Oakworth Methodist Church Wedding, Keighley – James and Annemarie

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James rang me at short notice to photograph his wedding to Annemarie in Keighley, West Yorkshire, which was going to mean a fairly atypical trip outside of the bounds of York for a wedding shoot. But I’m all for variety and the more varied the wedding venues I attend in a professional capacity the better.

I think GPS has to be one of the greatest, and certainly one of the most useful, of all inventions. Without it my trip out to Annemarie’s house to photograph her bridal prep would have been considerably more complicated and stressful, and who needs even more stress when you’re going to photograph a wedding in a location you’ve never previously visited. I arrived at her house on an overcast July afternoon to find the expected bustle of activity, with not just Annemarie, but also her coterie of bridesmaids and page boys in the midst of getting ready. Anne was pleased to see me but also understandably preoccupied, so beyond asking how she was and how she’d slept, I didn’t engage in much chat, but assembled my gear and got to work. As in any attempt to capture a scene in a sequence of shots, my approach was get a good mix of wide shots and details, posed and candid portraits. The little gang of page boys in particular were more than happy to pose for me. Once everyone was ready, we got into our respective vehicles and headed into town to get to the church on time.

Normally, I would have spent some time photographing the groom and guests prior to the ceremony, but in this instance there just wasn’t time. Once we arrived at the church, after securing a handful of arrival shots, we were straight into the processional. With the main members of the wedding party gathered at the front of the church, the officiating priest said a few introductory words and we were then led into a rendition of Morning Has Broken by the organist.  From my usual position to the left of proceedings, I used both cameras to get wide, scene setting shots and intimate reaction shots from not just the bride and groom, but the best man, bridesmaids and family and friends in the pews. All formalities followed without a hitch, with a speech followed by another hymn, the words helpfully projected onto a screen above the organist. Following the signing of the register, I got a nice portrait of the bridesmaids dressed predominantly in (what else?) purple and the delighted bride and groom on the altar. The ceremony was climaxed with the recessional, at the end of which James and Anne read my mind by stopping just prior to leaving the church for a kiss in close up.

From the church, the wedding party headed out to the Keighley Rugby Union Club for the reception. Unfortunately, umbrellas were out as part of the transition, and I worried on the trip over about how to negotiate the formal portraiture and group shots should the rain continue. Would the weather necessitate an indoor shoot and would the venue even accommodate that? Fortunately, by the time everyone was assembled at the Rugby Club the rain had stopped and I picked an appropriate spot with a wooded area as background for combined portraiture of the bride and groom and the groups. Once completed, the reception got into full swing and by the time my agreed on 3 hours were up I’d done enough to capture the party atmosphere and ambiance of the venue.

 

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