Capturing candid moments – Cherwell Boathouse Wedding in Oxford
I am feverish with excitement waiting for wedding season 2016 to begin! I can’t wait for an end to the wet, gloomy, cold days and the start of long summer’s evenings that melt into balmy nights; as well as ice creams, Pimms, aimless walks in the countryside punctuated by picnics; beach trips, glamping, festivals and of course, more wonderful weddings to shoot!
Looking back on last summer’s weddings, I came across the lovely Emily and Simon’s August 2015 wedding, they had their ceremony at the Convocation House in the Bodleian Library and the reception at Cherwell Boat House, Oxford. The Cherwell Boat House is a uniquely quirky wedding venue and lays claim to some interesting history too. The River Cherwell was home to the very first ‘pleasure punts’ in the 1860s because of its ideal setting, being shallow, slow moving and relatively free of other traffic. Punting was considered terribly befitting for the gentle entertainment of young ladies studying at the all-female Oxford colleges.
Times have changed, but the charm and history of the place remain. Now the boat house has a well-deserved reputation as a premier wedding venue with a twist where guests can still enjoy Pimms and punting as part of the day’s celebrations. The marquee accommodates between 20 – 125 guests in a variety of formats. The restaurant seats up to 75 guests and offers a fine dining experience. Emily and Simon opted for the marquee, which they decorated with punting made from African fabrics that Emily has imported and sells in her own Etsy shop, The Elephant Fabric Company.
I found that the activity of punting was a great way of capturing some great candid shots, which I absolutely love to do. I am passionate about documentary photography as I really enjoy people-watching and being able to capture the moments that make each wedding special. I aim to portray the wonderful candid smiles and interactions between people that make a wedding day beautiful. While guests were getting in and out of boats, catching up on gossip, enjoying a drink or taking their own shots of the day’s activities, I was there to capture their sunny smiles and delight.
It is standard for wedding photographers to take posed, formal shots of each guest with the couple, but I find this can look very staid and samey if it is all you’re doing! I prefer to create images of everyone having fun and enjoying the rare occasion of family and friends coming together for a joyful celebration of love. I hope that my candid shots continue to inspire Emily and Simon, and their guests, to relive their wedding day over and over again, and recall the great things that happened on that day.