Sammy & Luke – 1st December 2019
Luxury Wedding in an 18th Century Mansion
One of the best things about being a wedding photographer at The Grove is that every wedding is completely unique and Sammy & Luke’s was no exception. This Luxury hotel in Watford is situated in the rolling hills of the Hertfordshire countryside, just a short drive from my home. This magnificent venue has a tranquil and rural feel despite being only 18 miles away from London. Boasting 300 acres of land, The Grove is home to a world class golf resort, award winning Sequoia spa and several amazing restaurants making it the perfect venue for any special occasion.
Sammy & Luke’s Big Day
Sammy and Luke got married on a rainy December day. They both got ready at the Grove in separate wings of the house so there was no risk of them seeing each other before before the ceremony. Sammy was getting ready with her mum and her bridesmaids in an opulent room situated in the hotel’s contemporary west wing. Decorated with plush velvet sofas and an abundance of shiny surfaces, it was the perfect spot for photographing details like the bouquet and the shoes.
Everyone was in high spirits as they sipped Champagne and excitedly chatted about rumours of Ronan Keating being in the same hotel! Makeup By Sian gave Sammy a glamorous smokey eye and glowing skin – perfect for a winter wedding! She wore a stunning Kenneth Winston wedding dress paired with a fabulous pair of Jimmy Choo shoes complete with feather detailing. Sammy’s best friend Kenny couldn’t be left out of the bridal party so he was appointed as the man of honour. They were all wowed when they saw Sammy dressed up and ready to walk down the aisle and the father of the bride was shed a tear when he saw his little girl before the ceremony.
Winter Wonderland Elopement
The ceremony took place in the Amber room which was decorated with pink and blue uplighters, trees adorned with fairy lights and clear acrylic chairs in keeping with the winter wonderland theme. Luke was emotional when he saw his beautiful bride walking down the aisle and their first kiss as husband and wife was met with cheers and applause.
The guests enjoyed drinks and canapes whilste being entertained by amazing musician, Spencer Woods. It was still raining so we decided to do the group portraits inside. Luckily the spacious room was filled with neutral walls and interesting contemporary art so there were plenty of spots for photos. By shooting through glass tables and using the reflective surfaces, I was able to get some really unique results. Sammy and Luke had told me about the winter wonderland theme so I brought some fairy lights along to hold in front of the lens and frame the couple.
Meanwhile, the Amber room was being set up for the wedding breakfast. The tables were decorated with white flower arrangements, beautiful transparent candelabras and silver and gold votives holding tealights. A pretty floral garland lined the top table which was placed in front of a voil backdrop with hundred of twinkling fairy lights. As guests made their way inside, they were met with the table plan set inside a beautiful ice sculpture. This couple had paid attention to every single detail of their big day and it certainly had the wow factor.
The Wedding Reception
Sammy’s dad gave a lovely speech followed by a hilarious toast by the best man that had many of their guests crying with laughter! The, as a special surprise for their friends and family, the bride and groom had arranged for some singing waiters to provide some entertainment. They had everyone up on their feet, waving their napkins in the air and singing along to Tina Turner – what a perfect way to get everyone ready for the party!
The room was set up for the evenings celebrations complete with snow scenes, miniature polar bears, a giant yeti and even an ice thrown! Groovalicious introduced the couple in to have their first dance as husband and wife followed by an emotional father daughter dance. The band were awesome and had everyone up on the dance floor and singing along. As the party continued, Sammy and Luke’s guests were in for another special surprise as two mirror men joined the dance floor.
The celebrations went on long into the early hours of the morning and ended with a sing song with Ronan’s backing singers! This wedding was stylish, quirky and so much fun to photograph. Sammy and Luke had pulled out all the stops for this winter wonderland themed wedding and I loved documenting every minute of it!
The Grove Wedding Photos
Getting Married at The Grove
This five star venue is the ideal location for an event or special occasion at any time of year. The mansion dates back to the 18th Century and was the former residence of the Earls of Clarendon as well serving as a retreat for Queen Victoria. The traditional elements like the french windows are met wonderfully with a quirky modern interior by designer Martin Hulbert.
If you’re planning to tie the knot here there are lots of event spaces to chose from. In addition to the Amber room, there’s The Potting Shed, The Mansion and even an outdoor ceremony space. The Potting Shed is situated in the walled gardens which has an abundance of colourful flowers and quirky animal topiary – my favorite is the giraffe!
‘The Mansion is a great choice for those who are having a more intimate celebration. It’s a more traditional part of the house with beautiful big windows letting in lots of natural light which backs on to it’s own private garden. There is also an option to hire the venue exclusively so your guests can have free reign of the house and gardens.
What Makes This Venue Stand Out:
- ACCOMMODATION – There are plenty of places for people to stay so your guests don’t need to worry about travel arrangements. From opulent suites to recently renovated cool and quirky rooms in the west wing, there’ll be something for everyone. They even have dog friendly rooms for those who want to bring their pet.
- FOOD – There are several restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food throughout the day, the most popular of which are The Glasshouse and The Stables. If you’re planning to have your special day here, the head chef, Henry Lomas, will ensure you get a wedding breakfast that will wow your guests. There is also an option to use one of their external catering companies that cater for lots of Jewish and Asian weddings, supplying Kosher and Halal food.
- FACILITIES – Your guests will love all the facilities this amazing country house has to offer from the luxury spa, outdoor swimming pools and tranquil woodland trails.
Documenting Weddings at The Grove
I’ve photographed quite a few weddings here, all in different parts of the house and at different times of year, but I’m always spoilt for choice when it comes to finding great places for portraits. Here are a few of my favourites:
- CORRIDOR – This sounds like a strange spot to choose but there’s a corridor which leads from the main reception to the Amber suite which is flooded with natural light. The bright white walls reflect the light back making for flattering portraits of the bride and groom.
- STAIRCASE – There is a grand wooden stircase located in the West Wing of the house. The thing that makes it extra special is the giant black and white photo of the giraffe – a theme that seems to run through the decor of the house.
- FORMAL GARDENS – At the back of the house, an ornamental canal slices through the landscape, stepping down through the herbaceous borders. The surrounding topiary and manicured hedges add a graphic element which works really well for photos.
- WALLED GARDENS – The rustic gates and festoon lights make this a great place to go if you want your wedding images to have a rustic and romantic feel.
The you’re looking for the Grove wedding photographer, I’d love to hear from you!