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The wedding blog for Stephen McGowan Photography - A North West based Manchester Wedding Photographer team who travels to throughout the UK photographing weddings at the most elite wedding venues.

Willington Hall Wedding Photography

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Willington Hall Wedding Photography

I've been lucky enough to photograph a number of weddings at Willington Hall Hotel over the last couple of years and each and every one of them has been an absolute joy to document.
In fact, my very first wedding was at this very wedding venue for Laura and Adam's special day back in 2014! Since then every time I've revisited this gorgeous wedding venue, I'm always treated to something new and different happening at the Hall.

Cheshire Wedding Venue

The great thing about Willington Hall Hotel is it's versatility. With various different locations to get married both indoors and outdoors, there is so much choice - from the ceremony room at the front of the hall, to the newly built orangery allowing newlywed couples to say their vows underneath the blue skies above - even if it's raining!
On a nice clear bright day there is the choice of either getting married in the small quaint garden temple with it's own private seating area lined with ivy and bushes allowing for a very private and intimate ceremony with friends and family, or you can also have your ceremony outside on the lawn of the garden by the fountain with picturesque views that overlook the idyllic Cheshire countryside and beyond.

Garden Temple

The garden temple is ideal for those mid-summer garden weddings and is great for those weddings with a rustic theme. The seating area is lined with bushes and trees giving the ceremony area privacy and intimacy for the wedded couple and their friends and families. From a photography perspective it's nice to have everybody around so close so that capturing moments can be easily achieved. There is also the option of sneaking around the back of the temple and photographing through a hatch for a nice wide angle photograph of the couple and all guests looking on, which works really well!

Willington Hall Orangery

Willington Hall's Orangery is a great multi-seasonal addition to this wonderful wedding venue. Regardless of the weather outside, this very elegant room allows couples to say their vows and tie the knot in a beautiful setting under the glass ceiling. It's also a great reception room for dining during the wedding breakfast and is perfectly lit for capturing all of the special moments during the speeches. A perfect setting which compliments the hall so well.   

Willington Hall Weddings

Combining the fact the there are so many idyllic settings for perfect wedding portraits, along with the fact that this gem of a wedding venue has so much heritage, I dare to say: "Willington Hall has it all". From the bridal suite with it's traditional four poster bed setting which overlooks the fountain in the middle of the grounds, to the elegant wooden staircase which leads down into the hallway, there are so many features to this wedding venue. 

Willington Hall really is a stunning venue and I am privileged to have photographed weddings here on numerous occasions.  If you are looking for a natural wedding photographer then please get in touch to chat about your wedding plans.


If you are looking for relaxed, natural wedding photography at Willington Hall, why not get in touch?


Willington Hall weddings photographed by Stephen McGowan. If you are getting married and looking for a natural wedding photographer then please get in touch to discuss more.

 

Weddings at Willington Hall

 
 

An Autumn Wedding at Willington Hall | Laura and Adam

 

Love was certainly in the air for Laura and Adam's Willington Hall wedding making for a day packed with emotion and joy. Only a stones throw away from where we live in Manchester I love photographing this luxury country house venue. I had previously met up with Laura and Adam at the hall for their engagement photography shoot where we were able to explore the breathtaking grounds with its stunning views overlooking gorgeous fields of greenery and Welsh mountains lining the horizon.

Orangery ceremony

There are so many features and idyllic opportunities for stunning photographs at the hall such as the outdoor chapel in the garden which is perfect for intimate ceremonies. In 2016 we were introduced to the beautiful orangery allowing for brides and grooms to exchange vows under the glass ceiling of this exquisite room. The orangery is ideal for the larger wedding party whilst maintaining the class and charm which Willington Hall holds perfectly. 

Relaxed, natural photography

I met up with Laura and the bridal party first thing in the morning; having photographed Laura and Adam's pre-wedding shoot we had already built up a great rapport between us and so Laura was nice and relaxed in front of the camera. You could tell the excitement was buzzing in the air as Laura took several glances out of the window to check on ceremony preparations with her bridesmaids.

