I fell in love with this image as soon as I edited it. Photographed at a marquee wedding reception in West Somerset, it was a sunny day, with difficult light. The bride and groom portrait photography had just been completed after returning from the wedding ceremony at church, and guests were beginning to arrive, park their cars and greet each other as they made their way to the champagne reception being served outside the marquee.

Whilst there was plenty of open space to use to photograph the guests, there were distractions in the background such as the area used for parking, so I had to be careful to shoot only in certain directions, allowing for the hard sunlight as well. Added to that, as a documentary wedding photographer, it was important that these moments, these greetings, went uninterrupted, that they were pure and powerful in their moment.

Weddings are events which gather together families and friends who often haven’t seen each other for a long time. Added to that, ambience is naturally of celebration, of momentous things happening, the sense of a life changing moment. That’s why greetings at the wedding reception can be so powerful and so poignant, and why they should be captured as being just as important a moment in the wedding day as the exchanging of vows.

When you know that the gentleman being greeted in this shot is the father of the bride who has just seen his first daughter married, it becomes even more powerful in its context. I love the expression in the lady’s eyes, mirroring the gentle touch of a hand. I don’t need to see the father of the bride’s face in order to know what his expression would be, as her face speaks for both of them.

Remember, a wedding day is about everyone there (and often many who aren’t there, too). A thousand moments happen on a wedding day which are worthy of photographing, remembering, celebrating. That’s why a wedding day is such a beautiful thing.