Wedding Photography at the Chester Cathedral
Chester Cathedral wedding photography of Beth and Ben.
Tell me about the proposal, how and where did it happen?
‘Back in December 2018 we took a trip to Iceland,’ explains Beth. ‘Our first night in Reykjavik we had a Northern Lights excursion planned, but it was cancelled due to heavy snow so we decided to explore the city. The Christmas lights were so beautiful and the area around the cathedral was magical with the most beautiful tree. We spent a long time walking through untouched snow and acting like kids! By this point, we were caught in a snowstorm on a hill next to the Atlantic Ocean and absolutely frozen, but Ben insisted we take off our gloves to make snowballs. When I turned around he was on one knee.’
How did you search for the wedding venue?
As both Beth and Ben grew up attending church, a big church wedding was an absolute must. ‘Ben’s dad had just become the Dean of Chester Cathedral and we joked at his installation how wonderful it would be as a wedding venue,’ she says. ‘Little did we know a few months later we’d be looking for one!’
One hindrance of a church wedding is that guests must later travel to another location, but Chester Cathedral made it possible to enjoy all the festivities in one place. And what a spot for a wedding breakfast! ‘We’re both big Harry Potter fans and loved that Chapter House looked like the Great Hall,’ says Beth.
Wedding Photographer: How did you find me choose me?
The couple hadn’t been actively looking for a photographer when they stumbled across me at a Liverpool wedding fair. ‘Hervé had lost his voice but we could still see all of his enthusiasm,’ says Beth. ‘He had so many good ideas and you could tell he was very experienced in what worked well and what didn’t.’ As keen photographers, the couple was intent on finding the right person for the job. ‘We’d spoken to a few other photographers but we kept going back to Hervé because of his laid back approach. Neither of us liked the idea of posing all day so we already loved his style. We felt confident putting this task in his hands.’
Beth and Ben wedding photography at the Chester Cathedral.
What was the ceremony like?
Come the big day, organist Colin had taken it upon himself to learn a brand new piece—all within 48 hours—so that Beth could walk down the aisle to a song that would later become the couple’s first dance.
Beth looked sensational in a gown purchased at the Cambridge Bridal Studio, shoes by Paradox London and the biggest smile you could hope for on a bride. One of the most memorable experiences for a bride-to-be is often shopping for The Dress, but sadly Beth was only able to shop with one person in attendance. ‘I had to show my mum and dad the dress over a video call,’ she explains, which made finally walking down the aisle all the more special.
The ceremony was a family affair, with Ben’s dad hosting the service and both parents and grandparents with their own special part to play. There was a ‘Blessing of the Rings’, during which all offered a wish, piece of advice or blessing to take into married life – certainly a highlight of my Chester Cathedral wedding photography. Loved ones prevented from attending in person, meanwhile, were invited to enjoy the ceremony via live stream.
Speaking of blessings, a beautiful sunny day meant the drinks reception could take place in the cathedral’s courtyard garden. A key consideration for me as a documentary wedding photographer is what I want to convey. While black and white imagery might reflect the sanctity of marriage—for example, during timeless moments like the signing of the register—notice how I switch back to colour to reflect the sense of fun over a tipple or two in the sunshine.
Tell me about your drinks reception, speeches and wedding breakfast.
While friends and family mingled over canapés, the couple took a short walk along the cobbled streets of Chester and the iconic Chester Wall, which added real interest to the photo album. Next, it was on to Chapter House, where the couple had opted for an Italian feast instead of a traditional wedding breakfast.
The colour scheme for the wedding would be inspired by Beth’s sapphire ring, with plenty more stylistic choices to follow. Beth explains, ‘We love to travel and spend weeks at a time exploring by train. During the time of our wedding, there was an exhibition at the Cathedral with a model railway, so we decided to name our tables after the cities we visited on that first interrail trip.’
The couple is also LEGO fans and found creative ways to include it in the festivities; the little boys wore LEGO bow ties, there was a LEGO cake and the top table had two LEGO cherry blossom trees, in homage to the scuppered Japanese honeymoon – thanks Covid!
With bellies fit to bursting, it was on to the speeches. Beth’s dad spoke about how hard the couple had worked to pull off a wedding, while best man Sam and the groom ensured we weren’t short on tears.
Tell me about your first dance.
After that there was nothing left to do but get the party started; the first dance would take place to Can’t Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon, a touching choice for the couple who’ve known each other since childhood.
Enormous thanks to the happy couple for trusting me to document your special day; I hope marriage is everything you’d hoped for and more.
Tell me about your honeymoon.
Although Japan has been put on hold, they did manage a last-minute trip to Edinburgh, where they began each morning with a run up Arthur’s Seat!
If you yourself have been inspired by my Chester cathedral wedding photography and would like to discuss your own Cheshire wedding, please get in touch. My diary is filling up fast!