Chippenham Park Wedding Advice – 5 Tips to Plan the Perfect Day!
If you’re currently planning a Chippenham Park wedding this blog post is for you. This stunning Cambridgeshire wedding venue is steeped in history and dates back to the 1690’s, when it was created by Admiral Russel. As a recommended wedding photographer at the venue I’ve shot over 20 weddings there, giving me a real insight in to what works the best. I also live in Chippenham so make regular visits to the many open days they hold. It really is a joy to walk around the beautiful gardens and enjoy a slice of cake and coffee in the Potting Shed Cafe.
So here are my top 5 tips to plan your Chippenham Park wedding to perfection.
Tip 1 – Chippenham Park Wedding Ceremony Location – Inside or Out?
I’ve photographed weddings at Chippenham Park in all types of weather. Fortunately this fully licensed venue is blessed with two fantastic outdoor options for your ceremony and an equally impressive indoor one.
Outside you can tie the knot in The Octagon. This is an oak gazebo in the yew hedged area just in front of the house and seats up to 120 guests. Or alternatively there’s the Lake Summerhouse, another smaller and more rustic structure down by the lake. This second option is certainly the most popular. It’s located about 100m from the house and this gives the bride the opportunity for a lengthy entrance walk, which is great for photos. The walk back to the terrace where canapes and cocktails await is also nice, and allows your guests to experience the beauty of the gardens more fully.
The downside of course is that if it rains the ceremony will have to be moved indoors to the Old Ball Room. This is a decision that the Chippenham Park events team will make on the day. I find that they always do their very best to make sure you get the location that you want, but sometimes its just not possible.
Something to Consider
Every bride and groom creates a perfect vision of how they see the day . If the ceremony moves location at the last hour, is that something you will cope with? Or will the disappointment sully the experience? Some brides I’ve spoken too have intentionally chosen to go inside as this is a scenario they wanted to avoid and felt more comfortable knowing exactly what would happen. My advice is to be realistic with your expectations and take in to account the time of year, as well as the fact that the British Summer brings no guarantee of sunshine. Inside or out every Chippenham Park wedding I’ve been to has been a truely memorable experience.
Tip 2 – It’s all about the Preparation…
Bridal prep that is! The bridal suite at Chippenham Park is generally available from 12 p.m. This means that most brides will have hair and make up done elsewhere. This is something that you’ll need to think about. A lot of people tend to get nervous on the morning of the big day and the last thing you’ll need is added stress. With that in mind I always recommned getting ready nearby and using local MUA’s and hair stylists. This means that no-one has far to travel and there’s less chance of being delayed. Often my couples ask me to recommend people that I’ve worked with before, so here are some of the best in the Cambridgeshire and Suffolk area –
Make Up Artists –
I met Dani through photographing weddings and eventually ended up shooting hers! Check it out on my blog. Dani is a brilliant make up artist and a really lovely person. https://www.danirobertsmakeup.com/
Sabrina Professional Make Up Artist
I’ve worked with Sabrina many times and after editing the photos I’m always impressed by the quality of her work. http://www.sabrinapromakeup.co.uk/
Hair Stylists –
Hair by Abbie
If you need an amazing hair stylist Abbie is the woman for you. I also shot her wedding a few years back and she looked absolutely stunning. She also managed to do her own hair and all the bridesmaids! https://www.facebook.com/HairbyAbbie1/
BONUS TIP – To get the best photos ask your MUA to sit you facing near a window. Natural light is always the most flattering.
Places to get ready –
Both Bride and Groom prep are awesome opportunities to get some natural photographs and help everyone relax. Its also a chance to shoot details such as the wedding dress, rings, bouquet and wedding jewelry, as well as, cufflinks, suits, ties and speeches. However, with weddings at Chippenham Park I tend to take these photos in and around the beautiful bridal suite when you arrive at midday, making the most of the incredible setting
Again, if your not local you may well need advice on the best places to stay the night before. As you cant access the Chippenham Park wedding venue before midday, this is where the bulk of your prep will be. Here are two local and trusted options –
The Pack Horse Inn – Moulton
The Packhorse Inn is a traditional pub with a fresh, modern design and a real feel of quality. The restaurant and rooms are outstanding. Located just over the border in Suffolk, the village of Moulton is picturesque and only a 10 minute journey to Chippenham Park. http://www.thepackhorseinn.com/
The Bedford Lodge – Newmarket
This is a popular choice when staying in the historic racing town of Newmarket and is the one of the very finest hotels in the area. It lacks the small boutique feel of The Packhorse Inn, but benefits from a wider range of facilities ( including a luxury spa), large rooms to get ready in and the amenities of the town. Like Moulton it’s only a short drive to Chippenham Park. https://bedfordlodgehotel.co.uk/
Tip 3 – Book some Entertainment
This piece of advice can really apply to most weddings. To date I’ve photographed 18 Chippenham Park weddings and 182 in total. One thing that I often observe is that after the wedding breakfast and speeches there’s a natural lull before the cake cut and first dance. This can sometimes dampen the atmosphere and leave your guests at a loose end. From my experience having some sort of entertainment during this period can really help. It doesn’t have to be at this point of the day of course, during the meal or drinks reception is also a popular choice. Here are some excellent wedding entertainment choices that I can personally recommend
Wedding Magicians –
I love magic and these guys always go down incredibly well every time I see them. I can honestly say that if I got married again I would book one of these guys.
