There are very few places in the world as beautiful as the Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat - Four Seasons on the French Riviera. Standing in the middle of the garden on the long alleyway leading from the back of the hotel to the road that leads to the pool you can hear the cigales (crickets) singing in the huge Mediterranean Pine trees. The air smells like seaside and pine and you cannot help but forget anything that has ever worried you!
This is the setting for a very stunning wedding I shot last fall. What a wedding it was! What is naturally a very lush location became even more enchanting with the touch of my clients, V & S. What is most striking is the color pallet that they opted for. Instead of the traditional pinks and white they decided to go for purples and silver metallics. Cool colors that jumped out against the deep greens of the trees and vegetation.
The details were incredible, and the couple really went all out especially in the floral arrangements. The white aisle led to an elevated platform where the couple spoke tenderly about their love for one another in front of a round arch of purple flowers. The arch reminded me of one of those pictures of a Japanese garden that has wisteria hanging everywhere. The crown jewel of the floral arrangements was a peacock sculpture in white roses and feathers to pay homage to V’s Indian heritage. In my opinion, the more unique and personalized a wedding is, the more authentic it feels. I loved the peacock and what it represented to the couple and the culture they wanted to pay homage to. In Hinduism the peacock represents patience, kindness, compassion and knowledge. All qualities that make for an amazing life spent as a couple.
Some of my favorite moments during the day are the quiet moments before the ceremony. There is a calm in the air that I would compare to the calm before the storm. Everyone is walking around, getting ready, drinking coffee talking. It’s a nice moment to wander around and take pictures of the location. Once everyone gets glammed it’s a perfect time to have everyone sit down and take a few informal shots. It’s also a good moment to get the bride to take a couple deep breaths before the ceremony. When you photograph a wedding, you are not just the photographer, you are a human being too and you want to contribute something positive to the atmosphere. Normally at this time bride can get a little nervous (normal) so it’s good to ask her to take a couple deep breaths and pose for some shots. It gives her something to focus on and a moment’s calm.
The ceremony was held in a garden on a private villa on the hotel property. The bridesmaid’s dresses were two different hues of pink which worked lovely with the color of the villa. Because so many of my clients come from abroad I very rarely have time to get to know them before the ceremony. Often times when I am shooting I am listening to their story for the first time during the ceremony. It’s not unlikely that you see me shed an occasional tear behind the camera. I am a sucker for romance.
After the ceremony I took more formal portraits of the couple and all their guests. Many times, couples don’t anticipate how long these more formal portraits take and to be honest it’s not the most fun time of day. It’s more of an obligation to your guests as a way to thank them and give them a chance to congratulate you. But yes, it can be tedious for the couple standing in one spot for a long time with a fixed smile on their face. That’s why I tell the couple to take their time and try to enjoy the moment. Share a few words with your guests and chit chat. This way you don’t feel like a robot. You can just imagine how a president feels at a state dinner when he has to be photographed with hundreds of guests.
One of my favorite moments is of course directly after the formal portraits where I get to steal the couple away for myself and take some portraits of them. This is really the couples first moment “alone”. Well, as alone as they are going to get during the wedding reception. It’s a touching moment and I try to stand back and give them space and privacy so I can capture some of their genuine interactions.
The reception continued with a cocktail hour. After the cocktail hour the guest were lead to the the Club Dauphin, the hotel’s swimming pool area, where their was an incredible table set up for them overflowing with the bride’s signature purple flowers. The couple had practiced a formal ball room dance for the enjoyment of their guests and the night ended in a bang, literally with a gigantic cake and firework show.
Congratulations again tot he happy couple.