We are very lucky in Derbyshire to have so many lovely wedding venues – and a few of them can be seen in this gallery. There are old churches full of character dating back to Norman times (such as St Peter and St Paul at Old Brampton, Chesterfield) as well as the larger, more imposing ones from Victorian times. All Saints Church, Matlock is one of these, and is a popular wedding venue. One feature it shares with the slightly older St Thomas’ Church at Brampton, Chesterfield, is a balcony – perfect for wedding photographers! The photos from up there are always some of the favourites with wedding clients.
Apart from churches, there are also stately homes where couples can tie the knot. Some of them, such as Hassop Hall and Ringwood Hall, Chesterfield, are now hotels, while others such as Eyam Hall and Renishaw Hall are still owned privately. As an added benefit, stately homes usually have wonderful gardens for wedding photographs.
For couples wanting to hold their ceremony and reception at the same venue, there is now a huge number of hotels which have wedding licences. The Hotel Van Dyk at Barlborough, and the Sandpiper Hotel at Unstone (near Chesterfield) are two of the more popular ones, and able to accommodate quite large wedding parties.
From a wedding photographer’s perspective, one thing that all these types of wedding venues have in common is that we have to work with what we are given. We generally have no control over lighting during wedding ceremonies, as flash is very rarely allowed. If you see flashes during a wedding, you can bet that it’s the guests taking pictures, not the professional! However, as this gallery shows, natural light usually produces the best results, and while they have a very different character to churches, hotels and stately homes often have better lighting.
Photographers also usually have little control over where and how they can take their photographs during the ceremony. Many churches only allow photographs to be taken from the back of the church, while at other venues, it is the registrar who decides where the photographer can stand – or whether photographs are even allowed at all. This varies between individual registrars and vicars – some of them are easy going and appreciate that wedding photographers also have a job to do, while others like to pull rank and let you know that you are on their territory. One of the advantages of going back to the same wedding venues and churches in Derbyshire over the years is that I know the best angles to get my pictures from, even if I am not allowed to move around. As I have become more familiar to some of the vicars and registrars, they tend to trust me to be discrete with my camera, and allow me a little bit more freedom.