Blackfriars Banquet Hall

Halo Photography don’t just photograph weddings. We feel variety is the spice of life. Our perfect week would include something different every day. We have some great commercial clients. Kate, at Northumbrian Flowers, has become one of them since this shoot. The location was to be Blackfriars in Newcastle. A former 13th Century friary which is now a Banquet Hall and Resturant in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Northumbrian Flowers

The brief was to document Kate on a typical wedding day. Not that any of her creations can be described as “typical”. Northumbrian Flowers are based in Wark on Tyne. Kate has her own unique flower farm where she grows organic and sustainable crops to use in her floral arrangements. We were overjoyed that she had chosen us to help advertise her beautiful work.

Halo was going to shadow Kate & her colleague Suzie for Amy & Matthews Wedding at Blackfriars in Newcastle. We were going to focus on preparation and the creation of a fabulous half foliage arch to adorn the entrance to the Banquet Hall. Blackfriars Banquet Hall was going to be the venue, for both the service and the wedding breakfast. It was going to be an odd perspective for me at a wedding.

Outside Blackfriars in Newcastle

The Crack of Dawn at Blackfriars in Newcastle

It was an early start. Kate from Northumbrian Flowers was planning on arriving at about 8 am. Halo hadn’t been to Blackfriars in Newcastle for ages and I couldn’t remember what traffic & parking was like. I thought I’d set off bright and early, just in case. I got there stupidly early after hitting no traffic and there were loads of spaces outside Blackfriars. It gave me a chance to have a scout around. The grounds have open access. Early morning commuters walk through as if it was a park.

On arrival Kate and her Husband, Pete began unloading what seemed like a mountain of foliage and crates full of beautiful flowers accompanied by various vessels that would eventually hold the displays. Kate had all of her supplies arranged around the courtyard border. I was starting to wonder if this was a royal wedding as I’d never seen this many flowers outside of a garden centre.

Northumberland Flower's Supplies in Blackfriars courtyard
A collection of Milk Churns
Northumbrian Flowers unloading flowers at Blackfriars in Newcastle
Flowers waiting to be prepared outside of the Banquet Hall at Blackfriars Courtyard
Northumbrian Flowers planning the wedding flowers at Blackfriars in Newcastle
Northumbrian Flowers discussing the construction of a Half Floral Arch at Blackfriars in Newcastle
Foliage, Gloves and sissiors
Northumbrian Flowers watering a vases in the Blackfriars Courtyard

Blackfriars Banquet Hall

Once Susie arrived, Kate explained the plan for the day. Firstly, to get the Banquet Hall dressed for the Wedding Service. The Blackfriars Banquet hall is stunning. A medieval hall lined with stained-glass windows, antler chandeliers, hanging banners and large oak dining tables with matching chairs.

As amazing a location as it is, the banquet hall is a tough location for a photographer. Its aged walls are dark, the stained glass lets little natural light through with what little it gives being all on one side of the room. The artificial lighting is minimal and mainly projects onto the sandstone walls. The room isn’t large and the multitude of banners and chandeliers make it almost impossible to bounce extra light into areas without creating shadows. It’s what gives the hall its charm and make it the ultimate, intimate venue.

These sorts of jobs are learning opportunities. Extreme circumstances that push you out of your comfort zone. I was thanking the gods for our recent camera upgrades. Their added latitude and ISO range were going to be very useful today.

The foliage, Northumbrian Flowers used to line the red carpet, suited it perfectly. Likewise, the table vases were beautiful, but not overpowering. We often photograph weddings where the flowers of the service table are so big, often you have to remove them, just so you can see the bride & groom.

Northumbrian Flowers arranging foliage along the red carpet in Blackfriars Banquet Hall
The finishing touches to Blackfriars’ ornate medieval Banquet Hall
Vases of flowers & foliage on the service tables in the banquet hall of Blackfriars in Newcastle

The Floral Arch

After the completion of the service room. Kate & Susie began constructing the Half Floral Arch. It was fascinating how they started with just a pair of ladders and gradually layered the foliage to create this amazing entrance way to the banquet hall.

I had the opposite problem outside. It was a beautiful bright day that was cutting through the trees of the Blackfriars courtyard. This creates super bright walls and a mostly shaded subject area.

The start of constucting the Half Floral Arch outside of the Banquet Hall at Blackfriars in Newcastle
Northumbrian Flowers hard at work building a half floral wedding arch
Floral Wedding arch & flowers for the wedding reception from Northumbrian Flowers
A view from Blackfriars Courtyard in Newcastle
Lots of little glass jars with flowers ready for the wedding reception at Blackfriars Banquet Hall in Newcastle
Northumbrian Flowers preparing foliage
Work boots on a ladder in front of foliage and berries
Northumbrian Flowers checking their work at Blackfriars in Newcastle
Northumbrian Flowers in the courtyard of Blackfriars in Newcastle

The arch gradually built up. I couldn’t resist comparing it to me trying to space the lights and baubles on our Christmas tree. Spacing objects of focus without them looking regimented. Susie was a true artisan and is an artist in her own right.

