Since moving to Scotland four years ago I’ve been very lucky to have the chance to explore the beauty of this country, all in the name of work. I’ve shot in some incredible wedding venues; ruined abbeys, cathedrals, castles and magnificent country houses. I’m frequently stunned by the scenery and find it hard to get where I’m supposed to be going because I just want to stop the car and stare. Never more so than during the first weekend of July when I set off on an adventure to Islay.
Ben and Susan’s wedding was one I had been very much looking forward to from the moment they’d asked me if I would be willing to travel to a Scottish island to photograph their day. I was positively hooked by the time Ben drew me a map of the island highlighting the church where they’d be getting married and the village hall they were planning to decorate. The more I got to know the warm and loving couple in the months leading up to their wedding, the more excited I got.
Driving through Argyll the day before the wedding felt a bit more like going on holiday than travelling for work. I caught the ‘party ferry’ from Kennacraig with many of the couple’s family and friends and arrived on Islay to be greeted by breathtaking blue-sky and wispy clouds. It was love at first sight.
The morning of the wedding dawned with thunder, lightening and rain blown horizontal by the wind. Watching the storm pass over the island from the comfort of a converted whisky distillery I was still struck by the sheer beauty of the place. I couldn’t think of a nicer place to get married.
Ben and Susan’s day was everything I imagined it would be. The couple got married in an intimate ceremony in the historic round church in Bowmore surrounded by their friends and family. After the service we nipped off to the immaculate gardens of the Bridgend Hotel for family photos and then we joined the couple’s guests at Portnahaven Village Hall which Ben and Susan had spent hours lovingly decorating. Bountiful flowers, Islay gin bottles filled with fairly lights, home-made lemonade and the couple’s own take on Kerplunk were all on offer.
By the time I’d been treated to time alone with Ben and Susan on a deserted beach I thought I’d reached photography-heaven. And yet there was more; spectacular speeches, a post-dinner wedding party walk to the harbour and a ceilidh to end all ceilidhs.
If I’m lucky enough to ever be asked to photograph a wedding on Islay again I’ll be off like a shot.