Great Hall Winchester Wedding Photography - Hannah & Frank

June 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Up at the top end of Winchester, near the Westgate and the old Castle area, you'll find the Great Hall - a huge, ancient and beautiful medieval building which simply oozes character and history. It's a stunning space, with huge flint walls and stone pillars, accessed through a cobbled courtyard, and over the centuries it's seen its fair share of history. And as of a couple of years ago, some lucky couples have been able to get married in it. Earlier in May, Hannah & Frank were one of those couples.

Bride and groom walk down the aisle togetherGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyWalking down the aisle Both bride and groom were getting ready a little distance away in Fareham - not in the same place, but happily close-enough together that I was able to capture a little of both sides of the story. It's always nice when it's possible to do this, as it's one part of the day which the partner very rarely gets to see. The men were keeping themselves occupied with guitars and the intricacies of cravat-tying (this is a skill that I really should make the effort to learn, as I get asked how to do one at pretty much every other wedding I attend. If you need a button-hole pinning though, I'm your man!). Hannah, bridemsaids, parents and a few others were meanwhile at her family home, coordinating hair and make-up around flower deliveries and the many and varied other components of pre-wedding preparation. I'm always impressed how cool and calm people manage to stay in amongst all this, and Hannah was no exception - simply breezing through it all. Simply put, she was looking absolutely stunning, and as the dress was laced up it was clear that she had chosen one which would look perfectly in place in such spectacular surroundings. This wedding was most certainly going to be a feast for the eyes for the lucky guests there to share in it.

Groom before wedding ceremonyFareham Wedding PhotographyBride and Groom pre-wedding preparations Dress and shoe detailsFareham Wedding PhotographyBride and Groom pre-wedding preparations Bridal bouquet with blue and white colour schemeFareham Wedding PhotographyBride and Groom pre-wedding preparations Groom, best man and usher getting readyFareham Wedding PhotographyBride and Groom pre-wedding preparations Bridal hair and make-upFareham Wedding PhotographyBride and Groom pre-wedding preparations Bridal preparations - bride's hair and make-upFareham Wedding PhotographyBride and Groom pre-wedding preparations Bride gets laced into dress by her mother as father watches onFareham Wedding PhotographyBride and Groom pre-wedding preparations Bride in wedding dress - getting ready at homeFareham Wedding PhotographyBride and Groom pre-wedding preparations And as the absolutely gorgeous Rolls Royce wedding cars pulled up to the drive ready for the bridal party, it was on to Winchester (and all the excitement of trying to find a central parking space on a Bank Holiday Monday - experience has taught me to allow a little extra time for things like this!) and up to the Great Hall to capture images of the guests arriving and exploring the hall, and of course Frank and his groomsmen there to welcome them. The whole venue, inside and out, was looking resplendent in the beautiful Spring sunshine, and even the short walk across the cobbles of Castle Avenue felt special as I approached the arched doorway.

One of the things which struck me most about the Great Hall whilst I was covering this wedding was how it so effortlessly manages to combine a real sense of grandeur in terms of its scale, and intimacy at the same time. I've photographed in some very large churches and other venues over the years and while they can feel very grand, you can sometimes feel just a little bit lost in them. Not so here - the set-up really does give you the best of both worlds. 

The guests arrived and settled, and as the wedding cars pulled up outside Frank took up his position at the front of the Hall - directly underneath King Arthur's Round Table no less (if you like a bit of myth and legend with your weddings) and there aren't many couples who can claim that as a back-drop - ready for Hannah to make her entrance. And it most certainly was an entrance; the enormous wrought-iron gates were opened revealing the staircase beyond (this is a rare sight indeed) and Hannah crossed the ancient hall floor on her father's arm...

