Gosfield Hall

Gosfield Hall

There are wedding venues and there wedding venue’s. Gosfield hall in the heart of the Essex countryside has to rate as one of the best wedding venues in Essex if not the whole country and recently shortlisted to win best wedding venue of 2016. Along with its sister venue, Leez priory within the country house weddings group.

The Grandiose English country mansion Gosfield hall has it all. The high ceilings the original massive Georgian windows the Queen Charlotte’s Oak panelled gallery with a 120ft long aisle  with loads of natural light. The tudor courtyard and the opulent master bedroom with it’s marble columns and four poster bed. A beautiful wedding suite if ever there was one.

As with all weddings, it’s the Bride and Groom, friends and guests that make a wedding. Trevor and Tanya were that perfect wedding couple on a most excellent wedding. Trevor “Mr Guinness” the groom. A real friendly and outgoing guy, couldn’t stop laughing all day and boy he loves his Guinness, a big kid at heart. Tanya, really full of fun and with not a hint of nervousness on her big day, resplendent in her gorgeous wedding dress. With a June wedding you would expect there to be blazing sunshine, not the very un summery like  weather of late. The sunshine was out and about in the morning and with the clouds moving in the threat of rain was looking ominous. Luckily Gosfield hall is such an excellent venue for picture taking that just as good images can be taken inside as well as outside. With the ceremony and heart shot done, the heavens opened up to two hours of torrential rain, then it was summer again as if nothing had happened. The joy of  our glorious unpredictable weather on a English summer wedding. Then it was family and friends shots moving into the cake cutting and first dance.Towards Dusk a mist descended down on the surrounding grounds for some lovely evening shots with setting of the evening sun.

A wedding photographer’s dream has to be the master bedroom and it’s reflecting mirrors, the grand staircase, the library, banqueting hall and not to mention the gardens, the list goes on and on

knowle house

knowle house

knowle house

The sweeping drive, manicured lawns and gardens. The Victorian mansion, you know when you’re in a quality wedding venue by the secluded entrance which hides another world. Knowle house in Higham a stone’s throw from the A2, in between Gravesend and Rochester in kent. Originally an 18th century Mansion house with links to Charles Dickens and just around the corner from Gads hill, residence of the former great writer who has so many links to the area.

For the wedding of Paul and Shelley in early June 2016, I was expecting this to be a really stuffy wedding venue full of managers trying to micro manage every aspect of a wedding, clipboards in hand, aloof and full of delusions of grandeur. No not Knowle house, in fact the total opposite. As soon as i walked in the main entrance a beaming smile from the duty manager and a “would you like a drink”. Knock me down with a feather i thought. Never get this at other wedding venues i thought to myself. This was just an opener for the rest of the day.

“The Knowle specialises in large portions, fresh produce and does not pander to modern fads”. as quoted on the Knowle house website

The weather on the day was a bit iffy to say the least, slightly chilly ,very cloudy, not what you would expect from June. Just about a typical British summer. As with all weddings it’s not the weather or the venue that makes a wedding but the people, electric was the atmosphere, with so many friends and guests laughing and joking you knew this was going to be a fun wedding.

The entrance of Shelley accompanied by her son down the red carpet and out into the venue grounds for the start of the service. Suffice to say the wedding went very well, the weather behaved itself and even the grass avoided swallowing a few heels, even warmed up a little. Family and group shots around the grounds and the wedding breakfast begins. Now Normally i go back to the car to do some office work, five minutes later there’s a knock on the window ” do you want a meal” followed by “we’ll bring out to your car if you want”, well what can i say, knock me down with another feather. So to all you wedding photographers  out there, get into knowle house. A really lovely wedding with a down to earth couple who live for the day and enjoy life to the fullest.

Vaulty Manor wedding

Vaulty Manor wedding

vaulty manor wedding

What a sweet little venue, Vaulty manor with its beautifully restored 17th century Manor Barn, sweeping driveway. The 12 acres of beautiful grounds. The 16th century Manor house and above all the lovely tranquillity of the Essex countryside all set in a niche wedding venue, what more can one ask for,  for a lovely down to earth Vince and Diane on their wedding day.

The Bridal

The Rose cottage for the bridal prep and a really good make up artist Dawn taylor. Now i meet makeup artists at ten to the penny, Dawn is so friendly you wouldn’t believe she’s doing a job and seems more like friends of the Bride and having a really good time too. To top it all off a lovely looking Diane. (nope i’m not getting a percentage kickback)

The wedding

The Wedding of Vince & Diane in late April 2016, Vince (he’s the one that looks like Richard Gere), a really lovely laid back couple. Easy going and full of smiles and laughter. As with most weddings you expect the bride to be a little emotional on her wedding day. Vince the groom took the honours on this day, always looking out for a tear or two. Vince took the biscuit. With Diane’s daughter Phoebe giving Diane away and both looking lovely, Vince looking very resplendent and very Richard gere looking. With the smaller wedding venue’s there’s that feeling of intimacy that you don’t get with the bigger venues and no management timekeeping, go with the flow as they say. Don’t get me wrong for a Vaulty Manor wedding it is very well managed without the pretense of being managed. With the weather bordering on the iffy side, The sun was out for the confetti then it was a case of in and out of the clouds for the rest of the day. Group shots done and out of the way, Vince and Diane’s couple shots with minimal posing and keeping the ambience as natural as possible. Onto the speeches, suffice to say there was not a dry eye in the house.
Andy Wilshire and his rat pack tribute was the entertainment for the evening and a very good tribute he was too. A beautiful couple at an excellent venue and a lovely day had by all.

