Meleah is the dog obsessed, pizza loving wedding photographer behind Lovegood Images.
She’s passionate about taking natural and relaxed candid pictures of you and your loved ones while you celebrate the big milestones in your life.
“I play many roles as your wedding photographer - step-in wedding day co-ordinator, hype girl, extra bridesmaid, whatever you need, I am here for you. While I can’t promise the rain will hold off, I can promise that we are going to have a really good time, a lot of laughs and I will take some incredible photos of you. It won’t even feel like you’re having your photo taken at all. Rain, hail or shine we are going to have the best time!”
Small weddings and elopements have soared in popularity since covid-19 hit us. Have you found that small weddings/elopements are any less special or fun than a traditional wedding?
Bigger is not always better! We’re living in a weird world at the moment. The last year or so has made us really reflect on what is important and treasure the time we get to spend with our loved ones. Having a smaller wedding means that you can spend more quality time with your guests and indulge in great conversations without the worry of having to get around to see everyone.
Small weddings/elopements are also (generally) more affordable, which means you can splash out on things that are really important to you. The wedding might be small in numbers, but it can be large in atmosphere! Think extravagant florals, a gourmet menu, cocktails on the drinks list, the wedding band that you adore, an incredible photographer or that gorgeous dress that you dreamed of. All things that may not have been possible financially with extra guests, but now you get to splurge a little!
Not to mention, you can keep the celebrations going! Have another more casual party with extended family and friends and turn it into a festival of love!
In your opinion, why should/would someone pick a small, intimate wedding over a larger one?
I LOVE non-traditional weddings. I think it is so beautiful when couples step away from the traditional, cookie-cutter day and celebrate their love in their own unique way by really adding their personalities to it.
In my opinion a smaller, more intimate wedding allows couples to make the day their own, with more personal touches, custom/ DIY decorations or favours and/or a setting of your choice. You have so many more options to venues - whether it be a back yard, secluded beach, your favourite restaurant or even a nursery. The rule book goes out the window!
You don’t have the pressure or the cost of inviting that second cousin twice removed, so use that money to create a more memorable and meaningful experience for you and your super special people. It might mean that you can have the wedding that you always dreamed of without breaking the bank.
What are your tips for a couple looking for a wedding photographer?
It sounds crazy but your photographer is going to be the person you spend the most time with of your wedding day. I think it is so important to find someone that you connect with, that you feel comfortable around and that genuinely has your best interests at heart.
Finding this person is paramount because not only will you have so much fun together on the day, but it will shine through in your photos.
Most couples aren't used to being photographed professionally. What is something they can do beforehand, so they feel more relaxed in front of the camera for the big day?
There's a reason I hide on the other side of the camera - it's daunting being in front of it! But it doesn’t have to be! Like I mentioned before, meet your photographer - make sure you are on the same page.
If they’re like me, they will have a bag of tricks up their sleeve and a few dad jokes that will make you laugh together and forget about the camera.
An engagement shoot is a really great way to get to know your photographer as well and can be used as a test run for the day - you will get some incredible photos and realise that getting your photos taken can feel just like hanging out with a few friends.
I also recommend booking your photographer for the whole day. Not only will you be able to relive your complete day in an album of gorgeous images, but it gives your photographer a chance to connect with you and your families & bridal party. This time is invaluable and makes a huge difference to how relaxed people are during their portraits later in the day.
What is your favourite part of the day to photograph?
If you follow me on Instagram (Meleah’s Instagram page is @lovegoodimages and filled with beautiful moments, so we recommend you follow her!) you will know my struggle with this question because every moment is so unique and filled with emotion and I love that so much.
I feel like I am constantly saying a different part of the day is my favourite, but I think the time that I find myself smiling the most is post ceremony, after a killer confetti toss (petal or otherwise) when you walk down the aisle as a married couple and everyone is just so excited to hug and congratulate you. There is so much emotion and so much love, my cheeks start hurting and I'm not even having my photo taken.
Do you have any funny/horror stories that you can share with us?
Where possible, I love to take a bottle of champagne to pop during the portrait session. It creates such a fun atmosphere, and everyone gets to have a good laugh and enjoy some liquid courage. At this one wedding, I told one of the groomsmen to grab a bottle to take with us. Next thing I know, there were 5 bottles, one for each of the groomsmen and one for the groom (he apparently couldn’t have all the fun!).
As you can probably imagine we got some epic “champagne shower” shots, but then it turned into a champagne war with all the bridesmaids running away screaming and the men having the time of their lives. It was very funny. I’m never afraid to get a bit dirty or wet in order to get all those good shots, I just hope that the other guests didn’t think I was an alcoholic coming back smelling like champagne!
From your experience (and in your opinion), what are the pros and cons of a large vs a small wedding?
So many couples I photograph talk about their day being a blur. One big pro of having a small wedding is that you can really enjoy the whole experience, slow it down and spend quality time with your guests rather than rushing around trying to say hi to everyone.
Small weddings/elopements open a world of unique possibilities for you to get creative and make your day truly reflective of you and your partner. Keep the traditions that work for you and ditch the rest.
Smaller weddings can also mean less stress surrounding things like budgets and guest lists which can be overwhelming. However, if you are a very social person or have a large family cutting down the guest list or not inviting plus ones might cause too much anxiety. My advice would be to make a list of what is important for you and go from there.
For our wedding, we decided that we were only inviting people that we both enjoy spending time with together and those who are important in our relationship. We decided we absolutely did not want to meet anyone for the first time on our wedding day - that’s just awkward for everyone.
A small wedding isn’t for everyone though, for instance, if a big pumping dance floor is what you are after then this option probably isn’t suited to you. That being said, a small wedding does not mean you have to ditch the dance floor! I’ve had girl’s nights at home where we have danced the night away with way less people than you would have at a wedding!
At the end of the day your wedding is about celebrating your love. You may choose to do it with just the two of you and your photographer as your witness, a small group of people who are important to you (you could even include others on a livestream for your ceremony), or you can invite everyone you know, make it a really big party. However you may be celebrating it, you are making heartfelt promises to the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with and that alone will bring you so much joy. The rest is extra!
No matter how big or small it is, make it a day that is authentic and meaningful to you AND make sure you hire a photographer or a videographer because the day will fly by and you will want to savour it for the rest of your life! If you are planning a wedding during a pandemic it is important to remember that your wedding day is going to be so special no matter what it looks like. If you have to scale it down you can always have a big party later, an anniversary celebration or a vow renewal on a grander scale. Most people would love a good opportunity to wear their dress again!