“We cannot thank you enough for the photos. They are truly spectacular. We love absolutely all of them and you’ve captured the day so well.”
It’s not often we get to work at brand new venue, so we were especially looking forward to the wedding of Katy and Tom. Pendrell Hall, located in south Staffordshire, opened for weddings this summer and Katy and Tom were actually the first couple who got married at the venue itself, in a civil ceremony. They booked it long before the refurbishment work was complete, but the venue owners – Ben and Sarah Reeves (who also own another Staffordshire venue – The Ashes) ensured all the work was finished on time – and with fabulous results.
We met with Katy and Tom a couple of months prior to the wedding for their pre-wedding shoot. In addition to getting the couple used to being in front of the cameras, it also gave us a great opportunity to get a feel for this new venue. The building itself, located at the end of a leafy drive, is a Grade II listed Victorian ‘gentlemans residence’. It was remodelled in the early 1900’s in the Arts & Crafts style and the resulting interior is full of detailing. The refurbishment has given the venue a contemporary feel, but still with lots of original features and character. The various rooms all have their own feel to them and although not huge, it always feels spacious and airy. Katy and her bridesmaids (Kate and Katie!) chose to get ready in Pendrell’s specially designed bridal preparation room – named ‘Love is Enough’. Unlike a hotel room, there is no bed, but it does have a built-in washbasin, comfy leather sofas, plenty of mirrors and more importantly for us – lots of natural light. It’s not often we see a dedicated ‘getting ready’ room, let alone one that has been kitted out so well, or so nicely.
Tom chose to get ready at home, but met up with Sarah once he arrived at Pendrell with his groomsmen. The civil service was held in the stylish Morning Room, full to the brim with guests. This was a particularly nice service, with the emotions getting the better of Katy as she walked up the aisle with her dad. Such a nice moment to see and be able to capture. Once the civil service was complete, the drinks reception started outside the main entrance and following a big group photo and confetti throw, everyone moved to the main drawing room and rear terrace. The terrace itself has plenty of space, with ample seating and looks out over the Staffordshire countryside. It’s a really nice spot for the wedding party to relax and mingle. The musical backdrop for this part of the day was provided by classical guitarist Jessica Farnden.
Following the family group photos and a few pictures of the couple alone, it was time for the wedding breakfast in Pendrell’s elegant Ballroom. Here we took a break and got to sample the food! We’re happy to report that Pendrell Hall’s food passes the Rob and Sarah test with flying colours 🙂 Next came the speeches – just two of them as Tom had chosen not to elect a best man. Katy’s father – David – gave a particularly nice speech revealing how much of the pottery-themed wedding details had originated with her late grandmother, who worked in the industry.
As the guests began to relax into the early evening, we took Katy and Tom off again for another couple session. We always try and do two of these when the time and light allow. We usually find the second session more relaxed as the couple have by then done all of the ‘formal’ elements of the day. They were great in front of the cameras – the pre-wedding shoot had really helped them to forget any awkwardness and just got on with spending some time together and having fun. This is always our aim – we want the bride and groom to feel this part of the day to feel really special, away from the crowd, just the two of them (and us!). The first dance, to music perofrmed by the band Cerone – saw our coverage nearly complete, but we did two final pictures with additional lighting, showing off the exterior and interior of their venue. We always love doing these type of pictures as they look so different to anything else during the day.
Pendrell Hall impressed us as a venue. The variety of rooms and the overall feel of the building provided a lovely atmosphere for the day and we especially appreciated the amount of available light in the principle rooms. The building has been painstakingly refurbished to a high standard and for 2014 the venue will be opening additional accommodation. Special thanks to general manager Jon and event manager Jane who kept the day running smoothly and also to their excellent staff who were very much on the ball through the duration. But ultimately, this was Katy and Tom’s day. A smashing couple with a great group of family and friends.