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Standlake Toddlers Group
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Wedding Venues I love!!
If you'd like to get to know some of the finest venues in The Cotswolds & Oxfordshire through the eyes of a photographer, read on...
Choosing the right wedding venue is the most time consuming part of your wedding planning and that’s only the beginning. Planning a wedding with all the beauty you’ve dreamt of can take years and eat up hours of your time. And with so many different elements to pull together it’s a full-on event, where do you start? I hope I can help...
I’m an Oxfordshire based wedding photographer and I’ve loved every wedding and every Bride & Groom I’ve had the pleasure to photograph
But here’s the thing, I’ve photographed weddings all over the UK from the incredibly stunning Lake District to fashionably striking London City centre (and many in between) so although every wedding is beautifully unique and it's been an honour to document them, the venues we have right here in Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds are simply magnificent! Why would I want to work anywhere else? Well, yes, okay so you might want to get married on a mountain top or have guaranteed blue skies with a destination beach wedding and that’s all down to choice - but for me, I’m focussing on improving my carbon footprint by reducing my road miles and staying as local as possible!
I’ve created this directory to showcase some real stunners that are right on my doorstep. Some I’ve worked at, some I’m booked to cover next year (super excited!!) and some I’m hoping to get booked for because they make my heart tingle when I see them.
An absolutely beautiful venue with an abundance of Cotswolds charm
As I strolled around some of the 300 acres of picturesque Cotswold countryside that make up the grounds of Caswell House, I was blown away by the amount of gorgeous photo opportunities around every corner. I’m quite glad I was discovering this beautiful place alone with my camera as every few steps I was quietly whispering ‘Wow! Wow! WOW!!!’. If you haven’t visited yet I highly recommend putting Caswell House on your short list for so many reasons. Oh did I mention there’s a moat?! How cool is that?!
As a wedding photographer I look at venues differently to a bride and groom. I’m sure you’re busy considering guest experience, eating, drinking and parting areas, accommodation and of course the feeling that it’s “the one.” As for me, I’m loving a venue that gives me light - when I say me, I obviously mean you, as I photograph the light that falls on you. And, I also fall in love with a venue with that all important backdrop, Caswell House has that covered in abundance. At every twist and turn is a glorious photo opportunity and as this venue is offered exclusively to you, I don’t need to be on the lookout for photobombers as strangers trek past your party. There is so much to love about this historic place, the outdoor spaces include a moat, elegant walled gardens (I love a walled garden, always have! Gives me such a cosy feeling). You have access to the landscaped courtyards for your drinks reception, and the pretty gardens, bridges, pond, woodland and open countryside allow endless opportunities for your wedding photos.
If you are opting for an indoor ceremony, the barns are utterly charming and are the perfect, romantic setting to take your vows. You have the luxury of three medieval barns for dining and dancing, with space for up to 200 evening guests. And you will enjoy a first-class dining experience from the boutique catering company Indulgence, who provide beautifully presented food from fresh local produce, with impeccable service. The accommodation for you and your guests is incredible! A real must see! – with a luxurious Honeymoon Suite awaiting the happy couple.
Living an eco conscious lifestyle and incorporating these values into my business is important to me. So after visiting this beautiful venue and realising we sing off the same song sheet I’m even more compelled to chorus their praises. With pure spring water from their own spring, underfloor heating from a wood pellet boiler, electricity from solar panels, and a reed bed filtration system, Caswell House are demonstrating an impressive commitment to lowering their carbon footprint. This beautiful, idylic venue is a pure delight and with endless picturesque settings it’s a photographers dream and that makes it very easy to recommend.
It was an absolute pleasure taking pictures at Caswell House to add to my list of favourite local venues, not just because it’s beautiful and idyllic but also because the staff were delightful. Welcoming and happy to show me around with a friendly smile. To find out more, contact the lovely Kirsten Jones on 01993 701064 or email and visit www.caswellhouse.co.uk
Relaxed and classy with a dash of cool!
When I arrived at The Tythe Barn, the word that popped into my mind was - nice! Not just nice but niiice! This place has an air of cool and after loving first impressions, I went on to love second, third, fourth and it just kept going... I was warmly welcomed by a very friendly member of staff and with the outdoor PA sound system playing soothing tunes I was instantly immersed into a relaxed vibe. The warmth of a traditional, historic setting sitting comfortably alongside state-of-the-art touches shows that Tythe Barn is a truely versatile venue - oh wait there’s more, if the ultimate grand entrance is your style... there’s even a helicopter landing site!
