Wedding photography. One tends to think of a big ceremony and late night party attended by lots of family and friends, sometimes upwards of 200 people, and all of that to be documented on camera. But occasionally I am asked to photograph a wedding for just the bride and groom, or perhaps the bride, groom and their best friends as witnesses.
These commissions come to me from couples who are choosing an intimate wedding at The Savoy in London, preferring a lovely romantic weekend away to marry quietly without the inevitable stress and planning involved in a large bash. The Savoy offers the perfect setting for this – beautiful suites to marry in, and only a lift ride away from the fabulous American Bar and Kaspars for dinner.
These weddings are very special commissions. My natural wedding photography style is documentary anyway, and this really lends itself to photography at a wedding where there are only a handful of people in the room. Being discreet is essential.
Below I have selected three such weddings, two were just the bride and groom, the third comprise the bride, groom and their best friends with a service in the Savoy Chapel nearby. I start in the same way – observing – noticing and photographing the small details that are always different as each suite is different. It’s always relaxed – the Savoy just does that so well – once inside the comfy quiet rooms, it’s impossible not to unwind into a different world. I photograph the couples getting ready, often with a make-up artist. The registrars arrive, there’s a bit of formalities to do before the ceremony followed by the ceremony itself then a walk about with the couples to shoot some portraits. Two or three hours and the visual story is complete.
The second wedding starts with preparations in the couple’s suite Claude Monet before a ceremony at the nearby Savoy Chapel.
The third wedding was a romantic escape to London for the couple before the birth of their third child. Family heard of the marriage when we took a photograph of the couple holding a ‘just married’ sign. They wanted a special weekend away together where they could take time to simply be together. They got ready in their suite and had the ceremony in The Gondoliers Room.
Re images 7 & 8 from the bottom….any wedding photographer will probably agree that getting the group and family shots at a large wedding done in a timely way can be a real challenge. With the best planning in the world there’s usually always someone who goes astray – Uncle Whoever who found the champagne and disappeared off somewhere forgetting he was meant to be around at the crucial time. That sort of headache. With an intimate wedding like this – no group shots! Or so I thought. Until one bride and groom were bombarded on the Embankment by 50 Canon enthusiasts. So we did a group shot for them anyway, even if the result is slightly random.
I am one of only a handful of preferred photographers for The Savoy Hotel in London and get to work with Bruce Russell and the Fairmont team in a beautiful iconic Savoy Hotel – special commissions indeed.