Over the years, my experiences as a wedding photographer have taken me to a number of stunning locations such as old and historic buildings, manor houses, halls and grand hotels which span right across the Midlands. At Andrew and Laura’s wedding, however, I was given the opportunity to shoot wedding photography at Birmingham Library, an ultra-modern wedding venue which was completely new to me.
Nestled in the heart of the city, the highest point of the Library provided fantastic panoramic views of the Birmingham skyline from a large 180-degree window. It was a fabulous place for the groom, Andrew, and family and friends to await the bride and bridesmaids whilst enjoying drinks and taking plenty of photos.
As it is now customary, the ‘behind the scenes’ preparatory photoshoot took place at The High Field Town House, a gorgeous Victorian villa turned boutique hotel, which provided a beautiful antique-style backdrop. Surrounded by wedding flowers and with her graceful bridal gown hanging with shoes poised, I was able to capture the moments when Laura prepared for her big day. There were plenty of smiles accompanied by a few tears. It was a joy to be a part of such a special and private occasion as the final details of Laura’s bridal attire was unveiled, much to the delight of her bridesmaids, friends and family.
The wedding itself was held in the Shakespeare Room at Birmingham Library. Situated on the top floor, it holds an atmosphere of memory and nostalgia for all things vintage and literature, walls stacked high with wooden bookcases embellished with old carvings and designs dating back to 1882 – designed by reputable John Henry Chamberlain as a memorial to the great Bard himself. Though seating no more than 50 people, the Shakespeare Room provided Andrew and Laura with the perfect ‘up close and personal’ wedding. As a photographer, I find it’s important to be unobtrusive and steal moments when they naturally occur. The challenge I set myself is to slip into the nooks and crannies of a venue, and despite its size, the Shakespeare Room offered multiple angles to capture the big day at its very best.
Having said their vows, Andrew and Laura signed the registry book in front of the bust of none other than William Shakespeare himself! This, of course, led to some rather amusing selfies. Afterwards, the newlyweds and guests proceeded to the panoramic foyer for sandwiches, cake and of course a sparkling glass of champagne. Then followed the speeches and a few happy tears were shed by all.
Andrew and Laura’s elegant three-tier cake was amusingly personalised with two small wine cork figures dressed as the bride and groom. What really made me smile was the little chocolate caterpillar cake that accompanied it which the newlyweds gladly sliced into! It was a nice touch, and the gold-lettered napkins were the perfect accessory.
I captured a few shots of Andrew and Laura standing in the doorway of the Shakespeare Room, the natural light from the panoramic window creating a wonderfully bright setup, and made for some great wedding photography at Birmingham Library. For the group photos, we ventured outside onto one of the Library’s outdoor garden balconies which provided great views overlooking the ever-developing city of Birmingham and the bustling Centenary Square below. The day was bright and the sky filled with picture-book grey clouds which were mirrored in the great glass plates of surrounding buildings. The Library interior also offered an unusually stylish backdrop with its multiple bookcases and escalators illuminated with a soft blue light. Of course, this meant there were many opportunities to take fun photos – who can resist pulling faces on a moving escalator?
Overall it was a tremendously memorable experience and my pleasure to be a part of their special day as I photographed their wedding photography at Birmingham Library. Congratulations to Andrew and Laura; may I raise my proverbial glass and toast your future happiness!