Clearwell Castle Wedding

5 01 2010

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Clearwell Castle wedding photography service & review 

Clearwell castle is situated just outside the village of Clearwell near Coleford in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.

Clearwell castle - view from the gardens and croquet lawnClearwell castle - view from the entry gate house

Clearwell castle view from the driveway upper level facing the main enterance

The castle offer exclusive use of the castle from midday to midnight and all its splendor  just for you and your wedding guest’s to enjoy on your wedding day.

Clearwell castle Photography

Clearwell Castle’s main area for the wedding is situated in the main hall, this is where the wedding takes place and the wedding breakfast.
The lighting in the room can be  difficult to master as you will see that many photographers in the preview albums have converted the pictures to black and white to hide this mistake ( look in the library for albums).

clearwell castle wedding photography

Getting ready and locations

There are two main areas where people get ready for their wedding at Clearwell Castle and indeed Clearwell Village itself.

There is the Gate Keepers Cottage, situated to the left as you drive into the car park. There are also other rooms available at Clearwell Castle itself and within the out buildings. (upper images)

Clearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsGroom and farther as well as ushers and best man  toasting in the gate keepers cottage before the wedding at Clearwell castle

Manor hotel in clearwellManor hotel in clearwell

Some clients and guests of Clearwell Castle weddings stay at the Tudor Farm House hotel that is just a short walk to the castle. Though in all the wedding attire on a hot summers day you may not want to walk that far but it takes around 10 minutes at a slow pace.

The wedding day at Clearwell Castle

The day runs smoothly as the staff at Clearwell Castle offer a good service. They have been helpful to me and to the  guests during the day and you have your own wedding planner/organiser throughout your planning and on the day itself.

Collage of photographs from a wedding At clearwell castle in the forest of dean Gloucestershire - Cotswolds

We arrive at Clearwell and have a check to find out where everyone is, there is a local public house situated near the village centre, which is less than a stones throw from the Tudor Farm House Hotel and sometimes people get lost in there..

We work between the Pub, the Tudor farm house and the Castle to deliver the preparation photos, and try to keep track of everyone and make sure that the groom and the bride get to their wedding on time. Oh as well as get all the details of the wedding such as the flowers and rings, guest arrivals, pinning on the flowers and the fun that happens which of course we photograph..

Groom in the car park of clearwell castle checking his watch with the guests Ushers, Groom and best man standing in the lobby of clearwell castle waiting for the guests

The guests are normally ushered into the hall and seated, while the Groom goes into the library room to speak to the registrar’s as does the bride once she has arrived, but not before the groom is seated in the hall and the doors are shut.

Manor hotel in clearwell Manor hotel in clearwell

The wedding ceremony is held in a long hall with read and gold seats down either side, there is a lead-lined window at the bottom and a table where you sign the register. Often the sun comes in from the side windows (right hand side) as you can see in the picture below (left)

Clearwell castle wedding preperationsClearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

The weddings don’t take very long due to them being a civil service, you can have readings by your dearest of friends if you want to extend the service time, being that most couples find that the service is over in a flash. (pardon the pun) The registrars for Clearwell castle is Gloucester’s registration office

After the wedding there is a short break for the bride and groom in the library for some alone time, ( Picture below right), before meeting with the guests that have been moved outside to the double fronted steps.

Clearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsClearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsClearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

I do find that just after the wedding, that  is not a time for photography, but for the guest to congratulate the bride and the groom, so I tend to wait a little before getting on with my job, though waiting is actually part of the job as well when you are a wedding photographer.

Clearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

Guest awaiting the bride and groom outside the  front of Clearwell castle.

Manor hotel in clearwell Clearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

With the well-managed gardens at Clearwell castle your wedding photography has a great back drop whether it’s a summer wedding or a winter wedding at the castle.

Clearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsManor hotel in clearwellClearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

Clearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsClearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsClearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

Of course at some weddings, the photography is not the same without the guys and their ‘catalogue pose’ and it makes the photography a little bit of fun during the day from the contemporary and traditional styles of wedding photography.

Manor hotel in clearwellManor hotel in clearwell

Clearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsManor hotel in clearwellClearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

Once the group photo’s are took, which would normally involve all the guests, we take the bride and groom for a walk around the grounds for a personal shoot, this gives you the  images that most people actually want for their wedding album.

