Nothing Too Heavy - Kate and Katie's wedding at East Riddlesden Hall

Fragments – Nothing Too Heavy

March 29, 2018

Something magical happens in bridal prep.

We could talk here about watching someone become even more beautiful thanks to the talents of amazing make-up and hair stylists. We could mention that we watch our brides transform before our eyes as they put on that magical bridal gown they’ve been waiting months to wear.

We could talk about all that. But not this time.

This time I want to tell you how this story unfolded and how this image made me stop just for a second or two.

For most people, bridal prep means being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a busy wedding morning. Your dad forgetting his tie, your mum fussing around you like mother hen, the flower girls running amok and squealing excitedly, the best friends opening yet another bottle of prosecco and trying not to cry every time they remember that their best friends are getting married.

This is how most bridal prep works. It’s a crazy heady time but also my favourite time of the day. It’s when I get to know people a little more, when I learn how close my brides are to their mums, when I figure out which bridesmaid is the funniest.

It’s also the time when I am unguarded and more receptive to a myriad of the little things unfolding before my lens. The little squeeze from your mum as she walks by, a fleeting little smile across the room as dad pokes his head in the door. And the tiny little moments when it’s all becoming a little too overwhelming.

A little bit too heavy.

I get the feeling that bride Katie doesn’t wear too much make-up under normal circumstance. A little bit of mascara, a little bit of blush… nothing too major, nothing too brash. Nice.. natural… normal.  It’s what I prefer too. Too much make-up and I feel like an actor putting on a mask, pretending to be someone I’m not. And weddings can be a little like that. We put on a dress we don’t normally wear, we put on too much make-up because we’ve been told in a million magazines and blog posts that it’ll be better for the photographs… Well I’m going to tell you a secret…

What looks better in photographs is you being completely and utterly you. Make up or no make up.

Katie sat in the make-up chair and uttered the words “nothing too heavy”…

I could see a little uncertainty in the way she sat… almost like it was just a little too much right now. She and fiancee Katie had spent months planning this day. No… not months… years. And now it was time. And I could sense the nerves, the anticipation. All that hard work, all the saving, all the stress, and now it was finally here. She was about to marry her beautiful girlfriend and I could see all the hope and all the excitement in her body language.

And right now, she was worried that she wouldn’t look like ’herself’.

Nothing too heavy.

Sam Hawley, the MUA nodded and smiled and got to work.

Time passed and I saw Katie rub her hands together nervously, as she sat patiently while Sam expertly applied mascara and blush and fixing spray.

And then the moment arrived… and I held my breath… and pressed the shutter. A tiny fragment of a moment. A moment so fleeting, so tiny, it passed un-noticed to everyone but me.

Sam handed Katie a mirror…

There was a pause and then… a great big smile.

Nothing too heavy.


Head over here to read everything you need to know about the morning of your wedding.

Airedale Barn, East Riddlesden Hall wedding photographer, Yorkshire photography by Shelly Mantovani at Toast of Leeds.  If you’re having a barn wedding in the future at East Riddlseden Hall or elsewhere in Yorkshire, get in touch by visiting my photography website at or you can find me on TwitterFacebook Instagram or Pinterest.  I photograph weddings across the UK in tipis, barns, country houses , iconic hotels, Industrial warehouses, town halls and cool city boozers . For more information and to check availability, contact me now.

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