A one-on-one with top wedding photographer as he takes us through the couple’s dream wedding.
It was a dream wedding Lovi Poe wed her beau Monty Blencowe on a rainy afternoon in the English countryside. The couple planned the nuptials with a relative amount of privacy, revealing the engagement just a month prior. She kept her treasured collaborators top of mind, which included top wedding photographer Oly Ruiz of Metro Photo. He was tasked to commemorate the day through his lens.
“Everything felt like it was handpicked by Lovi and Monty,” Ruiz begins. “They took the time to pick every detail of their wedding.” From the choice of accessories and attire, down to the flowers of their choosing, Ruiz explains that it was hard to fully capture how put-together everything had been. “Photography-wise, you can’t just not appreciate that,” adding that a lot of the ease also came with their historic choice of venue.
Private, Historic And Luxurious Setting
Lovi and Monty had their wedding at Cliveden House, which sits just an hour away from London, and its hallowed halls have served as the home to a Prince of Wales and several nobles, in addition to hosting people like Mahatma Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin, and Winston Churchill. “Cliveden House is all about privacy, history, and luxury,” shares Ruiz. When it’s not hosting distinguished individuals, films like Help! (1965), Cinderella (2015), and Chaplin (1992) made it the setting of their stories.
“It’s very well-kept and the service is impeccable; really courteous and helpful, not just towards Lovi, Monty, and the guests but even to us suppliers. They see us as partners and enable us [to do our best], they took time out of their day to help us.” And the (now) hotel’s interiors cannot be overstated, “I can’t even begin to discuss how stunning it is.” Even with an already breathtaking front of the house, Oly shares that the back of the house is just as, if not more, remarkable. “The area is so vast, it’s kind of like Versailles to me, it makes you ask, ‘Is this real?’” which properly set the stage for a wonderful day of celebration.
An Intimate Affair
“The wedding is very intimate,” shares Ruiz. Having a guest list of just about 100 people is a feat in and of itself with Monty being local and taking Lovi’s stature in the industry into consideration. “It’s a bit unusual for her to have such a small number of guests from showbiz, but it helped make everything feel so intimate. We got to interact with a lot of people.”
Among the Filipino guests who flew in for the wedding were Grace Poe Llamanzares, Brian Poe Llamanzares, Vicky Belo, Hayden Kho, and Tim Yap.
The festivities were held over two days with the first day being a barbeque and the second day being the wedding. “We really got to know a lot of the guests, it’s different when you shoot events like that. You being organically part of everything and knowing everyone.”
Come Rain Or Shine
As the ceremony was about to take place, the unpredictable UK weather suddenly kicked in. “There was a forecast of rain, so we kind of just winged it.” It had been raining that morning but they went ahead with the garden ceremony as soon as the rain stopped. “Just a few seconds after Lovi and Monty met at the altar, it started to rain.”
Ruiz described the scene: they initially waited to see if the rain would stop. People were putting up their umbrellas but the rain just got stronger and stronger, which forced everyone to move to a small hall beside the garden area and host the ceremony from there. “That was so incredible and touching to have everyone gathered in that hall like a crowd around the couple.
You can see it in the photos, it’s so informal and still so beautiful,” he shares. “I can’t imagine how they managed to pull it off, probably because of the place and the people. It felt like you were in a chapel.” The rain soon stopped after the ceremony, and they had good weather for the rest of the day.
A Most Ideal Collaboration
When it came time to take photos, Ruiz had nothing to offer but praise. “Shooting Lovi is, how do I explain this; I’m not gonna run out of good things to say about Lovi and this wedding.”
He describes Lovi as a true collaborator who he shares the same vision and aesthetic with. “We get each other. With my style, Lovi is a dream; for every photographer, actually. She’s also very respectful.” They keep in tune with each other, creating better work in the process.
“I feel like when she has input, she gets shy, but I get it when I have to adjust something. It all works out and I’m really proud of how the photos turned out. Lovi put everything together, I’m just really lucky that I was the person to get to shoot that. I’m so proud that I was her choice to put all this to memory.”
Photos from Oly Ruiz for Metrophoto.