A Stunning summer wedding at the Asylum Chapel in London – Jo & Saskia
LGBTQ Wedding at the Asylum chapel, London.
This alternative summer wedding in London was one of my favourite weddings to photograph in 2018 – the day was filled with love and unity, while the wedding venue romanticised every moment of the ceremony.
Jo + Saskia found me through their friend Sophie, the chief bridesmaid. The previous year I shot the wedding of Hannah & Chris, where Sophie and her boyfriend, James, were guests. We got started on road cycling and hit it off right away. Little did I know that chat about Mavic wheels and cycle touring New Zealand would lead to one of my favourite weddings of all time.
Jo + Saskia are creative individuals, art directors and food stylist/chefs – you would assume they would want full creative control of their wedding day, however instead they were extremely relaxed, putting a huge amount of trust in their suppliers and in my case, my passion for cinematic moments and documentary style wedding photography.
Many of the guests at this London wedding were photographers, producers and directors, a potentially intimidating crowd for myself however one of the highlights of their wedding day at the asylum chapel, London was by far the ceremony – not one guest had their phone out, they were all completely in the moment – a wedding photographers dream.
The Asylum Chapel, London
Where do I start? …This was the first time I shot a wedding at the Asylum Chapel. Arriving in Peckham, let’s face it, you have a vision of Only Fools and Horses, its impossible to avoid, looking for Del Boy around every corner. The Videographer and I met up to recky the venue day before, meeting up with the brides at the Asylum Tavern – waltzing in with our beards and MacBook Pros, not an IPA or a sourdough in site.
The asylum chapel venue is unassuming from the outside, your in the middle of Peckham and yet as you enter Caroline Gardens, your transported. The walled gardens house the chapel, you can’t help but wonder why it’s there, how it got there and how its managed to hold on to its enigmatic charm. The Juxtaposition of the beauty in the asylum vs the surrounding area is polarising. The Asylum chapel is the perfect wedding venue, the stained glass windows are mesmerising and the light flowing through them is phenomenal. The grandeur of the architecture, from another time, and the way the building is run down, but in a boho chic way, lends itself to a magical wedding ceremony and a wedding photographers dream. The Asylum Chapel in London requires no dressing or additions, the stunning but simple wooden chairs and an alter lit with candles sets the mood perfectly.
I Started the day as any self-proclaimed hipster would, in Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel in Shorditch. The avocado on toast came on a muffin with a string quartet playing in the background (honestly the best I’ve ever had) – a perfect start to the day. The menu matched my shirt…but that’s another story.
Ajer the best avocado on toast EVER I headed to prep with Jo in Shoreditch, at an Airbnb. Jo’s mum gave me a little nudge to make sure I took plenty of pictures of Jo’s dad, he was battling terminal cancer and sadly passed away a few months later, it was a miracle he was there. Jo and Saskia had officially married in the previous December so that their family could be there.
Ajer the wedding preparation in Shoreditch I moved to the other side of the Thames to document Saskia’s wedding preparation. Saskia had previously lost her dad, taking care to document moments with her mum to capture more poignant moments on the day. Saskias dad was an author, he wrote “the book of wag” which was later quoted from in the speech from Jo’s dad, another moment of significance later on. Another special moment at the wedding preparation was meeting Pepperoni Puppy, who accompanied the bride walking down the aisle.
Arriving at the ceremony I discovered the Celebrant was Saskia’s brothers wife, who was also director, making the day even more intimate and special. A tip for any ‘bride to be’ from a wedding photographer who sees many ceremonies, your day will always go up a notch, the more personal you can make it.
Saskia walked down the aisle first with her Mum, followed by Jo and her dad. From a wedding photographers perspective, seeing everyone in the moment, not a phone on hand, was special – and allowed me to capture that, rather emotional, experience beautifully.
After the ceremony the confetti shot was epic, a guest with a yellow scarf got really into the confetti throwing, rather than hindering the shot, she made it more special.
Once the excitement of the confetti throwing was over, the newly married couple and I moved back into the asylum chapel, capturing some special intimate moments with the light flooding in through the stained glass windows.
Their wedding car was a classic yellow vintage mustang, I was lucky enough to ride with the newly married couple, catching some beautiful shots of their celebrator first sips of champagne in their marriage.
Driving over the famous London landmark, Tower Bridge, I jumped out to get a shot of the car from behind – they drove off and left me there!! Fast forward to me sprinting the length of Tower Bridge with my harness on and cameras swinging along with me. Needless to say some of that champagne was mine upon catching up with the car!!
Moved on to the AMP studios in Shoreditch, ran by the very awesome Chris from The Wedding Arrangers.
We arrived at AMP studios, jumping out the wedding car and wandering down an alley way to a small area off the main road decked out for their guests – it looks absolutely stunning. I’m chatting to Chris, from the Wedding Arrangers about how much I love this site for the wedding breakfast when he turns and looks at me, Paul Mate – this was a car park 4 hours ago!
Something you should know about this magnificent London wedding, the reception was in a car park.
A car park, and yet its one of the most intimate, beautiful weddings I’ve ever shot. The car park was attached to AMP studios, where the party really got going around 9pm.
Before the party kicked off, the speeches flowed, many were very emotional. Jo’s dad did his speech, and read a passage from Saskia’s dads book, “the book of wag” – an incredibly moving moment for everyone in the room.
“As long as I breathe I hope. As long as I breathe I shall fight for the future, that radiant future, in which mankind, strong and beautiful, will become master of the drifting stream of his history and will direct it towards the boundless horizons of beauty, joy and happiness.”
After the wedding breakfast, the party began – the dance-floor was alive, each and every guest got involved.
Venue/Event Organisers: The Wedding Arrangers
Ceremony: Maverick Projects
Hair/MUA: Butterfly Mobile
Dress: Heart a Flutter
Want to see another London Wedding? You are welcome
As a Wedding Photographer that captures many weddings in London, the Asylum Chapel has to be one of my favourite wedding ceremony venues in the United Kingdom. This day in particular was made even more creative because of The Wedding Arrangers unique ability to create a fluid and easy going day so that the couple could concentrate on what was important to them.
If you’re looking for a wedding venue in London that gives you the opportunity to have a romantic ceremony with a reception location of your choosing, I can’t recommend this place enough. The options for wedding photography in London is endless, you will not be disappointed.