The only thing better than listening to a couple gush about how happy they are with their wedding film is hearing how they discovered their filmmaker in the first place! After this couple was married in a small ceremony in Scotland, they watched a video of their wedding that had been taken on a phone and instantly wished someone had been there to record the whole event! When they later decided to have a larger celebration and ceremony in Florida, they knew they wanted to capture the magic and found the perfect cinematographer for the job – Anesha. As the bride said, “She was also already visualizing and planning as we spoke. As writers, we knew that she was ‘storyboarding’ the way we would. There was no doubt from that meeting that there could be anyone else for us.” Watch Irene and John’s wedding by Unashamed Imaging, then read about how these two wrote the way to each other’s heart.
So you and John met in a writing group? Tell us more about your love story – online and off!
When I first started speaking to John in 2007 I was at a dark place in my life. As I often have at difficult times in my life I retreated into my writing and was working on a novel. My best friend Jacqueline was my ‘proof reader’ and I had begun spending about two nights a week at her house. During a point in time where I was struggling with a section of my novel, Jacqueline noticed that there was a site where budding writers made a form of ‘graphic story’ using The Sims as the artwork. I decided to try a short story using this as a break from my serious writing.
John was one of the writers on the site and was working on very funny, rather naughty superhero saga called ‘The Mod Squad’. One night when I was stuck with how to do something in the game to get the characters in position for a ‘photo shoot’, Jac realised John was online and PM’d him to see if he could help. He passed on the info to solve my problem and he and Jacqueline went on chatting. When I had finished what I was working on, I went to observe their typed chat. Jac and I squeezed into her computer corner and I chimed in on the conversation but still in her account, both of us typing in different colours. We alternated who was speaking for nearly two hours and it was obvious he had NO idea he was talking to two people. We were doubled up with laughter at his confusion as to our changes in tone and conversation content. She was flirting outrageously and I was discussing writing plots and ideas for his story. Finally, we took mercy on him and admitted he was talking to two people.
John and I started bouncing ideas for our respective stories off of each other and ended up co-writing parts of each other’s work. We spoke every day on the phone and on Skype and eventually decided that we would meet to see if what we felt was a fantasy like our writing or if there really was something there. Well, as we are now married, I believe you know the answer to that! Our romantic relationship online began towards the end of 2012 and we met for the first time in person in October 2013.
It’s amazing that you designed your own wedding shoes! Can you walk us through that process?
The reason I decided to ‘bling’ my shoes came from a joking competitiveness between Jacqueline and I. When I got the ballgown wedding dress (which SHE pulled for me. I was looking for a more ‘grown up’ gown and would not have chosen the one she picked, but she was right and I loved it) she said she wanted a ballgown too. She was not being entirely serious but I knew she would love one so that’s what I bought her. I need to point out here that in Scotland it is the Bride or her father that buys the bridesmaids’ gowns. We ended up having a lot of banter about bigger petticoats, longer cloaks, blingier necklaces and who was actually the star of the show. I had chosen my shoes when we found her silver (with diamante) ones. So I decided the bride needed bling on her shoes. Jac and I spent about five hours with those first shoes painstakingly gluing on little pearl and rhinestone flowers all over the whole shoe. The ones you see were much easier. Just diamante on the toes.
How did you find your wedding videographer and what made you choose them?
I will be honest, I had not really been that interested in a video of my wedding at the time of my Scottish Wedding. However, my Team Leader John McStay videoed the actual ceremony on his phone and I loved it. It was short because of the limitations of a phone and did not capture the whole event. I wished I had given someone my video camera and decided I wanted the Florida ceremony on video. I looked at the work of several photographers in the Florida area and had it down to a short list of two, both women. Once again, I do need to be honest. After our meeting with the other photographer we thought that we had found the one and that our meeting with Anesha was a courtesy. We did not see how she could better the other photographer. However, she wowed us. Her calm professional manner combined with a genuine interest in us. It is hard to describe the difference. The other photographer told us what she would do, the kind of photographs she could take, really liked some of our own ideas and would certainly have done a good job. Anesha seemed to know that she would not have been on our list if we had not been happy with what we saw on her site. Her interview was about US. Who were WE. What sort of things did we like, how had we met, who were out wedding party, special factors of the wedding. She was also already visualizing and planning as we spoke. As writers, we knew that she was ‘storyboarding’ the way we would. There was no doubt from that meeting that there could be anyone else for us.
What was the most unexpected thing about your wedding day?
What could have been a negative turned into a positive and a lovely surprise. There are two Crystal Ballrooms on the one road, the Casselberry one and the Altamonte one. This confused the limo driver. He was to drop my brother off at the venue before bringing my son to our Uncle’s house and taking the bridesmaids to the ballroom before returning to get my son and myself. He went to the wrong one. Luckily my son had been to the venue before and was able to point out that there should be a lake. The mix up meant that the driver did not have time for two separate journeys and Kris and I had to be in the car with them. Someone asked for music and Kris and I demanded Metallica which the driver provided and obviously Kris and I sang along. Singing together to Metallica, Linkin Park and Puddle of Mudd was a thing my son and I always did when we used to travel to work together. I had been stressed by the fact that he had turned up with his kilt socks and plaid on incorrectly and had been nipping at him. The minute we started singing all of that was forgotten and I was reminded of what a great young man my son is.
What was your favorite part of your wedding journey?
I would say that I LOVED planning every part of both of the weddings. I would go so far as to say I wished that I could clone me, so that one of me could enjoy the getting married part and being with my husband through the process, with the other me actually making sure that everything was in place and done the way I wanted it. I really loved sourcing everything I needed, searching the internet and finding everything I needed. I LOVED making our ‘mini me’ cake toppers. But I think the high point was when after over a year of searching for dresses for my junior bridesmaid and flower girl and always felling that they were not quite right, I found the purple pageant dresses the girls wore on the day. The dresses were such a great match for the adult gowns and ‘little girl’ dresses without being too babyish for Angie. My delight at finding them was amplified by their reactions when they tried them on, especially watching Angie spinning around and exclaiming that it was ‘so poufy’. Her delight made the fact that they cost about £30 more than the adult ones worthwhile.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for future brides?
You can work with the planner, the venue and the vendors. You can sort out the progression down the aisle and the music and cues for the ceremony and all of that should run smoothly. (Should. Things can throw timelines off). But one thing I learned is that you really need to have a meeting, either in person or on Skype or something like that, with your full wedding party to discuss the timeline for the day leading up to departure for the ceremony. Tell them when they need to be in their dresses, when the limo will arrive, that sort of thing. My maids thought that they had more time for eating, sitting by the pool etc than they did and were running a bit late getting into gowns and things. I had thought the planner would keep the house events to time but this didn’t seem to be part of her remit so I really think that a talk with your maids and groomsmen about when they need to be where is a really good idea. And remember on the day everything takes just that bit longer than you think. I’d also say that if a family member offers to help them and it is something you know they would do well, accept that help.
Anything else our viewers should know?
I would say a couple of things here. The first is that vendors deal with a lot of clients and if they have specifically agreed to something at the initial meeting get them to put it in writing and in your contract, because what they will send you is a standard contract and you have no recourse if they lose what notes on what you initially discussed. The other thing I would say is remember that this day is about you, your spouse and the love that brought you to this place and day and remember to enjoy that to the full. Obviously you want all of your friends and family to have a great day and you want great pictures, video and memories, but make sure that your love and your pleasure in the day are there for your photographer to be able to record and your friends and family to be able to share with you.