Venues I LOVE – Stanwick Hotel
Stanwick Hotel will always have a special place in my heart: it was here I shot my second ever wedding, and somewhere I’ve been blessed to come back numerous times.
It’s also right on my doorstep, I can get here in five minutes tops which is always a little bonus at the end of a 14 hour wedding day!
Stanwick Hotel – the Venue
So, let’s look at the venue itself. Firstly the reception rooms for getting ready the morning of your wedding. The oldest and qaintist part of the hotel is set in the cottage: the hotel rooms on this section open around a lovely lounge area which adjoins the courtyard from where the hotel originally got its name.
This little area has plenty of natural light for your hair and makeup, and also has a dining area for you to have breakfast without having to go over to the main building. Also, there is a fabulous spiral staircase which I love for hanging wedding dresses on and using the detail shots. There is always a lovely symmetry between you having your makeup done in the foreground, with your dress hanging in the background.
When you’re almost ready to head to your wedding ceremony and say the magic “I do”, the courtyard comes in super handy. It’s on the way to whichever of the wedding suites you are using, and gives a fantastic opportunity for pictures with your bridesmaids, parents and your children if you have them. I also like using this space in the morning as hair and makeup are going on indoors for a little bit of fun times and a few funny moments.
When it comes to the wedding suites, you’re spoilt for choice. You have the conservatory which can be laid out two ways, the “Reflections” suite which has three possible layouts, and my favourite the outdoor pagoda. Now obviously, the choice of which is going to be heavily influenced by the size of your wedding, and also the season you’re getting married in. I’m not going to suggest the pagoda for winter or autumn weddings, but if you ask Hayley nicely I’m fairly sure she’ll let you know if setting it up for that option could be achieved if the forecast is appropriate.
If we are using the pagoda for your wedding day, then I always empty my car boot of my umbrellas and place them on the seating: Hayley does the same. That way, in any event, even if it’s just a little drizzle no-one will get wet. And actually, I do kinda like the umbrellas up photo as it adds colour and a bit of panache.
For group photos, should you want them, the lawn at the front of the venue is perfect, as is the walled garden leading to the pagoda. In the event of British weather, Hayley’s team will help clear either the conservatory or “Reflections” depending on which is most appropriate so we can still have fun photos.
The “Reflections” suite is the area used for 95% of reception events held at Stanwick – simply it’s the largest space, the one that lends itself best for the evening entertainment and also the one that is most accessible for all your guests. There is also an adjoining bar – always useful!
Moving on to the grounds of the venue, there is just so much to love. The front of the cottages, the wooden gates to the garden areas, the archways between the different lawns and even the stairways all give something to a photograph. You’ve also got the cottage available: I find it’s a lovely place to escape to for ten minutes just for a little bit of “you” time. Speaking of which, read this article about how I want to help you get quality time with your best friend and spouse.
For the evening reception, again Stanwick Hotel has plenty to offer. The venue itself has mood lighting so that you can get the room just as you want it, and I love putting some of my lights up too with coloured gels to add that something else. If you want to play with sparklers then the lawn and patio areas both lend themselves perfectly, and the pagoda is also amazing for night shots. I can light up the pagoda to give a really fitting final flourish to your wedding day.
Finally, and possibly the best kept secret, is literally just over the road: Stanwick Lakes! I’m really lucky in that I work with both the Stanwick’s and therefore I have all the permissions, releases and passes to allow me to pop over with my couples on their wedding day for some gorgeous sunset photos. It’s a really special time of the day to be “unashamedly you” with your other half, and to have time to reflect on such an amazing celebration of your love. Use the link below to head to my page on Stanwick Lakes!
Stanwick Hotel – Overall Feelings
So is Stanwick Hotel PERFECT? Well it’s as close as you could come in my opinion.
Is there anything I would change? Only one thing. I would massively love it if the team would let the hedges between the car park and the lawn grow up in height. That way, you wouldn’t be able to see the cars in the group shots on the lawn.
So if it’s only one thing to change, I think you can see you couldn’t go wrong here!
Stanwick Hotel – the Staff
The venue team are frankly exceptional: you couldn’t possibly ask for more. They’re led by the very lovely Hayley Orson who I’m really glad to say has the same “do anything, always” attitude as I do. It’s always a pleasure to turn up at the Stanwick Hotel whether it is for a venue visit, a planning meeting or for the big day itself. As soon as Hayley sees me, she’s straight over, making sure I’ve got everything I need and asking if there is anything she can do to help.
Hayley ALWAYS makes sure the couple and their close family have umbrellas just in case: although I’m not sure she likes me having more in my boot than she does! She’s also always kind enough to make sure her team find me a stepladder so I can do group shots with a little bit more flair and fun.
What I love most is that it works both ways: the team at Stanwick will always look after you and your photographer, but they also let me get deeply involved and helping them if it’ll make your day that little bit more amazing. No, I don’t have to shift chairs and flower pots – but if it means you get more quality time together then it’s totally worth it!
If you like what you’ve seen, and can envision your special day at Stanwick Hotel, then give Hayley and her team a shout and see what they can do for you! You’ll find that I’ve put buttons below for their website, their email and also their phone number. If you do speak with Hayley or their team, let them know I sent you 🙂
Stanwick Hotel – Website
Stanwick Hotel – Phone
Stanwick Hotel – Email