Get ready to fall head-over-heels for this stunning wedding at The Grove in Watford. Miranda and Peter added a classic and timeless look that allowed the natural beauty and gorgeous landscaping of the venue to take centre stage. In addition to the beautiful details, we had lots of fun and laughter and a gorgeous blue skied day.
As soon as you step through the doors to The Grove, you are met by stunningly beautiful interiors. Everywhere is adorned with striking antique and modern designer furniture and exquisite colourful artworks. If it hadn’t been for the amazing weather, the picture opportunities indoors would have been fabulous too – part of me wishes that we’d had some rain on the day!
The hotel is set in 300 acres of gorgeous Hertfordshire countryside, and is the former home of the illustrious Earls of Clarendon. The colourful history of the Grove goes back many centuries, full of tales of ghosts and lavish royal parties. The Grove was regularly visited by prime ministers such as Palmerston and Walpole, and it’s where a young Queen Victoria started the fashion for “the weekend break.”
In the 1770s Captain Cook presented the 2nd Earl with a sapling of the just-discovered Black Walnut Tree. This is the magnificent tree that now towers over the terrace. From 1760-1790 George Stubbs regularly cycled to the stables at The Grove and painted his famous horses here. Many of his paintings were of The Earl of Clarendon’s horses, and the mansion house itself. In 1920 the aristocratic family left The Grove. The Times published a letter mourning the passing of ‘One of the greatest political houses of the 19th century’.
Miranda and Peter exchanged vows in the lovely ceremony room in the mansion, with huge windows looking out over the wonderfully serene Charlotte’s Vale. This intimate wedding ceremony was full of emotion and tender moments, and it was witnessed by their very closest family and friends.
After a few celebratory drinks and some family group poses, we took full advantage of the wonderful gardens at The Grove for some relaxed picture opportunities. The gardens were majestic, and the colourful flower borders so beautifully maintained. The hotel’s dramatic cascading water feature stretching 120 metres through the landscaped grounds was my favourite backdrop, and for Miranda and Peter’s wedding day it was brimming with the most gorgeous vibrant water lilies. At every turn in the garden there are fabulous modern sculptures, and so many beautiful mature specimen trees. The sun reflects off so many surfaces wherever you look; the effect is wonderful & so very clever – wow! The gardens at The Grove provide some truly magical surprises for anyone fortunate enough to visit this lovely hotel.
I was booked for the whole day, and for the evening reception the dance floor was soon rocking as the couple were joined by many more of their friends. After the first dance, Miranda changed from her glamorous wedding gown into the most dazzling above the knee sequinned evening dress, once again she looked amazing!
My favourite picture from the day was captured at dusk with my directional lighting illuminating the near and distant landscape. I framed the couple under a pair of tall contemporary sculptures with the water feature leading the eye away into the distance. When we stood there it was as dark as could be, but I knew the effect I was after, and most importantly Miranda and Peter were thrilled with the end result.
This was my first booking at The Grove. I love working at hotels that are new to me, but this wedding venue totally blew me away, it is breath taking on every level!
Miranda & Peter created a sophisticated yet informal wedding that was one-of-a-kind and truly unforgettable.
Here’s the lovely review that was posted online by Miranda & Peter:
We came across Mark at a wedding fayre and after looking at this portfolio and speaking with a number of other wedding photographers decided to contract with Mark. We liked the flexibility he offered with regard to the number of hours we could hire his services as well as his desire to understand our personalities and how we wanted to express an informal and natural day in pictures. In particular we were impressed by this clever approach to night-time shots which are stunning.
Mark did not know our venue but took the time to familiarise himself with it and utilised both internal and external scenes to their fullest advantage. He worked with our family and guests such that they hardly knew he was there. Especially as we had a few that were camera shy! When it was necessary to ‘corral’, he took charge and made his work look effortless.
But most importantly, when our wedding pictures arrived, we were thrilled! They were even better than we had hoped. Mark had really paid attention to detail and captured what we wanted from our big day. Our families and friends are still enjoying looking at all the pictures and no one has been disappointed.
A huge, huge thank you Mark! What lovely memories you have given to us.
Kind regards, Miranda & Peter