So – what does a wedding photographer think it takes to make a wedding beautiful?
Or something else? Something less tangible?
I have known Cas (or ‘Spankey’, for reasons now forgotten) for a long, long time.
Cas is one of the ‘us’ – a close knit gang of folks who live and work and farm in the villages around Althorp. Cas is a farmer. And a neighbour. And a friend.
I have known Cas for more than quarter of a century.
I have known him since the days when the boys all had hair.
When the summers really were longer and hotter. When these Boys of Summer disappeared each year like migrating swallows – harvests here finished and harvests on the other side of the world beckoning.
I have known Cas since the days before digital cameras.
When memories arrived in the post, 6×4 slightly grainy images taken on old film cameras.
Memories now slightly scratched, and stored in dog-eared albums
I have known Cas since the days of New Year racing . When hours were stolen out of busy lives to lovingly prepare clapped out old motors to chase each other around unsuspecting farmers frozen winter fields
Since the days when the winters were prettier. And whiter.
When – having finished winter feeding – ‘Brilliant Ideas’ would be devised.
‘Brilliant Ideas’ – like tying Ginge to the back of a truck and going ‘ski-ing’ down the Althorp road.
Yes – I have known Cas from a time before Health and Safety was invented.
Cas is very much one of the ‘us’.
And I like the fact there is an ‘us’. In these days when people are obsessed with counting friends – when they log on to Facebook and revel in the fact they have 100’s of them – we sometimes loose sight of the fact that it is not thefriends we can count but the ones we can count on that matter.
And Cas would certainly be the latter.
Cas is the man who finds you sobbing – not in a beautiful, Hollywood starlet kind of a way, but more in a mascara dripping off the end of a snotty nose kind of a way – that your life has spectacularly fallen to bits and the final insult is that you now find yourself sleeping on Ginge and Marks floor.
(The FLOOR! At Ginge and Marks!! The local bachelor pad in those days! Life – or so I thought – could not get worse!).
Whilst you are snottily sobbing because you haven’t even got a bed, let alone a house – this is the man who is unfazed. Two hours later he is to be seen bimbling his way back through the village, the bed he has fetched for you balanced precariously on the roof of his car, peering through the bottom 6 inches of windscreen as the unfettered mattress gradually makes it’s unrestrained descent onto the bonnet.
Cas is the man who ruins his own ski-ing holiday to stay with you on the nursery slopes trying to teach you to ski.
And for those of you who don’t know me very well that very loud, rushing sound that you just heard was the collective gasp of horror from those who do.
No one in their right mind would try and teach me to ski.
To say I have all the grace and coordination of Bambi on ice would be kind. Think more Bambi on ice after someone has laced his drinking water with two bottles of Bombay Sapphire and you would probably be somewhere closer.
Couple this with my legendary patience when I realise I can’t do something ‘first time’ and my equally legendary ability to listen to instructions and to do as I am told.
And this is all after you have dragged me, the girl who does not do heights – kicking and screaming – onto a ski-lift
And yet Cas – kind and patient to the end – still came to rescue his prodigy when she – having totally disregarded everything that he had attempted to teach her – had a complete hissy fit on the top of a mountain and abandoned her skis declaring that she ‘was going to walk’.
(If you have never tried this…..don’t. Is is deceptively difficult and you will make a complete spectacle of yourself. Trust me)
He subsequently skied back down, with his student standing on his skis, patiently explaining all the way down that he really couldn’t go any slower as she peppered the mountainside with expletives, clinging to him for dear life.
And despite all of this we are still friends.
And that is because this man is kind, and honest, and gentle, and genuine. The kind of man who would always ‘look out’ for you. A man who – in more than 25 years – I have never known whinge, or moan, or complain about another human being.
When life has dealt Cas lemons he has simply sliced them up, dropped them in a jug of gin, and invited us all to the Cas-Bar.
This is the sort of man that my Nan would have called ‘a good soul’.
And a Good Soul needs a good Soulmate.
And so – like a breath of fresh air- she suddenly bounded into all our lives – beautiful, blonde and bubbly.
The ‘Girl from Bath’. The respected teacher. The (gulp) Oxford Graduate with a degree in Religious Anthropology.
The girl with the radiant smile and the ready laugh .
Into the ‘us’ bounded Hannah.
But the perfect match of two beautiful souls is something special.
‘A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks
When we feel safe enough to open the locks our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are
We can be loved for who we are and not who we are pretending to be’
These two do not pretend.
You just know that they have each found ‘that one person’ and that, from here on in, they will both be ‘safe in their own paradise’
They have found their soulmates.
‘The one who makes life come to life’
And THAT is what a wedding photographer thinks makes a wedding beautiful.