Wedding season is in full swing. You’ve already heard what I have to say on the matter in previous blogs, and there’s a veritable plethora of opinion pieces out there (written with varying levels of accuracy) on how to dress on your wedding day, so I thought I’d switch it up a bit.
Has anyone ever asked the opinion of the people who have arguably the most important job on the day itself? The ones who have the frankly terrifying job of immortalising the best day of your life and making sure that these once-in-a-lifetime moments are captured perfectly to be looked at and remembered?
As dramatic as that sounds, wedding photographers play a vital role in the success of your day and know first-hand the importance of image and colour. I asked two established professionals (and lifelong Cheaney fans) their thoughts on wedding attire and how to make the most of this unforgettable day, in the hope that you look and feel as good as possible – I’m nice like that.
Aside from sharing a love for good shoes, these guys also share a first name: James Revitt, the man behind ‘Flawless Photography’, has been in the game for 15 years and tells me he fell into the industry by accident after taking photos for his friend’s wedding. James Fear, on the other hand, somewhat bizarrely became a wedding photographer after a course of hypnotherapy to cure his fear of flying:
‘After six weeks, I walked out just knowing I was going to be a wedding photographer. The same day, I gave up my job and I’ve been doing this ever since.’ That was 12 years ago, and he’s no longer scared of flying.
Both James’s agree that the most frequent suit and shoe combination is black-on-black, usually black tie. I would avoid wearing a black suit to your wedding that isn’t a tuxedo, or you’ll look like you’re going to a funeral and that’s a bit of a mood-killer. Patent leather shoes are of course a classic choice for black tie, but a personal recommendation would be a wholecut: with a nice shine on the toe, these work brilliantly with a tux and are a perfect match for a special occasion.
However, alternative dress codes are a-plenty, and we would have to write a book to cover them all, but a popular one mentioned by both photographers is a navy suit and brown shoes. James Fear also sees brown shoes a lot with tweed suits, being based in the Cotswolds. The important thing to consider here is colour:
‘Cheaney’s ‘dark leaf’ is a personal favourite,’ says Flawless Photography, ‘but be careful going any redder than this, unless you really want your shoes to be the focal point!’
Dark leaf is one of the richest shades we offer, and really shows off the handwork of our skilled craftspeople. For a wedding, it can really complete an outfit – just try to keep your shoes darker than your suit to avoid stealing the limelight in your pictures.
Another aspect to consider is quality. Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, that you know the value of good shoes. For an event such as this, it is more important than ever: you absolutely must be comfortable, as the day will be taken up by standing, walking, and dancing. Not only this, but you’re going to be looking at pictures of this day for the rest of your life: ‘it’s somewhat inconvenient if the sole of your brogues falls off because they were exposed to a whiff of moisture.’ Flawless Photography tells me that wardrobe malfunctions, or general human malfunctions, are a fact of life; try to lessen your chances by buying shoes made to last.
James Fear has seen his fair share of unplanned drama in a profession that sees him shoot around 12 weddings a month. The groom splitting his trousers is unfortunate, but a common problem that he sees is an avoidable one: ‘the best man and ushers not having their trousers taken up so they’re about a foot too long.’
This is a sure-fire way to ruin a well-considered wedding outfit. Thankfully, hemming trousers is an easy and inexpensive alteration and something you can have done in most local dry cleaners, so make sure you and your entourage get this sorted before the big day to avoid embarrassment. It’s advisable to have your trousers sitting on top of your shoes with a single break at the front, though you can also opt for no break for a more contemporary look, especially if you have turn-ups or are wearing loafers – just be careful not to go too short, or it’ll look like your trousers have shrunk in the wash.
Both James Fear and Flawless Photography are also aligned on what you should be looking for in a wedding photographer. ‘Understanding people, knowing when to push and equally knowing when to back off,’ is James Fear’s philosophy, echoed by that of Flawless Photography: ‘someone who can document the day without taking over, but equally can get stuck in when necessary.’ Make sure to choose a photographer who not only takes nice pictures, but integrates into the day seamlessly.
Timings also play a huge part in the success of your photos, especially in the winter months, as James Fear finds people tend to leave it too late and lose the natural light that makes us all look better. Flawless Photography warns against overplanning – more than 10 group shots is unnecessary as you’ll be ‘standing in a line all afternoon while your guests demolish the canapes.’ He also reiterates that any good photographer will know what to capture, so you shouldn’t worry about sending a detailed shot list.
Throughout the wedding, the photographer almost certainly covers the most ground in trying to capture important moments, rushing to catch the father-of-the-bride shedding a tear or everyone’s favourite uncle attempting to breakdance, so it makes sense that they’d want good shoes on – I thought I’d find out what their favourites are.
James Fear’s boot of choice is our timeless Tweed model in dark leaf, which are his favourite boots of all time: ‘I remember buying my first pair of Cheaneys over 20 years ago and, ever since, no other shoes or boots will do.’
For Flawless Photography, it’s all about stealth: ‘right now and throughout winter, it’s my Trafalgar boots in sage green suede. Once summer arrives, I’ll switch to Jarrow in red palio suede. Both have a Vibram sole, which is not only more comfortable but also that little bit quieter for sneaking around a church.’ Truly a man after my own heart, he wears suede all year round and looks after them, so they still look like new.
Wedding planning is overwhelming, and there is a lot to be said for keeping things simple. Make sure your shoes are of high quality to carry you through, and let your photographer do their job. The less things you have to worry about, the more time you’ll have to enjoy yourself, dance, maybe get a bit drunk and hopefully don’t split your trousers.
Huge thanks to James Fear and James Revitt for taking the time to answer my questions and providing the beautiful pictures.
Written by our very own Covent Garden Store Manager Alex Pardey