It’s been a while since we featured an engagement shoot and I have missed them! Anyone who has been following Festival Brides for a while will know I am a huge fan. I think they offer such an important role in ensuring you get the very best out of your wedding photos. Why? Well because they give you a chance to:

a) get to know your photographer

b) relax in front of the camera

c) discuss in practice what sort of pictures you are hoping for, and

d) have fun with the person you love!

They are a great warm up to the big day and, if you have Jason Williams behind the camera, you will have some amazing images to put up on your wall, as this shoot illustrates!

Natalie and Digby were not sure of an engagement shoot at first but after being persuaded by one of their bridesmaids, who is also a photographer, of the benefits of e shoots they decided to go for it. The result – some truly beautiful images captured in Jason’s unique storytelling style that just works so well on a beach.

We asked Natalie and Digby about how they first met, who proposed and how and their awesome festival style wedding which will be taking place this year.

Enjoy…..

How did you guys meet?

We met working at an advertising agency in London. I was freelancing and on my first day, Digby was the 2nd person I met. It turned out that I was actually kind of his boss, thankfully only temporarily! Six weeks after I started was the company Christmas party. Digs got panicked late on in the night because he thought one if his friends was trying to chat me up and when I was confused about why he was bothered, he had to admit that he might like me as more than a colleague.

Where did you go for your first date?

Neither of us were actually sure if our first date was even a date! We met for a drink a couple of days after the aforementioned party but neither of us were really sure where we stood or if the other was interested in the cold (more sober) light of day. We finally sorted it all out though and our first proper, agreed date was a couple of days after Christmas when we met up for a day in Oxford (which is close to where both our families live). It chucked it down with rain so we spent most of the day going round some of the oldest pubs in the city.

Who proposed and how?

Digby proposed on a beach in Essaouira, Marocco, last October. We were going for a walk and I was watching some kite surfers on the water, paying no attention to Digs. Suddenly he came jogging up behind me to show me an unusual shell he had ‘found’ on the beach. He handed it to me and told me to look in it, as the inside was really cool. When I opened it I could just see a diamond. I looked up to ask what it was and he wasn’t there. I looked down and suddenly realized he was on one knee, asking me to marry him. I actually thought he was joking for a second then realized he had taken his sunglasses off and for some reason I knew that meant he was serious. I promptly burst into tears before managing to say yes.

It was a complete surprise to me but it turned out he had been planning it for ages and even been to see my parents for dinner a few weeks before, without me knowing, to ask for their blessing. The shell was one he’d found on a beach years before and kept just in case such a situation should arise! He’d had to get his Dad to find it in his old bedroom back home and sneak it to him in London without me finding out, so all our parents knew what was about to happen and were just waiting for the phone call.

Can you tell us a bit about your plans for your wedding?

The wedding itself will be in the church in the village where I grew up and where my parents still live (Haddenham in Buckinghamshire). My brothers and I went to the primary school behind the church (as did our grandmother!) and I grew up just knowing that was where ‘people’ got married, so it was really important to me to have the wedding there, I wouldn’t feel truly married if we did it anywhere else.

The reception is going to be in the village hall just a few minutes walk away. I’ve been organizing beer festivals for charity for over 10 years which I absolutely love, and Digs loves beer, so when it came to planning a wedding, we both knew it would have to be beer festival themed. I’ve been collecting vintage tankards from ebay and charity shops for months! Lots of details are still being finalized but like any great beer festival there will obviously be loads of beer, great food and some awesome music.

Tell us about your engagement shoot?

When it came to choosing a wedding photographer, I left the choice entirely down to my cousin Beki, as she’s an amazing wedding photographer (but can’t be mine as she’s going to be my bridesmaid!), and she immediately told me we had to have Jason Williams. They met when she shot his wedding and they have been friends and worked together lots since. She sent us a link to his website and we basically told Beki to book him on the spot.

We weren’t 100% sure about having an engagement shoot but Jason and Beki both told us how important they both find them so we bowed to their superior knowledge. Digs and I both love the beach so it was an obvious choice of location. We didn’t have anywhere particular in mind but Jason suggested West Wittering which turned out to be perfect. It was meant to rain all day but when we got to the beach there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

Jason got us to write a love letter to each other which we exchanged and read at the start of the shoot to break the ice which was really lovely, then we just messed around on the beach, paddling in the water, playing in the sand dunes and generally having fun. We almost forgot Jason was there at times, the whole thing was so relaxed and never felt staged or forced.  Neither of us are normally a big fan of having our picture taken (who is?!) and Digby has a habit of pulling a bit of a weird fake smile in photos so the shoot was so useful in getting us out of those bad habits and just relaxing in front of the camera. We’re thrilled with the photos, particularly as we realized recently that we didn’t actually have many nice ones of us together, and so glad we went ahead with the shoot.

Lastly, if you could choose any festival in the world to go to, which one would it be and why?

Nat: I’d go to Austin City Limits in Texas (again!). Austin is my favourite place in the world (my brother used to live there) and ACL has all the best bits of Texas in one place, sunshine, awesome country music, incredible BBQ food and amazing frozen margaritas!

Digby: I don’t think you can look past Glastonbury, I’ve been to lots of festivals and it still feels like the greatest one there is. As well as the music there is always so much going on, you really could go and not visit one of the bigger stages/ tents and still have an epic time. I’ve only been a few times but have been lucky enough to experience it with no rain at all and then when the heavens open and everything turns to mud, it’s still awesome!

The Line Up

Photography: Jason Williams Photography
Location: West Wittering

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