As we approach wedding season, and our bookings start to ramp up, Laura and I have been talking about our favourite Yorkshire wedding venues to film at.
Well, I say Yorkshire wedding venues - we've actually captured a number of weddings outside of Yorkshire recently, and we have a few more non-Yorkshire bookings to come later this year.
Our favourites aren't just the ones that become a stunning backdrop to an amazing day. There's other stuff - geeky, wedding videographer stuff - that influences the ones we enjoy the most, too. For example, great lighting, rolling scenery and plenty of hustle and bustle can all contribute to great wedding videos too.
Although we actually can't say we've filmed at a venue we didn't like, the five locations below are definitely our favourite. If you're looking for a wedding venue - you should consider them!
1. Oakwood Hall Hotel
This Bingley, West Yorkshire venue took our breath away when we first visited it, to film Chris and Nat's wedding in August last year. It was the driveway up to the front of the venue that did it - it looked so good, and even better through the camera lens!
Oakwood Hall also had pretty, well-tended grounds that helped us create a bright and beautiful momento (if we do say so ourselves...) of Nat and Chris's day. Oh - and how could we forget that staircase, capturing Nat as she descended in her wedding dress towards the ceremony room!
2. Waterton Park Hotel
What makes Waterton Park Hotel - and Walton Hall - so special? That moat. There are few wedding venues that have such a stunning centre-piece, and at April and Brad's wedding last month we spent a good amount of time capturing the ducks, fishermen and golfers before the big day started (we videographers like this kind of stuff - adds a bit of colour to the wedding video!).
Then, when Brad rolled down the driveway to the venue in a prestine, bright-white Triumph Stag (see pic above), our mind was made up - this was one of the best venues we'd filmed at!
3. Thoresby Courtyard
Not actually in Yorkshire - Thoresby Courtyard (above) was the Nottinghamshire venue of Carl and Lynsey's wedding last September - but few beat it for presence, its picturesque buildings and plenty of space for capturing the highlights of the day.
The key to Thoresby Courtyard being such a great venue to shoot a wedding video was the courtyard itself. It combined two things: plenty of space for the guests to spread out before and after the ceremony (no corners for us to have to squeeze in to try and capture everything!) and plenty of interesting features, like hanging flowers, little shops and passing hikers
4. Bretton Sculpture Park
Out on the boarder between South and West Yorkshire, Bretton is a stunning village of stone-built houses, well-kept greens and rolling countryside. It's also the location of Bretton Sculpture Park, just a few minutes off the M1 and boasting some of the best wedding photography/videography props: those sculpture of course!
Whilst you do need permission to photograph of capture the sculptures on video, there's no denying this is a special venue. Laura and I shared duties capturing the wedding of Pete and Sammy in March this year at Bretton Sculpture Park - and it's one of our favourites.
The guests walk up a long patterned stone path into a fantastic glass-dominated building, with sheep, sculptures and rolling West Yorkshire hills behind them. The ceremony venue is beautifully lit - small yet just the right size to capture it effectively on camera. Then, the main event room had - in Pete and Sammy's case - plenty of space for the rest of the day to be captured, with interesting artefacts adorning the walls.
5. Bagden Hall Hotel
The very first Smith&Hirst wedding video booking was at Bagden Hall, so it holds a special place in our hearts. For such an amazing venue, however, it's surprising that we haven't had more bookings there. We're booked in for Alice and Ashley's wedding in March 2017 at Bagden Hall - but that'll only be our second time there.
Bagden Hall is surrounding by acres of grounds, with ideal crannies and corners for bride-and-groom-only photographs, creative videography and the finest examples of Yorkshire architecture. Plus, the ceremony room is huge - perfect for getting the best position to capture one of the high-points of the day!
Strangely, despite the number of weddings we have captured, Smith&Hirst haven't yet captured the same venue twice! We can't wait to discover new venues at the weddings we have lined up this year - and beyond!