Ruth & Steve’s Lainston House Hotel wedding photography. What a couple, what a wedding! From the very first moment I met them I just knew that Ruth and Steve’s wedding was going to be an absolute peach. From our very first chat it was so plain to see how much this wedding meant, and how important it was to them that they made the absolute most of the opportunity to celebrate their love with everyone important to them. Back then they were still on the hunt for the perfect venue. Roll forward a few months and the message came in: they’d found it in the absolutely magnificent Lainston House Hotel, just outside Winchester.
I’ve had the significant pleasure of photographing several weddings and celebrations here over the years but this was the first time I’d seen it taken over for an exclusive use celebration, and from a photography perspective it’s quite simply the cherry on an already incredible cake. Having the total freedom to use all of the rooms and spaces indoors and out through the whole course of the day was wonderful. While the mission on the photo front was very much on the relaxed, informal and candid style – just the way I like it, spotting and capturing forever all of those lovely little elements which come together to tell the whole story – this freedom meant that I could really make the absolute most of everything this incredible hotel and its beautiful grounds have to offer around the timings and structure of the day. To be honest though all of the hard work was already done for me: if you fill a wedding venue with a beautifully happy couple, their beaming children and their partners as groomsmen and bridesmaids, and then top it up with a whole stack of people absolutely delighted to see them tie the knot then quite frankly, you can be pretty confident of nabbing some decent shots!
Bridal preparations took place in the Silverhorn Suite – a huge room tucked right away at the far end of the hotel (trust me, no chance of being accidentally seen before you’re ready out here) – while Steve and his groomsmen welcomed the guests and generally kept themselves busy with rings, buttonholes and all the usual things the guys get up to down in the main reception rooms of the hotel; the fantastic library and the elegant drawing room. It was then time to move everyone through to the beautiful Dawley Barn to take their seats.
Out into the most magnificent autumn sunshine for confetti before everyone headed back to the main house for the wedding reception and the start of the celebrations. At a venue like this you’d expect the drinks and nibbles to be nothing short of excellent, and my word they kept them coming!
Groups and couple photos: well of course there are more views, features and opportunities here both indoors and out than you can shake a stick out. Despite the sunshine, being late autumn it was most certainly fresh outside so I think everyone appreciated the group photos taking placer in front of the enormous feature fireplace in the entrance hall. We did steal outside though for a few quick portraits with the bride and groom though, taking advantage of the colour still in the trees (and what an autumn it’s been for that, eh?!).
Next stop, the Dawley Barn which had now been transformed from its previous ceremony set-up, ready for the wedding breakfast. The fires were roaring, the wine was flowing and you really won’t be surprised to hear that everyone in the room looked as though they were having the best time imaginable. The on to the speeches, and hats off in particular to the four sons – not everyone gets to make a speech at their own parent’s wedding.
And then it was party time (well, the whole afternoon had been party time really but you know what I mean) back in the heart of the hotel. Awesome band kicking things off – these guys properly rocked – and well into the evening as I started to pack up everyone was still throwing everything into it on the dancefloor. This celebration clearly still had the legs, and seeing as no-one there had to worry about travelling any further than the length of a corridor back to their room at the end of the night you can understand why.
So: a magical venue, a fabulous group of friends and family to celebrate with, awesome food and drink, killer band… and we even had sunshine. Sure, that’s always going to be a recipe for an incredible day. But push all of that to one side because with Ruth and Steve it really was just that we had these two absolutely lovely people saying ‘I do’ and when you saw the looks in your eyes you totally knew what all of this was about. How lucky am I to have a job where I get to see something like that? Huge congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Pardoe, and wishing you every happiness!
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