2016-04-02 – Sharif & Nadia [Wedding]

I have actually known Sharif since college! With the power of social media, you never feel out of touch, and although we haven’t spoken that much over the years, it is weird how it all fell back into place and felt natural.

He was always one of those characters who you knew would be a success as he had a natural talent with IT and has a cheeky charm about him.

He reached out to me back in 2015 as he had met his beautiful fiancée Nadia and they wanted to discuss me shooting their wedding day at The Corinthia.

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The Corinthia is stunning venue and one of the moments when I realised it was such a stunning venue was that whilst we had one of our first wedding consultations, there were a group of people standing outside the Hotel waiting for Daniel Craig to come out as he was staying there to promote his new film at the time, James Bond – Spectre.

Sharif, Nadia and I walked around the venue to discuss photo locations, and a few areas really stood out to me.

The key locations were of course the Chandelier and without a doubt the other was a shot from the roof terrace in the Penthouse Suite.

Then on April 2nd 2016, I was by their side at the Corinthia Hotel in London.

During the bridal preparations, it’s always an unusual experience for brides and bridesmaids to have a male photographer in the same room as them, and everyone does react differently. However with Nadia’s bridesmaids, it felt like walking into a room with a bunch of old school friends, which of course they were all friends with each other for a while, but I felt welcomed within this circle and it was a pleasure to see them all have a laugh together before Nadia’s big day!

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Sharif pulled up to the venue in style. Being driven to his wedding in a Ferrari. I can imagine this being something he definitely wanted captured, and he did make a big point of it! Making sure I was outside with constant contact lol…

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As he pulled up, it was incredible to see how immediately all the friends and family flocked over to him. I could tell he didn’t know which way to look as 360* around him he was about to be pounced on!

After all the guests had settled down a little, everyone was invited to the ceremony room where there were slight delays before the ceremony could start, but once it started, it was definitely a joyous occasion.

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Nadia walked down the aisle, looking amazing in her dress, and Sharif starred forward at first with high anticipation for his first view of Nadia.

He was actually stunned when he first saw her and delayed with lifting her veil as he just lost himself at the sight of her.

After the civil service, they immediately went into an Islamic ceremony. The person who ran the ceremony was hilarious! Making up rules about how if Sharif did not follow his instructions correctly, he could effectively end up marrying the wrong person. The humour definitely travelled from front to back as everyone was laughing during this ceremony.

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Once the ceremony was finished, Sharif and Nadia walked down the aisle beingshowered with Confetti!

We went for a couple of Portraits whilst they cleared the ceremony room, as this is where we intended to have the Group Photos.

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The Group Photos were all pretty formal as we had to get through a large number of groups, with some surprise extra groups in-between, but we managed to get through them all without delaying the rest of the day!

With Wedding Photography, I usually am photographing the event as a solo shooter, however I did want to enlist the help from someone with lighting, and the person who stepped in was none other than my girlfriend Sophia.

I initially asked her to help simply with lighting, however I have always wanted to have a second shooter with me, but I haven’t been able to find the right second shooter who I can consistently trust. Who can I trust more than my partner in life? So I thought I’d put a camera in Sophia’s hands to see how she handled the day, and I will have to admit I was thoroughly impressed.

Sharif and Nadia were gracious enough to allow her to attend, as well as cater for us both as we were guests.

This was Sophia’s first attempt at photography which was not landscape based and looking through her photos she has captured some great moments and details.

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Having a secondary shooter is definitely a bonus as whilst speeches are taking place, I could focus on capturing the person doing the speech, whilst the secondary can focus on capturing guest’s reactions. This is exactly how it played out also.

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There are so many potential perspectives throughout an event and having that second pair of eyes is invaluable.

After the speeches we moved on to the Cake Cutting and straight into the first dance. Their first dance songs were John Legend – You & Me, as well as Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud. After which, we jumped straight into an entire wedding party shot and managed to squeeze every guest they had into a photo on the dancefloor.

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Bearing in mind this was an Islamic wedding, there was no alcohol served, but this wedding party knew how to let loose! Dance-offs, lifting each other up, cutting shapes, and doing ‘Follow The Leader’.
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This wedding does hold great sentiment to me as it’s for a friend whom I have known for many years. Sharif has always been a great friend whom has helped me out in the past during College and University. I cannot express enough how proud I am of him for his successes in life, and more importantly finding true love within Nadia.

Nadia is also one of the warmest, kindest people you could ever meet, with a very gracious and welcoming presence.

I am thrilled they have found each other and wish them nothing but the best of luck for the future.

Leo Hoang

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