The Gereat Hall sits at the far side of a cobbled courtyard on the site of the city's ancient castle, at the top of the hill in the centre of townGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyView of Great Hall along Castle Avenue The Round Table hangs on the wall at the far end of the Hall, underneath beautiful stained-glass windows.Great Hall Winchester wedding photographyGreat Hall interior Te sign announcing the wedding, the order of service and floral details inside Winchester's Great HallGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyVenue interior details Black and white photo of groom and best man inside hall to welcome guests as they arriveGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyGroom receiving the wedding guests Family members take their seats at the front of the Hall as further guests arriveGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyGuests arriving The wedding cars arrive and park in the courtyard directly outside the Great Hall, signalling that the ceremony will very shortly beginGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyWedding cars arrive The best man makes a few final adjustments to the groom's cravat to make sure that he is ready to receive his brideGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyFinishing touches for the groom The bride arrives through the huge iron gates at the far end of the hall before walking down the aisle with her fatherGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBridal entrance Colour photo of the Great Hall looking towards the rear as the bride walks down the aisleGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBride and groom at start of ceremony The bride and groom at the start of the wedding ceremony, stood at the front of the Great Hall in WinchesterGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBride and groom together Candid photographs of family and guests during the marriage ceremonyGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyFamily and guests watching wedding ceremony The bride and groom watch on as a friend gives a ready as part of the wedding ceremonyGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyVows and readings The bride and groom make their vows in the Great Hall as friends and family watch onGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBride and groom vows The Groom places the ring on his bride's finger to symbolically seal the marriageGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyExchange of rings Natural light photography in Winchester Great Hall during weddingGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyMarriage ceremony in Great Hall Great Hall interior, exchange of rings and bride and groom stood together at the front of the Great HallGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBlack and white photos of wedding ceremony Bride and groom walk down the aisle at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony in the Great Hall, with the Round Table in the backgroundGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBlack and white photo of Great Hall Winchester interior Black and white photographs of guests and wedding couple, candid documentary photography in Great HallGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyGuests congratulate bride and groom Guests mingle and congratulate the bride and groom after the weddingGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyAfter the ceremony One of the nice things about using the Great Hall for your wedding ceremony is that you and your guests get to enjoy it and Queen Eleanor's Garden - the little spot just outside - afterwards as well, with drinks and canapes served right there. We had a good amount of time here, meaning that we didn't have to rush straight into the photographs before heading off to the reception; much better this way - everyone wants to give you a kiss and a hug and congratulate you on your marriage, and I always think it's a great shame when the couple has to disappear immediately afterwards and no-one gets to see them. We did indeed get to take plenty of photos as well though - in and around the Great Hall (including on that magnificent hidden staircase), out in the garden and also up in Peninsula Barracks, an architectural gem which backs on to the Hall. And then back out to the front for group and family photos in front of the lovely arched doorway, and a few more candids with friends and family before the wedding cars filled up and moved on to our location for the reception - the gorgeous restored barn at Norton Park Hotel.

Groom colour portrait by water fountainGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBride and groom portraits at Peninsula Barracks Winchester Bride by columns and bride and groom together in front of lakeGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBridal portraits at Peninsula Barracks Bride and groom walking arm in arm on sunny wedding dayGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBride and groom at Peninsula Barracks Bride and groom posed in floral tunnel in gardenGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyCouple in Queen Eleanor's Garden Winchester Bride on staircase and in front of iron gatesGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBlack and white time-out photos of couple Confetti by the main entranceGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyOutside entrance to Great Hall Group photo by entrance doorway to Great HallGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyGroup photo of all the guests The cobbled road which approaches the Great Hall from the Westgate area of WInchesterGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyCastle Avenue candid guest photos The groom holds the bride's dress as the enters the Rolls Royce wedding carGreat Hall Winchester wedding photographyBride, groom and wedding car I've photographed several times at Norton Park, and it's a wonderful hotel with all sorts of options and plenty of variety for wedding photographs. Hannah & Frank had chosen the barn as the setting for their wedding breakfast, and were also foregoing any evening celebrations as they moved straight on to the honeymoon, but we still had plenty of time to take further photos inside and out. The seating plan in particular caught my eye as I explored the room taking photos of the decorative details - each table was named after a hill or mountain they had climbed together. I'm a bit of a hill-walker myself so I was feeling very pleased with myself being able to walk around muttering "done that one", "done that one too..." as I strolled from Tryfan to Pen-Y-Fan to Scafell Pike, before the top table pulled the rug from under my feet - Kilimanjaro. And it was all going so well. Hey ho, that's another one to add to the 'to do' list then.