Your venue choice determines so much about how your day will look and feel and it’s undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as an engaged couple. With so many options from rustic barns, manor houses and festival tipis, there really is something for everyone, it’s just a matter of finding “the one.” You’ll know when it’s right, it will tick all the boxes and the style will match your theme. But that’s not all, there’s also ambience to consider. And this is what I really loved about the Tythe Barn, there’s an intangeable atmosphere which I can only put into words by saying I could have stayed there all day (and night - the Shepherds Hut is gorgeous!!)
Boasting two charming barns that are brimming full of character and oozing romance, The Tythe Barn is strikingly impressive even as a blank canvas. And if you choose an outdoor ceremony your aisle walk is beneath the pretty wisteria clad pergola. If you’ve opted for a church wedding, the beautiful 12th century St Mary’s church is accessed via a short stroll through The Tythe Barn gardens. So much versatility!! Your guest list for seated dining can top an impressive 165 with your evening reception capacity of 220, so with the relaxed nature of the Tythe Barn whether you’re planning a civilised affair or a rave, you have the choice. Presenting your dining experience is the exciting and aspirational caterers Absolute Taste, renowned for creating fabulous food with flair as well as great service. Top notch!
And then there’s The Nook... brides leave reviews like “The Nook is an absolute triumph” and “it’s such a delight” etc etc. So I thought I’d add my review from a photographers perspective... “I have photographed brides-to-be with their bridesmaids in many different environments getting ready for their big day and it’s a very exciting time. Not just a time to apply make-up, but precious moments before an incredible event that will be remembered forever. The Nook at Tythe Barn is not only comfortable, spacious and well equipped, it’s also an incredibly stylish and luxurious preparation area creating the kind of photographic backdrop you’d expect to see in a glossy magazine. A beautiful and memorable haven.”
(Vicky Lewis, Wedding Photographer - 2020)
I’m always delighted when I read that a venue is making every effort to reduce their carbon footprint. And Tythe Barn are certainly doing their share in a number of ways including reducing, reusing and recycling. I love it that the food is locally sourced, keeping down fuel costs as well as supporting local suppliers. Meat from the family farm is incorporated into the menus and mint for ‘Pimms’ is collected from their own herb garden. Along with other conscious decisions they are certainly taking a responsible approach to help save our environment. And all this is done whilst still maintaning all the cool and class that are at the core of this venue.
The Sweetest little find!... My eye is drawn down a path lined with birch trees to the cutest little love seat (#photoopportunity). And then I find The Hut, quietly and unasumingly tucked away and nestled into a secluded corner is the most adorable Shepherds Hut. I couldn’t wait to get inside and see how such modest accomodation could lend itself to a honeymoon suite and boy - was I pleasantly surprised. This isn’t just cute, cosy and comfortable, it’s also packed full of creature comforts, designed with careful consideration to satisfy the desires of modern living. A wood burning stove, under-floor heating, fitted kitchen, en-suite bathroom and a comfortable double bed. There’s quality touches everywhere, the bed linen, luxuriously soft towels and beautifully scented soaps and shampoos and cosy sheepskin rugs for underfoot, the list goes on. It’s very well thought through, there is a place for everything and everything has its place - there’s even a special place to put your wedding dress / groom's suit!
Tythe Barn made me feel extremely welcome and I’m super excited that I’ll be back there in 2021 to photograph lovely couples celebrating their dream wedding.
If you would like to visit a stylish venue that perfectly combines Vintage with Contemporary contact the lovely Marie Thompson on 01869 321442 or email and visit www.thetythebarn.co.uk
stratton court barn
Intimate and magical just like a fairy-tale
Driving through the main gates I immediately appreciate why Stratton Court Barn is such a popular wedding venue. The beautiful tree-lined drive, flanked on both sides by an expanse of open countryside is an impressive welcome. As the venue gradually reveals itself, first the delightful courtyard, enclosed and sheltered and then the barns with their huge glass double doors - I’m truly charmed. There’s an abundance of space and yet it feels warm and inviting. Effortlessly stunning and everything you would hope for from an idyllic venue in the North Oxfordshire countryside.