Long exposure sparkler portrait

We had a brilliant day at the venue as the sun came out in the afternoon allowing us to make the most of the gorgeous backdrops with some nice lens flare shots. We took full advantage of the hall's grounds, including a brilliant set of confetti photographs underneath the pillared entrance way as bride and groom walked hand in hand with beaming faces towards their wedding photographer (whilst having confetti thrown at them from all angles!). Before the big day Laura and Adam had asked for a long exposure sparkler and I'm always excited about producing creative portraits and so we posed the newlyweds together wrapped in a sparkler trail down by the chapel which came out amazingly well (I even surprised myself!).

Getting married at Willington Hall

If you're looking at getting married in a luxurious, traditional country hall with tranquil, stunning gardens then look no further than Willington Hall.


We'd love to hear about your Willington Hall Wedding




 

Alcumlow Hall Farm Wedding Photography | Kayleigh and Christian

 
Alcumlow Hall Farm Wedding Photography
 

Alcumlow Hall Farm Wedding Photography

Hottest day of the year! - We've been pretty fortunate with our weather this summer with many long spells of hot weather making for some great photos at some fantastic weddings, luckily there was no exception to Kayleigh and Christian's Alcumlow Hall Farm wedding back in June. This fantastic rustic wedding venue features a fabulous outdoor white frame chapel to hold their ceremonies which worked really well for friends and family to all look on at the gorgeous couple exchanging vows and tying the knot at the top of the aisle.

Outdoor White Frame Chapel

Being my first wedding at Alcumlow Hall Farm, it was great to experience the venue on such a lovely day. As mentioned previously, the venue features an outdoor white frame chapel to host outdoor weddings. It's great when wedding venues have options for both indoor and outdoor ceremony options to accommodate the wide range of weather climates Cheshire seems to experience over the summer. The indoor rustic barn option is also fantastic with the large farm clock mounted against the wooden wall at the back and ample room for hosting larger wedding parties for the reception.

 

 Outdoor White Frame Chapel at Alcumlow Hall Farm

Outdoor White Frame Chapel at Alcumlow Hall Farm

 
 

Rustic Barn Wedding

For out portraits we started at the white frame chapel before wandering over to the lake at the back of Alcumlow Hall Farm which made for some gorgeous scenic photographs for the newlyweds. From here we wandered past the courtyard and into a cornfield for a couple of fun smoke grenade shots. We then caught up with the rest of the wedding party back in the rustic barn which would host the speeches and evenings entertainment!

Alcumlow Wedding Barn

I had great fun shoot Kayleigh and Christian's wedding back in June and can not wait to return! If you're looking for relaxed, natural wedding photography at Alcumlow Hall Farm, why not get in touch.

 

If you're looking for relaxed, natural wedding photography at Alcumlow Hall Farm, why not get in touch?


 

Alcumlow Hall Farm weddings photographed by Stephen McGowan. If you are getting married and looking for a natural wedding photographer then please get in touch to discuss more.


Ashfield House Wedding Photography | Liz and Nick

 
Thank you so much Stephen, we couldn’t have asked for better photographers to be with us on the day, you really put us at ease and have captured memories we’ll cherish forever! We can’t stop looking at our photographs. Would definitely recommend!!!
— Liz and Nick

Ashfield House Wedding Photography

First Kiss at Ashfield House - Liz and Nick

What a wonderful day we had over at Ashfield House in Wigan for Elizabeth and Nick's Wedding. We met up with Liz and Nick a couple of months before for their pre-wedding shoot at Formby beach, which was an absolute blast - so we knew we were in for a fun packed day over at Ashfield House!

We met up with Liz in the morning with her bridesmaids in the beautiful bridal room. I absolutely love this room as there are so many features such as the mirrors (great for reflection shots!). Breakfast was being eaten, so we prepared the dresses, shoes and jewellery to photograph the details before returning for the make-up and hairstyling preparation. Everyone was really relaxed in the morning and the champagne was in full flow as we'd photograph away. Perfect Daze produced some gorgeous bouquets for the bridesmaids and flower girls.

