Many of us, I daresay, believe that our own home town or village is the best place in the country to get married. I know I do, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to showcase mine in this blog. In doing so, I’ve got a suggestion right at the end of this blog for those of you who are planning a town or village wedding. By that, I mean one that isn’t taking place at, for example, a country hotel with its own grounds. My tip also works if you’re looking forward to an ‘urban’ engagement portrait shoot.
Olde Worlde charm in the Test Valley
Romsey is a pretty market town in Hampshire, a few miles north of Southampton. The cathedral cities of Winchester and Salisbury are just over 10 and 15 miles away, respectively. The town is dominated by its Norman Abbey, which serves as its parish church and is very popular for wedding services. I’ve been a member of the choir there for nearly 25 years. On its southern edge is is Broadlands, the country estate where Charles and Diana spent the first part of their honeymoon in 1981. Other local wedding venues include The White Horse, The Cromwell Arms, Kimbridge Barn and the Potter’s Heron Hotel.
To show off what a beautiful backdrop Romsey can be for wedding images, I recently took a couple in full wedding attire around the town with my camera. Olivia George Bridal of Winchester loaned the dresses, and Judy Webb Florist of Romsey kindly provided a bouquet of white roses, lizzinanthus and lysimachia.
The Abbey is Romsey’s main landmark. It’s an imposing backdrop for any photo, both inside and out. Emma, in her fit and flare Phoenix gown, is almost dwarfed by the stained-glass windows at the east end of the church.
The spacious green outside lets you include the whole of the Abbey in the frame. Emma and her fiancé Aaron were able to adopt suitably romantic poses on the lawn.
If you’re getting married in a cathedral city or a church with a churchyard, these are shots you too should ask for. There are ways in Photoshop of removing unwanted people walking through the frame afterwards!
The Abbey’s north porch and the Church Road approach also frame couple portraits beautifully.
If you’re getting married at the United Reformed Church, ask your photographer to capture of the two of you in its little garden. The stream beneath leads your eye into the scene.
So too does the perspective in another scene around the corner in Abbey Water, where railings vanish into the distance.
The labyrinth in the grounds of Wisdom House proved to be a great spot for a billowing veil portrait. The concentric circles draw your eye to the couple.
The bandstand in the Memorial Park provided another focal point. By this stage, Emma had changed into another Phoenix dress – a 50s style, traditional satin ballgown. Her elegant waltz there with Aaron was a great way to show off the second dress she wore.
Finally, Sadler’s Mill is a gorgeous spot for couple photographs by the River Test. The views work both up and down the river. It’s a few minutes’ walk from the town centre, so it might not be practical to visit if your wedding day is running on a tight schedule.
Is there a waterside location you can use in your town or village?
An idea for you
So, this is the tip I promised you. Explore together the streets near where you’re getting married. Take iphone snaps of interesting archways, railings or pretty side-streets, floral borders in nearby parks, brightly-painted rows of houses – anything that would make for an interesting backdrop to a portrait. You might find it a fun way to get away from the stress of wedding planning for an hour or so!
Share them in good time with your photographer, who might not be so familiar with where you’re getting married. They might say no, that shot won’t work for these reasons – but other suggestions could be really useful.
Speaking personally as a photographer, I try to be open-minded. I love it when couples engage with the creative process.
Visit dombrenton.com to find more about Dom, or phone/text him to discuss your wedding plans on 07907 313673.
Bridal boutique: Olivia George Bridal
Florist: Judy Webb Florist
Model: Verena Modelling