It’s been an incredible Summer for weddings at Hampshire’s magnificent Avington Park. Now under new ownership, this wonderful venue has seen a huge amount of work and this is very apparent in so many areas, not least the opening up of the gorgeous wings and suites which were previously reserved as private accommodation and which are now available to wedding parties as dressing rooms, preparation areas and somewhere to crash at the other end of the day. I’ve had the good fortune to photography a number of weddings at Avington Park over the years – it’s long been one of my absolute favourite wedding venues – and it’s been such a treat to see these new spaces and to make the most of the fantastic photo opportunities they bring to the table.
Alison & Chris tied the knot in a beautiful outdoor ceremony in the height of the Summer. Bridal preparations took place in one of the upstairs suites with views over the rear of the venue, so the bridal party were able to keep an eye on things as they unfolded with the set-up for the wedding and as guests started to arrive. Meanwhile Chris and his groomsmen were able to make use of one of the ground floor apartments, when they weren’t busy setting out the garden games and photobooth on the front lawn…
For all the weddings I’ve photographed at Avington Park over the years, this was the first time I had seen an outdoor ceremony. Most likely one reason for this is that it was only recently that the laws on outdoor weddings were relaxed; previously they had to take place underneath a permanent structure, but at least for the moment (the change in the law was introduced as a temporary measure but now it’s here let’s hope it sticks around) this is no longer the case. What a beautiful Summer it was, suddenly being allowed to photograph weddings taking place in gardens, underneath trees… I haven’t had a beach wedding yet but fingers crossed.
The outdoor ceremony space is absolutely gorgeous, on the flag-stoned terrace between the two orangeries to the rear of the venue and with the formal gardens and a view of the church behind. The beautiful columns add a real sense of occasion, and just in case that’s not enough to wow your guests if you’re very lucky one of the resident peacocks might just deign to make an appearance and try to photobomb all your wedding photos. Total show-offs those birds, honestly.
Drinks, canapes (jaw-droppingly great catering courtesy of wedding food superstars Kalm Kitchen) and photos out on the front lawn with all the magnificence of that beautiful house as a backdrop, before friends and family made their way through to the library for the wedding breakfast as I whisked the bride and groom off to the iconic iron bridge for a few photos before they made their entrance to kick off the rest of the day’s celebrations.
The library at Avington Park is a hugely popular option for the wedding breakfast (and also for party time later on in the day) and it’s not difficult to see why. It has this real balance of grandeur and comfort at the same time, and along with this one small step and you’re back out in those wonderful gardens as well. The food itself was something else and definitely worth a big mention. The salmon starter was an absolute picture (literally; see below) but the star was the family style lamb loin joint, served family-style for carving at the table. This is a trend I’ve seen emerging over a few years and it’s one I thoroughly approve of; a real sense of occasion and you can see a real glint in the eye of the lucky guest who’s been nominated as each table’s carver (not least of course because they can steer the biggest and best cuts to their own plate – ot is that just me?).
What else do I need to mention? There was so much packed into this fab day that I’m worried I’m going to miss things so I’ll jot a few down quickly. Beautiful music during the ceremony and reception courtesy of The String Quartet, awesome cocktails for the evening reception by the Drunken Jockeys (special shout-out for the lengths they go to in styling a bar to fit perfectly in your venue; these guys are class!), party time led by the Boogie Brothers… I’ll put a full list of suppliers below in case you like the look of anything you see in the photos.
These photos are really just the tip of the iceberg – I simply couldn’t stop firing the shutter on this one. What a stunning day, what a gorgeous couple! Congratulations Alison & Chris. Friends and family can see the full, finished set in their private gallery, but you’ll need to as the couple for the link and password first.
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Making it happen…
Venue: Avington Park – www.avingtonpark.co.uk
Suits: Zebel Bespoke – www.zebel.co.uk
Dress: Paverly Bridal – www.paverlybridal.co.uk
Flowers: Petals & Posies – www.petalsandposies.co.uk
Catering: Kalm Kitchen – www.kalmkitchen.co.uk
Daytime music: The String Quartet – www.thestringquartet.co.uk
Evening Music: Boogie Brothers – www.entertainment-nation.co.uk
Bar & Cocktails: The Drunken Jockeys – www.thedrunkenjockeys.co.uk
Cake: Forever Cake Creations – www.forevercakecreations.co.uk
If you are currently planning your Avington Park wedding and would like to know more about my wedding photography services, packages and prices, please do get in touch to check availability and ask me any questions you might have. I’m only too happy to help however I can.
Thanks as ever for reading, and come back again soon for many more photos from many more beautiful weddings!