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St Martin's Church Caerphilly Wedding Photographer

Large & Dignified for Religious Caerphilly Weddings

Wedding Photography at St Martin’s Church, Caerphilly


Father Mark talks to congregation at St Martins Church Caerphilly Wedding

Father Mark speaks to the congregation shortly before announcing the arrival of the bride.

A Victorian Church at the Foot of Caerphilly Mountain

St. Martin’s is a large Victorian church designed in the neo-Gothic style.  It stands at the top of the town, very close to Caerphilly Station.  Built in 1879 it is striking if somewhat imposing in appearance.  The church is the perfect setting for your religious wedding ceremony if getting married in Caerphilly.

Grandfather standing outside Rolls Royce with Chauffeur and bride seated

Bride Emma arrives at St Martin’s Church in a vintage Rolls Royce, accompanied by her grandfather.

Bride and grandfather pose by Rolls Royce outside St Martins Church, Caerphilly

The terraced cottages opposite the church on St Martin’s Road help give context to the wedding venue’s place within Caerphilly town.

Bride and grandfather entering St Martins Church in Caerphilly for wedding

Emma and her grandfather entered the church porch through the arched doorway, which makes a beautiful frame.

Bridesmaid arranging bride's dress in church doorway

Taken from the outside, I used flash to photograph the bridesmaid arranging Emma’s dress for her entrance into the church.

Bridal party waiting at door of St Martins Church, Caerphilly

I took this from the top of the aisle: Photography such as this gives a sense of calm and stillness shortly before the wedding ceremony.

Groom and groomsmen listening to vicar at St Martins Church wedding in Caerphilly

It’s vital to capture things from the Groom’s side too. Here, Alex sits remarkably relaxed, awaiting his bride. You can see some of St Martin’s stained glass along the side aisle in the background.

Fr. Mark – Rector in the Benefice of Eglwysilan & Caerphilly

I make a point of introducing myself to the officiant at every wedding I photograph.  Whether the registrar for civil marriages or vicar or priest, it’s essential to introduce myself and reassure them that I shall remain low-key and observe the sanctity of the occasion.

I found Father Mark to be very approachable, likeable and fully invested in making the wedding day as memorable and personal as possible for the couple.  Not all rectors are as easy-going, and it is good to find one in Caerphilly where I now live.

Bridesmaid leading bridal procession at St Martins Church wedding in Caerphilly

Bridal parties vary in size. Emma had just one bridesmaid (her sister) who walked down the aisle first.

Bride walks down aisle with granddad in Parish of Caerphilly Church

I take a full sequence of photographs of the bridal procession. I love this black and white image as Emma clearly cannot wait to see her groom before she even reaches the top of the aisle.

Build Your Own>> Bespoke Wales Wedding Photography Package

Bride and Groom see each other for the first time at St Martin's Church in Caerphilly

The first photo of the day showing both bride and groom together. Capturing the reaction as they see each other is priceless.

St Martin’s Church Wedding Ceremony & Vows

A wedding ceremony at St Martin’s lasts about 45 minutes, including hymns, readings and a personal address from the rector.  It is the perfect length as far as wedding photography is concerned.  It’s long enough to capture a wide variety of shots, but not too long that the guests (including the children – see photo below) start to get restless.  Children are positively welcomed at St Martin’s Church, and the website states, “...if they make a noise, we are glad because we know they are there!

Toddler pushing trolley towards vicar in church

I love it when the unexpected happens. This small member of the congregation took time for a wander around during a break in proceedings. I love the way he’s looking innocently up at Father Mark.

Female friend of wedding couple reads from the pulpit at St Martin's Church in Caerphilly

A friend doing a reading for the couple: There were a couple of readings during the ceremony, which helped add a personal touch.

Consider>> The Marquee at Ridgeway for Your Wedding Reception.

Black and White Wedding Photograph of Exchange of Rings in South Wales Church

My camera and lenses are top quality and allow for photography in low-light venues such as churches.

St Martin’s Church in Caerphilly: Photographic Rules of the House

There is only one strict rule that Father Mark insists upon whilst photographing a wedding at St Martin’s church:

No flash photography!

