Two Peak District Engagement shoots that nearly didn’t happen

Pre-wedding Photography

After a month off from photographing people, I kick started my 2020 with not one, but two, Peak District engagement shoots. Very little went to plan but by ‘eck, it was a beautiful place to be and the serene energy around made sure it all worked out in the end.

The preparation for my Peak District engagement shoots: 

I have wanted to photograph at a few spots outside Rutland & Leicestershire for a while now. As beautiful as these counties are, I was pining after something different.  As I had plans to visit Sheffield, I decided that I could travel up earlier and squeeze in a few photo shoots beforehand. Checking the map, I dropped a pin on Sherwood Pines & The Peak District. Yes it was going to be a lot of travelling, but I knew it would be worth it. After a quick shout out on social media for any obliging couples, I had made the arrangements for something I was itching to do.

The plan for my day in the Peak District:

Beckie & Phil decided that they would be up for a couples shoot at Sherwood Pines. Now Beckie & Phil are from my neck of the woods over here in Leicester and are engaged. I will be photographing their wedding which is going to be SHAMZING! What better way to meet them in the flesh and talk all things wedding. Following their session, I was going to hit the road and meet up with my second couple, Instagram mates, Dan and George over at Stanage Edge in the Peak District.  All doable. And I had given myself enough time to get to these spots and perhaps even get a spot of lunch.

What happened on the day:

Cue the morning and I wake up to dark gloomy skies and pouring rain #great. I don’t mind rain but I do mind pouring rain especially knowing there wasn’t anywhere under shelter at Sherwood Pines. The weather looked better in the Peak District so I messaged Beckie & Phil wondering if they could meet me there for photos. They agreed! So I had a lie in, grabbed a coffee and hit the road. I had arranged to meet them, an hour before my engagement shoot with Dan & George, at Ladybower Reservoir. Ladybower was 15 minutes away from Stanage so….

Me to myself: “Probably cutting it fine now….but still doable. I’ve got google maps, I’ll be all good.”

The universe to me: “Ha ha ha ha!”

I arrived with 10 mins to spare and absolutely desperate for the loo. I found the car park that I had planned to meet Beckie & Phil in and also found a map showing me that there was another car park about half a mile down the road which had a loo. I drove down but there wasn’t a free car space in sight! I was at the point of utter desperation now – there was no way I could meet my couple soaking wet and smelling of wee. The only empty parking spots were two disabled bays. Yep, in desperation I parked in one of them, I HAD to!  I ran to the loo and when I ran back, I saw a police car. Panic set in. I pulled away without any looks from the police and then drove to the exit only to find the police car had driven the opposite way round to block my path. Now more panic set it. I was convinced they were going to have a word with me. But no! They hopped out and ran to the loo!! Well now I know why the police were staring at me….they wanted to do the exact same thing: park in the disabled bay to use the loos!  

Time to meet Beckie & Phil (or was it?)

I quickly escaped and drove back to the car park where I was to meet Beckie & Phil. And I waited.

And waited.

Waited some more.

I stared intently at every car that went by, every car that pulled into the car park and every walker that passed. Nada. I even was out of my car, walking up and down the road by the car park in my biggest, reddest coat one could wear. A beacon in the peaks. Nowt. Why didn’t you ring them I hear you ask? Because, my friends, I discovered upon arrival that there was NO PHONE RECEPTION. Zilch. Nothing. Not even ‘E’ (whatever mobile connection that is). Which meant that if they were around, they would not be able to contact me. I waited about 45 minutes before I got into my car and decided to drive down the road to see if I could get phone reception. As I drove, an incoming call came through. Yes! I have phone reception! I pulled into a lay-by and found out it was Dan & George, the second couple I had booked in to photograph. They were on their way!! I was now beginning to sweat. Not only had I not met the first couple but now I could potentially be late for the second couple and I hate being late. I asked if they could give me another half hour and they kindly obliged and said they would wait in a local pub.

Whilst I had reception I frantically sent text messages to Beckie & Phil. I then drove back to the car park where I was, and still no B&P. So I drove back down the road. This time the phone reception was not returning and now I really needed google maps. I found a lay by with a burger van and asked for help. Met with confused faces as to how to get to Stanage Edge (where I was to meet Dan & Geroge!), they told me if I crossed the road I would get internet signal. They were right! I crossed over the road, plugged in the new location and tried Beckie & Phil a few more times with no success.

