Minstrel Court features listed buildings overlooking a private lake not far from Bassignbourne Barracks in Cambridgeshire. The ceremony takes place a short walk from the main buildings under a beautiful wooden pavilion overlooking the lake.
When I arrived there was an eery silence far from the usual hustle and bustle of a wedding venue on the morning of the ceremony. I managed to find the Bride, Laura, sequestered in a room beyond the bar and dance area. The room was narrow and a little crowded due to the numbers in the bridal party. It wasn't long before the Groom, Dany arrived along with his party.
By about 1pm once all the guests had arrived, we made our way slowly up to the Lake Pavillion whilst dark clouds loomed. Rain, at a wedding, is often a bride's worst nightmare but for me I quite like it as you can get some very unique shots. Whilst we waited for Laura to make her way up from the main house the heavens opened on a biblical scale. It was originally planned that Laura and the Bridal party make their way on foot from the house to the Lake Pavillion but that quickly changed. One of the groomsmen ran to his car and headed down to collect Laura and the bride's maids.
Once under the protection of the Summer Pavilion it was smiles all round. Umbrellas were shaken off and folded away. Laura took her father's arm before heading down the aisle.
From a technical point of view, the only problems I encountered were switching settings quickly from the light outside of the pavilion to relatively gloomy light under the shelter.
As Laura glided down the aisle a huge smile spread across Dany's face. There were plenty of laughs and cries as the vows were exchanged and the rain pattered down on the wooden roof.
The rain stopped almost as soon as the ceremony finished and it wasn't long before the sun was shining. The congregation then made there way (less hastily this time) down to the marquee for reception drinks.
Once back at the marquee I waited until I felt that Laura and Dany had mingled with guests for a while before taking them off for 15 minutes to have some photos of just the two of them. I told them that I wanted to try some off camera flashes, something that I am very familiar with but not in a day light situation. I follow a guy on unstagram called Blair Alderton. He mainly captures drag racers near his home in the United States. If you have a look at his images he seems to make the colours on the cars really "pop" (a term us photography geeks use). I asked what the secret was and he explained that it was all to do with off camera flashes. I use remote flashes for my studio work and occasionally portrait work but I had never tried to use this technique out doors. If you look at my shot of Laura and Dany beside Dany's beloved Land Rover Defender you will see how this effect worked. Without the flashes they would have been underexposed and in complete shadow. I was quite pleased with the end result which wasn't bad for a first attempt.
After the meal with everyone was full to bursting, one of my favourite parts of the wedding commenced; the speeches. Tributes were paid from father to daughter, groom to bride and so on.
After the speeches guests mingled in the grounds whilst the children went off exploring. A bouncy castle was inflated much to the excitement of the children. I'm sure the adults were happy with this master stroke too as it bought them some more "quiet time".
A short walk from the marquee is the main bar and dance room. It's a rectangular room with the bar at one end and the dance floor and DJ at the other. Just beyond the dance area is another room where tea and coffee making facilities are available. This area attracted the more elderly guests as it gave them a bit of peace from the music. I loved the light-up dance floor, it added a real 70's disco feel.
At around 10pm guests were asked to make their way outside to enjoy a fireworks display.
All in all, a day that looked like it was going to be a wash out, turned out to be one that would be enjoyed by everyone long into the night and will be remembered for a long time. Minstrel Court is a hidden gem and a wedding venue that I would highly recommend. For more information about Minstrel Court visit their website by clicking on the image below.