A year and a half ago I was talking on the phone with my older sister, Chelsey, when she mentioned that her best friend Peter in England had just got engaged to his long-time boyfriend, Richard. Chelsey and her husband, Jeff, studied abroad in college where Jeff roomed with Peter and where all three of them immediately became lifelong friends. Since then, Peter and Richard have visited the states several times, Peter took Chelsey and Jeff on a surprise trip to Morocco, and Chelsey has spent Christmas with Peter's family once in England. Having met Peter during several of his U.S. visits, and knowing that he followed my photography, I told Chelsey (half way joking but mostly serious and hopeful) that I wondered if Peter would be interested in me photographing his wedding. I told her that if he paid for my travel fees that I wouldn't charge him my normal rates. Having never left the country before, I got off the phone imagining this actually happening. (Dream come true!) I was giddy at the idea of it, but didn't want to get too hopeful. Less than a week later I got an email from Peter. He didn't even address my offer as an option or something to discuss, instead he approached it as if it were already a done deal!
"I'm so excited about you coming over Hailey. Richard and I both absolutely love your photos and your offer to come over and shoot our ceremony is extremely kind of you. I've followed your blog and absolutely adore your work. Your photos are so different to anything else I've ever seen, particularly to UK wedding albums that are still quite traditional and classical. I remember seeing your work for the first time and thinking how amazing it would be to have you shoot our wedding (way before we were even engaged!) but that it would probably stay a pipe dream, so when Chelsey sent me an email saying that you'd offered to do this for us, I was so, so excited."
Peter went on to say that If I was coming over for the wedding I HAD to come over at least a week before so that he and Richard could show me around their country and do some traveling. Thus, my first European trip planning extravaganza began. For the next year and a half we emailed like crazy. The plan was to land in London where the guys would pick up Chelsey and I and slowly make our way north to Congleton, where Peter and Richard live and were getting married. After the wedding Chelsey and I made plans to fly to Paris for a few days before coming home. The trip totaled 2 weeks. Let me just say that if you're going to a new place, the best way to see it is with locals. So, in the comfort of their car and their families homes, these two Brits were the absolute best travel guides and trip companions a girl could of asked for. I can't thank Peter and Richard enough for taking time off of work and dedicating the week before their wedding to us. And a huge thanks to their families for inviting us into their homes and motor homes, cooking us meals, and for generally just being the nicest people I have ever met.
I've had a lot of friends and family wanting to see pictures from my trip, so I decided to do a series of blog posts with images from different days with short stories to go with them. I'll share the wedding photos soon too, so stay tuned!
These first images are from our first day off the plane in London. After being awake for nearly 24 hours, Chelsey and I each freshened up in the airport bathroom so that we didn't look so tired and smell so bad! Luckily, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. We had lunch and coffee at a cafe and did a flash tour of the town by car and walking. After London we drove to Winchestor to stay the night at a quaint little hotel. I ordered mussels and local (room temperature) beer at a local pub and went to bed! The streets were cobblestone and the air was cool and dewy. Sadly, I don't have pictures from this night. Often when I travel, I choose to leave my camera at the hotel and just enjoy myself.