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Brompton Oratory Wedding Photographer

Opulence in the Heart of London

Wedding Photography at Brompton Oratory, Knightsbridge.

 

Brompton Oratory Wedding Photography - The Church and Wedding Guests from the Back

The ornate interior of Brompton Oratory: Wedding venues don’t come much grander.


One of London’s Grandest Religious Wedding Venues

Brompton Oratory is less commonly known as the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or simply the London Oratory.  This fantastic example of Italian baroque architecture is truly a sight to behold, whatever name you call it.

With a rich history that stretches back to the sixteenth century, it is an inspiring place to visit and is the perfect venue for your Catholic wedding.

Before Westminster Cathedral opened in 1903, the London Oratory was the largest Catholic church.  It still serves as a parish church for Roman Catholics and is unique to the Catholic community.

Walking through the doors is almost like stepping back in time


Also Consider>> Pembroke Lodge for Your Civil Marriage.


The bride and her father arrive up the steps outside Brompton Oratory for her wedding ceremony

Bride Jacqueline arrives with her father outside Brompton Oratory.


Brompton Oratory as a Wedding Venue

Thanks to its splendid architecture and historical beauty, it’s many happy couple’s venue of choice.  People come from all around London and further afield to marry at this magnificent church.  When you step inside for the first time, you’ll soon see why.

It still houses many beautiful Italian sculptures and outstanding examples of marble work, woodwork and mosaic art. It’s quite simply stunning and a fantastic place to celebrate your marriage vows.


The Head Sacristan greets the bride and her father on the steps of Brompton Oratory

Head Sacristan, Paul, greets the bride outside the huge main doors.


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Arrival of the Bride at Brompton Oratory

The Bride arrives in style in the forecourt outside the London Oratory.


Starting Your Wedding Day at the London Oratory

Weddings at Brompton Oratory are as traditional as they come…  So the groom and guests arrive first, whilst the bridal party arrives outside to be met by the Head Sacristan when everyone else is seated inside.

I take some photos of the bride’s arrival and preparation outside before she enters, then I pop inside to set up for the dim lighting and opening of the huge front doors.


A sacristan opens the huge main doors to reveal the bridal party at a Brompton Oratory wedding

A challenging photo to take: The dark tranquillity inside clashes with the bright hustle and bustle of Knightsbridge, so exposing for both is tricky. However, I don’t think it matters that the highlights are blown, as you can still see the bridal party waiting outside.


Wedding Photography at Brompton Oratory

The Oratory offers a stunning backdrop to your wedding day, but the dim interior makes it harder to capture a good photograph.

When I arrive to photograph a wedding at a venue, I always seek out an official/registrar/priest/other to find out if there are any rules I should be aware of.   At the Oratory, they have just 2 requests:

  • No flash photography.
  • Try not to move around too much.

My heart drops somewhat when told I can’t use a flash in a dark venue, but it pushes me out of my comfort zone.  Thanks to some clever camera tweaks, the photos I take look like they were taken in fair to good lighting.


Bridesmaids follow the bride and her father down the aisle of Brompton Oratory

Flash photography would have washed out some of the detail in the back of the bridesmaid’s dress. After I took this, I ran round the side of the church to capture the bridal party from the front…


The bridal party is led down the aisle by the Head Sacristan at Brompton Oratory

A few seconds after the previous image: I’ve moved quickly to take a very different photo as the bride nears the altar and her waiting groom. In the dim light, black and white can look better than colour photos.


Read More>> Wedding Day FAQs.


Bridal Procession Down the Aisle at Brompton Oratory

At a different wedding, this procession down the aisle image shows off some of Brompton Oratory at the back.


Your London Oratory Wedding Ceremony

Wedding photography is all about capturing the unique and personal moments between two people in love on their big day.  So, you’ll want your photographer to capture the stunning architecture of the Brompton Oratory.  It serves as a fantastic backdrop for your wedding ceremony.  With my professional Brompton Oratory Wedding Photography service, you can be sure your photos will have a perfect balance.

The service lasts about 45 minutes (or over an hour if you request a mass).  I use this time wisely, carefully and discreetly thinking and composing each image to ensure that they are the best they can be.

