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Béthanie Chapel: Tips from a Wedding Photographer
Jingle and Mocca’s wedding ceremony was held at the Béthanie Chapel, followed by a cocktail party hosted on the 2nd floor. The photogenic venue, fabulous backdrop design and the page boy’s smart outfit make this couple’s wedding day photos so captivating!
Located at Pok Fu Lam, the Béthanie Chapel is one of the most popular wedding venues in Hong Kong. It has no religious requirement so non-Christian or non-Catholic couples can fulfill their wish of walking down the chapel aisle. Other similar venue options include the Hong Kong Adventist College in Sai Kung, the Assembly Hall at Lei Yue Mun Park and the White Chapel in Discovery Bay. I’ve covered a number of weddings at the Béthanie Chapel and here are a few tips for you.
First, non-religious wedding ceremony can be held at the Béthanie Chapel. Built in 1875, the neo-gothic chapel is a Grade I historic building operated by the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. While church services take place in the Chapel on Sundays and other holy days, non-believers can hire the place for celebrating their marriage. With the restoration of stained glass windows, paneled doors and altar, this remarkable architectural gem creates a solemn atmosphere, making it an ideal place for special occasions.
Second, the Chapel is situated on a hilltop. The surroundings are peaceful with panoramic views of sea and islands. This makes a great wedding venue for the couples to take stunning photos and for their guests to mingle in a relaxed manner.
Yet, there are other considerations to keep in mind too. The Chapel is a historic building so every precaution has to be taken to protect the physical structures. You should take this into account when you start selecting decorations for the wedding. Do check with the management office to ensure that your plan is feasible. Besides, parking spaces are limited and the location has restrictions on the size of vehicles. Also the Béthanie Chapel is not specialised in hosting weddings. Staff are helpful but they are not supposed to offer you professional advice as in other popular wedding venues.
One important point to note is that the Béthanie Chapel is relatively small when compared to other churches in Hong Kong. The stage is tiny and the venue can only cater a handful of guests. Photographers can handle the limitations imposed by the size of the Chapel but you should definitely do a site visit before making up your mind.
A further point to bear in mind – the application for hire has to be made a year before your wedding which can only be done by telephone. Each couple is allocated a time slot of two hours. Timing could be a bit tight for the ceremony and photoshoot.
Despite the limitations, the Béthanie Chapel is a very beautiful church venue. Make sure you’re well aware of the rules and regulations before making reservation.
Location : Bethanie Church , 139, Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong Island
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It’s Jingle and Mocca’s wedding at Béthanie Chapel – the cocktail party on the 2nd floor, the nicely designed backdrop, and even the styling of the little ring bearer work together to make the wedding a very unique one.
The Béthanie Chapel is one of the most popular wedding venues in Hong Kong. For non Christian or Catholic couples dreaming to walk down a Chapel’s aisle in their wedding, Béthanie Chapel remains to be the very limited options they can have, apart from the Hong Kong Adventist College in Sai Kung, the Assembly Hall of Lei Yue Mun Park and the White Chapel at Discovery Bay. I have done wedding shooting in Béthanie Chapel for quite some times and there are few useful tips that I can share with you.
The Béthanie is a Hong Kong declared monument. It was built in 1875 and is now under the management of Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Church services will be held in the Chapel on Sundays and other holy days. On the other days, it is available for wedding ceremonies. The Béthanie was built in the Neo-gothic style, which is very unique in Hong Kong. Stepping into this little beautiful chapel is like stepping into history.
The outdoor space around the Béthanie Chapel is being very well maintained. The chapel locates on a small hill and is therefore very quiet. This outdoor space is an ideal place for the wedding couples to mingle with their guests. If time allows, it can also be a very nice shooting spot!
There are few things to note for a Béthanie wedding too. As the chapel is a declared monument, everything in the chapel is very well protected. There will be a lot of restriction on decorating the chapel. If you have any special decoration plan in mind, do remember to check with the management office to make sure the plan is feasible. The parking space is also very limited there and they even have restriction on the car size. As the main function of the Béthanie Chapel is not for holding wedding ceremony, please do not expect there will be very helpful staff who can offer you professional advice on the wedding arrangement.
Another important point to note – the size of Béthanie Chapel cannot be compared with many of the other churches in Hong Kong. It is actually a very tiny chapel that can only cater a small guest number. It is strongly recommended to arrange a site visit if you are really interested to have your wedding ceremony there. Do not trust the photos online. The magic lens of photographers can always give illusion in space!
How to make the venue application can be a challenge too. The application can only be done one year before the big day through telephone. Each rental session lasts for two hours only. This two hours time is almost impossible to allow the wedding couples to take photos with their guests inside the chapel after the ceremony.
Given all the pros and cons, I still think the Béthanie Chapel is a nice wedding venue. Just remember to look into the rules and regulations before making the reservation. It should then be all fine.