Merchant Adventurers Hall Wedding, York – Ben and Leah
After a few easy, guest free, scene setting shots in and around the Merchant Adventurers Hall, my wedding shoot for Ben and Leah began in earnest in the rear courtyard, where most of the early activity centred and in anticipation of the bride’s arrival by car on Fossgate. Leah’s mum was an early focus of attention for my camera as she warmly greeted new arrivals and made the odd adjustment to lapel flowers. Shortly, I got news that Leah was close by so I made my way out onto the street and focused my camera on the top of Fossgate. The bride’s party, consisting of three cars, appeared shortly. Adorned with white ribbons and flowers, the silver Bentley carrying Leah parked outside the entrance of the hall, with her father the first to emerge, followed by a radiant looking bride-to-be gripping her bouquet of white roses and lilies. I followed Leah and her dad as they made their way through the narrow alleyway that led to the Hall’s courtyard where they were greeted, and Leah applauded, by close family members.
While Leah had her meeting with the registrar, I made my way into The Great Hall and focused on close ups of the seated guests and Ben with his best man. When I was given a signal that the bride would be making her entrance, I readied myself for the Processional at the front of the Hall. Hand in hand, Leah and her dad appeared and began their slow walk towards Ben, myself and the registrar, giving me ample time to capture these key shots. The ceremony proceeded and included a couple of speeches, which saw me moving out of my customary position to the left of the registrar to get a wider, all inclusive shot of the proceedings from a slightly further away vantage point. Again, with the “first kiss” that followed the vows, I moved further out to the front to get a suitable angle. Following the ceremony, the signing of the register left the couple seated facing the expanse of the Hall and a customary opportunity for the guests to get their own shots of the newlyweds. I stepped aside and used the opportunity to get some informal portrait shots of the couple. Once everyone had the shots they wanted, I moved to the back for the Recessional and as the happy couple made their leisurely exit, I got a good wide shot framing the newlyweds within the centuries old timber beams of The Great Hall.
With this quick succession of critical shots in the bag, it was time to breathe a little more easily as everyone made their way out into the afternoon August sunshine for the drinks reception. I circulated amongst the guests getting candid shots while the couple received their congratulations and the caterers dispensed champagne. The wedding party began to expand to other parts of the grounds while a joyous Leah showed off her ring and chatted amiably. After 20 minutes or so I gathered everyone for the group shots on the rear lawn, using the Hall’s chapel facade as a backdrop. I followed this with an “all in” group for which I moved everyone to the courtyard so I could use the steps to get the necessary height. Next was the formal portraiture, with the attractive and historic grounds of York’s medieval home to entrepreneurs as backdrop throughout.
By the time we were done with the portraiture, the rest of the guests were seated for the wedding breakfast, aided by a board that laid out the seating arrangements using what looked like mocked up Polaroids of each guest. The newlyweds made their entrance and joined their close family members at the main table. Preceding the speeches, I got some nice candids of guests engaged in conversation and some close ups of the wedding cake. Then speeches from Leah’s dad and Ben which we followed with the cake cutting.
The finale to the day would be the evening’s reception, which saw more guests arriving, and the first dance. This took place downstairs in The Undercroft, which had traditionally been used as an almshouse to treat the sick and poor. From a photography standpoint, the first dance essentially requires a low shutter speed to pick up ambient light coupled with flash to “freeze” the action. The newlyweds enjoyed an intimate solo dance before they were joined by family members and guests on the floor.
8th May 2019