The night before I shoot a wedding is always a weird one for me. I will suffer from a mild case of anxiety, I will continually check and recheck my bags are packed correctly, I will check batteries are charged, probably no less than 30 times and every little bit of worry in my mind of what could possibly go wrong has a plan B,C and D. Barn Wedding Byron Bay.
6:00am, November 24th, As per usual I woke from an unsettled anxious sleep. The anxiety is not a bad anxiety, its more of an impatient urge to get things underway. The sun was beaming! first worry about bad weather, crossed off the list. Awesome. As per usual I checked my bags another 6 times before leaving the house, loaded up the car, combed my hair, threw a hand full of vitamins down my throat and jumped on the Pacific Highway en route to the Crabbes Creek, Byron Bay.
Crabbes Creek, is a cute, untouched little town just off the Highway about 15 minutes before Byron Bay. Ben and Ursula’s venue was a private piece of land about 2km inland from the main road, through fields, up hills, around rocky corners and through fairly dense bushland. My only directions, Look for the flags and head inland, you cant miss it!. Easy enough.
After what seemed like a never ending set of twists and turns, ups and downs, the bushland cleared and the landscape opened up to showcase a true master piece of private land. The property consists of 3 or 4 separate dams, a Farm House atop a hill , Private Guest House for the Bride and Groom, Oats the dog and of course, the hero of the day….The Barn.
When I arrived, the venue was like a busy little bee hive. I was first greeted by Oats the dog. A quick lick and a curious sniff was exchanged for a firm scratch behind the ears and a belly rub. I introduced myself to those who I had not yet met and began to take in what was unfolding around me. The guys, while enjoying a sneaky beer were having a light hit of golf in the lower paddock, Ben and Ursulas parents were making sure no blade of grass was out of place and the stylists were in full swing. I made my way up to the farm house where the girls were getting ready and enjoying a mandatory glass of bubbles. I felt welcome straight away, all the ladies involved made me feel really comfortable as Ursula welcomed me in with a slightly nervous but happy smile.
As time moved on, the Men were making their way over to Crabbes Creek Cottages for a quick freshen up and a few more cheeky ales to calm the nerves. Hanging out with these guys for the time that I did, was an enjoyable experience. Typical boy behaviour ensued and in true male form, the guys were ready in 5 minutes. It was time for a few photos with the lads before the ceremony. Having the privilege of being able to photograph such good spirited bunch of guys, made my job really enjoyable and easy for me to achieve the photos I wanted to present the Bride and Groom.
After hanging with the Guys for a about and hour and a half I made my way back to the farm house to see the girls putting the finishing touches on themselves and their dresses. When everyone was good to go, I began to photograph the girls doing what girls do best, chat and giggle. I much prefer to show anyone in a relaxed state of being rather then try to manipulate a group of people into random poses and forced photographs. Ursula and her bridesmaids made life easy and it seemed as though they forgot I was even there. Success.
As we began to wrap up photographing Ursula and the girls, the guests were flowing in thick and fast. There was a little nervous buzz in the air and the seated guests were breaking their necks to steal any glimpse of the bride they could get. Oats the dog watched on in approval and before we all knew it, Ursula was being accompanied by her father down the garden path towards an eager crowd and a waiting husband to be.
After the ceremony, I whisked the bridal party away for some group photos. There is not a lot I can say except, These were a great bunch of people to photograph. The photos speak for themselves. Everybody was having fun, smiling and you could tell how happy everybody was that Ben and Ursula were finally one.
Moving onwards, we get to my favourite part of any wedding day, the couples’ formal or not so formal portraits. I think I like this part of the day most because its when the couple in front of me start to realise that they are in fact now, husband and wife. The mix of emotions that are expressed through these photographs are really what make a couples wedding photos. Ben and Ursula, like through out the entire day, were great. During this time, it became clear to me that these two were not only husband and wife but best friends, which is kind of important these days.
After a good little photo session with Ben and Ursula, we were losing light and the guests were getting Hungry. As the guests and the bridal party took their seats inside what I could only describe as the Greatest Barn ever built…..ever, the magnitude of how great this structure was, became clear to me. Standing a good fifty metres away from the barn taking a breather, the fairy lights lit up, the sound of laughter was plentiful and the familiar clinking of glassware was in full swing. The barn was alive. The caterers put on a feast fit for a king. More meat than you could poke a stick at, canapés that had everyone’ mouth watering (mine included) more bread than a bakery and the desserts. I wont go into how good the dessert looked, but wowee!. As everyones bellies filled up, the speeches began. Humorous tales of Ben and Ursulas first meeting and Bens’ smoothes moves which sealed the deal had everybody, laughing, crying and wanting to know more.
It was about 9:30pm, the party was well and truly under way. The boys collars were a little looser and the band were half way through their set. It was about now I feel my job is done…I take a few moments to collect my thoughts and my gear, drink a bottle of water and tie my shoe lace, for some reason my left shoe lace always comes undone. I say my goodbyes to all those involved and make my way back through the windy, completely pitch black bush track to the pacific highway all the way to the blanket show. Goodnight.
A huge thank you goes out to the new Mr and Mrs Watts, I truly appreciate you guys having me there and wish you all the best, now and in the future.
Mitchell J Carlin- Wedding Photographer.