Splashdown ..

So, the funny story ..

I was shooting a Christmas Wedding at Peckforton Castle, literally on this Monday a year ago. The weather was abysmal. It rained non-stop all day, and I didn’t get a single photograph of anybody outside .. much to my frustration. However, just before the Wedding Breakfast, the rain stopped and I practically pleaded with the Bride and Groom to come outside for a quick photograph. They reluctantly agreed, as long as the Bride could hold her dress up and away from the soaking paths, so it was lights, cameras and a hasty walk down to the gate-house at Peckforton to enable me to get the whole of the Castle in the shot. I parked the couple under the huge tree there, plonked down my tripod, set up my light and .. a Rook dropped a big blob of poo straight onto the Groom’s head! (It was easy to see .. the guy had no hair!) I automatically pressed the shutter, even though I hadn’t set the exposure or white balance, and was just about to shoot again when the Bride screamed in dismay and set off back to the Castle at 100mph. The big, black splish had bounced straight off the Groom’s head.. and all over her dress! The shoot was over!

No shots of the couple outside the castle.

So close!!..

Next there were tears, and then I got a ticking off from the Bride’s dad, but I was more concerned that I hadn’t got a shot of the couple with their venue in the picture! Still, everything calmed down and, by the time the pair came to Manchester Wedding Photography to pick up their Wedding album some months later it was all a great, big, funny part of the day. It goes to show that these things are always worth shooting ‘cos, when it’s all done and dusted, a dress is for a day, but a memory is a memory for ever!..

“I’d love to Blog that one day..” I said to them. “You should..” they said.

I just have..

Happy Anniversary, guys!…

Castles in the air - in this case Peckforton Castle above the Cheshire plain

Castles in the air – in this case Peckforton Castle above the Cheshire plain

Castles such as Peckforton in Cheshire make a wonderful backdrop for a wedding, very atmospheric and will always create a very strong recollection of the day, if that were needed! The venue for a wedding is probably the greatest expense so choosing the right one  is very important. Castles and themed weddings can be great fun and adding that gothic touch to a special day.For a photographer the…

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Northern Wedding Venues: Peckforton Castle, Cheshire

Over the next few weeks I am going to start reviewing wedding venues, and to start off my series at looking for the finest wedding venues the north has to offer, I start off in Cheshire in the North West.  Peckforton Castle is a truly stunning wedding venue, and any bride would be lucky to be married there.  I spoke to the wedding team who provided me some details on the venue and what to expect when holding your wedding with them….

Describe the location and setting of the castle.

As you turn off the lane and pass through the magnificent gate house your journey is almost complete but the amazing experience continues. The meandering driveway takes you through the forest which in itself is of special scientific interest and then suddenly through the trees appears a large but beautiful fairytale castle. Originally the home of Lord Tollemache and built in the early 19th Century the Hotel is the only intact medieval style Castle in the country. Over the years the Castle has been the location for numerous movies including Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Dr Who and more recently Coronation Street. The stunning exterior has now been complimented by a lovingly refurbished interior which houses 48 bedrooms and truly magnificent entertaining rooms.

An enchanting castle, captivating architecture, steeped in history will truly delight you and your guests. A magical backdrop for amazing pictures and videos, all combined with delicious award winning food and drink, and impeccable and considered service. You will be the only wedding at the Castle making your day a true fairytale. Be it a civil wedding or civil partnership (both of which we are licensed for), traditional church ceremony, or planning just a small intimate day, Peckforton Castle truly is a fairytale setting for a memorable wedding.  Peckforton Castle can make the most important day of your life even more special. Hold your wedding and wedding breakfast in this most breathtaking of venues; revel in the idyllic views of Cheshire.  You can even take over the Castle exclusively for the day. The Castle grounds, the red sandstone walls, the mosaic floors, the vaulted dining rooms and the log burning stoves all make for vibrant photo opportunities whatever the weather. We host civil ceremonies, and our four licensed rooms can cater for any number of guests from 10 to 165 (Any day of the week).

Imagine saying your marriage vows with the sun streaming through the stained glass windows, a string quartet on the Minstrel’s Gallery playing soft and beautiful music, the fire glowing in the background and the candlelight reflecting off the original Minton Hollins tiled floor. This magnificent room is the perfect setting for a wedding; it also allows you to make a spectacular entrance since you can come in through the original main entrance to the Castle.  The largest of all our function rooms, the Drawing Room is set off the long gallery: as you enter, your eye is caught by the three imposing windows draped with luxurious red velvet curtains, the chandeliers and the tapestries hanging on the wall.  With book cases available for candles around, the Drawing Room breathes warmth and happiness.

Built in 1848 and set inside the fortified walls of the Castle, the Chapel is the perfect place for your religious blessing or renewal of vows and our local minister will be happy to officiate. Walk up the aisle to the sound of the harp, surrounded by flowers and candles, experience the hymns of your choice.  Walk along the red carpet, up the stone staircase and enter this special room. It has two working fireplaces and a vaulted stone ceiling. At the apex of the ceiling you will see a carved stone with the Tollemache family grace.  By tall, imposing windows. The addition of flowers and candles on the bookcases turns this room into the most magnificent setting.

What can gest expect from accommodation and facilities?

You can mingle with your guests on the manicured lawn in front of the Castle using the Coach House as a perfect setting for reception drinks and photographs. If the weather is predictably ‘British’ then enjoy your canapés and drinks in the comfort of our Long Gallery. Peckforton Castle can offer a choice of four private rooms to host your wedding breakfast. All rooms are versatile with various seating options to cater for small or large parties.