 

Newlyweds at Ashfield House

If you're still hunting for an exclusive venue to get wed, why not consider spending your wedding day at Ashfield House! it's gorgeous interior set up some really nice backdrops for our shots - and then there's the double staircase and upstairs balcony which is great for photographs too, we were completely in our element here!

Liz and Nick tied the knot in the newly re-decorated ceremony room. The room looked absolutely gorgeous, being so white and clean. I also loved the features and statuettes on the top shelves of the room - there has been so much thought and care gone in to decorating the room and it clearly showed in the photographs taken on the day; a gorgeous place to exchange those intimate vows to one another in front of friends and family.

Live Piano Experience

A brilliant touch to the wedding was the readings and 'Lovely Love Story' of the dinosaur  - read out by the bridesmaids. Elizabeth Hendry from The Live Piano Experience was also on hand to provide us with beautiful music throughout the service - it was great working with Elizabeth on our first wedding together, and also seeing her in action during the day was brilliant. We're looking forward to hearing more of Elizabeth's music in the future.

Liz and Nick receiving all the confetti at Ashfield House

After the ceremony we then whisked everybody outside for the big confetti shot and group shot! we had timed it just right as it would soon rain - so we wanted to be back inside as soon as possible. Liz and Nick were well and truly full of confetti! - We set it up so that they had to walk around the outside of Ashfield House's patio being bombarded with confetti, before coming up the steps for their grande finale.

After the wedding breakfast Liz and Nick were keen to put together some portraits with us - although it was raining outside it didn't stop us one bit. I had a nice idea to light up the rain around Liz and Nick, and use the off camera flash lighting to complement the festoons running down the side of Ashfield Houses' wall. The shot came out really well! - Liz and Nick were lit up well with the raindrops captured around them and the festoon lighting lit up in the background. Winner!

 

 

 

Greek Wedding Dance Off

Another great moment on the day was when the lights went low for TK Entertainment to play 'Zorba the Greek' for Liz and Nick. Everybody got to their feet and made a circle around the pair in the middle who danced with friends and family in the middle of the circle. The party was now well and truly in full swing! Straight after this came 'Love train'! and so, following with tradition of the song - the Ashfield House Love Train was in full motion as Liz and Nick led the train through the house! The party then rocked on until the early hours!

Partying into the night - Liz and Nick on the dance floor at Ashfield House


If you're looking for relaxed wedding photography at Ashfield House, why not get in touch?


Ashfield House weddings photographed by Stephen McGowan. If you are getting married and looking for a natural wedding photographer then please get in touch to discuss more.


 

Waterside Hotel Wedding Photography | Carla and Rob

 
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Waterside Hotel Wedding Photography

 
Our photographer was the first thing we booked for our wedding and there was a reason why!

Stephen was such an amazing and modest photographer. From the pre-wedding shoot, the day itself and the photographs we were given, each part was effortlessly done.

The photographs were more than we could have asked for, and we are forever thankful to Stephen for capturing the day as well as he did.

I would highly recommend to book Stephen for your wedding photographer. He was amazing
— Carla & Rob
 

If you're looking for relaxed wedding photography at The Waterside Hotel, why not get in touch?


The Waterside Hotel weddings photographed by Stephen McGowan. If you are getting married and looking for a natural wedding photographer then please get in touch to discuss more.

 

Mitton Hall Wedding Photography | Rachel and David

 
Mitton Hall Wedding Photography

Mitton Hall Wedding Photography

We absolutely loved photographing Rachel and David's Mitton Hall wedding earlier this year. Having previously attended Mitton Hall wedding venue for The Wedding Industry Awards 2017 we knew we were in for a great day at this gorgeous Lancashire wedding venue.

I met up with Rachel and David for their pre-wedding shoot at Tarn Hows in the Lake District a couple of months before their big day. You could see the excitement build as we chatted about plans and ideas for their day.

On the morning of the wedding Rachel and her bridesmaids were all keen and ready to go. The gorgeous bridal room was dressed ready for the day ahead with Rachel's wedding dress hung up on the four-poster bed with her shoes and bouquets all arranged nicely ready to be worn. The bridal party ate breakfast while I shot the details such as jewellery and shoes, then as I arrived back to the room the champagne was in full flow and the excitement levels ramped up! There was a truly memorable moment when Rachel's dad shared an intimate hug before the wedding ceremony after seeing her in her dress for the first time. 

