Its a joy to be able to capture your old friend's weddings, let alone two weddings! That’s exactly what happened though when Bav and Anna asked me to capture their special days. Bav and I attended college together and had adventures surfing together in Devon when we were 18/19. He also attended my wedding in 2015. As happens though, last few years we hadn't seen much of each other, with Bav moving between Oxford and London and me busy working, buying a house, becoming a Dad etc. I was delighted then when a message pinged from Bav asking me to capture, not one celebration, but two!
I drove up to Oxford on the morning of the wedding with my family in tow. It was the weekend after my sons birthday so the day after the wedding we went on to The National Space Centre in Leicester. Jasper is space mad! We checked into the hotel and I was straight off to the museum.
I arrived and was greeted by Asia, the wedding coordinator. She was incredibly helpful, knowledgable and understanding of the fact I had never shot at this location before, and gave me a tour of the museum. It's an incredible sprawling building with so many photo opportunities, including galleries of paintings, sculpture and historical artefacts. A photographer's dream!
After the tour, I was directed to one of the upstairs galleries for Anna to arrive. We had never met before, but instantly hit it off. She seemed incredibly chilled about getting married.
Downstairs in the ceremony room, I said hello to Bav and took up position for the wedding. We were just at the point before restrictions lifted so masks and distancing were still very much in place. This made things trickier for me as the registrars told me where to stand and not to move around too much. I had a good view but it's never nice to be stifled especially when shooting on your own. Fingers were crossed that the angle I had on the ceremony were going to be ok. Thankfully it was!
The layout of the room meant that everyone got to see Anna, her Dad and bridesmaids coming down the stairs into the room for the ceremony, a very grand entrance indeed. The civil ceremony was short and sweet, as they often are and even more so under covid regulations. It was lovely though. Bav and Annas friend played the violin as the couple signed the register which was a lovely touch. Always handy to have a musically talented friend around.
Venue - Ashmoleon Museum, Oxford
Once the ceremony was over with we headed through the museum, outside for confetti and group photos. This location has to be one of the nicest group photo locations I have ever had to work with, I had the entirety of the front courtyard of the museum to play with. The gigantic blue front doors of the museum made for a really unique backdrop.
Once the group photos were completed it was time to shoot around the museum. Asia, the coordinator came with us to chaperone for obvious reasons. Im sure they don't want photographers wandering off with a priceless ming vase. She was brill at guiding us around and keeping me up to date with how long we had to shoot what we needed to. Theres a lovely variety of areas, with the galleries being more intimate and warm and some spaces being modern and sleek. The real focal point though is the grand staircase with its golden chandelier with the natural lighting being the icing on the cake.
After our jaunt around the museum which took around 30-40 mins, we all headed upstairs to the terrace restaurant where the drinks reception and food was to be served. A really beautiful space overlooking the museum and Oxford. The guests were already making themselves comfortable with the welcome drinks and I took this opportunity to capture some natural moments.
After drinks and canapés we all stepped inside for dinner. Bhaveet and Anna had very kindly invited me to sit for dinner on a table of their school and uni friends. It was lovely getting to know them and reconnect with a couple of people I hadn't seen since around 2010 when I was regularly frequenting the Kings Head Pub in Battle. The food was genuinely exceptional, an all vegetarian menu by request of the couple. I am not vegetarian, but it still one of the nicest wedding meals I have had. The day was capped off with speeches. A joint speech from Bav & Anna and then a best man speech which included a Mr & Mrs game that went down a storm. He had asked the couple the same questions and got everyone to vote on the answers, it was very nicely done.
After that it was time for a taxi back to the hotel with bride and groom not having a reception. Well not for another week anyway. My first time shooting in Oxford was a joy and so worth the trip to spend it at an old friends special day, and getting the opportunity to photograph this incredible venue to boot.