– WESTON PARK –
WEDDING VENUE WEST MIDLANDS
Weston Park – STATELY HOME / COUNTRY HOUSE WEDDING VENUE
As a Weston Park wedding photographer, I love working at this 17th century Grade I listed Palladian-style mansion house. There’s so much variety and feasts for the eyes, no one can fail to be impressed.
From the moment you arrive you’ll be greeted by a venue set in 1000 acres of beautiful Capability Brown parkland, nestled in Shropshire countryside. You’ll find yourself surrounded by an internationally renowned collection of art and antiques.
Despite the grandeur of the house and the elegant surrounding parkland, Weston Park is refreshingly relaxed and informal, though not at the expense of professionalism and efficiency.
As this venue is only available as an exclusive use venue, you’ll be sure to get their renowned 5* service from their team of butlers, housekeepers and chefs, who’ll pamper to your every need.
This is why Weston Park deserves to be one of the top 10 wedding venues in the West Midlands.
Having shot several weddings over the years, I know the whole of the estate, different rooms and onsite facilities very intimately. So I’ll walk you through what to expect, where are the best places to enjoy, while answering your questions about the venue itself and how it’s ideal as a luxury wedding venue, especially if art and history are important to you.
Getting Ready at Weston Park
They have 28 luxurious bedrooms available for your wedding party, all of which are located within the House. You can download a brochure from their website to see exactly which ones suit your needs the best.
As you’d expect from a venue with high standards, each room has either en-suite or private bathroom, television, fluffy towels and robe.
Plus, every room has an individual character and is furnished with family heirlooms, antique furniture and original paintings. Many of their rooms offer a breathtaking view of the formal gardens and acres of land.
What I love about their rooms is that they have plenty of natural light for the best photography, as I rarely use flash. Window light is not only the most flattering lighting when used correctly, but by avoiding flash I’ll also be able to preserve the beauty of your chosen room for you in your images.
An added benefit of avoiding flash where possible, is the fact I’m trying to make myself as unobtrusive as possible. You can relax while getting ready without a flash constantly going off and reminding you of the fact “you’re on camera!”.
When I get a review like “You were like a secret agent, scooting around so quietly that we barely ever knew you were around which made for such honest photographs.” I know I’ll have done my job properly for you.
Getting Married at Weston Park
While Weston Park is licensed for civil ceremonies, you can also choose to get married at the onsite Parish Church of St Andrews, which is also available for ceremonies and blessings.
At the House, you can have up to 120 for your wedding ceremony. With the House available in its entirety, you can use all the rooms and grounds in a way that suits whatever you’re planning for your wedding.
The house’s grand staircase quite appropriately allows you to make a grand entrance to your wedding ceremony as you sweep down the marbled steps toward married life.
Parish Church of St. Andrews
The church is situated next to the house and is only a short walk from the house. You can actually see the spire looking over the Orangery in the 3rd photo at the top of the page.
On a lovely summer’s day, it becomes a pleasant experience for your guests, as they’ll enjoy the beauty of the surroundings on their way to and from the House. While during the autumn, your guests will enjoy the riot of colours of the trees along the route.
St Andrews is a small and compact parish church, perfect for intimate wedding ceremonies. Like the House it’s a Grade I listed building and is steeped in history.
Once your ceremony is over, you can greet your guests by the entrance and even take a few small group photos on the steps, as it’s all in a lovely natural shaded area. When I take any group photos, the position of the sun when out is crucial. No one wants to have the sun in their eyes, squinting into the camera. That’s why working here is such a treat as the position of the sun is ideal for any photographs you’ll need.
Then it’s another short walk back to the main House. You can of course hire your own transportation back and forth if you wish, but if the weather is fine, I’d recommend the walk to experience the peaceful, beautiful scenery on the estate, especially towards the end of the year, when you’ll also enjoy the autumn colours.
Equestrian Wedding Venue
If you’re planning a wedding and want the theme to revolve around your love of horses, why not book this fabulous equestrian venue?
Weston Park in Shropshire is a familiar name for British eventers, as it’s a regular fixture on the events calendar. The Weston Park Horse Trials take place in April and October, and it also runs regular BE80/90/100/Novice events.