This guy is seriously cool and with a dress sense and brand of magic to match. I regularly see Jamie at weddings and he never fails to amaze. http://www.jamiesegrave.com/#About
Wayne is a really likeable guy! He’s not just a great wedding magician, but also a classic comedian and entertainer. https://www.waynegoodman.co.uk/weddings1.html
The image below is from an actual Chippenham Park wedding that I shot a few years back.
Singing Waiters –
Silver Service Singers
I’ve seen these guys three times this year and they really are incredible! The action starts toward the end of the meal when they suddenly and unexpectedly announce their presence to the room. They literally had the Chippenham Park marquee rocking, with people dancing on their chairs. The energy was insane! If you cant imagine what this was like, check out the videos on their site https://silverservicesingers.com/services/weddings/
Tip 4 – Make Sure the Evening Ends on A High
Sometimes a good wedding just fizzles out and by 10 p.m the dancefloor is empty. That’s a shame because Chippenham Park has a really fantastic dancefloor located in their impressive marquee. If that’s something you want to avoid here’s a few ideas on how.
Hire a Great Band –
There’s nothing like a great wedding band to get people up and dancing. But not all bands are equal. To be fair most of the ones I see at weddings sound good, but some just bring the X factor. They interact with the audience and bring a level of showmanship that absolutely rocks the party! Here are some of my favourite wedding bands –
Candy Apple Blue
I shot a Chippenham Park wedding a few years back and noticed the lead singer arrive. Straight away he was walking around the room introducing himself to the guests and telling them what a great time they were going to have. Sure enough the night was amazing and I’ll never forget the legendary dance off he had with one of the guests. http://candyappleblue.co.uk/
Most wedding bands just do your standard wedding covers. These are great. but if you want something a little more, well soulful, the Soul Thieves deliver. Guaranteed to make everyone get down. https://www.thesoulthieves.co.uk/
The Indie Killers
I saw these guys recently and they were immense! The bride even got up and rocked out Valerie with them. Definitely not the usual wedding songs, so check them out if that sounds like your cup of tea. .https://www.theindiekillers.com/
Keep the Props on the Dancefloor
It’s still popular to hire a photo booth for your wedding. Sure, they can be fun, but I find that they tend to keep people away from the dancefloor, not to mention the cost.. Also, its one of those things that’s been done to death. Why not make your wedding a bit more unique and have your own table of props next to the dancefloor? Guests will wear and use them as they dance which makes for some real fun wedding photos!
Get Your Guests Involved
Wedding guests can be a surprisingly talented bunch so why not make that part of the evening? Maybe you or one of the bridal party is a great singer? Or the best man can play the sax? Both of these happened at my wedding this year and went down a storm!
Bonus Tip – Do you love a party? Want all the dancefloor madness captured? I offer an option for extended coverage up until midnight, so you wont miss a thing. See my wedding photography packages here.
Tip 5 – Hire a Chippenham Park Wedding Photographer that Knows the Venue
Ok, so this is the bit when I talk about me. I really believe that knowing a venue helps a photographer to get the best possible photos of your wedding day. This applies even more so to a wedding at Chippenham Park, which has such extensive and beautiful grounds. I know these like the back of my hand and where to go to get those special shots. I also make sure to shoot some portraits in the house itself, which can be some of the best.
Because I live locally and offer coverage until 10pm as standard I also get a variety of shots throughout the day. During daylight I’ll be taking those natural, relaxed wedding photos that everyone loves. Then when the stars come out we can head outside to create something really special. I’m always happy to show you full galleries of Chippenham Park weddings that I’ve shot, so you can see my work in full.