The speeches in particular are always one of my favourite parts of the day to capture - I love the expressions and reactions on the faces of family and friends. Frank's best man took his speech to a whole other level with a song that he had written specially for the occasion which had me as well as all the guests in stitches (I'll do everyone a favour by not re-printing the lyrics here!). And following the speeches, the wedding breakfast and the cutting of the cake, a final opportunity for a couple more time-out photos with Hannah & Frank. A few little spots of rain towards the end didn't deter them in the slightest, which was great news as we were also able to head out into the grounds by the Manor House and the lake beyond for the last few frames. And as sun set and darkness started to encroach, the newly married couple prepared to make their exit and set out on the next chapter of their lives together...

The thatched barn in the grounds of the hotel is a popular wedding and wedding reception venueNorton Park wedding photographyBarn exterior Images from barn interior of decorations in and around the barnNorton Park wedding photographyTable decorations Wedding favours and seating plan continuing the blue and white colour schemeNorton Park wedding photographyDecorative details Details and decorations in Norton Park barn for wedding breakfastNorton Park wedding photographyEngraved hearts and guest book Natural light by the barn doors at the far end of the buildingNorton Park wedding photographyGuests inside wedding reception barn Black and white photo of barn interiorNorton Park wedding photographyGuests seated for wedding breakfast The father of the bride traditionally makes the opening speechNorton Park wedding photographyStart of the speeches Wedding guests watch on and react to the wedding speechesNorton Park wedding photographyCandid photos of guests Father of the bride, best man and groom make their speechesNorton Park wedding photographyBlack and white speeches The groiomn stands at the top table to begin his wedding speechNorton Park wedding photographyThe groom's speech The groom reacts as he hear's the best man's speech, performed as a songNorton Park wedding photographyGroom reaction Black and white photos of bride and groom reacting to the best man's musical wedding speechNorton Park wedding photographyBride and groom laughter and smiles Best man signs his wedding speech as guests watch onNorton Park wedding photographyThe best man performs Bridesmaids at the wedding breakfast in the thatched barn at Norton Park HotelNorton Park wedding photographyBridesmaids at the top table A classic and traditional wedding cake with bouquetNorton Park wedding photographyThe wedding cake Black and white photo of bride and groom cutting wedding cakeNorton Park wedding photographyCutting the cake Candid photos of guests as bride and groom cut the cakeNorton Park wedding photographyCutting the cake The newly-married couple together in the Grounds of Norton Park HotelNorton Park wedding photographyBride and groom alone Flash-lit photograph of bride and groom in early evening as dark skies start to encroach, by the manor House at Norton Park HotelNorton Park wedding photographyBride and groom with moody skies Black and white photo of bride and groom walking towards willow tress in garden by Manor House and lakeNorton Park Hotel wedding photographyBride and groom in hotel grounds Many congratulations to you both, Hannah & Frank, on an absolutely amazing wedding - what a treat to be there and to capture it for you. Wishing you both many happy years together!

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The photos above are just a small selection from the day - friends and family can see many many more, and order prints and downloads, in Hannah & Frank's private viewing gallery, but you'll need to ask them for the password first.

If you are planning your wedding at Winchester's spectacular Great Hall or at beautiful Norton Park and would like to know more about my wedding photography services, packages and prices, please don't hesitate to contact me to discuss your plans and ask me any questions you might have. 

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I hope you enjoyed the photos - feel free to leave any comments or messages of congratulations to the happy couple below - and thanks as ever for reading,

 

Stephen


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