Engagement Shoot: Mr + Mrs Burnham-King

Sunday, April 4, 2021

 Alice and James 

16th June 2020 | Venue: Their home

Instagram: @aliandjimmysjournies @chefaliwil @sommjbk | Photos: Tanika Lansdell Photography

Let's start with a big congratulations to Alice and James, who tied the knot in an intimate ceremony back in July 2020. Their engagement shoot was a perfect representation of them as couple; so full of fun, and a whole lot of laughs. They incorporated their favourite things which made for some perfect shots (who doesn't love bubbles and popcorn!?) The now Mrs Burnham-King tells us all about their romantic engagement story, and how much fun they had on their pre-wedding shoot. 

Why did you decide to have a pre-wedding shoot? 

It was during lockdown, and it started with our photographer wanting to do a home shoot for her portfolio. Since we were house bound, it was the perfect idea, and the perfect time. I am not the best at capturing moments, besides the odd selfie, so it was exciting for us to have a professional capturing us in our personal space, just being ourselves.

How did you meet and how long have you been together? 

I worked at a game lodge in Kruger National Park, I had just resigned and had a month leave before heading on to my next job venture to Tanzania. We met in August 2017 through a mutual friend at a dinner party. We hit it off straight away and spent everyday of that month of leave together. 

We so enjoyed each other’s company, and just could not wait to see each other every day and see what mischief and adventures we could get up to. I would be heading off to East Africa for the following four months, so there was no talk of commitment. Despite the long distance, we stayed in contact and got to know each other. Thank goodness for What’s app! When I got back in January 2018 it was like I never left. We did long distance for over 1 year. Now we are lucky enough to work at the same company.

Tell us your proposal story: 

We went on a vacation to Zanzibar. We had the most amazing day out on a boat trip and snorkelling. We got back to the resort and had a silly argument about getting an ice bucket, as James wanted to go for a walk and then get back to the resort and have some bubbles. I was in one of those “whatever” moods, and honestly did not think anything of it. Needless to say, James got the ice bucket, left the bubbles on ice and we headed out for a walk on the beach. I suspected nothing. It was sunset and as the tide was out, we were walking on a coral embankment looking at star fish. I looked at him and said, “what a perfect day”. That is when he took out the ring and said, “will you marry me”. My initial reaction was, “are you joking?” James has a tendency of saying he wants to marry me if a make a good sandwich, so I needed to clarify if it was for real or not.

“YES. YES. YES” when it dawned upon me that he was legit asking me. We decided to walk further along the beach to get a cocktail to celebrate the engagement. We went to three beach bars, and not one sold alcohol. So, given that there was an ice bucket back at the resort with a bottle of bubbles we headed back.

Worked up a bit of a thirst with the heat and all the walking so the bubbles were going to be a treat. We got back to our room and looked into the ice bucket, it was empty, the ice was gone. James lifted the ice bucket and it looked like a sieve it was full of so many tiny holes. We eventually got a celebratory beer and sat on our porch in the moonlight, reminiscing about the day we had had and all the adventures to come in our future as husband and wife.

Why did you choose the shoot location: 

Due to Covid and lockdown it was the only place we could safely and happily have our shoot

Did you find the shoot helpful for helping you feel more prepared for the wedding day? 

Yes definitely. I was honestly originally not sold on the engagement shoot idea. We started our shoot with shots (sake bombs) with the photographer so we could relax a bit. Tanika is the most amazing photographer, she made us feel so relaxed and that we could just be ourselves. Having the engagement shoot really helped us get to know her, and her to get to know us. It was such fun. We may have been tipsy by the end of the shoot but made for some silly laughs.

Did you feel nervous behind the camera? 

Initially yes, but we eased up and felt more comfortable as we went along. I think that reflects in our photos, we were having fun, and our photographer really made us feel at ease.

Would you recommend that other couples have an engagement shoot or do you feel it is not necessary? 

Yes definitely, especially if you are not comfortable with taking photos. 

Did your photographer give you any tips before the shoot? 

Her advice was what we loved about her. “just be yourselves and pretend like I’m not even here” she gave us a bit of guidance during the shoot, but never felt forced, fake, or not genuinely “us”. She took our hobbies into account, and incorporated into our shoot, hence the alcohol and popcorn.

What advice would you give to other couples who do plan to have a pre-wedding shoot? 

Just enjoy it. Be yourself. Have fun, and don’t force a shot, it will come naturally, and it will reflect in your photos. You need to feel comfortable.

What is your favourite photo from the shoot? 

James is a sommelier, so we thought that sabraging a bottle of bubbles would be fun, and he jumps at any and every opportunity to sabarge. Me being a chef denied him the use of one of our kitchen knives, so a wine glass was the suggested tool. Tanika timed it perfectly, as James sabraged the bottle the glass broke, we were just hysterical after that. 

Were there any stand out moments in the shoot? 

Tanika picked up on our likes, for me food, popcorn being at the top of my list. So, she said why don’t you two make some popcorn. It progressed to chilling on the couch. She sheepishly looked at us and asked how you would feel about throwing the popcorn in the air. As the shot shows, so so worth it! I was finding popcorn in the couch for weeks afterwards, but it is a spectacular and super original shot.

Tell us about your big day...

We did not have anything specific in mind, but it all seemed to come together with gold, beige, and geometric shapes. We originally had a wedding for 100 people planned. Thank you to Covid, that changed to a small intimate ceremony and then a luncheon for 20 people the next day.

Did you incorporate any of the photos into your wedding?

We created a wedding website a used them for the online invite.

What was your favourite part of wedding planning so far?

Being in a different country, Rwanda, it did make things a bit more interesting in terms of planning. Lots of “winging it” and too much online shopping, it fed my online shopping addiction! And getting back home was like Christmas with all the packages needing to be opened.

Photography by Tanika Lansdell Photography | www.tanikalphotography.com | Instagram: @tanika_lansdell_photography

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