I couldn’t have been happier than when Emily booked my services for her wedding at Oxford’s Cathedral at Christ Church and the Bodleian Library. From the start I knew this was going to be an extraordinarily special occasion, as only couples with an Oxford University provenance can marry here.
Simon and Emily were in many respects my perfect clients. As they are both doctors, they were quite unflappable and had made meticulous plans, but were both totally pragmatic about events they had no control over, such as the weather. Emily and I shared the trait of hating to be late anywhere and of planning things in exact detail. I knew that unless there was an earthquake, things were going to run like a Swiss watch. Oh yes, they’re a stunning looking couple too.
I needn’t have worried about the weather. I arrived in Oxford early in the morning to blazing sunshine with not a cloud I the sky.
First stop was Emily’s house for her bridal preparation shots. I don’t rush in snapping away for these, I like to take my time to introduce myself to everyone, and get a feel for the vibe of the day. I want and need to now all the important details; to really get a feel for their day. My job was made so much easier by the complete absence of clutter and Emily’s great interior design taste. If things at the house look a bit arranged and staged, they’re absolutely not. That’s not my way; I just record things as they happen. There were so many friendly and happy people at the house that morning; they made my stay an absolute pleasure.
It was not without some consternation that Emily’s mum confided to me that she was also a wedding photographer, working predominately in France. No pressure there then.
After a relaxed morning and using our combined motto of “If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late”, Emily packed me off in a taxi to get off to meet Simon, Nav the Best Man and everyone else at the Cathedral.
If I photograph a wedding at a venue I have not shot at before, I always do my level best to visit a week or so before, just to make sure I know the lay of the land am familiar with the location. It’s that professional approach my clients expect of me. As planned I was able to visit the Cathedral and get shown around by the immensely helpful Rev. Ralph Williamson, who could not have been more friendly, along with the knowledgeable Porters I chatted to on way round, who briefed me on how crowed the entrance would be for Emily’s arrival. Prior planning and preparation paid off there for sure, it was packed!
My words really can’t do the Cathedral at Christ Church justice, so suffice to say that it is a magnificent building with quite the most spectacular choir I have listened to first hand. Recently the choir has sung at St Paul’s, Winchester, Salisbury, Worcester, Hereford, Gloucester and Coventry cathedrals as well as Westminster Abbey, Trinity College, Cambridge and St George’s Chapel, Windsor; it is a choir of international renown.
Following the service, Simon and Emily had chosen to walk through the picturesque backstreets of Oxford to the Bodleian Library. Walking is the surest, and quickest way of navigating the city by far. Oxford’s libraries are among the most celebrated in the world, not only for their incomparable collections of books and manuscripts, but also for their buildings, some of which have remained in continuous use since the Middle Ages. Among them the Bodleian, the chief among the University’s libraries, has a special place. Special too are the staff of the Bodleian, who were helpful, accommodating and even conducted a tour for the guests.
Some might not think that the hall would be a fitting place for a rock band, but following the most excellent wedding breakfast, and some genuinely original and entertaining speeches, it would be fair and accurate to say that the party that ended the day, well and truly rocked the house.
Here is a small selection of my images from the day, I hope you enjoy them, and if you do, please leave a comment below, I’d genuinely love to hear what you have to say.
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