Destination Wedding Photographer | Sydney Opera House

Destination Wedding Photographer

Destination Wedding Photographer | Sydney Opera House  –  As a wedding photographer I absolutely love what I do and feel very honoured to be asked to play such a major role in what is arguably, one of the best day of someone’s life. Memories are often brought back to life with good photography and that is what I try to capture. I want my photographs to each tell a story and this particular wedding made a great story!

One of the questions I am often asked is how far would I be willing to travel to photograph a wedding. Well earlier this year, Sarah and Vincent asked me if I would be a destination wedding photographer for their wedding at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. That’s around 10557 miles from London, so my answer to the question now would be that anywhere in-between London and Australia is fine by me!

Sydney Opera House Wedding Photography

So my chance to be a wedding photographer at the Sydney Opera House came about when Sarah and Vincent first got in touch with me last year. They wanted some pre-wedding photographs taken of themselves in various London locations and so it was that we met up on a cold Sunday morning for a project that would ultimately end in Australia!

Sarah and Vincent got back in touch with me over the summer and together we were choosing some stunning photographs from the London shoot with which to illustrate the Guest Book, when the subject of the actual wedding cropped up. Sarah is a huge fan of my dramatic sky photographs and both she and Vincent were very keen for me to be their official wedding photographer. I must admit to being quite nervous about the whole thing as I’d never been a destination wedding photographer before and the logistics behind it all seemed rather overwhelming but the lure of it proved too exciting to turn down.

Heading for an Australian Wedding

So the flights and hotel were all booked and everything was set for Sarah and Vincent’s Sydney wedding in October. I made sure that I had everything I needed, including my trusted companion and fellow photographer John Erskine. John is himself a professional wedding photographer and so I was delighted that he would be sharing this unique experience with me.

John and I arrived in Sydney a couple of days before the wedding which was vital to allow us both time to recover from the 10 hours time difference (not forgetting the daylight saving which came into effect the day before the wedding) and to capture the mood and essence of this great Australian city with a few experimental shots beforehand.

The Pre-Wedding Shoot

We had planned to do a pre-wedding shoot with Sarah and Vincent the day we arrived, but we soon hit upon a potential problem. The weekend of the wedding had coincided with the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review which meant that Sydney was busier than usual. The Review was commemorating the first entry of the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet into Sydney Harbour in 1913 and the event had attracted an extra one million visitors to the city. As we surveyed the huge crowds milling around the Opera House we did wonder how on earth we were going to manage to pull together all the photography we had to do during the next few days. It was quite a challenge but if there is one mantra that wedding photographers stick to, it’s to always expect the unexpected and we had come well prepared.

With a lot of patience, good luck and determination we managed to get some striking pre-wedding shots, including the image below of Sydney Harbour. It’s actually a composite of six images stitched together which has worked out beautifully, especially in capturing so much detail. You really get a sense of how busy the harbour is which reflects the fast pace of the city itself.

Sydney Opera House Wedding

Here are a few more of those pre-wedding shots taken around Sydney. I think the photographs manage to capture the emotions and personalities of both Sarah and Vincent. They were a joy to photograph as they were naturally very at ease with one another and so the shots taken have a beautiful simplicity about them. We were very much in luck with that stunning sunset!

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Sydney wedding photography

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A Traditional Chinese Wedding

Both Sarah and Vincent wanted to stay true to their Chinese heritage and so opted for a traditional Chinese wedding complete with Chinese customs such as Chinese Wedding Door Games. This involves the male wedding entourage (Hing Dais) being stopped at the door by the female members of the wedding party (Tze Muis), who will prevent him from seeing his bride-to-be until he has passed a selection of tests. The groom will hand over a red envelope (Li Shi) to barter for the right to be given access. The idea behind the games is that the groom has to prove his love for his bride. A Chinese Tea ceremony followed which demonstrates the importance of tea in China. This is the time when the bride is officially introduced to the groom’s family and both the bride and groom will then serve tea to their respective parents as a sign of respect and gratitude.

I played the part of the Chinese wedding photographer for the day, which was such a great honour! I started early, arriving at Sarah’s hotel for 7.30am which was fine because thanks to the jet lag, I had no real concept of time anyway! The bridal preparations were already well under way and before long Vincent arrived with the Hing Dais to perform the Chinese Wedding Door Games. This leads me onto one of my favourite images, the moment when Vincent, as part of his task, was reading out a beautiful speech to his unseen bride-to-be, who can just be seen peering around the door. It was such a cute moment – see if you can spot the image!

Bridesmaids and bridal party getting ready Bridesmaids and bridal party getting ready a beautiful moment caught on camera Bridal prep photos Bride sees herself for the first time Cool groom photos in black and white

Sarah and the Bridal party had a fantastic team of award winning make up artists headed up by Martha Mok,  with them throughout the day.  It was a pleasure working alongside you.

Chinese Wedding Door Games Chinese Door Games Chinese Wedding Door Games

Finally Vincent is allowed into the room…. but the fun has only just begun.

One of the top Chinese Wedding Door Games is the ‘Sing while doing push up’ game…. yes Vincent is singing whilst doing pushups. Another favourite is the groom and the groomsmen will be asked to eat something very spicy… The bridesmaids made the guys eat Wasbi….

Chinese Wedding Door Games the grooms flower documentary wedding photography

All along Sarah waits patiently whilst the door games continue….

Bride peers around the door

One of my favourite images from the door games. Vincent doing his speech, unable to see Sarah listening to every word… I love this photo.

Chinese wedding photography The Chinese Tea Ceremony Bridal portrait Chinese wedding photographer Chinese wedding photographer Chinese wedding photographer

The Chinese Tea Ceremony

As tea is the national drink of China, the Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony is performed at Chinese weddings to symbolise respect.  This is a very significant event at a Chinese Wedding as it’s the time that the bride is formally introduced to the grooms family.

Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony

Bridal details

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sydney opera house at night

I’d like to thank Sarah and Vincent for asking me to photograph their wedding at the Sydney Opera House. It was an incredible few days.



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  1. Martha Mok October 21, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Amazingly beautiful photo.
    You made Sarah and Vincent this sweet couple look and feels hsppy and relax all day.
    It was wonderful working with you and your team.

  2. John Myall October 26, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Stunning as ever Iain! Well done!

  3. Iain November 6, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    thank you….

  4. Martin Cheung January 3, 2014 at 1:11 am #

    I love this set. Absolutely amazing!

    • Iain January 3, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

      thank you Martin

  5. Erran Stewart January 16, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Wow nailed it. Dramatic skies and scenery you cant really ask for more!

  6. Claire Gill February 6, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    What a spectacular location and amazing photographs!

  7. Martin February 22, 2015 at 10:05 pm #

    Lovely set of great photos. Some awesome sunset and night shots.