We’ve been visiting Oddfellows Hall in Chester for years, so we were delighted when we were asked to photograph two recent weddings there. The afternoon tea is lovely, we enjoy having drinks in the Secret Garden in summer, and they do really great packages if you want to stay over on a Sunday night. Oddfellows is where we first discovered Amaretto Sours, thanks to the bartender in the private upstairs bar. And we love Oddfellows for its unique decor and quirky feel; we like to think it’s how our house would look if we had oodles of money and about ten times more space!
Anyhow, back to the weddings. As a wedding venue, Oddfellows really brings a unique vibe to the day. In terms of wedding photography, it has limited space for setting up different shots, but as it’s in the centre of Chester it’s easy enough to pop out to the river or the walls to provide a more varied background. A bonus for wedding photography is the dramatic light that streams through the large windows, which we used as much as possible in both wedding shoots.
As an example, we’ll use Deirdre and Desmond’s winter wedding. Going outside wasn’t an option that day due to the weather, so we created as much variety as we could in the upstairs wedding rooms. (Downstairs offers some great locations, such as the upside down meeting room, but everywhere was busy because it was a Saturday. Something to bear in mind for your own wedding plans!)
You can see how wonderful the natural light was in our images of the couple’s ceremony. We were asked to shoot from the back of the room to make sure we were unobtrusive. But before the guests arrived, Geoff did one of his trademark camera-on-the-ground shots to set the scene:
After the ceremony, the couple and their guests enjoyed drinks in the upstairs bar, which is located across the landing from the ceremony room. The couple like black-and-white photography as well as colour, so we created quite a few black-and-white images to add drama. We captured informal images during this part of the wedding, including the famous Oddfellows wicker hares:
We decided that the best location for group shots was the landing, where the space was relatively clear. So we photographed the couple’s family and friendship groups here, then found a few choice locations to photograph the couple on their own. Again, because the couple like black-and-white images, we were able to add extra drama. And as you can see, we made good use of the natural light:
Isn’t Deirdre’s dress beautiful? It’s definitely one of the loveliest we’ve seen in the past year or so. And we’re sure you’ll agree that Desmond looks very handsome in his regalia! It was a lovely wedding, in a lovely venue, and we’d definitely recommend Oddfellows if you’re looking for a city wedding location.