Who wouldn’t want to photograph a wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral?
As a wedding photographer, I’m used to visiting all sorts of venues, large and small. I work at some venues every year but always love to go somewhere new. Only a few have the grandeur, history and iconic status of St Paul’s Cathedral.
When Henry first got in touch to tell me about his and Jacqui’s wedding plans, I knew that this was going to be a good one. I’d already photographed Henry’s brother’s wedding a few years back and he’d obviously kept me in mind which is always great from my point of view.
The day started with a few shots of Henry and the boys as they made their way through Leadenhall Market on their way to St Paul’s. I then headed back to the Apex London Wall Hotel to photograph Jacqui’s preparation.
As much as I was looking forward to shooting a wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Don’t get me wrong, Jacqui and Henry are a lovely couple, but they were never going to have the run of the place to themselves. St Paul’s has thousands of visitors every day and today was no exception. The OBE Chapel, where the wedding ceremony took place, is at least roped off from the rest of the cathedral and has it’s own entrance and exit.
Jacqui arrived at the North Transept Door in a white cab and the wedding party waited inside until they made their way down to the OBE Chapel. I had been introduced to the Virger and been given my instructions – basically I could follow them down, but had to remain outside the chapel until the signing of the register when I’d be allowed in briefly. This worked out OK. I made sure I didn’t hold up the proceedings, managed to shoot enough of the ceremony through the gaps in the ornate carved doors (from outside the chapel) and generally kept my head down. The lighting leading down to the chapel was dark (typically 1/125 f1.4 6400 iso dark), but got better when shooting the ceremony itself in the chapel. As they exited, the Virger led them from the chapel and to the steps outside. I even got a nice remark from the Virger thanking me for how I conducted myself and told me that my name had been noted. Maybe he’s had some bad experiences, so it’s nice to know I’m in his good books.
I always like working in cities and towns where the general public are and love seeing the reactions on people’s faces when a bride and groom walk by. As well as the usual congratulations, they sometimes get clapped and always get ‘papped’ by the public with their iPhones. The steps and huge columns at the front of St Paul’s are a classic image in themselves and Jacqui and Henry had some photos at the top. Turning the camera around made for some lovely images too with all their friends and family (and Joe Public) looking on.
So all in all, this was a wedding ceremony to savour just for the sheer thrill of working at such an iconic building. The reception took place at Devonshire Terrace near Liverpool Street and this will feature in a separate blog post soon.
wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral