Highcliffe Castle & Sopley Mill with Nima & Craig

June 10, 2016  •  7 Comments

Highcliffe Castle, way down south on the Hampshire coastline in the New Forest, is a pretty spectacular venue for a wedding. A beautiful, intriguing building set in formal grounds on a clifftop - much as the name suggests - with views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, its position is stunning. Once derelict, it has been lovingly restored and is now quite rightly one of the most popular wedding venues around. When you photograph here its very obvious why; not only do you have this magnificent setting at your disposal (and you're never likely to run out of photo opportunities here), the ceremony room is absolutely lovely; big and bright and full of light. And it was here that Nima & Craig tied the knot, on a wonderful Spring day.

But before all that, bridal preparation further down the coast in Bournemouth. Nima, friends and family were already looking gorgeous when I arrived ready to cover the finishing touches. So much colour, and loads of laughter (interspersed with a few happy tears - this was obviously going to be an emotional day). A surprisingly busy morning, with various wedding guests coming and going en route to the ceremony, but Nima just sailed calmly through it all (although she did have the advantage of a small army of bridesmaids to support her).

Black and white photo of bride applying make-upHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBridal preparation Dress hanging and shoes during preparation in hotel roomHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBridal preparation details Close-up photograph of gold bridal wedding jewelleryHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyWedding jewellery Bridesmaids getting ready in hotel room before marriage ceremonyHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBridesmaids bring brial prep The bride gets ready before the weddingHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBride getting ready Black and white photographs taken during bridal prep stage of wedding dayHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBridal preparation images Bridesmaids do a final check of the bride's make-up and help her into her dressHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyFinishing touches The bride receives a gift from her bridesmaids before heading to the ceremonyHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyWedding gifts Craig was ready and waiting at the castle when I got there, keeping himself nice and busy greeting everyone as they arrived. A huge smile on his face, Craig is one of those people who just projects a sense of being relaxed and at ease (I've no idea how calm he actually was under the surface, but he looked great). The day was slightly overcast, with the threat of some rain to come at some point, but this was no cause for concern; as I've often pointed out poor weather can make for wonderful photos, and with our couple's choice of venues we were absolutely spoilt for choice photographically both indoors and out.

The room started to fill in anticipation of Nima's arrival, and Craig was ushered to the front along with his best man, ready to receive his bride...

The groom sits on steps outside the ceremony room at Highcliffe Castle in the New ForestHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyGroom portrait The ushers help each other with their buttonholes before the marriage ceremonyHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyUshers getting ready The groom and best man stand at the front of the ceremony room, with the groom's parents sat nearbyHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyGroom with best man The best man displays the wedding rings as guests talk amongst themselvesHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyWedding rings The bride pulls up outside the ceremony room in a white JaguarHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBride arrives at New Forest wedding venue The bride gathers her thoughts before stepping out of the car to walk down the aisleHighcliffe Castle New Forest wedding photographyBride in wedding car Bride and bridesmaids assemble on the steps outside the ceremony roomHighcliffe Castle New Forest wedding photographyReady to get married At Highcliffe the wedding car usually pulls up right outside the ceremony room, so the bride only has a few small steps to make before she is walking down the aisle. Nima took a little moment to compose herself in the car before taking a deep breath and opening the door...

She walked down the aisle on her mother's arm - Mum really couldn't have looked any prouder as she accompanied her daughter on this hugely important walk, and what a look she gave to Craig as she passed Nima's hand to his when they met at the front of the ceremony room. Eye contact between people tells such a story in a wedding photo - I can't get enough of it! And then, as the ceremony began, I was able to tuck myself away between one of the huge potted plants which provides such a convenient screen at the front of the room, meaning that all the right angles can be covered without my having to make myself obvious to our congregation; all eyes remain firmly on the bride and groom without any other distractions.

The bride makes her entrance from the side on her mother's armHighcliffe Castle New Forest wedding photographyBridal entrance The bride and her mother walk down the aisle together to meet the groomHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyWalking down the aisle The bride and her mother meet the groom at the end of the aisleHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyTogether at the start of the ceremony The bride's mother passes her hand to the groomHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyHolding hands Guests watch on as the marriage beginsHighcliffe Castle New Forest wedding photographyMarriage ceremony Bride and groom turn to face each other to make their declaration and vowsHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyExchanging vows Black and white photographs from Highcliffe weddingHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyMarriage in the New Forest The groom places the ring on the bride's fingerHighcliffe Castle New Forest wedding photographyExchanging rings The bride looks at the new wedding ring on her finger as groom and best man watch onHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBride, groom and best man Te bride's mother watches as the wedding rings are exchangedHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyMother of the bride Bride and groom kiss for the first time as husband and wifeHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyThe kiss Smiles and tears of happiness from wedding guests as the bride and groom are marriedHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyLaughter and emotion The register of marriage is signed by the bride and groomHighcliffe Castle wedding photographySigning the register Guests approach the newly married couple to congratulate them at the end of the ceremonyHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyCongratulations from guests Wedding guests take photographs of the newly married coupleHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyPhotographs Bride and groom walk down the aisle as husband and wifeHighcliffe Castle New Forest wedding photographyWalking down the aisle After a few more (very happy) tears, Nima & Craig were married to huge cheers and massive applause, and they practically galloped down the aisle ready to start the celebrations. Nima, Craig and friends are - it became apparent pretty quickly - big on their parties. Following the ceremony, this main room along with a lovely old adjoining one become the focal point for drinks to be served, and as guests chatted and either caught up or started to make new friends, we took advantage of the wonderful steps which lead from the ceremony room towards the rose garden for some formal photographs. And then, as everyone else started to move back towards their cars and on to the next part of the day, Nima & Craig started their couples shots using some of the features around the Castle - not least the absolutely enormous door on the north side which looks like it was rejected from Game of Thrones for being too over the top! The first few drops of rain chose this moment to make their appearance, but no matter - we were covered, quite literally, and then had a reception venue with a stack of beautiful indoor corners to make use of coming up next; lovely Sopley Mill.