I do need to move around a bit during the wedding ceremony, but I choose to do this when the priest is moving or during hymns.  At times of prayer or during readings, I stand still and well away to the side.  Although a few photos of readings are necessary as they are usually read by close family or friends.

I have included a few examples of shots taken from different angles throughout the service and ceremony:


A wedding guests reads at a Brompton Oratory marriage ceremony

Early on in the service, a relative gives a religious reading. I stand well away from the centre at these moments and shoot sparingly.


The bride's father gives away the bride to her groom at a Brompton Oratory wedding ceremony

I photographed this from the other side of the church to better see the bride’s face. Here, her father formally gives her away to the groom.


The bride and groom exchange rings at their Brompton Oratory wedding ceremony

During the exchange of rings, I shoot from the closest point I’m able to capture this decisive and special moment.


The bride and groom seated at the back of Brompton Oratory in Knightsbridge, London

It would be a photographic crime if your photographer missed capturing the immense grandeur of Brompton Oratory. I take time to shoot from towards the back for some environmental images.


Useful to Know Before Booking Your Wedding

      • Make all initial enquiries to the Priest on Duty and in person at Oratory House, Brompton Road, London, SW7 2RP.
      • One of you must be Catholic and have a reason for wanting to marry at the London Oratory.  If both spouses are Catholic, then a Nuptial Mass may be conducted in either English or Latin.
      • They do not conduct weddings on Sundays due to other religious commitments.
      • All music is provided by the Oratory’s Director of Music and played by the organist and choir.
      • The Head Sacristan is Paul Clark, who deals with all practical arrangements such as your photography and videographer requirements, flower arrangements, etc.
      • There is a significant emphasis on religion, including prayer and reflection.  The priest will guide you through this during the Marriage Preparation.

Bride Looking Thoughtful During Wedding at Brompton Oratory

Brompton Oratory encourages discreet wedding photography which enables the photographer to capture emotive shots such as this one.


Brompton Oratory – A Potted History:

 

      • 1852: Fr. Frederick William Faber purchased the London Oratory site for £16,000 in the village of Brompton (now South Kensington).
      • In 1874, a fund-raising appeal was launched to raise money to build the church’s present church.
      • March 1876: Herbert Gribble submits renaissance style plans to enter a competition to design the church. He wins £200.
      • 1880: Laying of the foundation stone
      • The church is consecrated in 1884 as the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (having cost £93,000) and opened a few days later by Cardinal Manning. He preaches to a congregation including 250 priests and 16 bishops.
      • £14,000 are spent on improvements including the outer dome over the next ten years.
      • Famous marriages at the London Oratory include Edward Elgar, Alfred Hitchcock and James Hunt.

A bridesmaid holds the brides dress as they process through to the sacristy for the signing of the schedule at Brompton Oratory

I love the contrast between light and shade here: As the bridal party moves to a back room for the signing, I continue to shoot for continuity.


The Schedule Signing in the Back

In 2021, the traditional register went online and was replaced by a wedding schedule.  Many venues now allow photography of the schedule signing, but Brompton Oratory asks that photographers’ refrain from capturing this.

Instead, they are instrumental in setting up some posed photographs at the signing table and the priest will even pose with you.  A nice touch!


The newlyweds, witnesses, bridesmaids and priest, post with the wedding schedule at Brompton Oratory

After the signing, the priest allows some posed portraits of the couple and witnesses. Flash is allowed at this point, and here, the priest poses with them.


The newlyweds and their bridesmaids walk back down the aisle after their Brompton Oratory wedding ceremony

This final shot was taken inside the church as the newlyweds and their daughter bridesmaids process back up the aisle.


Brompton Oratory Wedding FAQs

 

Q. WHY GET MARRIED AT BROMPTON ORATORY?

A. You need to do no more than look through some photos of this amazing venue (see my website) to see what an incredible backdrop this would be to your wedding ceremony.  It is a truly memorable and awe-inspiring venue for your special day. However, one of you does need to be Catholic.

