Romantic Bodleian Library Wedding
It is not every day that you can claim as iconic an assignment as that of a Bodleian Library as a wedding photographer, but last July we did exactly that as we shot and filmed Haiyun and Meng’s beautiful Oxford wedding day.
Real wedding at Bodleian Library, Oxford.
Bodleian Library was built in the 17th Century, and is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It serves as the main research library for Oxford University, and is now a meeting room for the university, where Meng has been studying for his PhD in Economics. Not to be outdone in the intellect stakes, Haiyun is also studying for her PhD in Denmark, in Architecture.
Shooting the couple’s heritage-infused wedding at Bodleian Library meant that we were able to hone in on the venue’s intricate historical features, and utilise some truly timeless backdrops.
In terms of timing, this was quite a busy weekend for us! We shot another wedding in France on the Saturday, and then flew back to the UK early on Sunday morning and travelled straight to Oxford for Haiyun and Meng’s wedding day! We arrived just after lunch, and rather than feeling stressed, we actually felt very relaxed. Haiyun and Meng were a lovely couple, and we really clicked with them, so this gave the wedding day a wonderful, convivial feeling.
This was a very intimate wedding day, consisting of Haiyun and Meng’s and family closest friends, many of whom had travelled from their native China to be there for their special day. Their professors from both Oxford and Denmark were also in attendance!
At Haiyun and Meng’s request, we followed a slightly unorthodox routine with regards to the wedding photography. We shot the first set of portraits before the ceremony, and before Haiyun had gone to her nearby hotel to get ready. Haiyun and Meng were very at ease in front of the camera, and having a variety of opportunities to capture photographs and video was fantastic for us.
After these portraits, Haiyun went to her hotel to change into her incredibly elegant dress. Its fluted shape was perfectly offset by its flowing train, and she had teamed the dress with a gorgeous pair of ethereal sheer gloves. The veil was fixed to a classic tiara.
Meng is a keen photographer himself, and one of our most memorable moments was when he admired our cine lenses as his future wife glided down the aisle toward him! The ceremony was simple and understated, with some beautiful words from the priest. The Bodleian Library was a breath-taking venue, steeped in history and with a stunning vaulted ceiling which allowed for plenty of light.
After the ceremony, we followed the newlywed couple outside for a short reception, before returning to the library for the wedding breakfast. The table settings in the library were a sight to behold, with gold birdcages full of flowers and gold latticed cake stands holding delicious treats. Each table was laid impeccably, with copper-gold candelabras bursting with flower arrangements.
Haiyun and Meng cut their simple and stylish cake in front of their loved ones, before the speeches began. The professors leading Haiyun and Meng’s PhD courses told witty anecdotes related to their studies, and Meng made a touching speech about his new wife.
After the speeches, we snuck away with Haiyun and Meng for their second round of couple portraits. They were naturals in front of the camera, and genuinely enjoyed being photographed and filmed – a joy for a wedding photographer – which meant that we captured some amazing photographs and video.
As the sun went down, Haiyun and Meng had their first dance under the libraries majestic arches, and their family and friends gathered around them for the party.
Their special day had a truly wonderful atmosphere. It was so poignant to see people from so many corners of the world coming together to celebrate with the couple, and in such a spectacular setting as this beautiful wedding at Bodleian Library. Our experience working as Haiyun and Meng’s Bodleian Library wedding photographer, and videographer, had been unforgettable.
Haiyun’s own words
Comments from the bride.
How did you meet each other?
We meet each other for the first time in Beijing airport. Our parents previously exchanged our contact numbers as we were two young Chinese studying in Europe, doing our Ph.D. thinking we could make friends. We chatted online for a long time to talk about our own Ph.D. topic, daily life, and other things and I regarded him as an interesting guy. Then when I flew back to China to attend my best friend’s wedding, he suddenly appears in Beijing airport with a warming smile.
How did the he propose?
I was told to watch a film. We went to the cinema, which is our first date place. And he guided me to another hall. And I saw all my photographs on the screen taken by him during all our travels. Then he played piano, that was Chopin Nocturne…And he asked and I said yes!
What’s the most important thing at your wedding?
Share our happiness and important moment to parents and close friend.
Record the valuable memory and moment in our life.
Love, nature, elegant, and sense of ritual in life.
The Venue and why this place above anywhere else?
Bodleian Library. The place where my husband gets his Doctor degree in Oxford. So it’s really a meaning place for him and I also like the English Gothic architecture. The library collects all original books in the world, I really appreciate that.
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