in London or the south east of the UK? Are you looking for an acoustic guitarist and singer to provide entertainment and add that special something? Contact me here.

Life behind the lens: The ultimate guide to wedding photography from camera extraordinaire Tom Halliday

Posted on: March 7th, 2019

Wedding photos are timeless, precious memories that endure years after your big day is over. But how do you make sure that your wedding pictures are as perfect as possible? What do you have to bear in mind when selecting a photographer? In this post, I speak to Tom Halliday. Tom founded Tom Halliday Photography in 2010 and he is now one of the UK’s most established and highly regarded shooters, putting his unique spin on couples’ special moments with a combination of talent and charisma…

How did you become interested in photography?

When I was at school I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was a sponsored skateboarder and we were meant to be going on tour, but I broke my arm badly, so instead of skating I picked up my camera. My dad had bought it for my 16th birthday: a Pentax MZ-90 with digital film. As soon as I started taking photos I thought to myself, this is awesome! I chose a photographic elective on my art course, but there wasn’t a proper teacher. I was taking photos and manipulating them on PhotoShop.

What were your early efforts like?

I wasn’t as adept with film as I should have been, because no one taught me. I had a half decent point-and-shoot digital so I would use that, or shoot on film, scan and manipulate. I then studied photography at uni, as the lecturers saw the passion and creativity behind my paintings, despite my lack of technical knowledge. I was given extra classes to get up to speed. I maintained my focus on skateboarding photography at the time, because the sport was my life and I loved photographing it.

Tom pioneered the night shot by staying later than many photographers.

Capturing intimate close-ups that are both candid and a little posed is the aim.

A dramatic sky can transform the photo into a work of art.

How did you branch into the commercial side of things?

I did work experience for a venture portraits company. One day the photographer I was shadowing didn’t turn up for work, which gave me my chance. A young family arrived who were not expected to spend much money, but they liked my photos so much that they spent a lot, so I was offered a job! I then dropped out of uni.

Did you have to balance your day job with your passion?

Having the studio job as my first job was really cool because I shot family portraits during the day and I learned a lot about lighting, studio work and sales. And then in the off-time in the evening I would be out skating, taking photos and putting what I had learned in the studio to use. I took as many shots as I could and was out and about all the time in order to keep developing. By the time I was 19 I had got to know the technical aspects. You never master it and you are always getting better, but my technique had become quite solid.

Describe how a booking with a wedding couple works…

My initial contact with a couple could be at a wedding fair or by email. If it is at a wedding fair, they get to meet me face-to-face straight away. I like this, people can have a pre-conceived idea of what a wedding photographer looks and acts like, and I don’t think I am that. The classic vision is of an older guy with white hair and a beige leather jacket, an old school vibe. Then they come along and see me with the moustache and tattoos – the ‘chubby hipster’ –and it is not what they expect! Then they see the work, and I like to think that my work is a little bit different to your average wedding photos. So this first meeting allows the couple to get a feel for me and what I do.

How important is the relationship between photographer and couple?

When I invite the couple to the studio to meet me, it is not so much about coming to view albums and so on, it is about coming to meet me and start the relationship. It is essential that you feel comfortable around the photographer on your wedding day – there’s nothing worse than not knowing what they are like as a person beforehand. No-one wants to be standing there really stiff, so they need to make sure that they gel with their photographer from the outset, which leads to good photos. As i have got busier and busier, it does get harder to arrange to meet in person, but it is something I am always determined to arrange, even via Skype. Setting up as much face time as possible is key, to form that connection and build rapport. If we can do this, then by the time I walk in on the day the couple already feels as though I am part of the wedding party.

A stunning venue and dress makes for a beautiful composition

A stunning venue and dress makes for a beautiful composition.

Some couples feel a lot more relaxed when the landscape picture is taken from far back

Some couples feel a lot more relaxed when the landscape picture is taken from far back.

Editing adds drama. Same-sex marriages are emotional and moving occasions

Marriages are emotional and moving occasions, and the right edit can add extra drama.

What is your philosophy on pricing?

Back at the venture portrait place I was taught how to hard sell, but it was horrible. That is not me at all. Now I am my own boss, I have the philosophy that people can upgrade their package and have the add-ons, but if they don’t, that’s also cool. For me it is about creating a piece of art that looks great on your wall, not making the most money I can. I love what I do, and I am an artist first and foremost.

What advice would you give to couples about their wedding photos?

My biggest piece of advice is not to take it all too seriously! If you are too serious, you don’t get good photos. It is important to relax and have fun with it. No-one likes having their photo taken, but I have some silly tricks to get people to smile and laugh. A lot of my clients love how natural-looking my photos are, even though they are posed to a certain point. I put couples in a great spot for the light and location but then get them to say something or do something that will cause a reaction. Sometimes I am just chatting to them and look like I have my camera down by my side, and then as soon as they laugh – bang! I’ll get the shot.

