Whilst I live and usually photograph weddings in Derbyshire and Leicestershire, that doesn't mean that I'm unwilling to travel; quite the opposite in fact, I love to travel and I always find it exciting being able to take a fresh look at a new wedding venue that I've not been to before.
I was asked to take some photos at Patricia and Chris' wedding at Stanbrook Abbey in Worcestershire, an hour or so drive from where I call home. Stanbrook Abbey is a stunning wedding venue, that until recently was a monastery and home to hundreds of nuns. Now privately owed, the Abbey come hotel is a beautiful wedding venue that has everything a bride and groom could ask for on their wedding day. To start with there's the Abbey itself, set in hundreds of acres of prime Worcestershire countryside. The Callow Great Hall inside Stanbrook is where civil ceremonies are now held, and it really has to be seen to be believed. There are also rooms enough for all of your guests as well as ample space for an entire bridal party to sleep and then get ready on the morning of a wedding - the Bride's manor house (and it really is it's own manor house) holds a whopping 14 people! Downstairs there's a dedicated getting ready room with mirrors and enough electricity sockets to satisfy the needs of any hairdressers. There's another getting-ready room upstairs too, and the entire manor house is linked by a beautiful central staircase that is a truly magical place to take wedding photos of the bride before she makes her way to the ceremony.
The grounds of Stanbrook are just as well maintained as the inside of the hotel is, and I love taking wedding photos here too. The photo above shows the bride and groom just after they had finished being greeted by their wedding guests after the ceremony had finished. There is a walled lavender garden that was in full bloom at the time of Patricia and Chris's wedding, and it made for a great location to photograph in. In order to take this photo, I actually lay on the floor with my 200mm f/2 portrait lens. This lens gives a dramatic and beautiful effect whereby the background is rendered into a smooth blur, often giving the effect that the bride and groom have been photoshopped into the image! The reason for laying on the floor was to enable me to include as much lavender in the foreground as possible, giving a really bright element of colour that would otherwise be lost. In the background I chose to include the abbey itself, as I like what the red brickwork added to the image. The colour combinations on show are wonderful and really add together to make a beautiful wedding photo.