Claire and Dave | Wedfest | Camp Bestival | Lulworth Castle | 30th July 2017



Claire and Dave met several years before they actually  ‘got together’ as it were. Dave has an awesome personality and it is easy to see why one would fall for the chap. But in his own words, Claire found it hard to why no-one has punched him more often. But on Claire’s birthday, she fell in love with that awesome personality and they became each other’s better halves.

They’d always been to Camp Bestival for many years and always taken their daughter Lillie with them. One day during a Hangover picnic with Dave’s parents at Lulworth, the week after the 2016 Festival, they chatted about how much fun they had the week before. Lillie said that they should get married in the inflatable church…they ran with it, looked into it (you can’t, but you can in the courtyard) and then everything fell into place… They even saw a poster on their way out saying ‘Are you the sort of person that gets married at a festival? And so it began…

After speaking enthusiastically for over an hour about what my plans were for their wedfest (a wedfest is a wedding held at a festival), Claire and Dave had no choice but to book me due to the overload of my passion for photography. This was not only to be my first wedfest, it was actually going to be my first ever festival that I have ever been to. The rumours of Nikos at Glastonbury are not true, what is true is that I visit the town of Glastobury, and not the festival. For your information, the Glastonbury festival is not actually held in Glastonbury, but in a village called Pilton, or at least near it.

So after 2 wet weddings completed back to back, Grafton Manor in Bromsgrove and Glastonbury, my third wedding in a row was held at the Lulworth Estate in Dorset. Now this was a wedding I could have done with an assistant. After parking my car and staggering through the muddy fields I approached the ticket office to show them my tickets. On arrival, my camera strap  broke and I was thinking that this was going to be one of those days. I remember a chap in the office asking me if I was the photographer for the wedding at the castle. When I confirmed that I was the official photographer, he said to me that his grand daughter who was working in the ticket office, wanted some hints or tips on photography and that if I could spare five minutes. “Five minutes?”, I said. “She can start right now!”, I replied. Charlotte is sixteen years old and is studying A-level photography and was not expecting this huge opportunity to go live at a real wedding. So after a quick tutorial and some insight on her style, I armed Charlotte with an Olympus OMD EM1 with pretty much unlimited lenses. She did not disappoint. She has an amazing eye, and although different in vision to my work, she kept a very similar style which I embraced. You can see Charlotte’s work further down the journal.

This was a wedding where I felt I was one of the guests and had the freedom to not only explore and deliver my style of photography embraced by the couple, but was given the freedom to experience the festival. I usually have a hotel room or I am at the brides abode to feel the vibe of the wedding using the shoes, the dress and accessories, but at Bestival, I have Right Said Fred, Leftfield, veggie vans and a stunning castle to create the mood.

The celebrant/registrar were a one of a kind. It was not about how they do things, it was about what the bride and groom wanted. This is a very rare and almost unheard of. Usually it is a case of them saying that I must stay in one place or give me limitations. I will always believe that it is a shame as the bride and groom have paid me to capture their wedding day memories and I am sorry to say but the ceremony is part of their wedding day and in my eyes, it is a shame when this freedom for me to move is limited. But the good news that I was free to roam and also given this freedom was my assistant Charlotte.

After the ceremony and celebration drinks, Claire, David and all their guests were escorted by the Rajasthan massive with a unique parade up the castle. Then we hit Jimmy’s for awesome iced coffee and then ventured through the squidgy mud to Jingo, where there were girls who knew how to glitter up ones face. It was a very special wedding and unlike glitter, this wedding was more like a tattoo, permanent, and that is how I felt my friendship became with this awesome couple. Claire and Dave have asked me (if the price is right) to return a year later for the anniversary to capture more memories. My answer was this… “I would love to come back next year as a friend with a camera”…

By Charlotte Harper