Gemma + Tony booked me to photograph their Hope Street Hotel wedding over 2 years ago. When they got in touch and told me about their wedding I knew I had to meet them, even though their wedding coincided with my birthday. From the second I met them I knew we were going to get on. We chatted for hours and I knew that I would be gutted if I didn’t het to photograph their wedding. Thankfully they did and we messaged regularly in the 2 years running up to the wedding. By the time we met for their pre wedding meeting it was just like going out for a drink with old friends.
The Hope Street Hotel is one of the leading boutique hotels in Liverpool’s Georgian quarter. It is independent and individual, much like Gemma + Tony! It’s also slap bang in the middle of the city’s two cathedrals which you get there most fantastic views of from the roof of the Hope Street Hotel. This was where Gemma + Tony decided to have their first look and it was the moment incredible thing to witness let alone capture. It was so sincere, heartfelt and emotion and I felt extremely humbled to have photographed it for them.
What I love the most about these two is that they are just an open book. They don’t care about what everyone else does, they do what they want to do. This made for an absolutely amazing wedding! Gemma didn’t want to wear a standard wedding dress so had the most exquisite green dress custom made and she looked absolutely stunning. Two of the most important parts of their day were the wedding cake they had been dreaming of for 18 months, so much so, that very specific instructions were give to Hope Street to put half of the middle tier in their room for a midnight feast! They weren’t interested in “cutting the cake” and just took a fork to it as soon as they saw it!
The next most important thing about their day was pizza! Gemma had not eaten her beloved pizza in 14 months and so we planned a visit to American Pizza Slice before their evening guests arrived. Not your standard wedding photography and I absolutely loved it!
These two are just the most perfectly suited couple. They love Harry Potter and each wore the others house socks. Gemma had arranged for Tony’s favourite song “you’ve got the touch” from the 1980’s transformer film to be played as soon as they’d said their vows even though she hates it. His reaction was priceless! When we first met Gemma was adamant that I wouldn’t be able to get pictures of them as they mess around all the time trying everything to get the other to laugh. I knew just from seeing them together that I’d be able to photograph them just as they were and it would be absolutely perfect, and I was right.
These two have not had an easy few years with Gemma receiving a diagnosis of MS. In her speech she said when she was first diagnosed she told Tony that he was free to walk away from her and she’d still love him but that she would understand. He responded with “fuck off will you, what’s for tea?!” This pretty much sums them up. They laugh, they joke, they play fight but the love that they have for each other is immeasurable. You can feel it. Something that I will never, ever, forget is the first look they did before their wedding ceremony on the roof of the Hope Street Hotel. This is the first time I had ever photographed a couple meeting in private before they got married. It was the most emotional and moving experience. It was truly humbling being there to photograph such a special moment. When Gemma saw a sneak peek of Tony stood waiting for her, not realising that she was just around the corner, she sent me this message.
“Right I’m going to be soppy now (which doesn’t happen often). I saw the picture of Tony on your Instagram and I was immediately taken back to seeing him standing there. In that moment I saw him, so many things went through my head and not one of them was a regret because it had all lead up to us both being here. Here was the perfect man who is kind, caring, gorgeous and can make me laugh like no one else and he was waiting for me. The man in that photo has held me when I cried so much I couldn’t breath because I was worried my life would end at 26, he told me I was beautiful when I lost all my hair, he always pushed me when I wanted to give up and on several occasions he’s made me laugh so hard I’ve farted (true story). Some people might look at that photo and appreciate how perfect and beautiful it is but in that photo I remember how excited I was to see the man who gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning when I felt like I couldn’t carry one. That photo will always remind me of how much I adore that man and how I wouldn’t change a single thing in my life as it brought us together on that roof. Seeing that photo made me so happy I could burst and I’ll be honest I cried. You did that. Your perfect work brought back every single thing back to me I thought while I was standing there and for that I can’t say thank you enough”
These two are one of the most solid partnerships I have come across. When we met up before their wedding I asked if there was anything they’d like me to do that we hadn’t discussed. They looked at each other and asked if I would take a photograph of them without Gemma’s wig that she has worn since her hair came out following her medical treatment. They didn’t want anything fancy, they just wanted one picture inside but just as a document for them as “this is us and how we are in our house together”. Gemma hasn’t been photographed, just as she is, so this was a massive thing for her. We were back on the roof of Hope Street and I asked if she’d like to do that shot. She did. I have never been so proud as a photographer and a friend. Showing vulnerability is showing huge strength of character and Gemma has it in abundance. I have never seen her look so beautiful. You are perfect, just as you are.
Gemma, you are a legend. You have married a legend in Tony. In a few years you going to have legend babies (who will have a fabulous Harry Potter babygrow from their Aunty Rachel!). To say it has been a privilege getting to know you is an understatement and shooting your wedding was a career highlight for me. Thank you for trusting me implicitly and treating me like so much more than your photographer. And massive thanks for my birthday cake!!! Bloody love you two xx
P.S Massive shout out for Aisie at the Hope Street Hotel for knowing Tony is a huge Liverpool fan and as the team were staying there the night before the wedding got Jurgen Klopp to sign their guest book!
Venue : Hope Street Hotel
Bride and Bridesmaid Dresses : Handmade by Thirteen Fashion
Hair : Hair by Natalie Hogg
Make Up : Uptown Funk
Nails : Melissa Clare’s Nail and Beauty
Gemma’s Hair Piece : Truffle + Podge
Flowers : Flower Barn
Cake : Elizabeth Harris Cakes
Macarons : The Little Macaron Shop
Balloons : Stephanie’s
Rabid Feminist Pin : Veronica Dearly
Confetti : Adamapple
Pizza : American Pizza Slice
Videographers : Big Bear