The sun rising over the buildings of Blackfriars in Newcastle.
An almost complete Half floral arch at Blackfriars in Newcastle
Kate from Northumbrian Flowers

The Wedding Bouquets

As the ladies of Northumbrian flowers added the finishing touches to their work of art, I pinched the wedding bouquets and buttonholes. This part of the day was a lot more familiar to me. We always give Flowers a lot of love. I just don’t normally have this much time to photograph them.

The wedding itself was approaching and Amy & Matthew’s Wedding photographer arrived. I introduced myself and made him aware of what I was doing. Just to reassure him that I wouldn’t get in the way and that he had priority. He asked, “What happens at a Christian wedding ceremony?”. This had me concerned. He seemed to be more used to attending Asian Weddings. He wasn’t sure how the ceremony would be conducted. I hope he did a great job for them. The flowers were going to help make this an amazing wedding. It deserved to be remembered properly. I quickly told him what would happen and assured him everything happened on that day.

A brides wedding bouquet in the courtyard of Blackfriars in Newcastle
Close up of a Northumbrian Flowers Bouquet
Bridesmaid Bouquet from Northumbrian Flowers
Small Bouquet from Northumbrian Flowers
A collection of Buttonholes from Northumrian Flowers
Northumbrian Flowers admiring the finished Half Floral Arch outside the Banquet Hall at Blackfriars in Newcastle

The Wedding Begins

As part of Halo Photography, I’ve photographed hundreds of weddings. This was the first, a florist, put the grooms buttonhole on for him. Normally the florist delivers the flowers for the venue to set up. The Bridal parties flowers are normally arrive in a box and they left to fend for themselves.

Northumbrian Flowers also greeted the bride as she arrived. Amy & Matthew were blown away with the flowers and the Floral Arch. Their official photographer was nowhere to be seen. Therefore, I was able to be more proactive with the wedding party than I thought.

Northumbrian Flowers attaching the grooms buttonhole
Groom watching Northumbrian Flowers attach the bestmans buttonhole
Groomsmen next to a wedding floral arch outside of the banquet hall at Blackfriars in Newcastle.
Buttonholes from Northumbrian Flowers
A Button hole from Northumbrian Flowers
Kate from Northumbrian Flowers holding a brides bouquet
Bridesmaids holding their bouquets outside of Blackfriars in Newcastle
Bride holding a Bouquet from Northumrian Flowers outside of Blackfriars in Newcastle
Bride & Bridesmaids holding their Bouquets from Northumbrian Flowers
Northumbrian Flowers Wedding Bouquet
Bride & Father waiting to enter service at Blackfriars in Newcastle

Preparing Blackfriars in Newcastle for the Wedding Breakfast.

Retiring to the Parlour Bar, we grabbed a quick cuppa and relaxed for a little. Afterwards, we waited for the staff to “turn the room around” ready for the wedding breakfast. Northumbrian Flowers finished the room off beautifully. Almost every aspect of the room had had their finishing touch. I felt like a third wheel getting in the way because the Northumbrian Flowers team and Blackfriars Staff working so well together.

This was the first part of the day that I had been pushed for time. I used a flash unit to help with the dark side of the room and balanced it with the natural light from the stained-glass windows.

To think that King Edward III once dined in this ornate medieval Banquet Hall. He used it to receive royal Scot, Edward Balliol, in 1334. Apart from some electric lighting it may have looked very similar.

Foliage & Candle on the windows of the Banquet Hall of Blackfriars in Newcastle
Northumbrian Flowers arranging window candles and foliage
Blackfriars Banquet Hall table settings
Medieval Banquet Table with Foliage from Northumbrian Flowers
Table Flowers from Northumbrian Flowers
Northumrian Flowers putting the finishing touches to the banquet hall in Blackfriars in Newcastle
The Banqueting Hall in Blackfriars in Newcastle
Table flowers by Northumbrian Flowers
Wedding Cake at Blackfriars in Newcastle
Close up of a wedding cake at Blackfriars in Newcastle
Bride & Groom behind Northumbrian Flowers Bouquets

As Amy & Matthew entered their reception room our job was over. Northumbrian Flowers is a recommended supplier at Blackfriars in Newcastle. Kate does an outstanding job. Far beyond that of traditional florists. We will be recommending them to all of our future couples. If you want bespoke service that compliments your day perfectly, I know no one better.

We hope you like this small selection of photographs taken at Blackfriars in Newcastle. If you’d like more information about our Commercial Photography please click here.

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