The Elvetham is an absolutely spectacular hotel and wedding venue to the north of Hampshire, close to Basingstoke and just on the edge of the market town of Hartley Wintney. It’s got the most remarkable architecture, acre upon acre of gorgeous landscaped grounds and gardens, and so many beautiful rooms, features and little touches everywhere you turn. It’s no surprise then that it’s one of the most popular and sought-after wedding venues around. Desiree & Tom made an excellent decision when they chose it as their base for the day, and then we got doubly lucky with one of the most magnificent days of the the Summer; all blue skies and fluffy white clouds.
Both bride and groom were getting ready at the hotel, before they and all their guests headed out in private coaches to St Bede’s church in Basingstoke for the marriage itself. Des and her bridal party were able to make use of a huge room up on the first floor, which meant loads of light and space for photographs as people came and went, buzzing around and dropping things off through the course of the morning.
The ceremony took place at the Catholic church of St Bede’s (Church of the Holy Ghost) in Basingstoke. I’d never photographed here before, and it turns out that it really only gets used for special occasions rather than for regular services. It’s absolutely stunning inside, up at the altar – so ornate. What an incredible place! Tom was managing to play it pretty cool inside, greeting guests and generally keeping himself out of trouble, as Desiree and the bridal party drew up outside. A few quick words between bride and priest and we were ready to go!
Des & Tom had opted for a second photographer for this wedding – thank you John Watson as ever for all your hard work – and through the ceremony, in a church like this one, it can really pay dividends. No side aisles so it’s a little harder than usual to discretely move around, but the church doers have an upstairs gallery at the back, so John was able to cover all the angles, high and low, from that end of the church while I had the option of a few different spots at the front connected by a couple of doors and a little corridor which works its way round the side of the pulpit. The result: loads of different angles near and far through the course of the service without every really drawing attention to ourselves. Just the way I like it – all eyes are firmly on the bride and groom, and that’s where those wonderful, natural, relaxed photos come from.
Back to the Elvetham then for an afternoon and evening’s reception, in stunning Summer sunshine…
It’s an incredible venue whatever the weather of course, with wonderful indoor spaces too, but how fortunate that we were able to make such great use of the gardens too. The gardens are really beautifully and thoughtfully landscaped, with all sorts of hidden surprises and viewpoints tucked away in little corners. Avenues of trees, streams and water features, follies, even a sunken bog garden (not quite as boggy as it sounds, thankfully!)… it’s got everything. We whisked our bride and groom off for a little tour of the grounds just before they headed into the conservatory for the wedding breakfast, and then again took them off for a couple of moments later in the evening, as the sun headed down over the treeline. Now at this point it’s worth mentioning that Tom and the guys are into their rugby in a big way, and Desiree too by extension. The groomsmen and a ball came with us, and Des caught some proper height as they did line-outs. Respect!
As we headed into the evening further guests arrived. The party kicked off as is traditional with the cake-cutting and the first dance, and both the bar and the dancefloor were heaving in no time. Suffice it to say. Des, Tom and their friends are a proper party crowd! What an absolutely incredible day. Beautiful wedding, beautiful people, beautiful venues… a whole lot of fun!
Making it possible…
Venue (ceremony): St Bede’s Catholic Church, Basingstoke
Venue (reception): The Elvetham Hotel
Dresses: Sofi Design Bridal
Suits: Moss Bros
Hair & Makeup: Moby Hair & Beauty
Florist: The Flower Girl
Cake: Scrumdidly Cakes
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I hope you’ve enjoyed this little selection of images from the day. That’s just part of the finished set, and friends and family can view the full series, and the storytelling slideshow, in Des &Tom’s private online gallery (although you’ll need to ask them for the password first).
If you are currently planning your Elvetham Hotel 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!