I have been a wedding photographer in St Albans, Hertfordshire since my training began, about 30 years ago. Back then I used photographic film, taking just 15 exposures on a single roll of film. For each wedding I used to get through about 6 rolls of film, taking about 90 photographs.
Adaptation into digital photography means I can probably add another zero to that figure. The opportunity to take more photographs and be more creative is now common place.
Being a wedding photographer is something I enjoy, immensely.
The chance to be creative with enough experience to capture all the important moments of the wedding day is a winning combination, producing the perfect end result. Combining photography in and amongst people who are having fun and being able to make them laugh and smile makes the job so much more rewarding.
In one instance it was a huge compliment for a couple to book me before even booking the main date and venue for their wedding.
Wedding Venues in St Albans
I often get asked advice from couples, including questions such as:
- Which St Albans venue is the best for wedding photos?
- Which venue has the nicest grounds in St Albans?
My knowledge even extends to seeing behind the scenes, I can offer advice on how I feel the venue staff run the day.
So I thought it may be useful to share detail on a few local venues and point out the good and bad points. Its always helpful, and indeed my own wedding was booked at a venue simply because the staff were nice to me as a photographer when I was working there. The Bobsleigh Inn in Bovingdon was the venue, I had a few wedding photographic jobs to do there and the staff were just lovely, checking I was ok, offering me drinks etc. I remember thinking to myself; wow this is nice, they don't have to do this for me, I'm not a customer! "Imagine how nice they would be if I were to...” And one day, I was a customer! And a great day it was!
Sopwell House in St Albans
An amazing venue with many good sized rooms to choose from. The grounds are lovely and the gardens always well maintained, with a small pond with bridge making a good photo opportunity. Staff always efficient too. However, they do squeeze a lot of weddings in per a day, sometimes up to five in one day. Although the wedding times are staggered, with only one area for photos in the grounds, the wedding photographers do find they are given a time limit to get the photos done before having to go in for the meal. Curtains are drawn and then while you eat the next wedding is ushered outside for photos. Decor at Sopwell House is good, but building and interior lacks a little character. Overall a good venue choice.
Ardmore House Hotel in St Albans
A family run, non-chain hotel that boasts a great conservatory area for the service, or an outside licensed gazebo for lovers of open air weddings. The garden is a decent size, well maintained with flowers and greenery, offering nice photo opportunities. The owners are Italian, so standby for some lovely cooking for the wedding breakfast. There is only ever one wedding a day held at this venue.
An old manor house set in quiet and picturesque countryside. Exclusively one wedding held at any one time, you will have the use of all the stunning grounds complete with the unique architectural pond. The manor house itself it full of character, not only making a great backdrop for photography, there are also some quirky doorways and arches to use as settings too. Not always allowed, so check with venue, when last there I had the pleasure of popping upstairs to see a very unique little chapel.
Mercure St Albans Noke
A building with great character, and I have never heard any of my wedding couples giving anything other than praise for the venue. There are not a lot of outside spaces here at all, making it tricky for large groups. However a little wooded area can accommodate approximately 25 people for a group shot. In wet weather you can use the front of the hotel which makes a nice backdrop. Unfortunately the venue for me has some downsides, such as the yellow lines painted on the road to the front, which I have to remove in photoshop! Also it is quite a busy and noisy location, right on the roundabout of the A414. Generally the venue looks a little tired and could do with some TLC.
St Michaels Manor Hotel
A stunning wedding venue. Plenty on character here, inside and out. Large gardens containing a lake and small jetty, ultimately backing onto Verulamium Park. It gives the same look and feel in the gardens as Verulamium Park, if you are familiar with that location. The gardens provide beautiful photo opportunities and a set of steps ideal for group shots. The venue is licensed for outdoor weddings too, on the Jetty. The conservatory area provides an ideal space for the wedding breakfast. Downsides may be that the exclusive use of the hotel and rooms, which although nice, can be expensive. Also, be careful where you tread in the grounds, as it is full of ducks and geese that may have left their mark!
Beaumont Hall is a magnificent Grade II listed Georgian farmhouse that offers exclusive hire for your special wedding day in St Albans. The house includes plenty of traditional features and character, creating a warm and inviting ambience for your wedding day celebrations. This venue is a reception only venue and can cater for small or large weddings. Your celebrations can take place in the venues grounds where you can hire a luxury marquee, tipi or tent and then get creative and add your own special touches to the space. You will be sure to get plenty of remarkable wedding photos at this venue with many backdrops to choose from.
Top wedding venue and photography tips
- Find out if there is only one wedding taking place at your preferred venue on your chosen date.
- Where areas are available for the wedding photography?
- Check where the sun will be in the sky at the time of the wedding photography - you wouldn’t want the sun in your eyes, equally you don’t want dark shade.
- Always go for a food tasting!
- Make sure you enjoy the company of the venues professionals who will be looking after you on the day.
- What are the wet weather contingency plans - ie where can photos be done inside if it’s raining.
- What time does your evening function need to end? There may be sound restrictions in built up areas, meaning your music may have to stop at 10.30pm.
- Choose a photographer that knows the venue.
- Allow yourself time after the service before you eat (I would suggest 90 mins).
Wedding Photographer in St Albans