A Wedding Photographer has the unique position of visiting a wedding venue as a guest, a supplier and a work colleague. We are invited to be a large part of the day by the wedding couple and whilst we are there to work, we are also looked after as a guest by the venue, who make sure we have everything we need, are fed and watered and happy.
The majority of wedding suppliers are involved in sections of either preparations or the actual day, such as cake makers, florists, makeup and hair artists etc. As photographers, we are with our couples for 8-10 hours of their special day, mingling with their guests and we see everything as a guest would. We also see all the ‘Back of House’ organisation and work closely with the venue, their co-coordinators and caterers. Everyone has their role to play and communication is key. The photographer wouldn’t want to hold up food service by the official group photos running late and we also work together if anything needs tweaking due to inclement weather.
The venues that I have chosen to feature today all have certain things in common.
The couples have been ecstatic about the service they have received, before, during and after.
The venue has been clear and friendly in communication with myself.
They have an ‘above and beyond’ attitude.
The catering has been second to none.
They treat everyone as a VIP. Even me 🙂
Bonus points if they served marinated cocktail sausage canapes
Can I have a drum roll, please! In no particular order…
I was delighted to have 3 bookings for Kingscote Barn this year. June, July and I am returning in November. Laura and Lauren from the Kingscote team worked effortlessly with Emily and her team at McBaile Catering to run flawless wedding days with exceptional food and service. Kingscote Barn is a beautiful space where you can truly make it your own. The lane leading down to the Barn provides a perfect backdrop for those sunset couples portraits.
Mr & Mr Willams-Cox said:
“The instant you turn into the little lane for the venue you can see miles upon miles of fields in what seems to be its own little vale. Then you come across a row of trees with an old stone brick wall edging along them. When you pass through the entrance you are met with a stunning stone barn hidden away from everything. This was the moment we both knew that this was the place we wanted to get married and each visit after we grew more and more in love with the venue.
For the caterers we both decided that we would choose a company called McBaile. During the open days that we attended at the venue we realized that even though we had been completely taken with the menu choices, we also felted like we got along with the team really well. They are so friendly and were really good with working with us to find out how we wanted our day to be run.”
I enjoyed doing two editorial shoots at Upcote in their first year as a wedding venue. Both were featured on prominent blogs. An elegant autumnal shoot that went on Rock My Wedding, and a fun Punk wedding shoot that was published on Want That Wedding.
I was delighted when Kim approached me regarding shooting her wedding at The Barn at Upcote. Here is what she says about the Upcote Team, and Orchard Catering.
“A huge thank you to the team at Upcote for providing such a beautiful venue for our big day. From the moment we saw Upcote we knew it was the venue for us and we had such a warm reception from the team who gave us our first viewing. We had a perfect day and the venue will always hold a special place in our hearts and memories. We love that Upcote is a family run business and wish you all the best in the future. A special thank you to Katie for her super speedy email responses”
“Thank you so much to the wonderful Orchard Catering Team for doing such a fantastic job at our wedding. We were impressed from the first phone call to the private tasting session at our home. The service was warm and professional and the focus was completely about achieving exactly what we wanted. We love that Orchard is a family run company and would like to make a special mention to Ellie for going above and beyond in the run up to the day. No request was too great and you played such a huge role in the running of the day’s events.”
This year I had the pleasure of shooting a snowy editorial shoot at The Matara Centre! We didn’t plan for snow but as it had eased off enough for us all to get to the venue, we just rolled with it. See the whole shoot published here on Boho Weddings.
Alison and Leon’s day was published on The English Wedding Blog last Summer.
Whenever I have had any contact with Matara, whether its about a shoot, a wedding, or their ‘Best of Matara’ awards, every single person has been helpful, polite and gone out of their way to make sure everything runs smoothly for the couple and myself. The food has been outstanding and all the guest say how well looked after they’ve been. The upkeep of their grouds is flawless and its an absolute MUST for any couple wanting a unique wedding experience. The Matara has a cloistered courtyard, the Hilarium Dome and a tree planted and dedicated to every couple married there.
Upper Windrush, Cheltenham
Where do I start with Jess and John-Joe’s day at Stone Barn? They actually had a church service in Cheltenham then their reception at Stone Barn. My next visit there is for the whole day and I look forward to shooting the wedding ceremony there too. I am a BIG fan of anywhere with twinkly lights and a highlight from their gallery is the confetti run under the twinkly tin roof of the barn! The lower part of the barn opens into a bright and airy conservatory style space. In the summer all of these doors are open so it feels like you are outside, nestled in the rolling Cotswold Hills.
Stone Barn do the best marinated sausages and they made sure they whizzed by me a few times! I love them!