Bride and groom on steps outside ceremony room and in front of formal gardensHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyNew Forest wedding venue exterior Exterior photographs of Highcliffe Castle eddingHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyNew Forest wedding venue Drinks are served to guests in the reception room after the marriageHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyWedding guests after ceremony Family and friends congratulate the bride on her marriageHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBride with family Wedding guests assembled on steps outside ceremony room at Highcliffe Castle in New ForestHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyGroup photograph The groom poses with his best man and ushersHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyGroom with ushers Formal photograph of bride, bridesmaids, groom, best man and ushersHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBridal party Black and white posed image of bride showing back of the wedding dressHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBridal portrait The bride and groom stand in front of the grand entrance to the New Forest wedding venueHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyThe doors to the castle The couple kiss in front of the grand entrance to the CastleHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyBride and groom kiss Couple posed at wedding venueHighcliffe Castle wedding photographyCouple photograph on wedding day And now the party could really start. Food, drink, speeches, more photographs, and then music, music, music.

The wedding venue in early SpringSopley Mill wedding photographySopley Mill in early spring The couple poser in indoor locations at the Christchurch wedding venueSopley Mill wedding photographyBride and groom together The couple pose as they look out of the ground floor window by the mill's machinerySopley Mill wedding photographyBride and groom looking out of window Bride and groom by the water meadows close to the wedding venueSopley Mill wedding photographyCouple outdoors Image of bridesmaids' lilliesSopley Mill wedding photographyFloral detail Detail image of bride's wedding flowersSopley Mill wedding photographyBridal bouquet The reception room laid out ready for the wedding breakfastSopley Mill wedding photographyWedding reception layout The bride and groom walk into the reception roomSopley Mill wedding photographyBride and groom arrive Guests at the start of the wedding breakfastSopley Mill wedding photographyWedding guests Caribbean food served for the wedding breakfastSopley Mill wedding photographyWedding food Relaxed images of guests during wedding receptionSopley Mill wedding photographyGuests during reception The mother of the bride gives the opening speech after the wedding mealSopley Mill wedding photographySpeeches Sopley Mill wedding photographyGuests during speeches Guests look on as the speeches take placeSopley Mill wedding photographyWedding speeches Wedding guests raise a glass to the bride and groomSopley Mill wedding photographyCheers The bride laughs during the speechesSopley Mill wedding photographyLaughter at wedding Glasses are raised as the speeches continueSopley Mill wedding photographyA toast to the couple The groom stands to make his wedding speechSopley Mill wedding photographyGroom's speech Bride and groom cut the wedding cakeSopley Mill wedding photographyCutting the cake Just in case the point needs making, music and partying are a big deal for Nima & Craig, and I can't imagine that Sopley sees too many parties like this one. The DJs' decks took up the entire far end of the party room, and the dance floor was heaving from the start. Just as the set was getting into full swing it kicked into another gear, with a special surprise appearance arranged by the bride and groom of singer Kele Le Roc, who had travelled all the way down from London to give them a party to remember. And that's some voice she brought down with her..!

The newly married couple take to the dancefloor for the first danceSopley Mill wedding photography partyFirst dance Bride and groom dancingSopley Mill wedding photography partyWedding couple dancing Wedding guests join bride and groom dancingSopley Mill wedding photography partyGuests on dancefloor Guests enjoying themselves at wedding receptionSopley Mill wedding photography partyParty time Dancing guests pose for the cameraSopley Mill wedding photography partyThrowing shapes Singing at wedding reception by Kele Le RocSopley Mill wedding photography partyMusic DJs provide party music at Sopley Mill Christchurch wedding receptionSopley Mill wedding photography partyDJs in action The bride watches the live singingSopley Mill wedding photography partyBride watching performance Bride and groom dance together at evening receptionSopley Mill wedding photography partyBride and groom dancing I'd had so much fun with Nima & Craig at their pre-wedding shoot - they really are a fantastic couple - and had long been looking forward to this wedding. And it totally exceeded expectations; an absolutely unforgettable day, and a bride and groom who so obviously have a wealth of happiness ahead of them. And they absolutely deserve it. Massive congratulations, Mr & Mrs Hackshaw!

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The photos above are just a small selection from the day; friends and family can view the full set, plus edited highlights slideshow, in Nima & Craig's online gallery... but you'll need to ask them for the password first.

If you are planning your wedding at Highcliffe Castle or Sopley Mill 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. I'm only too happy to help however I can.

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Hope you enjoyed looking through the photos from this absolutely magnificent wedding, and thanks - as ever - for reading.



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Wow! Your wedding photos are amazing. You are a very beautiful bride! I wish you Godspeed and farewell. I wish you good luck in your whole married life)
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Thanks a lot!
Nadine Chan(non-registered)
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I just love the images here and these are really stunning as well. I’m sure various people are able to contact to the expert photography. I admire your tremendous sharing that is really valuable.
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