 Rachel's dad shares intimate hug with his daughter before the wedding ceremony

Rachel's dad shares intimate hug with his daughter before the wedding ceremony

Typical Type bespoke wedding lighting

We had a great bunch of suppliers involved with their day including Typical Type and Fiona Lewis at Fizzy Fi Flowers who worked together to produce a stunning edison bulb hanging display which eloquently draped over the ceremony while the couple read their vows to one another.
Fizzy Fi Flowers also produced the most amazing lilac bouquets on the day which complimented the bridesmaids dresses perfectly. Subtle hints of purple throughout the day from David's thistle pin-hole to Rachel's lilac bracelet really worked.
Rachel looked stunning walking down the aisle in her Sincerity Bridal dress linking arms with her dad and a huge smile on her face as she walked slowly towards her groom. Before we knew it our newly wedded couple had exchanged rings and said their vows and were now happily married! We headed straight outside to celebrate with confetti throwing and some quick group shots in front of the hall before spending the rest of the day partying and celebrating!

Rachel and David silhouetted against the spring sunset at Mitton Hall

Mitton Hall Wedding Reception

We loved photographing Rachel and David's Mitton Hall wedding. The venue has absolutely everything from kind, attentive and friendly staff to stunning views from the rear balcony overlooking the gorgeous Lancashire landscape. We were treated to the most amazing sunset just after the speeches where we shot outside onto the balcony for a couple of gorgeous silhouette portraits before the sun set behind the valley.

If you're looking for an exclusive Lancashire wedding venue, why not consider getting married at Mitton Hall? The newly re-furbished interior allows for some great photographs inside with the staircase and chandelier being some prime locations for shooting. The gardens are also stunning and allowed for some perfect captures too.

 
 A dance to remember - Rachel and David's first dance played out courtesy of DFC Lancashire

A dance to remember - Rachel and David's first dance played out courtesy of DFC Lancashire

Intimate first dance at Mitton Hall

Into the evening DFC Lancashire were on hand to set up and deliver Rachel and David's first dance music as friends and family all gathered and watched the newlyweds together on the dance floor. It was a special moment which topped off a very special wedding.

If you're looking to get married at Mitton Hall, why not drop us a message to chat about your plans?


If you're looking for relaxed wedding photography at Mitton Hall, why not get in touch?


Mitton Hall weddings photographed by Stephen McGowan. If you are getting married and looking for a natural wedding photographer then please get in touch to discuss more.


 
 

Tuscany Wedding Photography | Nicola and Phill

 
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Tuscany Wedding Photography

Earlier this year I flew out to Italy to join Nicola and Phill for their Tuscany wedding overlooking Lake Trasimeno. I landed the day before the wedding and met up with their families and friends over a BBQ meal in the afternoon; you could tell everybody was excited as plans were underway to have everything ready for their wedding the following day. Nic and Phil had hired an Italian villa for the week, one with a perfect view of Lake Trasimeno in the north of Umbria. The villa falls almost equidistant between Florence and Rome, and in between these two great cities lies some remarkable, breathtaking Tuscan scenery.
On the morning of the wedding the excitement was almost tangible. From early on in the morning the families were worked hard to have everything ready for the day ahead: The cake was prepped and creamed, the bouquets and flower arrangements were all looking beautiful, and the ceremony area was dressed and ready for the bride and groom to exchange their vows.

Nic and Phil's first kiss on the terrace of their Lake Trasimeno villa, watched on by Diane Rossi 'Blessings from Italy' Italian wedding celebrant.

Blessings From Italy - Destination Wedding Celebrants

'Blessings From Italy's wedding celebrant, Diane Rossi, married Nic on Phill on the villa's terrace overlooking a stunning landscape of Lake Trasimeno. The service itself was beautifully co-ordinated with special vows being spoken by bride and groom before wedding rings were exchanged.

The intimate ceremony came to a close with Nic and Phill's first kiss before hugs and celebrations commenced with their close family and friends at the villa.

