Essex Wedding Venues, from a photographers perspective! First up, Blake Hall, Ongar!

Some of my favourite venues & style ideas from a photographers perspective!

Something I’ve often thought I’d like to chat about on my blog is the varied styles of venues I’m lucky enough to shoot at. With so many weddings every year though, its never actually happened! Being quieter than usual in 2020 due to the dreaded Covid has meant that I’m able to do this now and I’lll be talking about a new venue every week or so over the Autumn and Winter. Obviously when you’re thinking about your wedding venue, there’ll be a tonne of things you’ll be looking for to suit your plans, like location, for me however, I look at venues through different eyes and, if your photographs (and your video too!) are an important part of your wedding planning, some of what I have to say might be useful to you as you start to consider your styling choices too! I’m going to talk about Barn venues first as we have several absolute beauties in this part of the world and they are a very popular choice, mixing traditional with a modern edge!

First up, has to be Blake Hall in Ongar. In easy reach of the M11 and M25, these beautifully restored 17th Century barns are set in 60 acres of incredibly well maintained gardens and woodland. Everything you need is on sight, including a light and airy cottage, perfect for Bridal prep.

From my point of view, I love the clean lines, many mirrors and wonderful mix of old and new, offering me varied textures and colour for framing shots of the busy morning preparation.

Offering ceremonies either inside the glorious Hay Barn or, outside under the Saddlery, both options being incredibly picturesque! The light in the Hay Barn is wonderful, giving a rich depth to your photographs from either end of the room or indeed from the mezzanine floor! And a ceremony outdoors – the perfect gardens are what English summer wedding dreams are made of!

There is a wide range of options for incredible portraiture at Blake Hall. The walled gardens are private from your wedding guests and are perfect to slip away to for a walk during your drinks reception. Exceptional in any season, there is always a different angle to shoot from, many trees and border flowers to use for framing and always, without fail, the secret doors in the walled gardens remain a firm favourite with my clients (especially in Spring when the Wisteria is in bloom!). The driveway in the evening is where the sun sets and the light spilling over the fields will give you a whole different set of portraits with a completely different feel!

One thing you can’t control is our Great British weather! Blake Hall also offers many options for rain on your wedding day, the Hay Barn is the perfect space to hold your drinks reception if the weather is not on your side and its also perfect for indoor portraits!

Even a confetti shot, looks awesome in or out!

The beauty of a barn is that its already warm and inviting, so you can dress it however you choose, a rustic feel works just as well as something a bit more glamorous, but from my perspective, always, always, fill it with as many fairy lights as you can possibly get! The ambience they produce during your meal and speeches is pure magic, so small, yet so effective!! Basically, if you think you need more, you probably do!

On a personal note, I’m always made to feel incredibly welcome by everyone on the team at Blake Hall, the food is bloody lovely and me and my team are well looked after, which makes it a genuinely lovely place to work!

Blake Hall is a venue I work at a lot, and one that l love for all these very good reasons, your images will always exude the emotion and atmosphere of the day if you choose this gorgeous setting! Head over to Blake Hall’s website to take a better look, then come chat to me when you’ve fallen in love with it!

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