Venues I LOVE – Allerton Castle, Knaresborough
If you are looking for a “royal wedding venue”, a venue with opulence and style then Allerton Castle is certainly worth considering.
I was blessed to be part of Alex and Don’s wedding at Allerton Castle in August 2019.
Set in private land near Knaresborough, Allerton Castle has acres of space and has an interior to die for. This fantastic castle is also a Grade 1 listed building: if Historic England think it is worth saving, then it must be great!
The current castle dates from 1843 when the previous property on the site was rebuilt into its current Tudor Gothic style. It is currently owned as a charitable foundation by the Rolph family and is used not only for weddings and events, but as an educational space as well.
The whole ethos of the foundation is to ensure that both the current and future generations get to experience the castle for themselves, and this is why they’ve taken the care they have over it’s preservation.
Allerton Castle – The Venue
We will start with bridal and Groom preparation time: there is a large bedroom space on the first floor. This space is more than sufficient for your entire bridal party, and given it is bathed in beautiful window light your hair and makeup artists will be in heaven. As a photographer, I was too!!! Also, from this vantage point you can clearly see your guests gathering beneath you as they wait for that moment that you descend the principle staircase to say your “I Do’s”.
The staircase itself is a wonderful way to enter your wedding ceremony. The staircase is approximately 3 flights high in total, with a mid-landing halfway facing out towards the great hall. Therefore, this gives plenty of time for your guests assembled to take in the view of your dress and/or suits as you slowly descend. Alex and Don used this staircase fabulously, having their bridal party descend first, before they met their respective mothers to walk them down the aisle.
The ceremony itself takes place in the galleried great hall. This has one of the highest vaulted ceilings I have ever seen, and as a photographer I was blown away by the views and options this gave me.
In particular, I loved the way I could sneak upstairs and get alternative views of the ceremony with my couple at the front saying their “I do’s”. This whole space is clad in the most wonderful carved oak panels, and there are several large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling to add to the opulence you feel within Allerton Castle.
After the ceremony itself, the drawing room is located off to the left hand side and is a great location for your family group photographs. As you might expect, there are period pieces of furniture and pictures on the wall, all of which add nicely to the ambience contained within this special place.
As you’ll also see, we had a LOT of fun given that Alex and Don’s theme included some swords that they and their family were able to use to make some very interesting and different photos. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to this again!
For the larger group photographs, such as confetti shots, the rear patio area is truly fantastic. This set of stairs leads down to the rear lawn and given the stepped nature allows guests to see the events and be seen by the camera at the same time!
As you can see, the background and the ambience it gives is truly perfect, and really adds to the feel of a wedding day at Allerton Castle.
Slightly further down to the right is the reflecting pool area which is surrounded by the botanical and memorial garden. This area Don and Alex used for both photographs but also an area for their guests to relax in during the day. Also in this area there are a number of abutments to the main building: these are also period features and again can be used for some interesting photographs.
The ballroom, to the west of the building, is used for wedding breakfast. This room, clad in blue, is suitably contrasting to the rest of Allerton Castle and therefore adds both variety and an opulent setting for speeches. Wedding breakfast at Allerton Castle is provided by Bradshaws of York who work in very close partnership with the Allerton staff. I can certainly testify the food is truly amazing!
In case you want to see more about the Bradshaws of York offering, you’ll find links below to their current wedding menus and website.
Bradshaws of York – Website
Bradshaws of York – Wedding Menu 2020
For couples photos the options are almost endless! As you will see from the below, Don and Alex chose to wander with me down the main driveway. This gives a truly lovely view of Allerton Castle in the background as the two of you can be yourselves and have a relaxed and reflective time together.
We were very lucky in that the rain stayed away just long enough and that the sun poked it’s head through the clouds to give a lovely golden light to these photos!
It’s right now I really will encourage you back to the stairs and really use them for something a little different. In this case, I was totally blessed as even Don and Alex’s attire fitted perfectly, and really let us play around to get something special for them!
For first dance and the evening entertainment, the Great Hall area is transformed into a wonderful entertaining space. You will find a bar area just behind the main staircase which is in sufficiently close proximity that you and your guests couldn’t possibly go thirsty. The extra height of this space in the evening also means that your photographer will get to play with lighting patterns to bring something a little different to your images.
In particular, I had great fun running up and down the stairs, placing my strobe lights on the gallery shining down to illuminate Don and Alex. In particular, I do love the chandeliers and the light and creative potential that they bring. But I’ll let you be the judge of that!
Finally, to really top off the festivities of the day, Don and Alex had arranged for fireworks outside the venue. As you can see below, this was a moment I truly revelled in, and took great pleasure in framing up photographs to show both Allerton Castle at its finest, and also Don and Alex in their element. This also led perfectly onto sparklers on the front lawn which was a truly amazing way to finish this magical royal wedding day.
Allerton Castle – See it in 3d!
Hopefully based on the photos above you love Allerton Castle and can see how amazing it is.
You can also see Allerton Castle in 3d – the weddings team have gone to the effort to get the whole castle scanned so you can see it for yourself without having to leave your home! In these times of social distancing I think it’s a rather fabulous idea!
You’ll find a link below, and I’ve put a few pictures so you can see how it works!
Allerton Castle – The Venue Team
The venue team at Allerton Castle is headed up by the wonderful Libby. In the run-up to Donovan and Alex’s big day I spent many minutes on the phone with Libby going through ideas that I had, and things that Donovan and Alex wished me to clarify for them. Libby was always incredibly helpful, supportive, and had her own little ideas which made everything perfect.
On the day itself, Libby was yet again truly fantastic! Everything you could possibly ask of a wedding coordinator was executed with such passion and vigour, it is clear how much Libby loves her job and sharing in special wedding days. It almost became a game between us about who enjoyed what they did more!
Most of all though, Libby is an amazingly friendly and down to earth host. I know from experience than with some of the more opulent venues that this sometimes translates into a slightly more immodest style. Libby however was always encouraging, super friendly and willing to go the extra mile for Don, Alex and all the guests along with myself.
I know without any hesitation that Libby would do a wonderful job in supporting you, should you wish to look at Allerton Castle as your potential venue for your wedding. If you do speak with Libby, please give her my best regards! You’ll find links to Allerton Castle’s wedding site and Libby below.
Allerton Castle – Website
Allerton Castle – Phone
Allerton Castle – Email