Italian Wedding

Italian Wedding

Italian wedding

The perfect wedding, what is the perfect wedding, a lovely venue, superb weather, the beautiful couple. Try an Italian wedding if there’s a culture that knows how to enjoy a wedding it has to be the Italians.

The wedding of Jacopo and Francesca in mid September 2015 was such a wedding. In Ashford, Kent of all places. The weather on the day wasn’t exactly the best we have had for an English summer wedding, not like 2014 when it seemed to be constant sunshine everyday, overcast and the clouds were threatening to open up at any moment but thankfully the rain stayed away. With the Bridal prep out of the way, on to the church. St. Theresa R.C, quite a modern church with plenty of natural sunlight and a nice modern airy feel to it, unlike the more traditional Norman church’s.

With the church service done it was on to Eastwell park near the village of Boughton lees and the church, ruins of St. Mary the virgin, derelict church, not used since the 1950’s when the roof collapsed in a massive storm. A photographers dream, quiet, lovely ruins, plenty of shade and the perfect backdrop of a massive lake., the only problem being the damp ground, causing high heels to sink into the ground and we were massively behind time running almost an hour late after the church service, I had planned to do some off camera flash with softbox’s to get that soft, warm light feel with the couple in a romantic embrace next to the rough walls of the church, alas had to be quick and get all the shots done in about twenty minutes and settled for on camera flash. At least i did get the chance to use my new Nikon 24-70 2.8 vr lens

The highlight of the day was going to be the Evening do, The Croft Hotel. An Italian restaurant within the Hotel.
The evening really came alive and surprisingly as with most Italian wedding breakfasts it didn’t go on forever. The Wine started flowing and flowing and flowing. Luckily everyone’s English was better than my Italian which amounted to one word “si” so the language barrier wasn’t too much of a problem, not that anything needed translating the wine was doing the talking and the singing. They know how to party these Italians!.

la talbooth Wedding

la talbooth Wedding

There’s wedding venue’s and there’s wedding venue’s.

La talbooth wedding

venue has to be one of the more exclusive.

Near the village of Dedham in north Essex, bordering the county of Suffolk, La Talbooth Dedham is a beautiful little wedding venue set on the river Stour. It’s not the grandest and certainly not the most brash. What it is is a 1930’s quaint English tea room with a wedding venue twist set on the most beautiful river Stour.

The wedding of Blayne and Lindsey on the 6th of August, was going to prove to be one of the most memorable of my photographic career. Now don’t get me wrong, I love all wedding venues, but La Talbooth stands out as just that little bit special. On a baking hot summers day hitting 30 degrees the gentle stillness of the river Stour in the heart of constable country, the urge to jump in the river did cross my mind at one point. In its uniqueness the actual wedding ceremony has to be performed at the Maison Hotel two minutes around the corner and this is equally as beautiful, Victorian country house laid to lawn, resident pianist. What really makes the day for any couple deciding to get married at this venue has to be the private boat ride from the ceremony to your wedding breakfast. The string quartet playing soft classical music as the boat gently slides into the pier with the rolling Suffolk countryside in the background.

The 1930’s art Deco bridge, no step ladders needed here, the perfect position for the group shot or the willow tree as a backdrop for that romantic kiss. If I have a criticism, it’s going to be the lack of shade. From. A photographer’s point of view on a blistering hot day with bare hard sunlight beaming down, exposures have to be spot on and a lot of use of flash to overpower those horrible shadows. Come the evening a photographer’s dream. No ugly clutter, just Photographic tranquility coupled with a fish eye lens, off camera flash and the perfect images.

Blayne & Lindsey @ La talbooth wedding

Summer weddings 2015

Summer weddings 2015

summer weddings 2015

With the madness of the last couple of months. The chance to knuckle down and write blog posts has all but disappeared. Summer weddings have been back to back, literally five weddings in a row, a break, then it all starts again, two here then another three. Recession, what recession not in the wedding photography industry, i’ve never been so busy. To top it off the phone and email inquiries have gone through the roof, ” can you do my wedding next Saturday”. I wish I could, if only next weeks wedding hadn’t booked me last year! The last couple of years have proved to be very busy, the wedding industry is no longer confined to the old boring church wedding, a musty old church with a vicar that’s a hundred years old then reception in an old workings Mens club or the local village hall. Yes, church weddings are as popular as ever, but now the Church is making the effort to accommodate the 21st century couple and bring the old Victorian values of yesteryear to the present day. Occasionally I will get a church that says a flat outright no to photographing a couples wedding, but that’s a rarity now days and for some reason seems to be confined to churches in the Colchester area, must be the air.

Dedicated wedding venues on the other hand, are a delight to work in, all in one place, nice and airy, manicured grounds and safe for the children, this will be the future of weddings. No stuffy stupid rules.



So it all begins again five weddings in the last five days, two days off and then another five days of straight weddings Warley Park, twice this week. La toll booth, Packfords hotel, Reid rooms, with the odd one being the London Hilton, at least business is consistent.