OBE Chapel wedding photography
So 48 hours after Sophie and Jeremy's pre-wedding shoot, it was back to 'the scene of the crime' on Saturday - for their OBE Chapel wedding at St Paul's Cathedral, London.
I've started with a shot of St Paul's Cathedral from the wedding reception venue - the Paternoster Chop House - which really is a good stone's throw from the cathedral. No long drive across London to get to the reception. Just a short stroll after the ceremony and a refreshing glass/bottle was to be had - perfect! But first we had the morning, with Sophie, her bridesmaids (all but one her sisters), her mother and later her father, her nieces and sister's partners, getting ready in an apartment overlooking London Bridge station. To come we would have a bride burning her hand making toast and a taxi driver that took a wrong turn (and a photographer who had to jump out of the cab and run up the hill to the Cathedral).
Getting married in the OBE chapel at St Paul's is rather different to other churches. You are in the crypt for one thing. Guests get to the chapel by walking through the café and past the grand tombs of Horatio Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. They sit surrounded by ornate plaques to the great and the good(?) from British history. Indoors, down below.
It is also different for the wedding photographer. In 2011 I lucked it, the officiating clergy was very modern in his approach and allowed me to stay in the chapel and shoot from the back. Unfortunately he left. This time the law was laid down. Pictures until the first hymn and then out! The Canon emailed the groom to mention that he had thrown out a photographer for breaking his rules! The concession is to be then allowed to shoot through the ornate lattice work of the doors into the chapel ( you can see these doors in the shot of Sophie and her father about to enter the chapel ). So like a Peeping Tom, my lens pressed up against the small apertures in the door - with glass of variable quality and cleanliness - I must have looked like a desperate paparazzi to the tourists behind me craning a view of the Duke's tomb in the gloom. But at least I got something and didn't have to listen to the sermon given the soundproofing! 🙂 (Update: The next time here, I was told no pictures, not even through the dirty glass. A compromise was reached on the spot, I could shoot it but not publish those images. It's odd, in the majority of venues the rules have become more photo friendly over the last decade or so. There is still the odd grumpy country vicar or jobsworth registrar (outside London) but this sort of old-fashioned approach is rare, Shame the chapter of St Paul's is so backward thinking...
Here are a few images from the day at The OBE Chapel and the Paternoster Chop House, just next door...
Update: Despite the restrictions on wedding photography placed by St Paul's cathedral, I still managed to win a major photography award from this coverage...read about how it was captured here.
The same image won several awards in international wedding photography competitions, that you can see some here.
Update II: Five years after this wedding at The OBE Chapel I photographed Sophie's sister's wedding in East London - you'll recognise many of the faces...
Share this story