Looking for the perfect venue can become overwhelming, so I recommend doing your homework right from the start. A venue can WOW you on sight, giving you all the feels, but you should try to resist impulsive decisions and instead create a tick list of your requirements, read all the reviews and be prepared to revisit at different times, even the evening if you can. A good place to start is where you want to end up, that sounds a bit cookie right? Close your eyes and daydream. How does your perfect wedding day look? If you see a beach wedding, start there as your benchmark then visit some alternatives. This will either tell you that your sandy toes wedding is exactly what you want or you’ll realise that a cider and straw bales wedding is actually more you. Set within 50 acres of private land, Stratton Court Barn is surrounded by an incredible expanse of beautiful Oxfordshire countryside with straw bales and 5 star reviews aplenty. Let me show you more...
There’s a lot to be said for an abundance of ravingly good reviews from the couples who have previously chosen Stratton Court Barn for their day. And with so many, highly flattering, 5 stars it’s no wonder the team at Stratton Court don’t feel the need to shout their own praises. That’s not really their style anyway. Karin, the on-site Wedding Coordinator, is very cheerful, calm and friendly and with a totally ‘can do’ attitude that instantly puts you at ease. This is a family-run business, so they have a personal approach which is just so reassuring and the whole team work tirelessly to make your day as magical as you’ve dreamt it to be.
Whether you’ve chosen to take your vows in the light and airy barn which is licensed for 90 guests or the picturesque courtyard framed by the barn doors, your aisle walk will be equally beautiful. Stratton Court Barn work with a selection of approved caterers with a different style of food and price ranges to offer you ultimate flexibility when choosing the caterer for your event. A further barn and lounge area is available for your evening celebrations which can host up to 150 guests.
If you have done your homework and researched some of the many reasons you might come to choose Stratton Court Barn as your wedding venue, the pretty backdrops and dedicated, friendly wedding team should definitely get a big tick on your list. I have spent several days working here and it always seems to be hot and sunny with clear blue skies (I’m lucky like that!) and I can tell you with confidence that there’s an abundance of photo opportunities. You can wander along woodland paths bathed in dappled sunlight and relax in quaint flower gardens, there’s old stone buildings, wood fronted barns and the most gorgeous courtyard all surrounded by beautiful countryside. And if you’re lucky enough you might even get a picture perfect sunset over the fields.
With a very talented and dedicated in-house wedding coordinator your day is set to run as smooth as silk. For more info contact Karin on 01869 278899 or email and visit https://www.strattoncourtbarn.co.uk
cogges manor farm
Idyllic, unique and brimming with rustic charm!
cogges manor farm
If rural - yet practically town centre was one of your criteria then you have stumbled across a real gem at Cogges Manor Farm. Nestled in a beautiful patch of West Oxfordshire countryside you are literally only a few minutes walk from Witney’s Woolgate centre. And I love it for so many reasons. Cogges Manor Farm is a beautiful venue with the most relaxed and flexible options available to you. With everything from from stunning walled gardens, an orchard and even farm animals to incliude in your photos. This venue is totally unique and utterly charming! No wonder it was used as a filming location in the famous Downton Abbey.
Choosing the right venue is very personal to each couple so if you are looking for somewhere that is truely open to whatever your style is then you need to pay Cogges a visit. The decor is totally left to your imagination and pretty much anything is possible. You can DIY to your hearts content or bring in venue enhancing suppliers to zhoosh up and get the exact feel you’re dreaming of. You will cherish your wedding day memories every time you recall your bouquet, the speeches, your family and friends smiling as the confetti fills the air with colour around you. And this will be enhanced more so by a venue that fills you with joy. Cogges Manor Farm is a truely joyful barn venue which is so unique and idyllic that you and all who celebrate with you will remember your day for a very long time.
Cogges Manor Farm is a place I hold dear to my heart, not just because it’s a beautiful rustic wedding venue, but because my children spent many hours running around and enjoying the environment when they were little people with too much energy. Probably every local child for generations have played, learned and wallowed in the hours it’s open to the public as an animal farm and education centre. So, when you are here for your special day it is made even more wonderful by the fact you can stroke a goat and feed a pig. How lovely is it that you can share your day with all the people you love and when you walk down the aisle and your tunes are playing the chickens can strut their stuff too! And that’s just part of the magic that is Cogges.
With over 1000 years of history, Cogges retains it's 'other wordly' tranquil beauty and tells a fascinating story of the past. A mention in the Domesday Book of 1086 - Wadard, the first owner of Cogges appearing as a Norman knight riding a horse on the Bayeaux tapestry and to modern day where Cogges can boast a name-dropping filming career with Downton Abbey (Did I mention that already haha!) So, on your wedding day you will feel like you are stepping into history whilst you make wonderful memories of your own. On top of all its interesting history, Cogges also plays a wonderful integral part in the local area, this really is the sweetest place.