But instead of riding hard through the Capability Brown-designed parkland, imagine looking out over it with a glass of champagne in your hand, or arriving by horse drawn carriage?
Weston Park would love to cater for you, as it has a rich equestrian history – in the 19th Century, the 3rd Earl of Bradford ran a very successful stud, which produced his Derby winner, Sir Hugo, and paintings of horses by George Stubbs are amongst the priceless art works that decorate the walls.
This is a perfect venue for a horse-themed wedding.
Wedding Photography at Weston Park
Photos During Drinks’ Reception
Once the ceremony is over, it’ll be time to relax and catch up with family and friends, during the drinks reception. I love this time at a wedding as it allows me to capture the real mood and spirit of a wedding day and is the perfect time for me to capture my signature, story-telling photos as everyone becomes engrossed in conversation and lively activity.
But don’t stay outdoors. When you book such a luxury wedding venue to get married in, you have to explore the whole house. So this is also an excellent time to wander around to enjoy the world-famous art collection, and to see which famous works of art you can spot.
Although I’m primarily a documentary wedding photographer, some of my couples still would like a few formal posed group photos, which I’m more than happy to oblige.
This is where my intimate knowledge of Weston Park allows me to choose the best locations, so the session can be done quickly, without dragging on.
For example, because the back of the house is facing north-west, I’ll generally take the group photos at the back of the house. There are a few advantages doing it that way:
- Everyone is on hand in the garden during the drinks reception there. That way it’s easy to quickly gather the relevant people for a photo.
- By using the back garden area and facing all the groups towards the house, I’ll have the 1000 acre Capability Brown landscape gardens as a backdrop. Yes I could use the house as a backdrop, but then all the mingling guests would be in the background.
- If the sun is shining, everyone will be protected from having the sun in their eyes. as the sun will be behind them and can be used as a beautiful back rim-light to enhance the photos.
Couple’s Photo Session
I’ll use the same knowledge of the estate and direction of the sun at different times of the day and year, to work out the best angles for the photos of the bride and groom. So when we go for a quick walk-about photo session, I’ll be able to maximise the brief time we spend together.
This session isn’t really a “photo shoot”. It’s a just a lovely time for the bride and groom to spend some quality time together, while I’ll photograph a few natural, largely un-posed photos of them together.
Wedding Breakfast at Weston Park
Depending on the size of your guest list, you can choose from either the Dining Room or the Orangery for your wedding breakfast.
If you have extra guests arriving for the evening reception, they’ll find no problem parking, as Weston Park has 200 parking spaces.
Dining Room at Weston Park
Imagine dining with original Old Master paintings, in a magnificent, period dining room! That’s what’s available for you, if you’re looking to host a small, intimate wedding breakfast.
Wedding Breakfast in the Orangery
As one of only a few around in the West Midlands, Weston Park is an Orangery wedding venue. Orangeries became very popular in the 18th century as ornate greenhouses built to grow tropical fruit during British winters.
Many stately homes transformed their orangeries into a beautiful wedding venue, which benefited from the natural light they were designed to maximise. Plus the Victorian ornate architecture added to the picturesque look they tended to have.
Weston Park is no different. If you require more space for your wedding breakfast, and have up to 120 guests, their Victorian Orangery makes the perfect space for your wedding breakfast and evening reception. It has plenty of space for your guests not to feel too cramped at 116 sq m with a ceiling height of 3m.
Along with it’s natural daylight, giving it the characteristic light and airy feel, the added chandelier maintains the opulent feel to space. Added to that, the stone floor is ideal for dancing the night away.
At some point in the day, make sure to stop by their magnificent Library. This cosy space with an open fire, is the ideal place to relax, wind down and get ready for the party in the evening.
As a nice treat for the children (and grown-ups too!) at the wedding, they can be booked on a train ride on Weston Park’s own miniature railway. Weston Park Railway, running through the estate grounds, and is one of the longest 7 ¼” gauge railways in Britain.
The one mile journey takes 12 minutes and takes riders through scenic Temple Wood past lakes and woodland, taking in wildlife at every turn.
Evening Reception at Weston Park
Once the evening kicks off, that’s when you can really kick off your shoes to celebrate and dance the night away in the Orangery.
They have a licensed bar until 12 am, but an extension to the license is available on request.
