You know how some photographs perfectly encapsulate a person? Well we’re thrilled to be featuring some precious shots from a rather special engagement shoot today, because they are a shining example of how a photograph can not only show us someone’s personality – but can beautifully illustrate their relationship as well.
Nicole and Benny’s love story is one of warmth, friendship and laughter. And it’s these very qualities which resonate through the lens in these stunning shots by Marianne Taylor.
“Our relationship has always been based on a great friendship – Benny makes me laugh and I wake up every morning with a smile because he has said or done something funny,” Nicole tells us. “In fact, that laughter even translated to the very moment when Benny proposed. Where some couples end up crying with emotion, we were laughing, because the whole thing was so awkward and funny.”
Despite the nerves, the proposal itself couldn’t have been more perfect, as Benny whisked Nicole to a beautiful country bolthole in The Cotswolds, surprising her with a heart-shaped box of roses and a stunning engagement ring.
“It took me by surprise, because although we’d talked about getting married, I didn’t know the actual moment he would ask me,” says Nicole. “When it happened, he sort of stood there not knowing what to do – he even asked me if he should get down on one knee! We both ended up laughing!”
Nicole is determined to bring this aspect of their relationship to their wedding day, planning design touches to help create a very special atmosphere. “We want a relaxed environment, with a real sense of fun. This is probably why I’m drawn towards whimsical, care-free ideas, like the balloons in the engagement shoot. I also love the shabby chic look as it feels so rustic and natural.”
As you might expect from a couple whose friendship forms such an integral part of their relationship, Nicole and Benny’s journey together began with a gentle companionship which later blossomed into something more. “We knew each other as friends for around six months before we began dating,” explains Nicole. “Although we’d met previously, we didn’t become close until we started working together at the same restaurant. It wasn’t one of those whirlwind romances that start straight away, although there was definitely something about Benny that caught my attention from the beginning.”
After five years as a couple, sharing daily laughter and jokes, Nicole says family and friends knew they were meant to be together always. “Our family and friends have been desperate for us to get married for a while, which is why they will be such an important part of our wedding celebration.”
As those closest to them watched their relationship grow, sharing their story, Nicole and Benny are keen to remember this on their special day. With a pause in her singing laughter, Nicole utters the words many a wedding guest would be touched to hear: “I’m not too nervous about how our wedding design choices will be received because, for us, it’s about celebrating with the people who matter. I know that our guests want to be there to share our happiness, and that is what is important.”
Unlike many brides, Nicole has the unerring interest of her husband-to-be in all her wedding design decisions, as Benny jumps in to the planning role with much enthusiasm. It’s yet another example of the couple’s friendship and unstinting dedication to spending time together. “I’m so lucky because Benny is really interested in the whole wedding design process,” smiles Nicole. “He always wants to come to meetings with me – and he even chose the wedding cake and invitations himself. In fact, he’s SO involved that my three bridesmaids are complaining they feel redundant because we have everything in hand already!”
For Nicole, a really important part of the wedding planning process has been arranging the engagement shoot. “I spent a lot of time pulling together ideas for the photographs,” Nicole tells us. “I think the engagement shoot was a key part of the design process, because it’s the only time we’d have as a couple, feeling 100% relaxed. This shoot gave us a chance to be completely ourselves without an audience.”
With the soft hues of cherry blossom and sunlight as the background, the playful shots take us right to the heart of Benny and Nicole’s relationship, as their relaxed smiles and loving ease with each other radiates from each image. London’s Bushy Park, near Hampton Court Palace, provided the backdrop, with design elements such as the balloons spotted by Nicole herself on various blogs and websites.
“I knew I wanted Marianne Taylor to take the photographs ever since I saw some of her pictures featured in a magazine,” Nicole explains. “Her style is so relaxed and whimsical – it’s exactly what we love. I spent a long time planning elements of the shoot and I’m so glad I did now. I’m thrilled with the photographs and look at them every day!”
We feel privileged to bring you this glimpse into the life of such a special couple, they really are proof that laughter is the secret of love.
Benny and Nicole’s Little Black Book
Nicole outfit 1 Coast
Nicole outfit 2 Karen Millen
Nicole’s shoes Charles & Keith
Nicole’s flower crown Lucy Anna Flowers
Benny outfit 1 River Island
Benny outfit 2 Howick
Love sign Berinmade
Photography By Marianne Taylor
Words By Molly Forbes Love Scarlett