The One With The Ashes

I first met Debbie & Becca at a networking event at Brandy Hole in Hullbridge – I only agreed to go because a) it was in the evening (sod morning socialising!) and b) because Becca said I could hide behind the bar with her! I have a massive hate for networking events but this one was good, it was chilled, you could just wander around and talk to people whilst drinking gin. Perfect!
(Scroll down to the bottom for a random, absurd story about how Debbie, Becca & I scattered some random ashes!)

When they asked me to photograph their wedding I was quite honoured – they’re in the industry – they know other people! But little ol’ me! <3
After a few date and venue changes they settled on a simple affair at Colchester Town Hall, and after-party at their local community centre.
We chatted about photos, had a wander around Colchester and decided on getting ready early and getting into Colchester for pictures around the Castle and Town Hall prior to the wedding – this works for me as I can focus on getting some lovely couple portraits without worrying about other things like guests and group shots! And worked for D&B because they could spend some time chilling together (with me, obviously) before catching up with family.

Ceremony Venue: Colchester Town Hall
Party Venue: Peldon & Wigboroughs Community Hall
Becca Outfit: Needle & Thread
Debs Outfit: New Look, Shein, Roman
Debs Shoes: Toms
Bridesmaids: ChiChi
Jewellery: Carat, Swarovski
Rings: Michael Franks
Hair: Beckie Taylor @ Claire Francis, Mersea
Make-Up: Stephanie Farthing Beauty
Flowers: Flora & Daisy, Colchester
Venue Drabes: Fabricate Decor, Brighton
Car: Lexden Executive Car Hire
Live Stream: E-There
Cake: Buttercups, Mersea
DJ: Mitch @ MDM Entertainment
Catering: S&K Hospitality
Letters & Barrels – Island Inflatables

It’s quite long winded and I didn’t want this story to take over the wedding blog, but also HAD to write this down!

Rewind 8 or so years when I was photographing at Stacey’s Auctioneers. They do house clearances and the lovely Neil had found some ashes – destined for the tip – not too sure what to do with them. I decided I had to adopt these ashes, they came with a name card, with some brief details about the lady inside. Gladys. So I googled Gladys. She was, for a rather long period of time, director of Brandy Hole Yacht Club. Brilliant, I thought, I can scatter her ashes on the river at Hullbridge – what a lovely way to ‘set her free’!
Brandy Hole was now under new ownership and operating as a restaurant and wedding venue. I started writing an email to Brandy Hole but as I was writing it, I suddenly realised how absurd and mental I sounded, and left that email in my drafts for years before finally deleting it. I also researched ownership of ashes, and I think, as a solicitor was dealing with the estate, technically the ashes belonged to whomever was the benefactor of the estate – this would be who had ordered the house clearance from Stacey’s. Complicated! So, worried that I was going to get chased by a solicitor for ‘wrongly disposing of ashes’, I chickened out. Gladys stayed in the back office at Stacey’s for a few years – overseeing our antics at work (one guy was a bit scared of her, so if I was in earlier than him I’d put her on his desk!)

Four years later and I’m chatting to Debbie & Becca at the networking event at Brandy Hole – figured they were just as normal and down to earth as I am (read: mad). Mentioned the ashes and Debbie lit up – “Yes, yes let’s scatter the ashes – we can go on the jetty!”
I came back a few months later, for a wedding open day, picture me with my camera bag on one side and Gladys shoved in my handbag on the other. Debbie opened up the jetty and we scattered Gladys on the river on a beautiful sunny day – finally!

I’m definitely a sentimental sod, I’ve kept Gladys’ name-card from her urn as it’s one of those things that makes me smile. I’m not sure what my thoughts are on what happens after you die but I like to think, if there is such things as spirits or whatever, then at least she is a free now. And at very least – I’ve got some good friends in Debbie & Becca now because of it <3