We were chatting with wedding photographer Emma Case recently about all the special weddings she has attended, and we wanted to share one of her stories with you today.
This is a wedding tale with a difference, as it is less about the beautiful wedding of Jen & Chris as a whole (which you can see here) and more about reactions to a particular photo. This photo, of the staircase is Jen's house, which Emma chose to present at the Folio tour.
Here is Emma's explanation as to why she chose it:
This image is from Jen and Chris' wedding in April... it's Jen's Nan's house which Jen and Chris now live in (and where Jen and all her bridesmaids got ready in the morning)
For some reason I just really love this picture. The stillness of the stairs... constantly there... so many events, babies' born... celebrations got ready for, weddings, funerals... so many different outfits and shoes passed over that amazing carpet... so much history... :)
Lots of people had a lot of nasty things to say about this photo in the wedding community, so Emma sent Jen an explanation of what was happening, here is a small extract from Jen's reply*:
The carpets although not to every persons taste & although worn & thread bare in some parts I have elected not to change. We love them. When I think about my childhood in this house so many memories relate to the carpet! As children my younger brother & I played hopscotch on the carpet pattern, we used to slide down the stairs on our bums (& then get told off), we used to roll on the floor in the hall with the dogs, we used to sprawl out on the front room floor & do jigsaws with Nana, we have had countless family photos in the living room – kids all lined up on the floor whilst adults sat on the sofa, there have been many Christmas trees with presents piled on the carpet underneath. Ironically my Nana remembers these things too, it’s her short term not long term memory she loses. I adore vintage things, this carpet is as vintage as it gets! When Chris & I moved into the house we had to move a lot of Nanas stuff out (people collect a lot of crap when they live in a house for more than 60years). Slight confession some of the things my mum put into charity bags I rescued. I kept some of Nanas blouses, pleated knee length skirts, leather & suede lined handbags & floppy felt hats which I love to wear & use! Like you & your photos I am confident enough to choose my own style, I don’t have to conform to anyone else’s ideal of what I should wear or look like & it’s pathetic when people feel the need to mock that individuality. I look back at photos of Nana when she was my age & think “God she looks great”! When I wear her clothes I can’t help but think of her & think what she achieved in life. Not everybody sees inanimate objects the way you do, some people look at on old hat & see an old hat. Like you I like to think about where it has been, what it has seen. The rips & tears give it character, they are the story & that is what makes it uniquely beautiful. This is why for Chris & I you were the perfect photographer. With our wedding you captured the sentiment & beauty of the things around you with such a natural ease. I don’t even think you realise how spot on you got it. We put so much thought into the things we decided to include in our wedding, the objects you photographed were belongings we had carefully selected for their story & sentiment & a lot of them were influenced by my wonderful Nana Muriel.
The old china tea set in the cabinet belonged to my Nana. She gifted it to Chris & I when we got engaged because she knew I collected tea cups from charity shops.
The old leather bound books which I stacked on the tables belonged to my mum & uncle as children. Nana used to read them to my brother & I when we were little.
The old music reel which we had to peel away from Pete, belongs to my mum, she used to dance around the house to it as a teenager in the early 70’s.
The old vintage leather suitcase which we stacked the cards in belonged to my great granddad. God knows the places that that has been & seen. When mum found it had his old ration books & RAF papers in it.
The old sewing machine, my Nana tried to teach me to stitch with it when I was a girl.
The old Guernsey Tomato crate we found in the garage full of Granddads old gardening tools covered in cob webs. Also Chris once grew a ridiculous freaky tomato plant which grew taller than he is & tomato plants were the speciality of Chris’ Nona who grew hundreds in Italy.
The lemon cheese favours were homemade by my mother from an old family recipe. My Nana used to make it & we would spread lashings of it on toast when we had breakfast here as kids.
The old school desk was a present to me on my Birthday from my parents when I was 8 or 9. My dad rescued it from a tip & polished it up.
My something blue, borrowed & old was my Nanas own Diamond & Sapphire engagement ring. I remember her on the day holding my hand, noticing it & saying “ooo this looks just like the ring I used to have”! She was genuinely happy it was being used.
The magic thing is Emma, I didn’t even ask you to take photos of these things, you just did it! Chris & I adore these photos they are something so personal to us. They are absolutely beautiful pictures of such treasured sentimental belongings.
On the morning of my wedding day, my house was full of my favourite ladies, we were all so excited & happy, the adrenaline was pumping. I was running late & I was a tad overwhelmed. I remember taking myself off upstairs to the bedroom (which was once my Nanas room & then my Mums & is now mine) to start doing my make-up. I felt too excited & jittery to even start my make-up. So I turned the radio on & decided to just take a few minutes to breathe. It was my wedding day! I was about to marry my best friend. I was feeling incredibly lucky (I even feel tingly now as I re-live how happy I was feeling that morning). The sun was shining for what felt like the first time in weeks, I realised that I had the best friends & family & they were all going to be there at the church waiting to celebrate with us. I was just completely overcome with joy & excitement. I remember vividly that the song on the radio was Jason Mraz “I Wont Give Up On Us”, the words of that song at that moment felt so appropriate. Chris & I both come from divorced parent families & one of the reasons Chris & I had put so much emphasis on my Grandparents is that we decided that their marriage is the type of marriage we want for ourselves. My Granddad died 10 years ago. Even now my Nana cannot talk about him without telling us just how wonderful he was, what a good man he was. They loved each other unconditionally. They had such a good partnership through thick & thin, richer, poorer, in sickness & health. They loved each other even after death parted them. They had a long & happy life together (I’m not sure how many exactly but I do remember a family photo on the carpet for a golden wedding anniversary). I want that so much for Chris & I. They are our role models.
As I was having this little epiphany on my wedding morning, I could hear my mum & bridesmaids chatting & giggling downstairs. I could hear Lily the 2 year old flower girl looking for Molly the cat & at this moment this overwhelming sense of calm came over me. With every ounce of sincerity I have to tell you, the thing I decided to do then was to go & sit at the top of the stairs!! Seriously!! Cross my heart & hope to die honest!! I sat on the top step for about 5 minutes & just listened to everything going on around me. For those few minutes I was on my own & I was so peaceful.
When you first sent us the link to the photos, I couldn’t help but notice that photo. I didn’t think it would be a particularly exciting photo to anyone else but I think you should know Ems that photo completely takes me back to one of the most precious moments of my day & I am sure it will turn out to be one of the most precious moments in my life. It was at that moment in the day when I thought “today I’m getting married to my best friend & it’s going to be friggin perfect”!!!
If this story touched you like it did us,tell us the story behind a special object kept in your home in the comments below.
*Read Jen's full reply here.