A Fairytale Castle Wedding
I am so, so late to the Clearwell Castle wedding party, it was almost barely worth me turning up!
With plaudits from professional critics, fellow photographers and the Tripadvisor crowd, this amazing place is incredibly popular! The gardens and interiors of this majestic castle are mind-blowingly gorgeous!
I’ve been asked to photograph weddings at Clearwell Castle before but frustratingly my diary has always been booked. So, I was very pleased to be free to accept this request.
Marie was very particular in what she was looking for. She did a lot of research and called in suppliers from all over the country to ensure everything was perfect. So much effort had gone into the details of this fairy-tale wedding: horses and carriage, amazing vibrant colour scheme, a stunning fireworks display and of course the backdrop of this stunningly beautiful castle.
Getting Ready For The Big Day
Marie was so relaxed when I knocked at the door to the fabulous bridal suite on the morning. The champagne flowed as the ladies were having their hair and make-up done; I’d only just arrived but this wedding was clearly already in full on party mode. It’s during these initial moments that I really sense what lies ahead for the rest of the day. If there’s laughter and non-stop smiles I know I’m in for an amazing wedding!
Clearwell Castle sits in the Forest of Dean, surrounded by glorious countryside. The property dates back over 400 years, with a colourful history. Most recently it was saved from being demolished after a devastating fire, when a bakery owner from Blackpool raised the funds to purchase the castle. He’d been born in the castle’s North Lodge, and decided he just couldn’t see it being demolished! To make ends meet to fund the restoration, he held regular medieval banquets and events.
Church Ceremony in Clearwell
The very grand St. Peter’s Church is just a two minute walk from the castle, in the charming village of Clearwell.
Marie’s dream was to travel by horse and carriage to the church on her wedding day. She was in such high spirits as she made her way from the bridal suite with her father.
Unfortunately and totally out of the blue, it started to rain quite heavily! Marie’s happiness now turned to sadness, no one on their wedding day wants to arrive at the church under rainy skies. The forecast had been for a glorious sunny day, so how on earth did the forecasters get it so very wrong!
I took a quick peak at my phone weather app; thankfully I was able to confirm that this freak downpour wasn’t meant to last long. The smiles were now back, although she did have to undertake the journey in the rain and enter the church under brollies!
The ceremony was so beautiful, and the ambience through the ceremony was incredible. Yes there were tears, and yes there was more laughter, and the most wonderful heartfelt vows!
I’m pleased to report that the sun came out during the signing of the register, and it stayed with us for the rest of the day.
Champagne On The Lawns At Clearwell Castle
After the short carriage ride for the newlyweds, it was now the chance to relax and greet all their wedding guests on the lawns at Clearwell Castle.
Settings really don’t come any more beautiful for a wedding day, and the invited guests seem to really enjoy themselves as they explored the wonderful grounds.
Wedding Photography Backdrops At Clearwell Castle
With so many backdrops for the classic poses and group shots, it could hard to know where to start! Thankfully I’d visited the castle with Marie and Simon a few weeks before, so we’d already scoped out all of our favourite locations for the day. In every direction, this incredible building offers the absolute wow factor for us photographers. I particularly loved using the lavender borders with the main castle in the background.
Inside the castle, I enjoyed working with the insanely high ceilings, and the huge leaded windows! The rooms throughout this historic property were out of this world – I could totally understand why Marie and Simon fell totally in love with this majestic castle for their special day.
Photographs In The Wheat Field At Clearwell Castle
There was one backdrop that appeared in all its glory by the day of the wedding, the adjacent farmers field. I’m a sucker for wheat fields, and here was one at its very best on a stunning summer’s day. The only problem was that we’d need to all climb over the gated entrance, including the bride in her gorgeous designer gown!
I must have sold the potential shots to Marie with the excited look on my face, because she was over that gate in the blink of an eye! I was expecting a firm ‘Don’t Be Ridiculous’ response, instead she saw this as quite the adventure. We were so careful to stay on the paths in the field so as not to damage the crop, but the resulting shots were some of my favourites from day. Marie told me afterwards that she booked me for the total passion I demonstrate in my work, and that after hearing of these potential shots there was no way she could say no!
The Evening Reception
These guys knew how to party, heaven knows where they found the energy to keep going non-stop all day! One of only two times the newlyweds left the dancefloor all evening was for my floodlit shots, in front of the castle.
The shot below was the image that Marie and Simon chose as the finale double page spread in their album.
The other occasion they left the dancefloor was for their spectacular fireworks display, on the lawns at the front of the castle. Their pyrotechnics display produced my absolute favourite image from the day. I shot the photo through the grand entrance doorway with the guests and fireworks framed so perfectly.
Marie and Simon were an absolute joy to work for on the day. Their family and friends were so very appreciative and friendly too. As much as I was exhausted by the end of the day, it felt like I’d spent the day with good friends rather than going to work! This incredible wedding highlighted why I love my job so very much.
After a long time researching into photographers for our wedding it was clear that you were leagues above other photographers. From the planning meeting to the wedding day itself your energy in making everything run smoothly and to ensure you captured the perfect photos was outstanding.
Every shot you made sure symmetry, light and backdrops were perfect. You ensured people were positioned right and the lighting was the best it could be. Also on a personal level you made everyone laugh and everyone felt you were a real big part of our day. The results were outstanding!
You seem to have a huge talent that is beyond other photographers. Seeing the pictures for the first time yesterday we cannot thank you enough. You have provided us with the most amazing memories and it is all down to your energy, love for the job and attention to detail. The colours of the photos and the crystal clear images are impeccable. I would also just like to say that this was the first time you had been to this venue. You took photos that were unique and exceptional.
We cannot thank you enough, your enthusiasm was captured by so many people and you really made our day one we will never forget. Everyone keeps asking us how we found you as you were just brilliant. Your attention to detail and your need for perfection truly shows and for us was invaluable.
It is the most beautiful album and the quality of the colours and pictures are breath taking – I seriously cannot thank you enough. I might make people wear special gloves to handle it lol. I’m taking it into the office tomorrow… I might be slightly protective over it.
It has been a real pleasure working with you – you have literally given us the most invaluable memories. We have looked over a million times and more at your pictures! I will not hesitate to contact you again for any more we need for any occasion. And I will be recommending you to everyone!
All the best, Marie & Simon