 

Q. IS PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED OF OUR WEDDING CEREMONY AND VOWS?

A. Absolutely, yes. It would be best to liaise with the Head Sacristan to discuss this, but they are generally quite relaxed about photographers’.  There are places where the photographer cannot go during the ceremony, and they should not use flash.  Otherwise, as long as your photographer is discreet, there is no problem with them moving around for the best shots.

 

Q. IS CONFETTI ALLOWED AFTERWARDS FOR A NICE SEQUENCE OF PHOTOS?

A. Unfortunately, not…  However, bubbles can be blown by your guests outside the doors as you exit – as long as you don’t mind minor soap stains on your wedding best! I’ve never had a couple complain about this, though, and it makes for a fantastic set of photos.

 

Q. WHAT IS THE LIGHT LIKE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY INSIDE THE ORATORY?

A. There are high windows throughout the building, which let in a certain amount of light.  The room where the signing takes place is darker, but your photographer should have no problem in dealing with lighting, whatever the conditions.


Bride and Groom Walk Down the Aisle at the Brompton Oratory

The walk back down the aisle is a long one for the couple but provides the chance of some great environmental shots such as this one.


The couple and their bridesmaids exit Brompton Oratory in Knightsbridge, London

This photo as the couple leaves the Oratory shows off the vast scale of the building famously!


‘Confetti’ & Congratulations

So, wedding confetti is not allowed at Brompton Oratory, but bubbles are and have become a popular alternative.  If you require this little tweak to the confetti tradition, I’m happy to set this up as it can be very effective.  As soon after the ceremony as possible works best.


Bride and Groom Exiting Brompton Oratory in London Whilst Guests Blow Bubbles

Brompton Oratory does not permit confetti. However, bubbles are a popular alternative and can look stunning.


The bride greets a guest with a hug outside her Brompton Oratory wedding

The beautiful directional light outside the building is perfect for those emotive congratulations shots.


The bride hugs a guest outside Brompton Oratory after her marriage ceremony

There is no time limit once outside the venue, so I give the couple time to meet and greet everyone.


The bride chats with wedding guests outside her Brompton Oratory wedding in Knightsbridge

A beautiful wedding moment, courtesy of Brompton Oratory. The bride and her sister’s family take time to chat following the marriage ceremony.


Posed Group Shots Before Moving On

The all-important family group shots are probably the last thing you will do at the London Oratory.  I request a list of required shots before your day, to allow me to set them up easily and quickly.  I devote around 15 minutes to this.

After I’ve taken the group shots, London is your oyster.  The churches excellent Knightsbridge location means that you can get pretty much anywhere in central London with its many fantastic wedding reception venues very easily.  Whether it’s pub grub or a more elegant hotel meal and evening entertainment, there is an option to suit you…


Wedding guests pose with couple outside the Brompton Oratory main doors

This portrait shows off the main door really well. However, the angle and wide lens can make people look exceptionally tall. So…


Guests posing with couple after their Brompton Oratory marriage

…. I frequently change composition. This is more traditional and flattering to those in it.


The happy couple looking at each other with bridesmaid daughters at Brompton Oratory

I love the look on the bridesmaid on the right’s face here. Both girls are the couple’s daughters, making this photo very special indeed.


Group shot of all wedding guests outside Brompton Oratory in Knightsbridge, London

A group shot of everyone present. It was a small wedding, but had it been larger, I would have used the front steps to set it up.


A sacristan closes the main doors at Brompton Oratory whilst the bride chats with a guest after her wedding ceremony

And finally… Unexpected moments like this make the wedding photographs all the more eye-catching. The bride is unaware that a sacristan is closing up the main doors behind her…


The Oratory,
Brompton Road,
Knightsbridge,
London,
SW7 2RP.

 

www.bromptonoratory.co.uk

 

The London Oratory is One of London’s Top Religious Wedding Photography Venues.

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Wedding Photographer in Cardiff & London

Guy Milnes Photography is based between London and Cardiff, covering South Wales, Bristol, London and the home counties.
He has been a professional photographer since 2008 and loves to capture the wedding day's atmosphere as it unfolds naturally.

 

Preferred Contact Number:
07947 613070

https://guymilnes.com/

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