Gift of a Wedding - Natasha & Oscar

I was tagged in a facebook post from Gift of a Wedding who were needing suppliers for a wedding they were putting together for a bride with terminal cancer. I immediately knew this is something I would love to be able to help on, so sent the charity an email offering to donate my services with a link to my website, plus my blog which documented my own brush with cancer.

The facebook thread exploded with hundreds of replies, and I didn’t expect to hear anything more of it, but a couple of days later I received an email from Patricia accepting my offer! I was of course very pleased, but also slightly apprehensive not really knowing what to expect. I had a brief email exchange with Natasha introducing myself and we arranged to meet up in a couple of months just before the wedding.

The day I was schedule to meet Natasha & Oscar didn’t quite go to plan. The day before Natasha was rushed into hospital to have emergency brain surgery, and the wedding now very much in the balance. A week later Patricia from gift of a wedding emailed me to say that the wedding had been postponed due to Natashas health. My heart sank.

But a couple of weeks later, I had another email from Patricia with a new date for the wedding, and that date was less than two weeks away! Luckily and thankfully I was available, but a mad rush to replace some of the original volunteers who were unable to make the revised date was on! Social media was pebble dashed with requests for help, and BBC Radio Gloucestershire had Natasha live on the air the week before the wedding date to appeal for the final few bits of help they needed!

I had scheduled a Skype call with Natasha & Oscar minutes after the Radio Glos interview, and my apprehension about what to expect was immediately removed during this chat with them both. They were like every other excited couple planning a wedding! We had a great chat about what their plans for the day were, and I explained a bit more about what I do. I finished the call more relaxed and very excited for what would unarguably be the most important wedding I have shot.

I arrived to a buzzing bridal suit. Natasha having her hair done by Kassie Knott, and her 5 bridesmaids in various stages of prep including make up by Carly Williams. Champagne on the go and a real air of excitement! Then with just 45 minutes until the ceremony time, Oscar realised he had left his suit trousers at home (more than a 45 minute round trip away!), but after about half an hour of panic the wonderful Moises from Tortworth Court came to the rescue having found a brand new hospitality staff suit in exactly Oscars size!

With that issue resolved, the wedding could go ahead, but not until Natasha was ready, and with such a special group of bridesmaids, I really wanted to get all of their reactions to seeing each other for the first time all dolled up, resulting in some of my favourite reveal pics I have taken. Natashas stunning dress is by Devlin Bridal Couture.

It’s difficult to not have a beautiful ceremony in the Tortworth court orangery, but the work done by Siobhan and team at The Wedding & Event Works was remarkable, as was the incredible cake by The Cuppa Cakery.

I have said in the past how I can often get a lump in my through when a bride or groom makes their entrance, part of the reason is I am bit soft and feel the emotion in a moment, but the other reasons is I have the best seat in the house. Nobody gets a better view of the drama unfolding, and through my lens I see even more detail as I’m perfectly zoomed into the story I’m telling.

Natasha’s entrance was one such incredible moment. After the ceremony Patricia said to me “were you crying?!?!”, to which I replied simply “balled my eyes out!”. At least I know I can definitely continue working whilst having a mini breakdown.

Helen Roberts did a great job as celebrant, along with beautiful readings and music from friends made for a powerful and joyful ceremony.

After the confetti and a few group shots, we dived straight into some quite shots of Natasha & Oscar together as the sun was out, so made sense to grab it while we can!

The drinks reception gave chance for everyone to catch up before the wedding breakfast back in the orangery.

As you can imagine, the speeches were particularly powerful. But not perhaps for the reason you would expect. It is easy to overplay how nice a particular couple are, but not with Natasha & Oscar. Humble, incredibly likeable, and full of positive energy, are just some of my feelings for these guys, but even that doesn’t do them justice. So with these two as the subject, the speeches were entertaining, heartfelt and emotional. A pleasure to experience.

As many of you have probably seen, I like to take advantage of the extra darkness at winter weddings, with some special night portraits! This wedding was no different, using Tortworth Courts lit up tunnel to good use!

Then something a little bit special, as provided a stunning fireworks display, with audio and lighting supplied by An incredible climax to a day I will never forget.

Since the wedding, Natasha & Oscar have been in touch with the most wonderful feedback, which means the world to me.

I owe a huge thank you to Patricia and the team at Gift of a Wedding for choosing me to capture the day. I also want to take the opportunity to credit as many of the other suppliers as possible below. Remember all these guys donated their time and services for Natasha & Oscar, so if you are in need of what they do, you know they have a good heart!

What an absolutely incredible human being you are

Lee Hawley Photography - Natasha & Oscar - Tortworth Court - Wedding Photographer -543

Lee, where to begin? What an absolutely incredible human being you are. We cannot even begin to thank you enough for what you did for us by donating your services, and how you made our wedding day that extra bit special.

Having a photographer at our wedding was such an important part for us, and knew the memories held in the photos would last a lifetime. The photos you produced were like nothing we had ever seen before, with such natural emotion being captured in each shot. The photos caught the emotion, detail and mood of the wedding day, and having such a personal feel to them.

Your style was exactly what we were looking for, being candid and natural, but capturing small details and heart-felt expression. Your communication throughout the entire wedding process has been impeccable, and shows how much you care about what you do and about us. The printed photos are gorgeous and the photo box is such a lovely gesture.

We must apologise again for not contacting you on the day you came to visit, and thank you for being so understanding.

It is people like yourself which make us realise how kind, selfless and generous people can really be, and how complete strangers can be so willing to help others out of sheer kindness. Our wedding day was perfect, and it was thanks to you. We wouldn’t have wanted any other wedding photographer. Thank you, from the absolute bottom of our hearts.

Thanks a million,

Natasha & Oscar

The work Gift of a Wedding do is remarkable, and without them, days like this wouldn’t be possible. It also wouldn’t be possible without the suppliers, and the wedding comunity at large. From the sheer quantity of suppliers volunteering in the first instance, through to the lovely communications I continue have with those suppliers who contributed on the day, the industry has shown why we all do what we do. These aren’t big companies sending a staff member for the day that won’t really cost them much either. These are often “one man bands” or small businesses giving their time and costs supplying cakes, flowers, decor, suits, dresses, hair, makeup, music and fireworks because th