Being a professional wedding photographer takes me all over the UK (and Europe occasionally) to photograph weddings. But I’m a Derbyshire lad at heart, so wanted to talk a little bit about some of the great Derbyshire wedding venues available to you. If you’re still looking for that perfect place for your wedding, keep reading.
I’ve been lucky enough to call Derbyshire home for most of my life. You can often find me roaming the hills and countryside in search of the next great vista to point my camera at. It’s a beautiful county to live in and with the Peak District on its doorstep, too! It's not hard to see why so many people decide to have their wedding here.
"There is not a finer county in England than Derbyshire"
Miss Bingley, 'Pride and Prejudice'.
If you've spent any time at all looking for Derbyshire wedding venues, chances are you'll have heard of this fantastic place already. It's a converted cotton mill which is a part of a much larger complex of beautiful old industrial buildings in the picturesque Darley Abbey area. It opened last year, and it's books have been filling up ever since. If you like the look of it, you'd better get in their fast as I know some months are totally booked up. I mean, every day. Yup, even Wednesdays!
I first became aware of The West Mill while it was still undergoing it's magical transformation. Even then, there was a load of excitement building about it. Derbyshire has plenty of wonderful, charming and rustic wedding settings, but this looked like it was going to be something completely different. Custom-built for weddings, and with four floors from which your wedding day can flow, top to bottom. And each floor is breath-taking. It has so much of the original building there, which is wonderful to see. It could've so easily been turned into a rather soulless place by plastering over the bricks and hiding the original features, but these guys have made something special. Something very special indeed. (Can you tell that I quite like this place?)
Anyway, I was lucky enough to get my first visit to the mill earlier this year when I was asked to photograph Lisa & Torsten's wedding. It was a beautiful wedding that I felt honoured to be a part of, and with a venue like this as a backdrop, it was perfect. You can view some of the photos from the day in the link below, but keep your eyes peeled on the blog for the full post soon.
Sarah and Dave picked this beautiful country house as the venue for their wedding a few years back. One of the things that was most important to them in their search for a venue was somewhere with plenty of space outside so that they could have a series of yurts put up to hold the dance floor, seating and a bar. Birdsgrove House is a wonderful wedding venue if you're looking to have a very outdoorsy wedding, with lawn games and yurts or tipi's.
It wasn't just the grounds of this old house that played host to their wedding day. Sarah and her bridesmaids spent the night in Hope Cottage, which sits just behind the main house. It's a lovely self-contained cottage with doors in the kitchen that open to the glorious Derbyshire countryside. What a way to look forward to your wedding day! While Sarah and co. were soaking up the sun at Hope Cottage, Dave and his groomsmen were inside the main house preparing details for the day, some of which included about 5 million Krispy Kreme doughnuts!
Birdsgrove House is a great spot if you want a flexible wedding venue with space to create that perfect wedding that's been floating around in your head. Below is a slideshow of a few photos from Sarah and Dave's wedding that show you a little of the house and it's surroundings.
Blackbrook House had been on my radar for a while, but it wasn't until last year when Faye and Tom booked me to photograph their wedding, that I finally got to work there. When I arrived at the venue I was shown up to the bridal apartment by one of the venue's very helpful staff. Blackbrook House has been set-up specifically to be a wedding venue. There aren't any rooms for the couple or guests to stay, instead there's an amazing apartment-style suite where the bride or groom can spend the morning getting ready. Part way through the bridal prep, the venue even brought up chocolate-dipped strawberries! And yes, I did!
Another useful thing about getting married at Blackbrook House is that they have a wealth of props and decorations with which you can use to style your wedding. So if you're working to a budget or aren't sure what sort of look to give your wedding, the guys at Blackbrook will definitely be able to help you!
The house sits in lovely woodland with a good sized patio and garden for guests to relax and enjoy. There's a lovely winding drive that takes you from the main road through the surrounding woodland up to the house itself, and all of this gave us plenty of options for some informal portraits of Faye and Tom. Have a look through the slideshow below to see some of the images showcasing this fantastic Derbyshire wedding venue.
Built for a local family in the mid 19th century, Shottle Hall is now a family-run business that is one of Derbyshire's most popular wedding venues. I was asked by Beth and Emmet to photograph their wedding, where after a ceremony at Saint Mary's church in Derby, the happy couple and their wedding guests made their way out to Shottle Hall for the wedding breakfast and evening reception.
Shottle Hall is a gorgeous country estate, with a stunning house set amongst manicured gardens with views over Derbyshire. Sounds pretty spectacular, right? You can certainly see why so many couples choose this as the venue for their wedding.
The grounds make for some fantastic backdrops for your guests to enjoy the summer afternoon or for some natural portraits of you and your beloved. And if you opt for a winter wedding, you have a fantastic country house with the amazing starlit room for your wedding reception. Have a look through the short slideshow below to see a few images from Beth and Emmet's wedding at Shottle.
Thornbridge Hall's slogan states "...never ordinary", and they're not wrong! It's one of the most unique Derbyshire wedding venues, set against hundreds of acres of some of the finest countryside England has to offer with 12 acres of well-tended gardens surrounding the hall. But step inside the stately home and you won't find lots of stuffy, dark rooms filled with antiques. Far from it, there's a games room complete with pool table, jukebox and music paraphernalia and then if you cast your eyes to the top of the impressive staircase, you'll see some quite contemporary pieces of art. It's a fascinating place, and your wedding guests will certainly not be at a loss for things to look at and places to explore.
Louise and Charles chose this rather special venue for their wedding, and after getting married at St. Alkmund's church in Duffield, everyone made their way to Thornbridge Hall for the reception. For those guests who weren't interested in shooting pool, they had the magnificent music room to relax in. With huge windows lining the exterior walls and some classic furniture, it's a fantastic room, and all that natural light makes it a photographer's dream!
When the rain stopped, we all got a chance to get out into the gardens around the venue, which gave us chance to admire the hall itself as well as the beautiful Derbyshire scenery that surrounds it. So if you're looking for a stately home for your wedding, but fancy it with a bit of a twist, then Thornbridge Hall will be right up your street. Watch the slideshow below for a few photos from Lou and Charles' wedding.
If you're looking for a venue with plenty of outdoors space, in a gorgeous woodland setting, then you should definitely get in touch with the team at The Glade. Based at the Rosliston Forestry Centre in South Derbyshire, The Glade has a huge marquee, an outdoor gazebo, and a large grassy lawn surrounded by woodland. What more could you want!?
Carrying on with the outdoors theme, you can also opt for a spot of archery, orienteering, Laser Combat, or a birds of prey experience. Not something you'll see at most weddings! (Seriously...go for some Laser Combat! I've never even heard of someone doing that at their wedding!)