I’m often asked by Tyn Dwr Hall couples for suggestions about how they should plan for their photography into their wedding day. My answer is always simple, first and foremost – ensure that your day is all about enjoyment and celebrating with each other, your family and guests. The incredible wedding team at TDH will help to ensure this all happens smoothly – and by doing so, your photographer will be able to capture all of the natural fun, laughter and partying which result in epic galleries! However, by choosing Tyn Dwr Hall as your venue, you also have a wealth of opportunity to escape and benefit from a stunning backdrop of the hall’s landscaped gardens and unique position in the hills of the Dee Valley.
Whilst no wedding is ever the same, to help you – a typical wedding day at Tyn Dwr Hall for me as a photographer would usually involve…
One of the most talked about rooms at TDH is the bridal dressing room. The decor is beautiful, the lighting perfect with the large bay window and the fireplace offers you the ideal place to hang your dress for that timeless image. I’d generally meet the bride and bridesmaids in here a few hours ahead of the ceremony to capture the build-up – whether that is sheet excitement, prosecco drinking, tears, happiness or nerves. This part of the day, like most others, would involve minimal interference from me – as I want you to enjoy the pampering and not add to any nerves that you may feel at this stage. It’s also a great space to capture that first look shot, or the reveal of the dress to your fellow bridesmaids. On leaving the dressing room, the backlit staircase provides a stunning place to photograph your dress for the first time, whilst the TDH team and your bridesmaids welcome you (usually with cheering and plenty of applause!!) at the bottom of the staircase.
There are a couple of options for staging your ceremony at TDH. I’ve mostly shot ceremonies from inside the ballroom – a modern, well-lit room headed up by a stunning fireplace naturally lit by windows onto the terrace. Sometimes, indoor weddings present a real lighting challenge to photographers, however this room is a real favourite of mine as the lighting throughout the year is always excellent. In addition, there is plenty of space for me (and your videographer if you choose) to capture your entrance and ceremony without being in the guests eyeline. I also love the attention to detail from the TDH staff at this point – as they take time to help straighten your dress before turning to make your entrance. Then, once the ceremony ends – the bell tower to the side of the room is a favourite for a chosen wedding guest to ring and start the celebrations! If you choose an outdoor ceremony, your entrance is across the manicured lawn to the wedding pagoda located next to the gentle stream flowing through the estate. Again, this is picture perfect for a wedding photographer – with natural light and plenty of space to work in unobtrusively.
By now, any nerves that you may have felt are totally forgotten and you can celebrate being married! Typically, the TDH team will give you a few minutes straight after the ceremony together in private – whilst guests are encouraged to assemble for the all important confetti shot at the front of the hall. By doing this, it ensures that all of the guests are there for this, they all have confetti and can go wild, creating one of your most memorable shots! Confetti shots are a real release of energy, colour and portray a “yes, we did it!!” moment. Apart from encouraging guests to take part, there’s no formality to this at all – as I just want to capture your faces in the moment as you beam with happiness and follow this up with hugs and cheers from your wedding party! It’s at this point (if time and weather allows) that I feel it’s vital to let you have time just to kick back and take the well wishes from everyone. For a reportage photographer like myself, it also offers the perfect opportunity to photograph these interactions, hugs and smiles – as I want you to look back and remember these less formal moments of the day.
Most weddings that I’ve shot will have some element of ‘group shots’ – those which involve the bridal party and family, but again, these are usually encouraged to be fairly informal. It’s also a good idea if you work with your photographer in advance to plan these. By doing so, it saves time on the day (…which is vital to keep to rough timings and give you longer with guests), plus your photographer can advise on who should be included based on your timings and initial list. TDH also offers several ideal spots for these – and a group photo of the whole wedding party – with the front of the hall, steps leading from the terrace to the garden and outside of the cottage proving real favourites!
Once any group shots are finished, it’s a good idea (if weather and timings allow!) to then take 10-15mins to just take time out, go for a walk on the pathway around the hall and let your photographer take those all important portraits of you both. This can be as formal or informal as you all wish – and again, your photographer will be able to work with you to ensure that you don’t feel awkward at any point. Ultimately, the best photos are always those where you’re in ’the moment’ – either laughing, playing around or just chatting to each other about how the day has gone so far. TDH’s swing offers a great opportunity for this, as you can both take 5 and play around on this – plus, I always find that the light in this part of the estate is incredible as it filters through the ancient oak trees, with the cottage as a backdrop. After that, take a walk towards the glamping village, past the stream, say hello to the neighbouring sheep and through the wildflowers back to the hall – all offering vibrant colour and intimate locations for photos. I’ve even walked this route through 3ft of snow in April with a couple, so it’s definitely an all year round opportunity!!
Taking place in the Garden Room (…named so, as it boasts probably the best wedding breakfast views in Wales over the TDH gardens to the Vale of Llangollen hills) – this purpose built extension onto the hall again offers superb light and ambience for your photographer. Whilst speeches can be nerve wracking, the space in the room allows your photographer to move unnoticed to capture the laughter, shock, tears and emotion that the speeches bring without being in anyones face. Once your wedding breakfast is served (by the incredible Wild Garlic chefs!) it’s at this point where your photographer will usually put the camera down, recharge and prepare for the evening party.
Depending on timings, your day may afford you a bit more downtime straight after your wedding breakfast – at which point you can freshen up, or depending on the time of year, maybe agree with your photographer to pop back outside and take some ‘golden hour’ or sunset shots. Again, the sunsets in this part of the world are some of the best around and as the sun sets over Llangollen, it creates some absolute epic lighting which floods the gardens at the hall.
Your evening offers even more chance for those relaxed reportage photos, and at this stage of the day, I love to get close to the action and capture the craziness of the dance floor partying in the ballroom, the chats around the fire pit on the terrace or even one of two slightly moodier group photos in the traditional Dickens bar just off the ballroom. Above all those, as is my aim throughout the day, it’s about capturing (not staging) your day and going with the flow largely. Typically, couples will know to expect around 10-20% of their final images – whilst the other 80% will bring more tears, laughter and joy because you won’t have noticed them being taken, or have forgotten about them as they’ll have been taken so quickly.
Another of the TDH features that I love is the architecture and beauty of the hall when it’s illuminated after dark. Both the front and rear of the hall are stunning – and it’s always great to take 5-minutes with your photographer to end this part of your day with a few night pictures with the hall in the background. You may also want to consider a sparkler exit photo on the terrace with some of your guests ahead of your evening buffet – which again work well as guests only have a short walk from the garden room to the terrace through the adjoining doors.
Thank you for reading!
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