– WEDDING VENUES –
As a wedding photographer I’ve shot all manner of weddings at all sort of venues. From the most intimate of affairs at The Groucho Club in London, to destination weddings in the French Alps. I love the diversity of people, places, and themes and I’m so very lucky to love what I do. Below is a list of some of my favourite venues and locations that I’ve shot over the years…
Marquees & Tipis
Marquees and tipis are a wonderfully blank canvas to start with when planning your wedding. Over the last decade as a wedding photographer I’ve seen marquees in all shapes and sizes and such an array of design and creativity. From shabby chic to post-modern minimalism, it’s a great open space to get creative with if you’re a couple who want to put a personal touch to their big day. I often see the ‘before and after’ and it’s quite incredible how some couples and/or wedding planners turn a bright empty space into a jaw-dropping feast for the eyes!
Hengrave Hall is one of the most beautiful and historic wedding venues I’ve ever shot at. It’s one of these rare locations that seamlessly manages to blend its history (16th century in this case) with the most delightful and sympathetic modern touches. Every room you pop your into head into is just so thoughtfully designed – from the Main Hall to the ‘Boy’s Room’ (playstation and pool table included of course!), and that gorgeous chocolate box of a church just a stone’s throw away from the mansion itself. Even though I shot my first wedding there in October, it was such an unusually warm day that I caught a glimpse of what a midsummer wedding there must feel like. A gorgeous, gorgeous, GORGEOUS location for a very special day!
There’s a certain sense of intrigue and exclusivity when you first approach Coverwood Lakes. You drift through the dense woodland and across a wooden bridge, then quickly meander along a snaking path. Then you arrive at an opening that feels a little like something out of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. An atmosphere of a quintessentially English landscape; not overly manicured to the point of fragility but wild, colourful, and vibrant in a way that invites you to explore every secret nook and hidden cranny. One of Surrey’s hidden gems and the perfect place to enjoy a mid-Summer wedding.
Gate Street Barn is an absolutely gorgeous location and I’ve shot many memorable weddings here. It has that cosy English Farm vibe to it which lends itself perfectly to both winter and summer weddings alike. If there’s snow on the ground then it’s the perfect opportunity to unwind with a glass of bubbly being whilst being warmed by one of several wood-burning stoves, and if it’s the heat of the mid-summer sun you’re trying to escape then why not relax on a shaded bench while watching the grazing Longhorn cattle? The barn itself is beautifully decorated with hops-laden cartwheel chandeliers and there’s the perfect amount of light to create a bright yet romantic atmosphere. And all of this just a few miles from Guildford.
There’s something about Sibton Park that you can’t quite put your figure on. I suppose if I were to try and describe it, I would say that it has a timeless elegance to it. It’s not set in the past and nor does it shun its historic roots, it’s just a perfect blend. When you first approach the house, it’s clear that it’s going to be a very special location for a wedding as you drive past the lakes and meander up the drive. When I shot Hannah and Tom’s wedding here in 2016, it showed its versatility too when rain stopped play just before the ceremony. The original plans were for quite a large outdoor ceremony but there was no panic and everything was reorganised in a calm and truly professional manner. The couple and their guests had an amazing day and that was in no small part to the gorgeous and rather exclusive spot that is Sibton Park.
Escapism springs to mind when thinking of the Museum of Childhood. The sort of day out that I’d promise my children when secretly it’s an entirely selfish suggestion so I can treat myself to a healthy slice of nostalgia! With this in mind, and with all the quirky backdrops and props you could wish for, it’s a great place to shoot a ‘just-married’ couple but the joys of this spot as a wedding reception venue don’t stop there. This great old and cavernous hall transforms into the most magical and glamorous of spaces, the perfect place to eat, drink, dance, and celebrate into the wee small hours.
Great Fosters is a beautifully preserved 17th century former residence of generations of British nobility. The landscaped gardens are the perfect place to wander off (with or without a photographer in tow!) and the house itself is simply stunning. The Orangery is the perfect room for a civil ceremony with just the right amount of natural light for capturing that very special and poignant part of the day. The Tithe Barn has an abundance of character and it’s the perfect space for a Wedding Breakfast. A stunning piece of history and a gorgeous place to serve as the place for your wedding.
Having grown up not far from Guildford, one of my earliest memories is walking around Wisley Gardens with my family. From a photographer’s point of view (and particularly when shooting a couple) you won’t be left wanting for stunning and vibrant backdrops. It’s not just the size of Wisley but the variety of locations too; there’s the long walk up the hill from the main house as well as all these beautiful little nooks which make it ideal for taking a couple for a shoot. And then there’s the Glasshouse! What a unique and gorgeous spot to host a Wedding Breakfast! I just can’t wait to go back…
The Walled Garden at Cowdray West Sussex
The Walled Garden is a one of a kind location. It’s hard to believe that before 2004 this historic Tudor garden had been neglected and left to ruin. But with an injection of heart, soul, and an enormous amount of work, Jan returned this beautiful garden to its former glory. With her vision and experience (not least at The Chelsea Flower Show), Jan has created the perfect backdrop to a very special day. The attention to detail and sympathetic restoration continues inside in the The Courtyard and Castle Rooms which serve as a the perfect places to enjoy a hearty Wedding Breakfast and of course, the Party!
Bignor Park West Sussex
Bignor Park is a hidden gem in the heart of the eleven hundred acre estate in rural West Sussex. Because Bignor Park is family run, there is no set formula as to how weddings must be set up as is often the case with some wedding venues. There are plenty of gorgeous backdrops to choose from so whether you’re intending to erect a marquee on the croquet lawn overlooking the South Downs, or perhaps a Wedding Breakfast in the Stables or Quadrangle, there’s so much choice so that you can create a unique wedding at a stunning rural location.
Hilles House Gloucestershire
The view. It’s the first thing you can’t help but notice when you arrive at Hilles House in the Cotswolds, and it just goes on and on for another five counties! It’s simply a breathtaking location to celebrate your wedding. The house itself, built by the owner’s grand-father and celebrated architect Detmar Blow, was completed in 1916 and is as equally magnificent as the view. It’s a perfect countryside retreat for those looking to enjoy their wedding away from the hustle and bustle of the city.