Winter weddings offer a different feel and different challenges to the bride and groom, the venue staff and of course, the photographer. The night starts earlier and the weather in Shropshire can be temperamental to say the least but that's no reason to avoid a wedding venue like Hawkstone Hall which is one of my favourite all-weather venues out here towards Shrewsbury.
The sky can be grey but inside there's an occasion full of joy, warmth by the log fires and friendly smiles from the staff. Guests are greeted at the door and shown to the bar or can relax in one of Hawkstones many incredibly decorated rooms.
The Main foyer itself is worth talking about as for much of the day I find guests love this area to cosy up and chat by the log fire, the main bar isn't too far away and I'm often finding this is one of the main mingling areas during drinks and canapes.
The Bedrooms are HUGE and can easily fit seven or eight groomsmen in with room to spare for a great atmosphere and bonding experience. It's the same for the bride, I've seen as many as seven bridesmaids in the bridal suite. The best part, unlike many other venues, when there's lots of people in a room it can get very warm. Not at Hawkstone, I couldn't believe how well the temperature was controlled in those rooms, I didn't break a sweat!
The little touches Hawkstone Hall adds throughout the venue are worth a mention here. Lots of little perks they leave for you, water is fully stocked, tea and coffee in the rooms as usual, but you can tell they've really thought about every detail to make the wedding day feel a luxury as possible like leaving a little teddy on the bed in case you have children about all the way down to the styling of the key rings.
The Saloon is one of the grandest rooms in the building and I've seen it used for various parts of the wedding day. In the winter the a 10ft Christmas tree barely reaches the height of the windows as it sits under what must be very expensive 18th century paintings.
In the winter, when the saloon isn't being used for the one of the formal wedding occasions, I often see guests posing up next to the Christmas tree which makes for some great group activity with friends who may not have seen each other for a while.
The chapel is often used for larger weddings and in the winter you wouldn't notice a lack of light with large stained glass windows and white washed walls bouncing ambient around the room making it a dream to shoot in.
The Tapestry Room is a popular spot for smaller weddings but it can easily fit 40 guests.
Step outside the Tapestry room into The Winter Garden one of the best features of Hawkstone Hall bringing in lots of light and often acts as the first place after the wedding ceremony for fizz and canapes.
If you ask nicely, the hall will often allow the use of confetti inside the winter gardens! I'm told this doesn't always happen but in the winter, I've witnessed some awesome indoor confetti tunnels at the venue.
Time for food and speeches in The Ballroom which is as classy as it sounds. Photography can be tough in here but with the right know how some beautiful images can be produced! This is where the best guest reactions can be found as your speeches will move your friends and family in ways they haven't for a while. There's no better place than this room to share tears of joy and sadness celebrating a new beginning and honouring those who have passed.
Hold on, can we just take a second here to admire the chandelier and ceiling of the ballroom.
Group shots can easily happen in the winter gardens or the chapel, but if you can bare the winter chill for a few minutes we can quickly pop to the front to get some snappy snaps before we hop in the buggy with just the two of you.
In the winter Hawstone halls Gardens change into a wonderful winter play area for photographers. The rose bushes and secret flowers obviously aren't in bloom but the gardens are vast and we have a buggy! There's still areas of Hawkstone I haven't explored and will always take a sneak peak to see if we can bag a unique shot. If you do want to venture out into the gardens in the winter remember to wrap up warm.
There's still plenty of brilliant areas to create interesting images. We'll always head over to get something are one of the ponds and bridges.
But on the way you can stop and find some great patches of light to pick up some lovely winter wonderland Hawkstone Hall pictures.
Back to the Hall and here I need to give a special mention to Rik the Butler. Rik is a classy guy and I would highly recommend having him at your wedding at Hawkstone Hall. This man runs a tight ship while being a true darling to your guests. The man is well integrated with Hawkstone Hall and knows how weddings are best run. Best of all he takes charge when needed and steps back when it's time to just enjoy the day. When it comes to sparkler time he's there to organise it all puts the safety of the guests first.
Anything you need, Rik will be there.
It's time to party in The Refectory with the first dance, evening catering and a DJ or wedding band. The bar opens up at the back and the others rooms stay open for guests to head to if they're looking for some quiet time. Hawkstone Hall in the winter seems to have it all. Plenty of huge rooms for guests to stay and the wedding doesn't rely on great weather to still be an amazing wedding day. I believe Hawkstone offers significant discount during the winter months also and at the time of writing can be hire for only £7000 This is why I would say it's my favourite all-weather wedding venue in Shropshire.