You will find that the photography we do (Rory) tells the story of the day. The Photography is a mix of casual (reportage photography) which shoots around the wedding and its guests. Then a portion of traditional images, which are the group shots of the family and the bridal party and then some contemporary images mixed in with those to give a lot of variation for possible wedding albums.

We finish off with a relaxed contemporary style of photography for the bride and groom and their solo photo shoot before we have a short break and the guests sit for the wedding breakfast.

The Wedding breakfast (the reception)

The wedding breakfast at Clearwell castle are in the same hall as the wedding is held. This means that the room is changed around giving time for the photography to take place .

Manor hotel in clearwellManor hotel in clearwell

Manor hotel in clearwellManor hotel in clearwell

The room layout normally follows the same layout with the head table running down the room and the guest seated on round tables. However as you can see in this image below, the head table is placed in the bay window areas at the end of the hall(below left).

Manor hotel in clearwellClearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsClearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

The food at the castle.

Well while I’m just about to ruin the credibility of being a professional wedding photographer, I think that’s its worth it; I used to be a chef and front of house for quite a few restaurants in the UK and when I say good food I mean good food (or very good). It is one of the places where I have gone to where the food is consistently good.

The service is good as well as there are plenty of staff on hand to serve the guests, normally the sit down meal takes around 2.5 hours.

For the photography of the speeches, we take photos of the actual speeches and not people eating.

Manor hotel in clearwellClearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsManor hotel in clearwell

The cake cutting is held in the bay window, which seems to be the theme of the day, I have known of a wedding held at Clearwell castle where a marquee was placed on the croquet lawn and a bulk of the wedding held outside. But it is worth remembering that doing this may spoil the backdrop of your photos.

The evening reception

Clearwell is a multi level venue; it has a ground level floor, which is raised so it’s a first floor, the lower floor is the basement of the building and there is an upper floor where the rooms and some of the castles toilets are, though there is toilets on the basement level.

In the evening the service door is open adjacent to the car park level as first come up to the building. This has the kitchens to the right and a laundry room to the left, then the ground level toilets (lower level).
The evening reception room is the next room on the left, and a number of smaller rooms, such as the games room and a chill-out room which is ideal if there are parents with children.

The evening receptions food is laid out in the hall opposite the door for the ‘disco’, and many guests switch from the many rooms or are outside the service door if they smoke.

Clearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsClearwell castle bridal wedding preperationsClearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

Manor hotel in clearwellManor hotel in clearwellClearwell castle bridal wedding preperations

Manor hotel in clearwellManor hotel in clearwell

As you can see, the dance floor area splits the room in two and there is not a great deal of seating which is why many people spread out into the lower floors rooms during the evening.

Apart from the upper floors not being available (fire risk etc) the DJ is a bit of a let down in my opinion.
While at weddings at Clearwell castle I have heard the same song played 5 times in the space of less than 80 minutes. This is down to the DJ being old fashioned and limited in the purchasing of new music.
He’s the  “in house DJ” as well. There is a  midnight finish , you can purchase an extra hour for the night, the DJ doesn’t see the money and with some of the out dated equipment used and installed, it could certainly do with a revamp.. BUT, if you like old cheese, some of last years top tracks (maybe) then the DJ is fine..

I hope you enjoyed my little show and tell on the wedding photography held at Clearwell castle, and if you feel like contacting me for your wedding photography, please do so;  if not have a great day there!

Click here to view some of our Clearwell wedding photo video gallery

Click here to go to our wedding photography packages on our website.

View our Clearwell castle wedding photography website (just about Clearwell weddings)


A Cotswold Wedding Slide show Video (HD)

4 01 2010

This is a Slide show from a wedding at Bibury Court in the Cotswolds. It is a HD Video showing the photography of Rory Witham For Wedding Elegance by National Photographer.

If you wish to see this Cotswold’s wedding slide show in High Definition you may want to use this link and click the HD button.

The Wedding Album

If you wish to look at one of the wedding albums designed for this wedding click this link for a Cotswold wedding album

The Wedding Pictures

The Unedited images which we have placed online in a gallery on this blog, Click here to read the Cotswold wedding Post and see the images