I’d never documented a wedding at Cantley Park in Wokingham before this summer, although I’d been there many times. Cantley Park has a number of football pitches and sports facilities that my kids have enjoyed. I hadn’t realised what a beautiful wedding venue was hidden away behind all the sports stuff. Here is a view from the main reception area at the back of the venue. As you can see it is a beautiful old house, with fantastic gardens ( more on that later ).
Steve and Lesley and their wedding
I was contacted by Steve and Lesley during lockdown but we couldn’t actually meet in person until a month before the wedding. They wanted a relaxed, documentary style of coverage, which is my preferred way of working anyway. On the day itself, the weather looked…unreliable to say the least! Typically for August in the UK, which is supposed to be “summer”, rain was on the way. I began with some very relaxed bridal prep coverage at Lesley’s parents place.
About an hour before the wedding service I went over to Cantley Park in Wokingham. It was great to be in a local venue with minimal driving for a change. The wedding guests and Steve were all getting warmed up for the ceremony in the bar. It was not long before the main event though, so after taking a few candid shots I made my way to the main ceremony room.
Waiting for the ceremony
The ceremony room at Cantley Park is a lovely wood panelled room. There are nice big windows to let in some photography friendly light. There were a few nerves as we waited. I always feel the nerves at this time as well. These shots are the most important of the day.
The Wedding Ceremony
The service, like most civil ones, was quite short, but really well done. There were some lovely readings, which clearly meant a lot to Steve and Lesley. A few eyes had to be dried at certain points, but there were also fun moments. Lesley had problems getting the ring on Steve’s finger, which led to some laughs. Here are a few photos from the ceremony.
Here comes the rain
Just after I’d taken the first of the formal shots the rain decided to pay a visit!
Thankfully Cantley Park has plenty of fairly large indoor areas, and a lot of nooks and crannies. I was able to find a great place to take some of the formals in front of a huge window. I was delighted with the quality of light here , and it meant we could get the formals done even with the inclement weather.
Cantley Park – the gardens
There are some beautiful gardens to the rear of Cantley Park, with some great spots for formal shots, and also shots of the bride and groom. As you can see in the shot below, there are these beautiful archways in multiple locations. These archways provide great natural frames to place your couple within.
The Wedding Breakfast
The staff at Cantley Park were absolutely wonderful. As a wedding photographer you get to see behind the scenes a bit at a wedding. I always find it interesting to see the dynamic of how the staff operate under the stress of a wedding. At Cantley Park the staff had a lovely, relaxed, fun atmosphere going on behind the scenes. Senior members of staff ensured everything was being handled in a professional manner, but also found time for jokes and banter with the junior members of staff. The staff were also super nice to me, making sure I was fed and watered. Here are a couple of shots of the delicious food.
Of course no wedding breakfast would be complete without the speeches. All three of the speeches had their own special moments, and I always try and capture the audience reactions as well as the speakers themselves. The best man’s speech was particularly funny and it had the audience in absolute stitches at one point.
After the speeches there was a bit of a break, so time for me to back up images! Everyone else was getting refreshed for the evening guests arrival. For some that meant propping up the bar, for others, a change of outfit. Cantley Park has a nice variety of inside and outside areas to relax in.
After this pleasant lull in proceedings it was time for the first dance!
If you’ve read this far, well done! Hopefully the text and the images in particular have given you a flavour of what the day was like. Cantley Park is a really great wedding venue, with plenty of space to get lost in, and is lovely both inside and out. Steve and Lesley had a fabulous day, after 18 months of Covid restrictions I think everyone was ready to socialise and party again. If you would like me to document your wedding please get in touch via the contacts section of the website.