A Screen on the Green wedding for Sarah and Mark. A wedding in a cinema. A wedding in one of the oldest continously running cinemas in the UK. A local landmark in Islington, North London, with it’s distinctive red neon sign illuminated at night. A wedding in a cinema that opened in 1913. Not just any wedding…..but the first wedding at Screen in the Green cinema, having recently got it’s license to hold wedding ceremonies in front of the big screen. Sarah and Mark just added to the history of the place.
A compact, single screen, old style, barrel vaulted cinema. It even has a bar at the back of the auditorium and two seater sofas with footrests for cinemagoers. Formerly known as The Empress Picture Theatre and The Rex, it briefly closed in 1970 before refurbishment and reopened as The Screen on the Green. The bar is a recent addition. But this cinema also has a place in UK music history, as the venue in 1976 where The Clash and Buzzcocks supported The Sex Pistols. This probably explains why Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp appeared outside the cinema entrance with a TV crew, just as the wedding guests gathered there. You can see him in the eighth photo below, back to camera, walking and talking to a TV camera across the road. He had gone by the time the bride, Sarah, arrived – which was a shame given the coincidence later.
Back to the wedding…university sweethearts and a wedding on the anniversary of their first date, ten(?) years ago. So, a wedding in a cinema, not places known for being brightly lit, so a great technical challenge for the available light shooter ( no flash in my bag as back up, it was a case of work with what you have in front of you). This did seem a bit adventurous after the spotlights, illuminating the stage, packed up after a few minutes use before the ceremony. This is the second time I’ve shot a wedding in a cinema, and this time there were certainly less lights and the space was smaller. I was glad I brought a 16mm lens with me for the large group picture of everyone in their seats. Shot from the stage, again lit by the projector’s light on the big screen behind me, I even did a version with some light flare. The registrars were from down the road at Islington town hall. Fast becoming my favourite registrars around. No fuss, a greeting, followed by the phrase wedding photographers love, “no restrictions” – why can’t other registrars and vicars learn from these guys?
The ceremony took place on the stage in front of the big red curtains and midway, everyone took their seats. Time to watch a film on the big screen – of friends and family relating their thoughts about love and marriage. Remember Gary Kemp? ( probably in another part of London by now talking to a camera ) Well what was the closing tune for this film? “True” by Spandau Ballet. He could have hung around for some royalties! 😉
Then it was some fizz to go with the popcorn before Sarah and Mark led the wedding guests up Upper street to the Almeida restaurant. Speeches came first. Tears and laughter. Tears for Mark’s grandfather who recently passed away but also speeches that included Sarah and Mark speaking together. Not sure why this doesn’t happen more often? It makes sense, a wedding is about a partnership. As the main course arrived, my coverage was up and time to slip away. The wedding was continue later in some bowling lanes. A wedding with a personal stamp on it by the couple.
Here are a few images from the day….