I didn’t hesitate in saying “yes” when Klem and Jamie asked me to be their Oxford documentary wedding photographer. After all, to shoot in such an historic and beautiful university city like Oxford is an absolute privilege and honour.
The Wedding Morning Preparations
The bridal preparations were well under way when I arrived at the hotel in Oxford that the bridal party were staying at. The groom and his party were staying at the Jericho Tavern, across the city, and were covered by my second photographer for the day.
Klem broke with tradition a bit by having her close friend, Basil, being a “bridesman” – certainly a role he relished. This came about as Klem had been a “groomsgirl” at Basil’s wedding previously.
Worcester College Oxford Wedding Ceremony.
Worcester College is one of the constituent colleges that make up Oxford University. Founded in 1714 as a men’s college, it only became a coeducational college as late as 1979. Notable alumni have included media mogul Rupert Murdoch and screenwriter Russell T Davies and Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame. In fact, you can only marry there if you were an alumni – of which Klem was.
The wedding ceremony was held in the college Chapel, built in the 18th Century but redecorated between 1864 and 1866. It is highly unusual and decorative; being predominantly pink, the pews are decorated with carved animals, including kangaroos and whales, and the walls are riotously colourful, and include frescoes of dodos and peacocks. Oscar Wilde once said of it, “As a piece of simple decorative and beautiful art it is perfect, and the windows very artistic.”
So photograph a wedding within its splendour was indeed an honour.
Drinks and Cockatils in the Grounds
When the college was first built, it was actually on the edge of Oxford, rather than being in the urban centre as it today. This means the college has maintained some beautiful grounds, including a lake – all of which are perfect for the post ceremony drinks and cocktails on the lawn.
There are also a number of more secluded parts, which are ideal for the wedding couple to slip away to and enjoy some relative quiet “me time” after the inensity of getting married. Even though I am a non-traditional wedding photographer who thrives on the natural and candid moments of a wedding day, I still like to get a small number of more formal portraits for the couple – and the bridge over the lake was ideal for this.
Breakfast and Toasts in the Main Hall
The wedding breakfast and the speeches take place in the college’s main hall – another building around the quadrangle of the college – making it convenient and close together for a wedding day.
Spacious and airy, the hall is an ideal place for the wedding speeches to take place. It was restored to its original decoration in 1966, giving it a fitting and traditional feel, that resonates through the whole wedding at Worcester College.
An Evening Wander Through Oxford
After the wedding speeches, and whilst the wedding guests moved onto the Jam Factory for the evening wedding reception, Klem and Jamie had a little wander around some of the iconic Oxford sites.
I’m sure that like a lot of people I instantly think of the likes of Inspector Morse, Lewis and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books when I heard the word ‘Oxford’. So it was wonderful to see some of these places that feature in them as we wandered the streets.
Oxford Wedding Venue The Jam Factory
Amusingly, on the way to the Jam Factory – where the evening’s wedding celebrations would take place – we passed a hen party on their way to celebrate. Instinctively my street photographer habits kicked in and I had to get a shot that I’d happily have in my personal street photography portfolio – it’s those kind of spontaneous and amusing moments I love to work into my non-traditional wedding photography wherever I can.
At the Jam Factory celebrations were already underway – a fantastic bar and restaurant that is an ideal Oxford Wedding Venue for those evening celebrations. Not only are there the usual dancefloor and bar areas, there’s also an outside area complete with ping pong table and bar football. What more could wedding guests want?
As a non-traditional wedding photographer I shoot weddings as they really are. So here are a small selection of some of the photos that best show Klem and Jamie’s real and natural wedding story as it happened.
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Are you getting married in Oxford? Or perhaps you like my non-traditional wedding photography approach to documenting how weddings really are? Then I’d love to hear all about your wedding plans.