Normanton Church: A wedding venue on Rutland Water
March saw me heading back to Rutland, (the smallest county don’t you know) to photograph Laura and Jonathan’s wedding at the stunning Normanton church, nestled on the banks of Rutland Water. This now de-consecrated church, is a breathtaking location for civil wedding ceremonies and I was excited to be back here. And with such great weather, too! This church, which seems to be stood on a rocky outcrop that juts into the resevoir, has actually been partially submerged, so when you’re inside, you’re actually stood in the upper half of the building. I love historical and architectural oddities, so this place certainly piques my interest. Anyway…back to weddings.
Wedding preparations at the Normanton Park Hotel
I arrived at the Normanton Park Hotel, where both Laura and Jonathan were staying, to photograph their morning preparations. I’ve probably said it before, but I love it when I get to capture a little of both sides of the wedding morning. To me, it gives a lovely balance to the finished photos and album. I started with Laura, whose room had views out over Rutland Water. The weather that morning had been high winds, and there had been reports that the boat that Laura, Jon and their wedding guests would take a ride on after the ceremony, wasn’t going to be able to run. So with views over the water, it was met with whoops of delight when the mums caught a glimpse of the boat making it’s way over the reservoir. Looked like the boat ride was on!
Normanton Park Hotel is just a short walk away from the church, so despite the high winds and high heels, the bridesmaids left Laura and walked to the venue, with me in tow, while Laura sensibly opted to be driven around. At the church there’s a little back room where the bride can choose to use prior to the ceremony, and because the only way into the church is through the front door, it meant Laura had to be there before anyone else. After Jon and the guests had arrived and taken their seats, it was time for Laura to leave the confines of the church’s secret back room, and make her way to the front for the ceremony.
Post-ceremony boat ride on the Rutland Belle
After the ceremony there was a little bit of time before the boat arrived, and though the wind had dropped enough for the boat to sail, it was still bloomin’ cold, so the guests sought shelter back in the church. As the boat appeared behind the church, we all made our way to the little mooring, and boarded the Rutland Belle. The top deck remained curiously empty. On the lower, warmer deck, canapes were served, champagne was poured, and the scenery was enjoyed through the boat’s huge scenery-enjoying windows. It’s a great thing to do, so if you’re ever near Rutland Water, I recommend checking it out.
Back on dry land, me and the guests walked back along the shoreline to the hotel for the wedding breakfast and reception. The cold wind snapping at our heels, the brandy hot chocolates waiting for us at the door were possibly the most welcome thing any of us could’ve asked for. As the guests thawed out a little, Laura and Jon returned to the hotel, and soon everyone was seated for the wedding breakfast, with beautiful views across the hotel gardens to the water. Not bad at all.
Once the last spoonful of dessert had been finished, the tables were cleared and it was time to cut the cake. Despite having a table full of cakes (which they’d asked guests to make and bring along) they only cut the one, before making their way onto the dance floor for a wonderfully choreographed first dance to the flashes of cameras and “Oooh”s and “Aaah”s of their family and friends.
Thanks to Laura and Jonathan for such a wonderful day, and if you’re thinking about getting married at Rutland Water, get in touch and tell me a little bit about your plans.