I had to make a decision. I could not let another couple down and made my way to Stanage Edge which was a 15min drive from where I was in Ladybower Reservoir. The whole way there I was trying to keep calm and thinking of ways I could make it up to Beckie & Phil, as well as also praying they were okay and something terrible had not happened.

Time to meet Dan & George

Flustered I arrived. I felt crap that nothing had gone to plan so far and the fact that I had let B&P down. But, I had to get it together. I couldn’t let the feeling ruin the time with Dan & George. I called them and sent a pin to where I was. And I waited. I decided to send Beckie & Phil one more message to say where I was and that I could still meet them in an hours time if they were still in the area. I thought it was worth a shot.

When George & Dan arrived, I was so relieved. There was a point I thought this wasn’t going to happen either! I explained what had happened briefly but I didn’t talk too much about it. This time was for them! Taking a big breath, blowing out the frustrations, I got to know Dan & George. It was a bloody good session and I got to meet their pooch who looked just as snazzy as the gents. I loved what the colours they were all wearing, it worked so great against the backdrop of the Peak District.

We took our time walking and talking (as much as we could in the wind and the climb!). I actually met Dan through Instagram and had never spoken to George before. It was lovely to get to know them both and find we had quite a bit in common (as well as people we know in common as we found out much much later that day – small world!). Ginny, their dog which they rescued, was a absolutely adorable too.

We walked to the top of Stanage Edge, stopping here and there to take photos. Their nerves of what would happen in the session blew away with the wind. They were complete naturals, they just had to be them whilst I took a back step and captured it. At the top, with the pools of water upon the rocks and cloudy skies, I was able to get a little creative. They were a gorgeous trio to photograph and get to know.

Whilst at the top of Stanage Edge, just before our journey back down I got a message. It was Beckie & Phil! They were at Ladybower, they had been there all along and they were still there. They had received my messages and my last message saying I would come back if they hung around. Which meant I could still meet them and do their Peak District engagement shoot.  Saying my farewells to Dan, George & Ginny, I hopped into my car and drove back to Ladybower.

Time to ACTUALLY meet Beckie & Phil

There they were. In the car park where I had been. We waved to each other like lunatics. They had been in Ladybower allll along. B&P just didn’t have phone reception or Internet like me! They had tried everything to get in touch but of course it all required internet. They had even shown me the Instagram story they tried to do to get my attention but it never loaded.

I explained what happened when I arrived and visiting the other car park….it was then they told me….. Remember the police I mentioned earlier? Well, they had seen the police too. They had seen them in the car park. They had seen them get out to go to the loo. They were behind them. I could not believe it!! We had all been at the same place and time from the very start and had no idea.

Whilst we wet ourselves (not literally) laughing we got started on the our Peak District engagement shoot, joined by Oakley their pet pooch. Unfortunately for us the skies had already started to turn. It was much cloudier with the threat of imminent rain. Bit of a shame considering that when we had all arrived (much earlier!) the weather was perfect. We managed about 20 minutes before the clouds let rip and the skies got darker. We decided to sack it off, hit the pub and get a drink.

Maybe that’s what we should have all done in the first place? Hit the pub and stayed in the pub – a far better way to have Peak District engagement shoots eh? Haha!

Very little went to plan that day and in fact there was a lesson for me: to not sweat it and go with the flow because it all works out in the end. These Peak District engagement shoots were absolute goals. Looking at the photos, would you have known how flustered and stressed I felt? Would you have known that we were in a place we didn’t know or the fact that were pretty much strangers to each other? Both my couples and I had only ever spoken over the phone and social media! We made some memories that day and have photos to always look back upon and smile. It was the BEST way to start my 2020. If you fancy a day out, having some fun and chaos on the way with photos to remember it all, you know where to find me! Do give me a follow on Insta or FB also as from time to time I do a shout out for a free couples photo shoot. I still need to photograph a couple whilst discovering Sherwood Pines after all….

Locations where these Peak District engagement shoots took place:

Ladybower reservoir 

Stanage Edge


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Leicestershire wedding photography based in Rutland, near Leicestershire.

 © 2019 Gina Fernandes Photography