Horton Grange is a regular venue for us. Jo & Carl’s wedding was to be our first of two weddings at the hotel this year. It was also our first wedding of the year. After over a month’s break from weddings, we were refreshed and recharged. To make things even better… it snowed!! Snow is like the great white whale to Halo Photography.
Snow at Horton Grange
We rarely get weddings in the winter, although they are getting increasingly popular. When we do get snow it’s generally problematic. Too much and you have trouble getting to venues and it’s too deep to go out in. Too little and it looks messy and slushy. For Jo & Carl’s
I spent the previous day researching ideas for snow shoots. I wore my thermals and thick socks and Lisa pulled on her Doc Martens ready for an extended day in the white stuff. But, as we were about to find out, Jo would soon burst our snow bubble.
We arrived at Horton Grange early. In
On arrival with our gear, the staff greeted us and mistook us for the string quartet. Showing us where we were “setting up”. I think we all confused each other for a few minutes.
Horton Grange looked very smart and we were sure it had enjoyed a refurb. The new decoration and a very snazzy flower wall looked fabulous. The low winter sun was creating some wonderful shafts of light. We cracked on with a few detail shots to start and tell the days story and set the scene for this glorious day before splitting up and finding Jo & Carl.
Get your Wedding Kit on
We hadn’t planned to photograph the lads getting ready but happened to find Carl and his son just pulling on their jackets. They were joined by their two spaniels. Both helping in their own way. One of whom, Dudley, was to have the important job of ring bearer. He had his own bow tie which the rings were to be tied to. Jo’s dad had beaten them all getting ready and was enjoying the grounds while he waited for the young ‘uns.
Lisa joined the girls. Jo was enjoying her prep with the maid of honour and Carl’s daughter to complete her small but perfectly formed bridal party. The atmosphere was calm and everything was on track. The girls had their makeup and hair done and were ready to get dressed.
It was at this point Jo burst our Snow Wedding bubble. She hated the snow. She knew it sounded nuts but didn’t want a winter wedding, even though she had booked in February. Jo didn’t want to set foot in the snow. Lisa thought she was joking and that we’d convince her when the time came, but she stuck to her guns all day.
Black Tie Event
Jo & Carl’s wedding had a black-tie dinner theme, which was why Dudley needed his Bow Tie on. Not an easy task on ice, in dinner suits, with an excited wet Spaniel. The rings were to be tied to his collar for the best man to retrieve when the time was right.
As the girls continued to enjoy their preparations, the lads greeted their guests and Carl met with the registrars. I pinched Carl & Jo’s sons to see how icy the grounds were. If two strapping lads went “head over heels” we weren’t going to get guests in high heels outside. My scouting party survived so, as soon as Carl and his best man were free, they joined us out in the snow. Dudley enjoyed his last walk before the ceremony too.
The sun was creating lighting, that we normally only get at sunset, in the middle of the day. It was at this point I started to get a measure of Carl’s & his best man’s sense of humour. Outside the groom and his best man played out like Laurel & Hardy.
A Beautiful Wedding at Horton Grange
Jo looked stunning and her dad’s face was a picture of pride when she came down Horton Grange’s staircase. The quartet was playing and the fireplaces made the service room wonderfully cosy. Dudley made it down the aisle without incident. The light in the room was wonderful. I don’t think we’ve ever seen that room looking as good during summer weddings.
Jo & Carl took the ceremony in their stride. It’s always emotional during the candle lighting but
Cold Toes & Slippery Steps
After the service, we sat back to let Jo & Carl greet their guests and catch their breaths. It gave the Horton Grange staff time to move the service room chairs to the conservatory. Risking life and limb carrying stacks of wedding chairs aroun the outside of the building.
We then had to handhold everyone over the front steps of the hotel. This was the only time Jo had agreed to go outside, as long as they could stay on the steps. Of course, the best man had to take a pot shot at the groom with a snowball. No one would miss an opportunity like that and definitely not these two.
Horton Grange’s new flower wall was a great background for Jo & Carl’s wedding cake. It’s amazing how many venues place hundreds of pounds worth of wedding cake in front of a nasty radiator or in a dark corner. It’s refreshing and makes our life a lot easier.
One downside at Horton is the lack of space in bad weather. The bar area is only small. Add a string quartet and 30+ guests and it becomes a little cramped.
Jo still wasn’t budging on going out in the snow. Even my best charm offensive didn’t persuade her. 30 seconds on the conservatory decking was all the “snow-loving” we were going to get. Given that she was wearing a sleeveless dress in sub-zero
Speeches & Pranks
As you might’ve already guessed, Carl & his best man had a
Jo’s dad’s speech was lovely. Full of emotion and love for his daughter. As the speeches progressed we could only watch as the best man began to panic, looking for his glasses. As it came to the best man’s speech he got desperate. Asking the staff to help to look for them. As the wedding co-ordinator headed to interrogate the waiting staff to see if they had moved them I had to fill him in on the prank. Carl finally let the cat out of the bag much to the best man’s relief. Allowing him to dive into his epic speech.
We had a blast photographing Jo & Carl’s wedding at Horton Grange. It didn’t go to plan at all but those often make you think outside of the box and push you out of your comfort zone. We left them as they enjoyed their meal and the sun was setting outside. We wish their new family all the best in the future and can’t wait to see them all again.