Bagpipes & Edelweiss - Part 1 - Wedding in Switzerland

Operation Catchup continues and with the next two posts (a double) we're up to the end of September. Maybe one day I actually will be up to date. Maybe…

Anyway, on to this completely fantastic two day destination wedding in Switzerland. First some background. Martin & Erica met in Zermatt where Martin was working a season as a ski instructor. They have both spent many years in and around the pretty Swiss town nestled under the Matterhorn, and after getting engaged there as well, knew that it would be the location for their wedding.

Their epic (justified use of the word) celebration would be in two parts. Day 1 was in the Gemeindehaus (Town Hall) registry (itself a beautiful building) and the official part of the wedding. Day 2 would be a blessing in the English church in Zermatt with the reception to follow at Hotel Alex (where they met and got engaged).

Now I love the mountains at any time of the year, and it had been some time since I was in the alps during summer so you can guess how much I was looking forward to this one.

Cue excited wedding photographer.

After plenty of emails and chats on the phone back in the UK, we planned our first face-to-face meeting on the Thursday evening before part 1 of the wedding. My journey itself was going to be interesting with all the camera kit (and backups) necessary for 2 days of shooting in the Alps. I flew to Zurich before picking up the fast and efficient cross-country train to Visp. Here I changed to the Matterhorn Express which is the prettiest, most scenic train journey I have ever been on. Steep tracks winding up through small villages until it arrives in Zermatt.

Dragging my luggage and kit through the town (there are no vehicles allowed in Zermatt - only electric taxis - and I chose to walk anyway), I met with Erica & Martin for the aforementioned beer before heading to my hotel and grabbing some dinner. This was my initiation into the infamous Swiss costs - €30 for a pizza!

On to Day 1 itself. The informal plan was for a few of Erica & Martin's closest family and friends to accompany them for the official registry part of their wedding. This was quite different to a UK wedding, and featured a very lovely reading from their registrar. It was also the first time she had conducted a wedding in English! It made for a very personal and intimate event, full of smiles, before we headed back outside where more of their family and friends were waiting.

The next stage of the day included a 1.5 hour trek up the mountain for lunch. The weather was beautiful - blue skies, sunny and warm - and as for the scenery, well it was stunning. Incredible landscape and I hope the images do it justice. We took the opportunity for a couple of shots of Erica & Martin together, before lunch accompanied by bagpipes (not for the last time this weekend).

The walk back down was equally beautiful, and this time helped along by gravity - just as well after the delicious lunch. Everyone dispersed for the rest of the day, and I spent the evening hanging out in the chalet of some of the guests. I was made to feel so welcome, and after a brilliant day was excited about was to follow on day 2. More on that to follow soon.

If you were a guest at the wedding and would like to see the full set of images, please visit the gallery or take a look on facebook. Comments are welcomed at the bottom of this post and always appreciated by the bride, groom and future couples.

For photographers

I was still quite early into my Canon 5DMk3 usage at this point, and the only lenses I had were the 35 1.4 and the 17-40 (both L lenses). I've mentioned before how good the 35 is, and in this post the final few images walking down the mountain were taken with the 17-40. It really is a superb landscape lens.

As detailed in my recent kit post, my second camera body on this trip was the Fuji X-Pro1 (I had taken my old Nikon D700 as a backup, but it didn't get a look-in). On this day in particular, travelling light was key and the Fuji was perfect for this. Over a third of the final images ended up from the X-Pro, and most significantly it was used for telephoto work with the 60mm macro lens (90mm equivalent). Again it was the first time I'd really used this lens at a wedding and it worked fantastically. All of the tele work in this post was with the 60mm, and shows again how Fuji equipment including the X-Pro1 is perfectly suited for professional wedding photography assignments.