York Registry Office and Churchill Hotel Wedding – Sam and Adam
In a repeat of Sheri and Donovan’s earlier wedding, Sam and Adam had chosen to split their day between two venues: the Registry Office and the nearby Churchill Hotel. I arrived early on a mid-summer’s day that had turned more pleasant after earlier rain and began photography in the Celebration Waiting Room as guests started to arrive. The presence of children in the room meant I frequently shot from a low angle to get their perspective and particularly as their activities lent a real dynamic to compositions among the more static adults. After about twenty minutes, and with the ceremony due to start in five, I got word that Sam was arriving and headed out front.
Sam arrived with her father and as the car pulled up to the curb I got my first shots of the bride-to-be smiling at me through the glass of the curb-side rear window. Her father opened the door for her and took her bouquet. Gathering up her dress to protect it from the wet ground, Sam made her way into the registry office. While she had her meeting with the registrar, I began photography in the Ceremony room. By now it had filled with guests who had seated themselves and were chatting amongst each other or were engaged with, and checking out the results of, their own photography. With the processional due any second, I positioned myself front left and focused on the groom and his interactions with his best man, then shortly the registrar after she had taken her place. One shot that I thought worked particularly well was of the ring with an out of focus, smiling Adam just behind.
A little past the allocated time, an elegant looking Sam made her entrance on the arm of her smiling father. The ceremony from processional to the kiss was bare bones, with no speeches and lasted all of four minutes. But all key moments I felt were well documented, particularly the ring exchange. After having my attention exclusively on the couple during this period I turned my camera to getting reaction shots from the guests. Next were the more formal shots of the signing of the register, where I did my level best to keep out of frame as much as possible the Registry Office’s IMO unsightly “City of York” banner that hung on the wall behind the seated couple. Then we all made our way outside to the gardens where the newlyweds “posed” for the guests’ cameras. A few handfuls of confetti made it into the frame and made for one particularly lovely shot when coupled with Sam’s reaction. Once the confetti was exhausted and everyone had got the pictures they wanted, I invited the couple to take a slow walk down to the bottom of the gardens and back while I photographed them. Following this it was time to make our way over to the Churchill for the drinks reception. So arm in arm, Sam and Adam led the wedding party out of the Registry Office grounds and out onto Bootham, a bridesmaid in attendance to keep Sam’s dress off the ground and dry, and me out front walking backwards with a camera to my eye.
The rain had fortunately stayed away and there was a nice, even light outside that was good for portrait photography. Once at the Churchill, the party settled in the outside garden and chatted for about fifteen minutes before I called everyone together for the group photography. These shots included an “all in” group shot that I took from an upstairs window. Whenever I do a wedding at the Churchill I always let couples know about the smoking hut and the opportunity to get some light hearted portraits of the couple inside posing with cigars. Some go along with it and some don’t and on this occasion Sam and Adam fell into the later camp. So the formal portraiture proceeded with them posing in front of the hotel’s main facade. After shots of them in and around the gardens we moved inside to make use of the hotel’s interiors. The hallway had used to feature an elaborate crystal chandelier, but I noticed on my recce that it had been swapped out for one that was smaller and more modern looking. It was still attractive and worth featuring in the shots I took of the couple on the stairway. Then, following a selection of shots in the main dining room, my time with Sam and Adam was up and I said my goodbyes.
1st April 2019