It’s wonderful to think that your Wedding would play a really important role towards the upkeep of this historic site with Cogges Heritage Trust being an independent charity that is entirely self-funding. And offering only a limited number of weddings each year, plus only one wedding per weekend means you have exclusive use of the barn/s (and the area around them) for 3 days giving you the chance to really enjoy your wedding day the way you want it. Cogges Manor Farm prides itself on offering a wonderfully relaxed and flexible service – allowing your wedding to be as individual as you are. You can rely on their experience for guidance or completely go your own way and use the suppliers of your choice to bring your dream barn wedding to life. There’s room for canapés on the lawn, a barbecue or hog roast, a fire pit, food vans, music and games, along with beautiful rural backdrops for photographs around the grounds. And after 5pm, as well as the barns, the rest of the site is exclusively yours to enjoy too. There’s plenty of accommodation nearby, just a 5 minute lovely walk across the river meadows from the centre of Witney.
You will thoroughly enjoy viewing this venue and might even pet a goat while you’re there. To book a viewing contact the lovely friendly team on:- 01993 772602 or email and visit www.cogges.org.uk
A contemporary vibe peppered with traditional features!
I do love a barn with a difference and Worton Hall can certainly offer that. With a wealth of history including an inclusion in the 1086 Domesday Book and interesting archealogical finds dating back to the Iron Age there’s a fabulous mix of medieval character alongside state-of-the-art modernity.
I’ve heard many brides say that they care about their guests experience as much as their own. It’s a lot about first impressions and of course this can have an enormous affect on your overall opinion. A venue that cares about how you feel as you arrive can give you confidence that they apply the same care and attention to other details of your day.
Personally I’m a real fan of a tree lined driveway. It sends out all the right messages and fills me with anticipation as to what will unfold before me. So my first impression of Worton Hall was definitely going in the right direction with the dappled sunlit driveway that opens up into a large courtyard and impressive sized barn complete with arrow-slit windows and double height barn doors. And there’s so much more, let me tell you...
On the edge of the Cotswolds and in easy reach of Oxford, Worton Hall sits within the historic hamlet of Worton. The old grain barn was completely rebuilt in 2014 to make the impressive yellow-stoned wedding reception hall which allows a flexible seated capacity from as little as 6o and up to an impressive 250. And wait for it... the evening reception capacity is 600! Now that’s a party!
Anyway, all this detail you can get off their website, I’m here to tell you about the feels and the feels are oh so lovely. Big sweeping lawns, fruit filled orchard, calming pretty lake, cute little bridge to an unexpected stunning lake landscape, tranquil poolside area, fig trees and weeping willows and I haven’t even started on the outdoor ceremony area. The beautiful Cotswold garden with views over the weeping willow tree pond is as quaint as it comes and if you choose to say your vows under the pretty wooden pagoda you can take the elegant walk from the Farmhouse where you will have all the space and comfort you desire for your bridal prep.
With two superb indoor ceremony areas as well as the adorable scenic outdoor garden setting you have plenty of options available to you.
The Main Hall and mezzanine Hayloft Gallery are fantastic spaces with medieval chandeliers and quirky arrow-slit windows, add in the contemporary sound system and LED lighting and you’ve got an eclectic fusion of old and new.
And with flexible catering options, whether you want an exemplary three course meal, street food or a medieval style banquet, Worton Hall will meet you dining needs. If you do choose the recommended caterers, Greens Catering will help you to build a menu that works for you, tailoring each dish to suit your style, taste and budget.
What a beautiful place to say ‘I do’! The tranquil gardens really are the most dreamy setting. And once your wedding day draws to an end you have the luxury to relax and unwind in either (or both) of the luxury on-site properties. The spacious Grade II-listed Farmhouse and cosy Stable Cottage each with its own unique charm. The Farmhouse boasting a wood-burning stove and baby grand piano and sleeps up to 22 and the Stable Cottage with it’s extravagant four-poster bed is able to accommodate up to 4 but also makes a cosy and private honeymoon cottage. In addition, there are a further collection of Cotswold stone cottages, which can provide accommodation for a further 26 guests located within a 10 minute taxi ride from the venue.
Worton Hall offers you an elegant and state-of-the-art venue with stunning photo opportunities around every corner. All you have to do is have the best day of your lives and the team at Worton Hall will be there to support your dream day.
Catherine and Hannah are your welcoming and knowledgable team. Contact them on 01865 882644 or email and visit www.wortonhall.co.uk