Wedding costs can run into tens of thousands of pounds, with the dress, the food and the flowers all adding several zeros onto the budget for the big day. But one UK couple came up with a rather barking way of keeping the budget down – they shunned the all-day services of a wedding photographer and asked an equine specialist to do a quick shoot with their horses after the ceremony instead.
Sue Westwood Ruttledge is a professional photographer, but she specialises in canine and equine photography rather than weddings. This was the difference with this wedding. Instead of choosing a traditional wedding photographer to take pictures of the happy couple with their guests, the animal mad pair selected a professional animal photographer to take pictures in between the ceremony and the reception with their horses and dogs. As wedding professionals here at Wedding High we would normally recommend a wedding photographer for your wedding day but we really love Sue’s style and expertise in these pictures.
Ben and Sarah McDermott met through a shared love of horses. So when it came to planning their special day, the animal-mad pair balked at the expense of a traditional wedding photographer and album, which can cost around £2,000. Instead, they asked equine photographer Sue Westwood-Ruttledge to do the honours.
“Our animals are such a big part of our life, it seemed wrong not to have them involved in our special day,” explains Sarah. “We know Sue as we keep our horses in the same yard, and when we discovered she was a specialist horse and dog photographer it seemed like the right thing to do.”
Sue runs two thriving photography businesses taking portraits of horse and dog owners with their beloved animals. The glamorous Horse Photographer UK www.horsephotographeruk.co.uk and Dog Photographer UK www.dogphotographeruk.com shoots often involve both animals and owners being fabulously styled and groomed. Demand for top quality equine and canine photography is so high that Sue is franchising her brands nationwide.
With Ben and Sarah’s reception being held at a farm just minutes from their stables, the timing was ideal for the happy couple to pop to their favourite place and pose for pictures with their pets.
“I was wearing a traditional white dress with a veil, Ben was in a three piece suit and our friends had groomed our dogs, a beagle and a Rhodesian ridge back, and the two horses,” explains Sarah. “When we got to the stables Sue was there waiting for us with everything set up, so we did the shoot before moving on to the reception.”
Although their big day was far from conventional, the 50 guests of the bride and groom didn’t bat an eyelid. “Our friends and family know exactly what we’re like,” laughs Sarah. “They thought it was very ‘us,’ and a brilliant idea. We’re both known for being animal mad, we have been since we were very small, so our guests weren’t at all surprised that our dogs and horses would be involved in our big day.”
Sue said: “I thought it was a lovely idea to involve their animals in this way on their wedding day and their guests were very understanding. As an equine and canine photographer, I completely understand how big a part people’s pets play in their lives. I’m completely potty about my horse and dogs too.”
Friends and family obligingly took snaps of the wedding throughout the service and reception, so the whole day was recorded for posterity. But the official wedding photographs take pride of place around the house. “My favourite is one where we’re both riding horses in the barn,” says Sarah fondly. “We’re each sitting on our horses, side by side, and they are touching noses. It’s a beautiful reminder of our special day.”