Why not finish the day off with a spectacular fireworks display, as Weston Hall is a fireworks-friendly wedding venue.
But please, don’t end your day this way!!
Overnight Accommodation at Weston Park
Once the wedding is over, where can you stay at Weston Park? In addition to the 28 luxurious bedrooms within the house itself to choose from, there are a few other places on the estate, where you can stay overnight.
The Weston Park estate is home to five unique historic holiday properties each with their own story.
The Weston Park Foundation, the independent charitable trust that owns and maintains the estate has given each property a new lease of life balancing comfort and modernity whilst remaining sympathetic to their extraordinary heritage thus providing a rare opportunity to stay in the heart of this historical estate.
Booking details can be found in the relevant links below.
The Temple of Diana sleeps 6 in three double bedrooms, set over three floors with two being en-suite. This Grade I listed building is actually another Orangery on the Weston Park estate.
The Knoll Tower sleeps 2 and is set over three floors, leading up to the top floor sitting room with panoramic views over the 18th century parkland.
Pink Cottage sleeps 2 and has a quirky pink and blue exterior in a beautiful hideaway nestled in the heart of Temple Wood.
The Potting Shed sleeps 2 and is on one floor. It has beautiful white washed walls and quirky features, but with all the home comforts that you would expect.
The Garden Bothy sleeps 2. With its exposed brick and old country wooden floor, this property has been given a warm scheme. But it still has all the modern touches expected with an open plan living space and a hi-spec kitchen.
These are self-catering properties. But if you don’t feel like cooking the Granary Brasserie is just a short walk or drive from each property.
The Granary Brasserie is open daily from 9:30am to 5pm serving breakfast, light bite lunches, coffee and homemade cakes. They also offer a la carte dinner menus on a Friday and Saturday evening.
Breakfast – 9.30am – 11.30am
Lunch – daily – 12noon – 2.30pm
Dinner – Friday and Saturday evenings
Sunday Lunch – 12noon – 4pm
The History of Weston Park
The history of Weston Park goes back to land first mentioned in the Doomsday Book when it was held by Norman Rainald de Bailleuil, Sheriff to Roger de Montgomery.
The house was built in 1671 for Lady Elizabeth Wilbraham. Although it is often claimed that she was her own architect, there is no conclusive documentary evidence for this and it is most likely that the executant architect was William Taylor, who is known to have been at Weston Park in 1674. Lady Wilbraham was evidently an enthusiastic patron, however, and her heavily-annotated copy of Palladio’s book remains in the collection at Weston Park.
The three-storey, twelve-bayed south front of the House was originally the entrance front but alterations and improvements carried out in the latter 19th century for Orlando Bridgeman, 3rd Earl of Bradford of the second creation involved the movement of the main entrance to the east front. The original courtyard of the “U”-shaped house was roofed over above the ground floor, and closed off by a new front.
In the eighteenth century, with the failure of the male line of the Newport Earls of Bradford, Weston was inherited by Sir Henry Bridgeman, 5th Baronet, whose mother Lady Anne Bridgeman (née Newport) was a granddaughter of Lady Wilbraham. The Bridgemans were already substantial landowners in Shropshire and in Warwickshire but chose to make Weston their main seat. Sir Henry Bridgeman commissioned Capability Brown to landscape the park. He also employed James Paine in the 1760s to make alterations to the House and, in the park, to add a Roman Bridge and Temple of Diana.
Weston Park Art Collection
Weston Park’s art collection includes many portraits from the 17th to 20th centuries, with rare pieces such as two portraits of ladies of the Wilbraham family by John Michael Wright, two early portraits by John Constable, and two portraits of apparently the same child by Sofonisba Anguissola.
Most major English 18th-century portraitists are represented, and there are a number of portraits by Anthony van Dyck and his workshop; that of Sir Thomas Hanmer is especially fine. There is a George Stubbs of horses, and a pair of coastal scenes by Claude Joseph Vernet (Calm and Storm). It’s here that you’ll also find a set of 12 finely carved chairs in the Entrance Hall created by Chippendale himself.
Looking for other venues?
If this venue isn’t what you’re looking for, or you’d like other similar venues to consider, have a look at the list of Best Wedding Venues in the West Midlands. There you’ll find 100+ venues where to get married, to help you decide on your perfect venue.
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