How do you break down potential awkwardness?

I’ll split the drinks reception into sections. So the first 20 minutes are candids of everyone having a good time. Everyone has just got their first free drink of the day and the couple have just been married, so everyone is super happy. After that we can do the family formals and I always like to have a list for this that I can stick to, to keep the system flowing. Group photos are not the most exciting part of the day so it is important to keep these moving. After that I’ll take the bride and groom round for a few shots, returning in time for the dinner call, and then I’m off to do the detailed shots of the room.

Is it important for you to be subtle, unnoticed even?

I pride myself on the fact that people don’t know I’m there when I am doing the candid shots, and I am determined not to stick out as the photographer in the black polo with my logo on it. I never want to be in anyone’s face. A lot of couples will say that they hate being in front of the camera. But I am a bit of a chameleon and can blend to people’s personalities. Sometimes even the toughest client can break into an unexpected grin! The face-to-face meetings really help with that.

What are your favourite / signature shots?

For a long time the most popular shot I took was a night time one with the stars visible. When I first started, there were not many photographers staying late and doing night photos, so I pushed that heavily and used my studio and skateboard experience. However, nowadays my ‘Same Day Edits’ are very popular too. For every wedding, during the meal I edit photos and put them on my Facebook on a slide show, collecting together all the day photos. I try and do something different for every wedding. I shoot at quite a few weddings at the same places, so I never want the first wedding I shoot at a particular venue to be the same as the last one. Side by side, they need to look distinct. My classic shot is a wide landscape with a tiny bride and groom. Especially for couples who don’t like having their photos taken, they like the fact that I am that far back; it puts them at ease. Sometimes I start off with that shot, going really wide and far back, and then bring it in closer for some more intimate ones, throwing some creativity in there each time.

Finding the right location and lighting can really make an image ‘pop’.

Finding the right location and lighting can really make an image ‘pop’.

Pre-wedding shoots are an ever-popular option where the couple and photographer can get used to working with each other.

Pre-wedding shoots are an ever-popular option where the couple and photographer can get used to working with each other.

The groomsmen often like to have some fun in front of the camera.

The groomsmen often like to have some fun in front of the camera.

How do you make best use of venues?

The locations around Herts, Essex and so on are awesome. I really like natural scenes and the country house setting is perfect for that, as are forests and lakes. It always looks so pretty, which makes my job that bit easier. Getting a dramatic sky into the shot can make it look like a piece of artwork. Equally, I like to make something urban and gritty sometimes, if the couple are looking for that. In the south east of the UK there is such a variety of venues, and they always look after you really well too; the staff are lovely. You end up working with friends, people you have met along the way, forming a nice little community.

Take us through your wedding day preparations…

There are a lot! I need to go through a questionnaire and schedule with the couple, to make sure everything is locked down and everybody knows where they are going. In 2016 I shot 98 weddings, and it is important not to get blasé and to ensure that you check everything before heading out. On one occasion my son decided to remove my SD cards from my bag. Fortunately I allowed myself enough time to buy some more near the venue. Since then I have taken nothing for granted, it gave me a jolt! I make sure the night before that everything is charged, all my lenses are clean, and even that my strap is in there. If I’m taking my selfie booth with me, I make sure that is ready to go. I’m looking to make the process as efficient as possible. It’s a wedding – nothing can go wrong!

What was one of your most unusual weddings?

I once shot for a couple who were really into their heavy rock. All the bridesmaids had skull masks and the groom had a skull cane. It was a bit of a rave, and I dyed my moustache pink for the occasion! It was featured in Rock N Roll Bridge magazine. I also did a Back To The Future wedding. They had the camper van – the Buick Special – and the groom’s suit matched the blue and orange colour scheme. I got one of the groomsman to run around with a smoke grenade and ended up making a DVD cover of that for them which got featured on a few blogs. It was great fun.

Picking your moment is crucial, a skill that Tom has honed over years of experience.

What are the most important things to remember when booking?

Make sure your photographer has public liability insurance. If something goes wrong and they don’t have that, you’re in trouble. Also, ask them about their backup system, be it the backup for themselves, the equipment or data. I am a serial backer-upper! By the time it gets to the meal I have four copies of all the images. I then back up to a hard drive, a Cloud, and place in a safe. Nothing gets written over until the images are delivered. There is too much at stake with wedding photos. With the network of photographers we have in the region, we can communicate with each other and find cover if there is a problem with illness or something else on the day. Such reassurance is crucial.

See more of Tom’s work by visiting https://www.tomhalliday.com/. Follow him on Instagram @tomhphoto.