Our featured bride and groom chose the delightful old Hertfordshire wedding venue The Priory Little Wymondley near Hitchin for both their marriage ceremony and their wedding reception.
This gem of a venue is tucked away in deep countryside but just a few short miles from the towns of Hitchin and Stevenage. Its location means it is easily accessible from both the M1 and A1(m) motorways, and its not far north of the M25 and London, making it a great choice if you have guests travelling from all over the UK.
The Priory Little Wymondley should not be confused with the nearby Hitchin Priory which is itself a wedding venue in Hitchin town centre.
The wedding venue has a fascinating history dating back to the mid 16th Century. And the Priory itself right back to the 13th Century and with associations with the infamous Knights Templar warrior monks!
The Priory Barn and its surrounding gardens are extremely well maintained. There is often quite a difference between venues that are in private hands and those that are part of national chains, and that is certainly reflected in the variety and attention to detail seen in The Priory's gorgeous gardens.
The registrars conducting weddings and civil partnerships in the Hitchin area are very easy to work with and Peter was able to shoot a good selection of photographs and video during the ceremony.
The interior of the barn is challenging for professional wedding photographers and videographers to work with because of course when it was designed five centuries ago no thought was given to how the lighting might be optimised for photographic purposes! The cavernous area in which ceremonies take place is lit mainly with large halogen floodlights. This means that although the overall light level is very low and is pleasing to the human eye, there are big differences in the intensity of light over quite short distances plus shadows are easily cast. Couples should certainly always use a professional photographer and videographer with the appropriate equipment and software skills to bring out the best in their photos.
Our couple selected a short duration photographic package, starting during the latter stages of the bride's getting ready and finishing shortly after the speeches. The speeches were scheduled at the start rather than at the end of their wedding breakfast. This helps those speakers who might otherwise get worried and nervous during the meal and also means that its possible to fit into a shorter total duration of coverage the great photo and video opportunity that is the father of the bride, the groom, and the bestman delivering their best!
The first photo below is the view of the Priory Barn which greats you as you arrive. To the left of the camera position is a large courtyard laid to gravel. Behind the camera there is parking available, and to the rear of the Barn are the extensive and gorgeous gardens:
The Priory Little Wymondley Hertfordshire as seen from the rear gardens. It was taken at dusk so detail is limited but it does give a feel for the scale of this terrific wedding venue:
Below you can see the interior of The Priory Little Wymondley shortly before the start of the wedding ceremony. The registrar is chatting with our groom. The Hitchin registrars are easy to work with and do help whenever they can in subtle ways to ensure the professional photographic coverage is as good as possible:
The next photo helps illustrate the nature of the lighting in the ceremony area at The Priory Hitchin. You'll see that its comparatively bright around the stage, illuminated by halogen floodlights. These are on both sides of the stage so its not possible to entirely eliminate them from compositions by changing shooting positions. The light is very directional and shadows are cast as with our groom's collar and our bride's face below. Experienced professional wedding photographers who are familiar with shooting in these conditions often encountered at characterful old wedding venues are an absolute must. Flashguns can go some way towards compensating for the demanding ambient light but their use is not desirable during wedding ceremonies as they are likely to cause distractions:
A photo from later in the day shows the variety and colour on display in the gardens as our couple pose for a few wedding pics. A lovely display of dahlias to our couples side:
Speeches got underway shortly after the start of the wedding breakfast, a timeslot increasingly chosen by couples. Here we see the father of the bride in full swing. Peter was also able to video the speeches and these will be great to look back on in future years:
The staff at The Priory Little Wymondley made a good job of quickly turning the room around after the wedding ceremony ready for the wedding breakfast. In the next photo you can see the reception in full swing:
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