One of the most popular rooms with brides and grooms, ideal for medium to large parties. The Drawing Room is steeped in history with original curtain fabric, book shelves and large feature fireplace. A truly delightful room.  Enter the Baronial Hall to the applause of your guests, and then seat yourself at the top table to await the delights of your wedding feast. The Great Hall is a unique setting to share with your guests.  Among its many striking features, this room boasts the Tollemache family grace, engraved into the vaulted stone ceiling: “At dinner and supper, morning and night, give thanks unto God for his gifts.”This room has a unique intimate atmosphere of its own.

If you prefer a more intimate gathering for your reception, the Library could be the perfect choice. The Book lined walls are a key feature of the room, adding to the authenticity and ambiance of this special room.  We have a choice of rooms for your evening reception and can cater for as many as 275 guests. Our wedding team is happy to discuss your individual needs and requirements and tailor the event to you. This is all part of our personalized service. The Long gallery with its bar gives a comfortable but quieter location for those guests who want a change from the music (If using the Drawing room or Great Hall).

For a truly extra special day we can offer the hire of the castle on an ‘Exclusively Yours’ option. You and your guests can enjoy the luxury of relaxing in a beautiful Castle from day to evening. Our exclusively yours package will guarantee use of all entertaining rooms and perfect photo opportunities both internally and externally, no other event will take place on your chosen day giving you privacy and intimacy.  This is our best kept secret! A stunning unique circular bar built into the crypt of the Castle and lit only by candles. The Wine Cellar can be hired until the early hours where you and your guests can enjoy sipping champagne by candle light or a nightcap in the company of friends and family. A perfect place to end a perfect day.  From the ground floor to the top of the turret, the castle has 48 luxury en-suite bedrooms. Including Four Poster, executive and of course the bridal Suite. Each room is individually designed and decorated, no two are alike but all share the same luxurious feel such as monogrammed Egyptian cotton sheets and towels, original stone surrounds to windows and individual character features.

We pride ourselves on the quality and style of cuisine in our signature 1851 restaurant.  Our Chefs have earned an excellent reputation for their food and continue to produce menu’s of a consistently high standard. Whether you are enjoying a pre wedding dinner the night prior or a post wedding full breakfast you will not be disappointed with the stylish elegant 1851 Restaurant (3 AA rosette Restaurant).

Newly opened in July 2010, the 2010 Brasserie offers modern cosmopolitan dining in very informal relaxed surroundings. Located in the former scullery of the Castle, this lovingly restored section of the Grade I listed building retains many of its original features including original windows and two cast iron cooking ranges, which date back to the 1840s. These are combined with the modern day comforts of luxury furnishings, free Wi-Fi and a flat screen television, striking a perfect balance between the old and new.  The inner courtyard adjoining the Brasserie really compliments with additional space and offers a modern al fresco dining experience.

We have a dedicated team here at Peckforton Castle to guide you through all aspects of your special day. With many years of experience, they will listen, advise and record all your requirements and work with you to create your perfect day, and take the strain off your shoulders. Feel free to meet up whenever fresh or different thoughts come into your mind and build that picture of the day together.  Your wedding day is one of the biggest days you’ll experience. It’s also one of the most stressful. Why not take the pressure off and treat yourself to one of our bridal beauty packages.  We offer several packages, from make up for you and your bridal party, to facials and relaxation massages. You can even get your Bridal hair and makeup done ready for the big day.

What do you offer that a bit different from others?

Every Wedding is different and every couple wants a unique element that  will make their day just that extra bit special. Here at Peckforton, we already offer one of the most unique wedding settings, so why not take a look at some of the extras that can really put the finishing touch to your day.Have one of our owls fly down the aisle to the best man when the delivery of the rings comes round in the ceremony. Wow your guests as suddenly the best man raises his arm to an owl gliding gracefully down the centre of the guests. Watch their faces as the ring bag is unclipped from the owl’s leg as it returns back to its handler and then disappears out of sight!

Have our magnificent Golden Eagle meet your wedding guests as they arrive at the venue. Once the ceremony has finished, why not entertain your wedding party with a fantastic bird of prey flying display. In that awkward time to fill in between drinks and the wedding breakfast our falconers can amuse your guests with an informative yet entertaining demonstration of our flying team. We can also provide a chance for the Bride and Groom to have their photograph taken with some of our birds!  We pride ourselves on our reputation for welcoming families.  For your wedding day we are happy to convert the library into a crèche for younger guests.

Concentrate! ..

Moving house! I can’t see it ever happening for me! It would take so long for me to go through all my ‘stuff’ that I’d forget why I was trying to clear it all out in the first place! Take this morning, for instance. All I needed to do was find one old Wedding photograph to add to my new revamped website. A ten minute job! Ha! I have been so side-tracked! I’ve looked through 1970s diaries, old programmes and exhibition flyers, stored negatives, autograph books, boxes of god-knows-what .. my old cub-scout necker, anyone? - and a heap of archive CDs. You’ll be pleased to know I did actually find what I was looking for - and I’ve already added it to the new website of Manchester Wedding Photography - but I also dug out some really cool 'old’ shots of yours truly at work! I say 'old’ .. the CD I pulled this off was dated 2004 .. yet look at it! Here I am at Peckforton Castle, still using my lovely Mamiya RZ67 camera to shoot this Wedding scene and yes, I did used to hike it up a ladder and tie it to the top rung to keep it steady!..

I actually met a 'photographer’ on a job last week who’d never heard of an RZ! Imagine not knowing of such a wonderful machine! Imagine never having used film! And yet this guy gives 'lessons’! (I looked him up on his website!)  How can a guy who’s only been a photographer for two years give lessons? What experience could he impart to an eager young snapper?  How can …  Oh, I’m getting side-tracked again ..