There’s magic in many of the events and sessions I’m a part of, but on the 5th of August, I got to take part in one of my favourites to date!
The event was a vow renewal for Tonimarie & Dan – who I’m lucky enough to call friends as well as clients. Having done a version of this in their wedding years ago, there appeared to be less stress that I’m used to seeing and more dedication to love, each other and family.
It was a location event – but unlike you find in destination weddings and long-haul family reunions, this was no more than a few hours drive to the coast of Dorset and yet presented the same views and experience that couples travel hundreds and even thousands of miles to find!
Tonimarie and her girls got ready in the venue before beginning their walk to the ceremony. Unlike most brides routes to their partner, this didn’t include squashing into a limousine or a procession through a busy hotel lobby; this bride and her closest friends, along with her two daughters got to stroll down the beach in the sunshine of a beautiful day.
They arrived at the blessing location shortly before sunset, meeting with their friends, family and the groom with his groomsmen. The idyllic location was perfect for Diana to conduct their ceremony.
Diana Saxby of Grace the Day has written and officiated at many vow renewal ceremonies, on the south coast and in the Cotswolds, and as a recommended celebrant for the FJB group of hotels on the Sandbanks Peninsula, she was contacted by Tonimarie and Dan, asking if she was available to carry out their ceremony actually in the sea on Sandbanks beach at sunset. As part of her service, Diana met the couple to discuss their plans including walking the beaches to decide on the best spot, and was always available to give them advice about the practicalities of outdoor ceremonies. Since starting her business in 2010, the contingency plans to go inside the hotels in case of bad weather have not had to be used, and Diana has carried out several full wedding blessing ceremonies, some with over 100 guests, others small and intimate, as well as vow renewal ceremonies, on the beach and outside at the FJB hotels. Diana can advise on obtaining permission from Poole Borough Council for larger gatherings, and her own insurance covers her for public liability and professional indemnity.
All the advance discussions, writing of the personal, unique script and consideration of the exact time the sun will set and where, as well as when the tide will be just right, ensures the ceremony will go as smoothly as possible, but Diana is always prepared with essential items including sunscreen and insect repellent, and is dressed for the occasion – even when the couple requires her to roll up her trouser legs and stand barefoot in the sea, as the waves lap and the sun sets behind them!
After the vows were exchanged, sentiments shared and more than a few happy tears dried, I took the couple to some of the beautiful areas around Sandbanks, Dorset
to capture the emotion and romance of the day. The photos we took started with framing the couple against the immense scenery, then posing them to capture their intimacy and dynamic, then utilising a few tricks I’ve used and developed over the years to relax them and ask a few questions which draw out the emotion and happiness they’re feeling. This lets us capture the intimate emotions which aren’t always so close to the surface after posing and positioning. These photos easily depict the love between Tonimarie and Dan.
One of the last parts of the day was Toni’s Trash The Dress session. These can take a hundred different forms depending on the woman and the dress. For Tonimarie, this meant an opportunity to capture some fantastic images without concern for the dress:
It was my absolute pleasure to be a part of their day, both as their photographer but also their friend. I can only hope to be part of more events like it in the future!