Jess says “As soon as we came to this particular barn (and we had been to a lot) we knew instantly it was the venue for us. It was everything we ever could wish for. A rustic barn with a mixture of stone walls and corrugated iron, surrounded by green fields as far as the eye could see, which gave an amazing feeling of privacy and intimacy. Stone Barn depicts the picturesque Cotswolds and we fell in love”
You can see more of their big day published here on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings blog
In the last few weeks, I have had the pleasure of shooting at two hotels in the Cotswold Inns group. The Bay Tree, in Burford, and The Swan at Bibury. I would actually like to recommend them as a hotel group as both experiences were fabulous. The wedding I am featuring today is Carla and Louise’s at The Swan. Mainly because of the ridiculously cute Duck Race! The outside ground are just over the lane from the main hotel, and once you are in and shut the gate, you are no longer aware of the hoards of tourists that this little village on the banks of the River Coln attracts.
The ceremony was held in this private garden, followed by a drinks and canape reception with garden games and duck races on the river. This keep adults and kids entertained until they were invited into dinner in the hotel. There is plenty of space and all of the staff were warm and friendly. Also they were especially accommodating considering there were two Undercover Singing Waiters working alongside them as a surprise for Carla and the guests. A lot of fun was had by all and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
After dinner, Carla, Louise and I took a wander along the river to take some pictures of them by the famous Arlington Row.
Now it is no secret that Lyde Court is an absolute FAVOURITE venue of mine. Just an hour away from my Gloucester abode and over the border into Herefordshire. I am lucky enough to have shot 3 weddings and an editorial shoot there now (to be published next week) and lots more bookings for this Autumn, 2019 and 2020.
The venue has, to me, a Mediterranean twinkly street feel. It is warm and cosy no matter what the weather, and, even though its cosy, its large enough that I have never seen it set up the same way twice, as I have included in the images below. Its also a lucky venue for me, having had past wedding published on Mr & Mrs Unique for Georgie and Andy’ festival style wedding, and the hallowed Love My Dress for Meg and James’ epic day.
Coordinators Zoe, Alix and Molly are a credit to owner Gary and he should be very proud of what he has achieved with this venue.
Kate and Neil who only got married there last week say:
“Customer service from day 1 was incredible, I broke down on the way to our first visit, it didn’t matter we re-arranged nothing was too much trouble. We headed down again a week later and had a look around, it was perfect, I then mentioned to Molly we would be planning the entire wedding in 5 weeks and she was the first and one of only a few people who was completely confident and on board with the fact that it was totally doable and that it would still be epic.
We were given so many choices on where to hold the ceremony and back up plans depending on the British weather which turned out we needed in the middle of our heat wave, but it was still perfect, it didn’t matter that it was drizzling in the outdoor rose cottage or for the cocktails and canapés, the entire venue works for sunshine and rain,
Molly was always available during the last minute panics when things were heading south quickly and helped out where she could.
On the day again customer service was incredible, Molly was with us the entire day, setting up everything the way I imagined, organising the guests rooms and keeping everyone informed and running smoothly. Even when I needed a quick drink on the way to the ceremony, it was a quick SOS call for a drink for the bride and 3 people ran out at the same time (felt like a bit of a diva at that moment)
The food I couldn’t have asked for better, there is always a worry that there wont be enough and I couldn’t believe the amount and the quality of the food we had. The canapés just kept coming and they always came to find me in the middle of photographs to make sure I got some. The main meal again the quality was incredible and the amount of food was brilliant, huge jugs of gravy that were topped up too, very important for northern folk. We had the hog roast on the evening and again there was so much but it wasn’t just taken away, it was all plated up on buns for when we needed a midnight snack!
The venue has the biggest wow, I could hear the gasps as people saw the barn for the first time, just in all its glory without loads of dressing it is stunning in its own right! The perfect backdrop for pictures and the mood of the stone walls and candles up the wall you cant describe, the rose cottage outside is a perfect place for the ceremony, intimate and romantic and perfect whatever the weather.
I cannot fault Lyde Court in any way, the staff are all incredible and worked super hard to make sure our day was perfect, and it was, I just wish we could do it all over again.”
Georgie and Andy “When we first starting planning the wedding we knew we wanted a venue where all of our guests could stay over because we love to party and never want things to end, so that was mainly how I found Lyde Court as they have a separate barn which has been made into dormitories. The moment we arrived my Mum, Andy and I knew this was the place, It literately takes your breath away and when you think you have seen it all there’s another amazing aspect just round the corner. We chose it because it is just undeniably beautiful, it’s in the middle of no where, all our guests could stay, the house and bridal suite is stunning and it was everything we were looking for.“
That concludes my reviews of this years favourite venues! I hope to return to all of these soon and cannot wait to make lots of new friends at venues all over the country.
Happy Wedding Planning and feel free to contact me to discuss your wedding photography!