Our second Tiny Weddings Fair will be held on 10th March 2019 at the Birmingham REP Theatre. There will be several returning wedding experts returning to the fair, but one of the first new exhibitors to sign up was Stephen, wedding photographer with SWJ Photography. Let’s allow him to introduce himself:
Please give a brief overview of who you are and what you do.
Hello!! I’m Stephen Williams (or Williams-Jones depending if you’re reading this before or after 21st February). I’m a wedding photographer focusing on natural, honest photography with a bit of a creative edge. I love a wheat field and a good window, but I mostly love telling the story of a couple their way – no stock posing, no strict dos and don’ts. Just capturing the day as it happens and making sure that my couples are relaxed and having a good time because that’s when we get the best photographs.
I’m a former teacher (which means I’m crazy organised and quick at replying to messages) who took the plunge in 2015 to go it alone and start a business! I absolute adore my job, I meet and work with incredible couples and play a part in making them feel special on their most incredible day. I’m currently planning my own tiny wedding and am so excited about having the small, intimate day I am planning.
What do you love about small weddings?
I adore the relationships you can see on a small wedding day; when people really have the time to talk and spend quality time together. It also allows me to get to know everyone as well so they’re totally relaxed around me and feel comfortable to be themselves. I would love to photograph an elopement one day; the intimacy of an elopement is something that really appeals. Just two people wanting to cement their relationship and love for each other without the frills and pomp, just stripped back, simple and about them and who they are together.
How do you think the couples are different when working with a large wedding versus a tiny wedding?
The biggest difference between those planning a larger wedding compared to a smaller group is that, with larger weddings, the couple tend to be thinking about what will make other people happy. With a smaller wedding you’ve got more freedom to create the day that you want without the restrictions of having to ‘please’ a lot of other guests.
Do you feel there has been an increase in tiny weddings in the past few years or have you always worked with a lot of small wedding parties?
I have taken bookings for more and more smaller, more intimate weddings in the last year or so and have quite a few for 2019. I think a lot of people are now more conscious of budget as a main factor, but also they want to focus on the people who are most important to them (I know this is why my partner and I have planned our wedding the way we have) rather than inviting everyone they’ve ever met. I also think the freedom and flexibility that is available to couples when it comes to planning their wedding means there is so much more scope for just do what you want rather than having to stick to traditions which are now a little outdated.
If you could work on a tiny wedding anywhere in the world, any theme, any couple; where or what or whom would it be?
I don’t care who the couple are as long as we get on and have a laugh, but I have two dream destinations to do a wedding.
Firstly I would love to do a wedding in Central Park in New York, especially in the Shakespeare Gardens (I’m a massive Shakespeare geek). I’d love to capture that small, intimate nature of a tiny wedding in a big city and play with the contrast of big and small, intimate and scale as well as capturing the energy of the Big Apple.
Secondly, I’d love to capture a wedding day in Sweden. Either on the southern archipelago of Gothenburg, on an island such as Vrångö or in a forest overlooking a lake (hopefully with boats!). Mostly because I am just utterly in love with Sweden but they just have some absolutely wonderful traditions when it comes to a Swedish wedding (or bröllop) and if it was around midsummer with flower crowns galore and a feast of crayfish you just can’t go wrong!
What are the main differences in the way you do business when dealing with a couple planning a smaller wedding?
I treat every couple as an individual because they are. Every wedding is totally different and unique because as human beings we aren’t like anyone else and I think the best thing about the wedding industry at the moment is there is so much freedom and flexibility to do what you want.
With a couple planning a smaller wedding I usually spend more time getting to know them and offering a supportive presence so that on the day they feel more like there is a friend there. Someone who is there to support them and help the day run smoothly. Also it means they feel comfortable enough around me to be themselves and not be conscious of the cameras rather than, on a larger day, being able to get lost in the crowd to get those candid shots.
What makes you unique in the service you can offer a couple planning a smaller wedding?
Flexibility for me is the key to working well with a couple. Whilst I have two main packages for weddings, these are mostly a ‘best fit’ that suit what I get asked for. So from the moment the first contact is made I treat every couple as in individual catering to what they want from their day from tailoring a package based on what they are looking for right the way through to the presentation of the images.
I think my previous experience helps me to be insanely calm under pressure and capable of solving a situation quickly. This has come in handy quite frequently from sewing mothers of the bride into their dresses, fixing the brides hair on the go right the way through to performing first aid on the groom’s aunt. I’m a people pleaser, so the most important thing to me is that at the end of the day my clients are happy and have had the most incredible wedding day so I will move mountains to make sure they feel incredible and have a wonderful wedding day.
Also I have an emergency bag that Mary Poppins would be jealous of containing pretty much everything from heel protectors to spare hair grips; a first aid kit to white gaffer tape (which gets used more than you’d think!)
Follow our Facebook page for helpful and inspiring articles and information, and Stephen’s Facebook page for examples of his beautiful photos, and show your interest in our Facebook event to see updates. Event better, sign up to our mailing list to make sure that you get all our news. Follow the Tiny Weddings Fair on Instagram or SWJ Photography on Instagram for lovely photos and inspiration of small weddings, chat with us on Twitter or Stephen on Twitter and follow our posts on Pinterest.
Stephen can’t wait to chat to you at our second Tiny Weddings Fair at the Birmingham REP Theatre on 10th March 2019. We highly recommend that you buy yourself a ticket in advance to get your free goody bag, to be in with a chance of winning a raffle prize, and to get privilege admission to workshops and talks.