OK, that’s not strictly true – flash is allowed but only outside of the ceremony itself.  It’s a standard rule for churches and is understandable.  I can see that a photographer flashing away (so to speak!) may be distracting both for the rector and the couple, and I’m pleased to abide by this.  However, by the very nature of their design, churches are dim in spots.  St Martin’s benefits from the large stained glass windows, but these are set back from where the action is taking place.  Sparingly using a little bounce flash may produce slightly more striking images, but a good professional wedding photographer will deal with this.  Conversion to black and white helps as the images brighten more effectively in the edit – there is no colour to consider, just shadow and light.  Compare the above and below photos.

Exchange of Rings at St Martin's Church in Caerphilly

It is imperative to photograph the exchange of rings sequence. Happily, Father Mark has no problem with the photographer moving about during the ceremony to capture different angles.

The main thing is that your photographer can move discretely throughout, enabling them to capture a more diverse set of images.  Father Mark allows them to shoot from the chancel, which means that I may photograph them from the front and the back and side.  This is great for the capture of expression and glances between the pair.

There is one more rule that the priest announces at the start of the service.  That’s is a polite request from Father Mark for guests not to take photographs during the ceremony.

First Kiss at St Martins Church in Caerphilly

The all-important first kiss: the key here is for the newly-weds not to rush to allow their photographer to capture images such as this.

After the Ceremony & the Register Signing

After they are married, the couple are guided into the vestry to sign the Caerphilly marriage register.  Father Mark seemed to give Emma and Alex a little time alone which was a nice touch.  I took that time to photograph the wedding guests and caught the little fellow above having a walkabout.

Father Mark told me that I could photograph the signing but not a close up of the register.  I always welcome this as the photos end up being much more natural and less staged, which is what reportage wedding photography is all about.

Vicar passing pen to bride to sign the church wedding register

As with most churches, photographing the ‘actual’ register signing is allowed as long as the book isn’t the main focus, allowing for a set of much more natural and meaningful photos.

Signing of the Register at Church in South Wales with vicar looking on

A memory of how things were as the legalities complete: Emma signs whilst Alex, the rector and a witness look on.

Witness Signing the Welsh Wedding Register in Caerphilly with Bride Watching

The light from the high vestry windows is lovely and illuminates the signing in the small room beautifully.

Bride smiling as witness signs register at her Welsh wedding

There are often lots of real ‘moments’ as the couple take in what’s just happened during the signing. Here’s a lovely spontaneous smile from bride Emma.

Bride laughing as groom pretends to sign the register at church wedding

And then there’s the staged signing. If I’m allowed to photograph the signing, then by this point I usually have enough. But given a chance to set up some posed photographs, I take a few more. Before this, Alex had been hamming it up, which caused Emma to laugh and gave me this happy photo.

Vicar Taking Photo of Couple at St Martin's Church Wedding in Caerphilly

The Benefice Eglwysilan & Caerphilly, which includes St Martin’s Church has a Facebook page that this photo of Father Mark’s was taken for. Of course, I had to photograph the clerical photographer as it all made up the memories of the day.

Vicar hands over wedding certificate with a smile at St Martin's Church in Caerphilly

Father Mark hands a witness the marriage certificate to look after.  His smile suggests the sense of fun and warmth he conducts the ceremony for couples who marry at St Martin’s.

Exiting St Martin’s Church as Husband and Wife

Finally, there is a final address from the rector, and the couple walk back down the aisle together with their guests looking on.  Cue another sequence of shots for the wedding album!

At the door, I ask them to pause for a moment.  I shoot everything with the camera on manual so frequently adjust the settings for the changing light.  When I’ve set up for the change in light between the dim church interior and daylight, I beckon the newly-weds out to take the very first pictures of them outside as a married couple.  At moments like these, I realise what a privilege it is to do what I do.  I try never to lose sight of that!

Newly Weds Walking Down the Aisle after their wedding ceremony

How this shot has changed over the years: From film to digital cameras and now it’s predominantly phones that are trained on the couple as they leave the church.

