The Botanic Gardens in Cambridge offer the perfect “get away” spot to have your wedding photographs taken and I have been lucky enough to photograph couples on their wedding day there on a couple of occasions now. Geographically, the Botanical Gardens are situated on the way out from Cambridge city centre and can be a good stopping off point between a city centre ceremony and an out of town reception.
Obviously the gardens are completely stunning at any time of year but it can also be really nice just to have a few minutes of time out from the business of the wedding day. It’s surprising how little real time couples actually get together on their wedding day and a post ceremony wander together in a separate location makes perfect sense and gives you that first opportunity to say “hello” properly and catch up on the events of the day so far!
This “walking and talking” approach also fits in really nicely with my approach to couple’s photography in that I would far rather photograph you chatting naturally and interacting than have you standing and smiling for the camera on demand. Often it’s a case of finding some nice light and a good background and just asking you to chat and “be yourselves” (not sure it’s possible to be yourself on demand either!) and photographing what naturally develops!
In terms of practicalities you do need a special permit to photograph in the Botanic Gardens. I don’t think it’s problematic to obtain but you do need to organise it in advance. There is also a fee to pay for commercial photography which I believe at the time of writing is £40. You can find the information you need directly on the Cambridge Botanic Gardens page here. I seem to remember on previous occasions the fee being paid on entry and the permit having to be obtained previously. Bear in mind that you will need to bring means of payment with you to the wedding on the day – very easily forgotten! However, I do keep an emergency stash of cash with me on wedding days and I have in the past bought emergency taxis, pain killers and even “emergency” drinks at the bar for people in dire need!
The other thing to consider is transport as parking in the area is difficult. Previously I have actually travelled with the bride and groom in the front of the wedding car and the chauffeur has dropped us off and collected us again. It is of course possible for me to drive there myself but there will be the added complication of me having to find parking and then to most probably walk which will inevitably take time. The other option is for me to use a taxi. These are just things to consider logistically!
Similarly, you do need to think carefully about timings. How will your visit to the Botanical gardens fit in with the rest of the day? Most probably you will have the photographs in the garden whilst your guests are travelling to the reception venue. This works very well as the chances are that you will leave the ceremony venue first and it actually takes a large group of people a considerable amount of time to transport themselves somewhere else! You do need to make sure that there are refreshments waiting at the reception and then your guests can be happily fed and watered whilst they wait for your arrival!
Whilst thinking about timings there is also the risk that it could take much longer to do the photography in the Botanic Gardens than anticipated and for things to start running late. The key here is to have a bit of a plan, or at least for the photographer to have an idea of the route and locations to be used at the Botanic Gardens to minimise time wasted walking and to maximise the photographic potential. A planning discussion beforehand will help with this and it’s also possible to see on the Botanical Gardens website what plants are in bloom and featuring on a week by week basis so it should be possible to plan an effective route using this information as well.
The images in this post are from Kat and Jimbob’s wedding last year where we popped into the Botancal gardens for about 20 mins to take some photographs between the ceremony in the city centre and the reception in Harston. I hope you enjoy them and that, if you are considering having your wedding photographs taken in the Botanical Gardens this post has offered some help and inspiration!
I love photographing weddings in all sorts of locations with all sorts of different couples so if you are planning a wedding and looking for a photographer with a natural style who carries emergency cash with him to weddings (along with an emergency sewing kit, emergency medicals, emergency sat nav, emergency batteries, etc etc etc etc…) then GET IN TOUCH – I would love to hear from you.