An inner-city wedding is an edgy alternative to the traditional wine-farm or rustic setting. Picture: Emma-Jane Harbour
We spoke to wedding photographer Emma-Jane Harbour on why inner-city weddings are becoming popular.

There’s nothing more beautiful than an ethereal bride set against an industrial backdrop, with airplanes overhead, taxis hooting and the sweeping energy of the city all around. Inner-city weddings are a growing trend, with many couples incorporating vibrant street scenes and central business district locations into their celebrations.

Harbour is enthusiastic about the rising trend, accrediting it to people’s desire for something edgy and new

Why are inner-city weddings on the rise?

I think couples are keen to explore non-traditional wedding options and venues. They want to treat their guests to an unforgettable celebration that is different, closer to home and reflects their own personal style. People love the energy of the city and many who have attended numerous wine farm weddings feel an inner-city wedding is an edgy alternative.

What makes for a beautiful inner-city wedding?

The couple and the people they choose to spend it with. We’ve done some epic city weddings with big crowds and big parties and then some more intimate ones. All have felt special because of the individuals and their personal touches. The couple’s style is also reflected in their choice of venue. I love the black-tie city weddings where everybody is dressed up in faux fur and heels, clicking down the tarmac streets. The contrast is awesome to catch on film.

How big a part does location play?

It’s everything. I think it has to be a location in a beautiful, historic part of town or a trendy one. You have to feel the city energy or be able to see the city lights to make the most of it.

What are some of the key planning aspects to consider?

Traffic and congestion - it’s not always easy to navigate the traffic in the city for a weekday wedding. I learned that the hard way. Make sure there is adequate parking and security so your guests feel safe, or organise shuttles and taxis. But remember it isn’t necessarily a quick process to transport an entire bridal party to the ceremony so allow for extra time.

How do you find the right photographs to make street scenes shine and are there any must-have shots?

I think most wedding photographers would be inspired by a city wedding. It’s different and an opportunity to play. The must-have pictures should include street shots - people dancing and walking in the road past beautiful old buildings or modern skyscrapers and, if you have access to a rooftop, some sunset rooftop pictures.

Do you suggest co-ordinating the style of the dress to the surrounds?

Every bride has her interpretation, whether it’s combining the style or embracing it.

What are a few of your favourite inner city locations?

I love the studios in Cape Town - East City Studios and Bree Street Studios. The Reserve at Taj Cape Town was fun to shoot in. In Johannesburg, Canteen has always been lovely, along with Shine Studios, the Rand Club and Turbine Hall.

Any décor tips?

A sleek modern aesthetic works better with the CBD than a rustic one. If the venue is minimalist, keep it clean. I love greenery - you can skip the roses and rather add lots of candles and interesting shapes and forms. Keep the colours simple - white on white can be so right. - Good Weekend reporter