In June 2018 I was delighted to go back to Grafton Manor to photograph Hayley and James’ wedding. I was booked by them the previous summer and I had been looking forward to their day as they are both so relaxed. They just wanted to enjoy the day without being bothered for pictures which is ideal for my style of documentary photography.
I was also looking forward to their day as it meant I would be going back to Grafton Manor, a venue I had shot the previous autumn.
Grafton Manor Wedding Photography
Grafton Manor is a very special house both luxury hotel and family home, an intoxicating blend of the magnificent and the informal. The hotel offers the ideal venue for wedding receptions and civil ceremonies. You and your guests will have exclusive use of the hotel ensuring that your perfect day is just that – Perfect.
Other features include luxury hotel rooms, dining, conference and banqueting facilities, also the gardens are a major attraction for any visitor. Grafton Manor is the ideal place to host a wedding.
Grafton Manor’s has one unique feature which really sets it apart from other venues: The John Morris Hall. With classic stained glass windows, traditional pews and an elegant vaulted ceiling, it looks just like a small church and adds an interest element to any wedding day, between the house, the hall, the marquee and the front and back gardens there’s lot of variety on offer.
39 Grafton Manor Wedding Photos
Below are a few of my favourite images from Hayley & James’ wedding day.
COUNTRY MANOR SETTING
Grafton Manor is one of my favourite venues to work at. The Elizabethan manor house is the perfect venue. Surrounded by wonderful grounds, the house boasts enough rooms for both bride and groom prep, a large marquee for bigger wedding and smaller rooms for more intimate celebrations and the venue’s unique selling point, a small side chapel where the ceremony takes place. Set in beautiful Worcestershire countryside, Grafton Manor far enough away from Bromsgrove to give you the feeling that you’re away from the world for the day but close enough that there’s a few nearby hotels and good transport links in easy reach for guests. There are also 10 bedrooms which can be allocated out by the Bride and Groom.
On the day itself Hayley got ready with her bridesmaids and mother in the large downstairs suite which has a spacious bedroom and smaller side room which is ideal for hanging the dress in. James and his groomsmen arrived around midday and then their children shortly afterwards having been looked after by grandparents in the morning.
Guests arrived and gathered both inside the front bar and outside in the front lawn as they took advantage of the wonderful summer weather.
A CEREMONY WITH A CHURCH FEEL
The ceremony took place in Grafton Manor’s idyllic side chapel. A fantastic feature. At most venues licenced for a civil ceremony the ceremony room is in part of the main building, but the side chapel gives the ceremony a church service feel and is something unique from any other venue I’ve worked at.
After the rings had been swapped and the vows said the new Mr and Mrs Wheeler enjoyed a drinks reception on the front lawn while listening to live music from George Simpson. The drinks reception is always the best time for natural shots of the wedding in full flow and this was a really fun wedding to capture.
This time also gave plenty of opportunities to photograph Hayley and James’ two children. When a Bride and Groom have small children getting natural images of them is as important as of the couple themselves as parents love nothing more than pictures of their children happy and playing. It’s great that they can join in and be a part of their parents special day and the images will be a fantastic legacy for them all in the years to come.
After moving on to the wedding breakfast in Grafton Manor’s spacious marquee, which holds well over 100 guests with ease, it was time for the speeches. These were a particularly good set from Hayley’s dad, the Groom and the Best Man. With some touching moments remembering those who were no longer around to be with Hayley and James on their special day and some great laughs at James’ expense. It was a wedding Hayley had been waiting 14 years for and James’ Best Man had some great material with which to really embarrass him.
After the speeches we went down into the grounds of the Manor for a few relaxed shots of the happy couple together. Even for a documentary photographer a simple, relaxed portrait session with no awkward posing can be part of the day and it gives the Bride and Groom some time together away from the hustle and bustle of the day so they can relax and take it all in. Late summer sun means this can be done between the meal and the evening party and when there is nice soft light from the low sun. Today I was working with two videographers from Through the Lens. I really enjoyed working with them and they took the lead on the shoot allowing me to work quietly while all got the shots we needed.
GREAT EVENING ENTERTAINMENT
The day ended with an absolutely fantastic evening party. Entertainment from live band FuFu Sailors and local DJ David Graham meant there was no let up on the dance floor for 4 solid hours and Hayley, James and their guests had no shortage of moves to show off. A cloudless night meant I could even capture some star trails. I love night time photography and it was great to add another passion of mine into the day, leaving the camera to run a long exposure while I was back on the dance floor capturing the action.
Hayley & James’ wedding day suppliers:
- Dress shop: TDR Bridal
- Cake: M&S
- Flowers: BHF Creative Florist
- Hair: Suzanna Ward
- Make Up: Amy Clare
- Entertainment: George Simpson
- DJ: Celebration Discos
- Band: Fufu Sailors
- Videographers: Through The Lens
Working as a documentary photographer at Grafton Manor is an absolute dream and I’m looking forward to going back in the future. If you would lie your wedding day photographed in the same documentary style that I have done for Hayley and James please get in touch.