I didn't have to think twice about a present at least... my gift to Nic & Sean was their wedding photography. I knew they just wanted pure documentary photos but also knew with a few drinks consumed I'd be able to get a few of the two of them as well. When I later found out that the wedding was taking place on a yacht on the Hudson River (and obviously I too was going to be drinking) I was a tiny bit concerned because I can be a little clumsy and accident prone!
As it turned out, my sea legs didn't let me down and I carried on taking photos well into the night despite Nicola telling me on many occasions to 'put it away and relax'... but that's the thing... I was relaxed. I was with my friends in the greatest city on earth, a little on the tipsy side, doing what I loved. Even the fact that I got a chest infection didn't bother me on the day and besides, it was entertaining listening to people do barking seal impressions whenever I tried to speak.
So the wedding day goes something like this... running from the hotel in torrential rain with my friend Sue from Brooklyn who was second shooting with me (doing that thing you see in movies where people hold an open newspaper over their heads to stop them getting wet, which I now know doesn't work) we hit McDonalds for breakfast. Classy. Then we head to The Kimberley hotel to meet the blushing bride and get all the prep shots. I know Nic hates slushy stuff but I have never seen her look more beautiful than she did that day - even at the end of the night when the curls were dropping and the lippy had gone! The stunning headpiece and cuff from my talented friend Vicky at Victoria Millesime catches my attention and I make a mental note to steal them after the ceremony when Nic isn't looking.
Once everyone's ready we ride the elevator (have to use the proper lingo) downstairs where cars are ready and waiting... we then sit in traffic for what feels like an eternity (conference season AND Obama was in town) and after many frantic texts back and forth to those onboard "We're comingggg - do not set sail" we eventually arrive at the yacht 'Destiny'. The ceremony takes place with the brilliant Captain Bill and I cry a lot although I think Nic's sister Alison cries more. Just. : ) Sean and his brother and best man Liam make fantastic speeches and I cry some more. We then set sail and drinks are served along with delicious food and even more delicious views of New York City.
We cruise around Manhattan for about 4 hours... there's music playing that Nic & Sean have put together including one request from every guest (lovely idea... although I only really remember Debaser and Rock Me Amadeus).... one big downpour hits us but it soon passes and nobody cares... it looks really dramatic with the buildings half covered in cloud... everyone is busy chit chatting out on deck as the Brooklyn Bridge passes overhead... wait, what? Holy shit it's the Brooklyn Bridge!
It's all very surreal. Wonderfully surreal. Being there with friends I have known for years and all of Nic & Sean's families... in NYC, on the Hudson and they are finally married (well they HAD been together 12 years!). Suddenly all too soon it's time to adjust to solid ground again - always fun when you've been drinking - before hitting a lovely Irish bar for Sean and the Irish contingent (and yet more food) and finally arriving back at the Kimberley and riding the elevator all the way to the roof. 'Upstairs at The Kimberley'. Oh. My. Word. This is the view with the conservatory on...