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    Here you will find wedding planning hints and tips, thoughts and ramblers by my good self as well as lots of inspirational weddings featuring my photography.

Category Archives: Venues

One of the nicest things about being a wedding photographer in Cambridge has got to be the opportunity to photograph in some of the most beautiful old buildings in the country. For me at least, this is slightly ironic because I think my main skill as a photographer lies in terms of photographing people and emotions and I don’t feel as though I have a natural flair for “landscape” photography. I don’t naturally take lots of photographs of architecture and locations at a wedding, I’m not really into the bride being a speck in the corner of a vast sweeping vista but am much more closely aligned with Robert Capa’s famous quote about “if the photograph isn’t good you’re not close enough”!

 Despite my musings above it’s very difficult not to be impressed by Downing College and the first thing you notice is that it is absolutely huge!! There is so much space, big imposing column clad buildings, vast lawns and long tree lined avenues. I love the almost artificial grandeur of it and the outrageously audacious spacing out of the buildings.

 As a wedding venue it has a huge number of possibilities. There are smaller drawing room – like rooms, a separate building with its own private gardens, the huge main hall with outrageous chandaliers and marble columns, a more modern annex perfect for serving your drinks reception, terraces for sitting on, sweeping lawns and gardens surrounded by mature trees, smaller intimate corners and gardens as well as the imposing exteriors of the main buildings. These are fantastic for taking photographs on; columns are great for leaning on, the light is nicely directional and there are large steps big enough for photographing large groups on as well.

 The other rather helpful thing about Downing is that there is ample parking on site – there seems to be no need to book a parking space two weeks before the wedding as at the smaller colleges, it is also very easily accessable for your guests being just slightly out of the city centre.

 One of my nicest memories of photographing at Downing College was at the end of an afternoon at a wedding on a beautiful balmy summer evening last year. The guests were eating the wedding breakfast and I sat in the warmth and slightly fading light on the grass under the trees safely backing up and editing some of the images from the day onto my laptop. This is always a great time at a wedding; feeling like I had almost completed a job well done, looking at the images from the day for the first time. The sun was going down behind the buildings and the light was golden and beautiful and in the distance I could here music from a festival playing on Parkers Piece. Best of all I had a sandwich in my hand and a self congratulatory Snickers Bar to look forward to! Happy days!

You can visit the Downing College website here

 

 

The Old Bridge Hotel has an extremely steep car park! I say this because, as a starting point for this post I was thinking about what characterised the Old Bridge in my mind and the car park was the first thing that came to me! I first visited the hotel about, well it must be nearly twenty years ago (yikes!!), in one of my first cars which was an old school black mini (very funny if you have met me as I`m 6′ 5″ tall!) which had seen better days and the handbrake kept slipping! You can guess the rest!

It also has a huge number (considering it`s relatively “bijou” size – love that word!) of different little areas to photograph in ranging from ivy clad corners, a walled garden, a riverside wooded area and overhanging trees outside to stylish big bathrooms, a rather cool contemporary bar area, traditional leather clad sofa sitting rooms and dining room, a bright almost conservatory style restaurant inside to mention but a few!

I have photographed a lot of weddings at the Old Bridge and have always thought of it as being a rather cosy and intimate venue. The staff are very attentive and organised and I have heard several recommendations for the food. In fact one couple I photographed there went there for a meal after they got engaged and booked the hotel for their wedding venue on the strength of the quality of food and service they received that evening! It`s riverside location is fantastic and lightwise, as the wedding celebrations draw into the evening, it is great as the sun warms the gorgeous walled garden during the afternoon and then sets over the river in the evening.

If you are planning a slightly more intimate wedding and are looking for a venue with masses of experience and also a touch of class then I would highly recommend the Old Bridge. You can visit the website here and see some more of my wedding pictures on their website here.

As I visualise the Jockey Club Rooms in my mind I get a sense of wonderful light, rich decor and a sense of classic opulence. (Wow, that was a bit of a wordy opening sentence!) It`s the quality of  light though that stands out in my mind and I know, that as a photographer, I do often judge venues by the quality of light available. The light in the JCR is wonderfully varied but there are several beautiful spots where it gently falls off through huge picture windows to provide a fantastic warmth and softness perfect for taking portraits. Almost everywhere, in most of the rooms, there is beautiful, soft directional lighting!

Enough of my light geeking!

The JCR are set off Newmarket High Street and are pretty much unique in that the place has a kind of gentleman`s club (but in a good way!) feel to it, combined with a classic English elegance combined with a funny sort of Billy Bunter humour! The gentleman`s toilets are to be seen to be believed and it is set in a glorious walled garden with a terrace, manicured lawns and gravelled walkways.

Inside the rooms are opulent (I love that word!) to say the least with chandaliers, open fireplaces, huge comfy leather sofas and chairs, thick carpeting, wallpaper and, of course, an ongoing racing theme in the huge number works of art on show.

Wedding wise the JCR is a fantastic venue. There is a beautiful lounge (with great light!) leading onto a large outdoor terrace with views over the lawns and gardens which are perfect for group shots whilst guests sip champagne and relax. There is also a large, separate dining room and another adjacent room which can be set up for the evening entertainment so that there is no waiting around for room changes etc. Everything feels very private and personal as the rooms are available exclusively for weddings and the staff show a real attention to detail that isn’t always apparent at other venues in my experience. The JCR have a specialist wedding planner, Victoria Mills, who is extremely experienced and helpful and I know that the couples whose weddings I have photographed at the JCR have found her help and support invaluable.

You can contact The Jockey Club Rooms via there website here.

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