Rebecca and Ryan got married at Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire. The wedding took place in the magnificent Callow Hall which you can see here.
Whilst Rebecca and Ryan are happily smiling in this perfectly timed photo, it was close to becoming a whole other story.
The ring bearers for the day were set to be the couple's two shih tzus, who would each have a wedding ring tied to their collars - one dog with the bride's ring, and one with the groom's.
When the bridal party arrived at Stanbrook Abbey, with the rings already in place, I noticed that the piece of lace that was holding the one ring to one of the dogs was really lose, and about to fall off. Without thinking twice, I grabbed the ring and handed it to the father of the bride who was looking after the two dogs. I said that as Stanbrook Abbey is an old building, with lots of radiator grates in the floor and plenty of places to lose a wedding ring, he should keep the rings in his pocket until they were ready to walk down the aisle in 30 minutes or so.
Fast forward to the wedding, I'm stood at the end of the aisle, behind the registrars as you can see here. As we had rehearsed, two bridesmaids would come forward to perform a reading, and I would move to where the father of the bride was sitting with the two dogs, just to the right of where the bride is stood here.
Mid way through the readings, the registrar turned to the father of the bride and asked 'do you have the wedding rings?' at which point he looked down at the dogs, opened his eyes wide with shock, looked back at the registrar and said 'no'
One of the dogs still had the wedding ring attached to his collar, but the other dog didn't. The father of the bride, rigid with shock, asked if I could look at the other dog who was sat by me to see if I could find the ring. I put the camera down (as finding the bride's wedding ring was much more important than photographing a reading) and started to examine the dog's collar. I ran my hand around the circumference of the dog's neck and couldn't feel anything but fur. I told the father of the bride that I hadn't located the ring - at which point he just turned to the registrar and shook his head. We knew we were running out of time, because the very next thing to happen after the readings was the exchanging of the wedding rings. The father of the bride then asked that I look under the dog, in case it had come off and the dog was sitting on it.
I'm not the biggest fan of small dogs, but I had no choice - in front of 80 wedding guests, all looking in my general direction, I picked up the dog who put up little struggle, and tried to see if the bride's wedding ring was on the floor beneath. To any of the wedding guests who noticed what was going on, I must have looked like I was mad, unless they noticed the panicked look on the father of the bride and the registrar.
For the next 30 seconds or so, we frantically looked around where the dogs had been sitting to try and locate the missing ring. Just as the bridesmaids were finishing their readings, we could see something being caught in the sun beneath the registrars desk that was glinting in the light. Unbelievably, it was the ring! The registrar knelt down and pretended to scratch her ankle, at the same time retrieving the ring.
When she asked for the ring bearers to present the wedding rings, with one ring already in her hand, she knelt down and got the groom's ring from the first dog, and pretended to fetch the second ring from the other dog. None of the guests were any the wiser, and the bride and groom didn't have a clue what had transpired, as their attention was fixed on the bridesmaids who were stood at the front of the aisle.
As soon as their readings were finished, we traded places, and I retook my position at the front.
It only came out later, during the speech by the father of the bride, that the whole ordeal was made public. I received a personal thanks from the father of the bride and the rest, as they say, is history.
Location: Stanbrook Abbey, Worcestershire.Keywords: Documentary wedding photography (129). 1/250; f/2.8; ISO 5000; 70.0 mm.