 

Nic and Phil taking a stroll by the infinity pool overlooking Lake Trasimeno, Tuscany.

Italy Destination Wedding Photography

Once the ceremony had come to a close, we went for a wander around the grounds to capture some gorgeous natural moments between the newlyweds. We had a truly amazing backdrop to look out on as the Tuscan hills rolled on into the distance.

The villa also featured a swimming pool was was great for a couple of relaxed bride and groom portraits as they strolled through the grounds. We were then treated to some incredible Italian cuisine courtesy of the venue's caterers who performed wonders in the kitchen.

 

 

Relaxed, Documentary Wedding Photography

After the meal we listened to some great speeches given by the groom along with the family around the table. Speeches allow for some candid natural moments to be captured. Limoncello was then next on the agenda for everybody as everybody took a shot! this then flowed nicely into the bride and grooms first dance on the terrace overlooking the rolling Tuscan Landscape as their families danced into the night.

A relaxed moment together. Nic and Phill take shelter from the storm clouds above.

 

Photographing in Tuscany

As a photographer in Tuscany, I found the landscapes simply breathtaking. Landing in Rome the day before the wedding, I hired a car and took the scenic 100 mile drive (approximately three hours) through the Italian countryside. This route took me through the Italian towns of Terni, Perugia and Assisi and was a joy to travel through. The scenery up towards the villa was ideal for my wide angle lens to capture. If I had more time in the area I would have loved to have explored more towards Cortona and Florence, which are now firmly on my bucket list for destination weddings!

Nicola and Phill take a stroll in the gardens overlooking Lake Trasimeno, Tuscany.


Destination Wedding Photography

We are often asked by couples who love our style whether we can join them to photograph their destination wedding. We love travelling, we travel all over and would love to photograph your wedding abroad.


Tuscany Wedding Photography by Stephen McGowan


 
 

Quarry Bank Mill Wedding Photography | Lucy and Mitch

 
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Quarry Bank Mill Wedding Photography

What a day we had for Lucy and Mitch's Quarry Bank Mill wedding! the weather gods were definitely on our side for their special day! We've been fortunate with weather for a few weddings this year, I feel I'll soon owe a debt to the weather man for some gorgeous weather this year!
Before today's wedding I had visited the old quarry bank cotton factory several times (mainly on school field trips and GCSE History assignments admittedly) so it was great to re-visit the old manufacturing plant once again to photograph Lucy and Mitch's big day in-and-amongst the industrial machinery!
I met Lucy at her home in Macclesfield where her bride tribe were all on the champagne as they had their make-up done in the kitchen. Lucy's wedding dress looked absolutely stunning even before she had it on, hung upstairs on the wardrobe. Before you knew it we were outside with the bridesmaids and vintage car ready to head over to the ceremony at St Albans church in Macclesfield.
The wedding ceremony was very intimate and lovely, the church was dressed up for it's easter festivities which looked great for wide angle lens photographs from the back of the procession.

Lucy and Mitch taking a stroll on the grounds of Quarry Bank Mill

St Albans Church Service

Overall Lucy and Mitch's wedding had the lot:  a stunning bride making her entry down the aisle of St Albans, to vows being spoken, to rings being exchanged, confetti being tossed, colourful beautiful bouquets being held by the bridal party and all before heading over to the iconic industrial mill in Manchester for a fabulous reception.
Quarry Bank Mill has so many options when it comes to portraits. We had some great locations for our photos, using the front of the mill where Lucy and Mitch strolled by hand in hand which gave a lovely balance between wedding couple and industrial backdrop which
The speeches were quite a highlight on the day with Mitch's mum and Lucy's dad giving some great speeches before our groom received a speech full of dig and ribbing from his best man, all before an impromptu rendition of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' given by Mitch's mum which was brilliant!
After Lucy and Mitch's feet were a little sore from all the dancing, we nipped outside for a long exposure portrait on the mill bridge lighting up the newlyweds with a flash from behind which looked stunning against the night sky.

Absolutely awesome wedding! I really can't wait for my next Quarry Bank Mill wedding!


If you're looking for relaxed wedding photography at Quarry Bank Mill, why not get in touch?