Happy couple walking out of St Martin's Church in Caerphilly

Another view of the church as the couple exit. Here you see the side aisle, arcade and more of the architectural design of what makes St Martin’s Church such a beautiful venue in which to be married.

Bride and Groom Walk Out of Door of St Martin's Church in Caerphilly after Wedding

The newly-wedded couple step from the church porch into the daylight.

Wedding Day Congratulations Outside the Church

Time constraints outside the church do not limit the couple.  Unlike register office weddings, theirs will not be followed by other weddings, so there is ample time for them to greet and talk to all of the guests as they leave through the porch doors.  It’s a very special time, and I set about capturing as many shots with as many guests as I can squeeze in.

Bride hugging female guest outside St Martin's Church in Caerphilly

A heartfelt hug: As guests greet and congratulate the couple, there are many opportunities to take some of the most emotional photos of the day.

Groom hugging female relative at wedding in Caerphilly, South Wales

Although the wedding photographer should give the bride preference, they should take some of the groom too for balance, particularly when it comes to close family members such as parents.

Wedding Confetti at St Martin’s Church, Caerphilly

Confetti is allowed but away from the church on the path leading to the road outside.  It’s underneath the trees in the below photo, so the light is not ideal.  At Emma and Alex’s wedding, we chose to set it up later on at the reception venue as it was threatening to rain.

Lots of wedding guests milling around outside church after wedding ceremony

Although this photo looks messy, it is a good overview of everyone milling around post-ceremony.

Further Info>> How to Approach the Confetti & Congratulations Photography.

Couple with bride's mum and sister outside entrance door of St Martin's Church in Caerphilly

The porch door is an ideal backdrop for your smaller posed wedding group shots. I like to make these as informal as possible and to capture interactions and relationships.

Posed Wedding Photographs

There is also plenty of time for any posed group and couples photographs that you require.  St Martin’s church does provide plenty of attractive backgrounds for these, but I start at the porch door, as this is where the bride and groom both enter separately and then exit as a married couple.

After any posed group shots, it’s a good idea to ask most guests to move on to the reception venue where they can relax with a drink and canapés.  I then spend 10-20 minutes with the newly-weds to capture their couple portraits without everyone making them feel self-conscious by watching.

Family Group Portrait Outside Church Door with Bride Laughing

As above, this portrait of wedding day enjoyment says a lot more than more serious staged shots.

Couple kissing outside Gothic church door in South Wales

To the right of the porch is this stunning arched doorway. I’ve no idea where it leads, but that doesn’t matter. It provides an excellent location for a series of shots of the newlyweds.

Wedding Couple Portrait Outside Church

Same place but I move in closer to capture this portrait of the happy couple.

Couple walking along path with umbrella and friend walking behind

It had started to rain, so equipped with umbrella, the couple walked around the church for a few more shots.

Happy couple with an umbrella smiling at camera outside church

I don’t mind rainy weddings – this is Wales after all! The umbrella provides yet another memory of how things were on their wedding day.

Bride and groom walking outside church in rain with umbrella

Moving On to the Reception Venue

There are a couple of options as to what to do on leaving St Martin’s.  Emma and Alex toyed with the idea of having some photos on Caerphilly Mountain but decided against this.  So your photographer could travel with you to take pictures elsewhere such as on the mountain or at Caerphilly Castle, or you could go directly to the reception venue and join your guests.  Either way, after an exceptional service and wedding ceremony with Father Mark at St Martin’s Church, you are well set to enjoy the rest of your day…

Bride and groom getting into Rolls Royce whilst chauffeur holds bouquet

However, you depart from the church, whether by vintage Rolls Royce or double-decker bus, this gives closure to your time at St Martin’s.

Couple sitting in back of wedding Rolls Royce looking out of window

Photographed from the front seat provides a more intimate photograph as the couple look out at the church just before the car pulls away.

Rolls Royce pulling away from kerb from back at Caerphilly wedding

And finally, to their reception!

Parish Church of St Martin,
3 St. Martin’s Rd,
CF83 1EF




St Martin’s Church Caerphilly Wedding Photographer.

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Bride laughing as groom pretends to sign the register at church wedding

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Wedding Photographer in London, Bristol & Cardiff

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


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