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Wedding Venues As Seen On Screen

September 27, 2011

As I travel from wedding venue to wedding venue through the year, it’s always nice to natter to the staff and find out a little bit about the different places I spend the day. Everywhere has its tale to tell and, while I only have a passing interest in the history of the landed gentry, as a photographer, I am always drawn to stories of the various film and TV productions filmed at the locations.

In the 10 years since civil wedding ceremonies were first allowed to take place outside local authority-run register offices, many grand houses and stately homes across the land have thrown open their doors to wedding parties. The appeal of such large and impressive estates that look as great inside as they do outside is obvious and it’s their ‘self-contained-ness’ is something that obviously appeals to film makers as it does couples choosing a venue.

One of the most popular film locations I have had the pleasure of working at is the fabulous Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire.

Dramatic wedding group photograph

Anna and Kevin get the best out of the location for their group shot

Belvoir is an amazing place and boasts some awe-inspiring interiors which were used to great effect in the recent movie, Young Victoria.

Grand rooms inside Belvoir Castle used in Young Victoria

We had free reign to create some great formal portraits in this opulent room

Shooting inside Belvoir is a dream. It looks great no matter where you point the camera and the colours and textures are just phenomenal – it certainly lives up to the English translation of its french name.

State rooms and bedrooms at Belvoir Castle

From this state-room set for dinner to the bride's room, Belvoir looks good from every angle

It’s no surprise that the place has been used as a location for a whole host of other movies including Little Lord Fauntleroy, Young Sherlock Holmes, Jim Henson’s Jack and The Beanstalk, and the 1999 remake of The Haunting. It even doubled as the Pope’s summer residence Castel Gandolfo in The Da Vinci Code, albeit with a fair amount of CGI magic.

Belvoir Castle has an impressive film CV

An impressive CV of movies past and present

Where Belvoir Castle provided a kitchen location for the 1999 version of The Haunting, one wedding venue I have covered on a number of occasions has the accolade of being the star of the 1963 original. Ettington Park Hotel, near Stratford-upon-Avon, was used for all the exterior shots of Hill House and apparently filmed in infra-red film to make it all the more scary.

Ettington Park – wedding venue and film location

Boasting some real ghosties some might say Ettington Park was an apt venue for The Haunting

(In fact, Ettington’s spooky goings-on aren’t confined to the silver screen, though that’s a blog post for another day)

Wedding Couple at Ettington Park

Caroline and Stuart in high spirits during their exquisite wedding at Ettington Park Hotel

Though it is not all costume dramas and haunted houses.

Also just down the road from me, Coombe Abbey played the Mayor’s residence in the Coventry-set comedy Nativity, while the Great Hall at Warwick Castle provided a suitably royal backdrop for John Goodman’s King Ralph.

Wedding venues Coombe Abbey and Warwick Castle

Coombe Abbey and Wawick Castle both beautiful venues caught in the evening light

For most ladies there would be only one thing better than stumbling into Johnny Depp, and that would be stumbling into Johnny Depp having a bath.

Sadly I wasn’t around when he was filming his raunchy bath scenes for The Libertine at Charlecote Park, near Wellesbourne, but even though it is not strictly a wedding venue, this summer I was asked to cover the wedding celebrations the former gamekeepers great granddaughter held in the grounds.

Wedding at Charlecote Park, Warwickshire

Charlecote Park plays host to Carrie and Tom and their guests

As I have mentioned before, one of my favourite local venues is the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick. It’s no wonder that film-makers fall for the enclosed courtyard of half-timbered buildings, which I imagine doesn’t take much set dressing to transform into a little slice of chocolate box England.

Wedding couple at Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick

The easy-going and intimate nature of The Lord Leycester really suited Alicia and Tom

As an former almshouse and now a retirement home for old servicemen, The Lord Leycester is rich in architectural detail and is a real one-off.

Architectural details amke Lord Leycester one of the quirkiest wedding venues in Warwickshire

Blessings and regimental mascots among the fine architectural details

Someone at the BBC is clearly a fan of the place as it not only doubled as Elizabethan London in the Doctor Who episode – The Shakespeare Code – but also featured in their productions Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth one), Tom Jones along with ITV’s Moll Flanders.

Couples are in good company at Lord Leycester

What groom wouldn't want to walk in the footsteps of these leading men?

Not exactly a film location, but more of a rock landmark is the very cute Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire. Now it’s a full-on wedding venue, but in the seventies was a residential rehearsal and recording studio and played host to many of the big names of the era, with albums by Led Zepplin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Peter Frampton being conceived and recorded within its mock Gothic stone walls.

Former rehearsal rooms and recording studio Clearwell Castle

Clearwell Castle, an appropriately rock and roll venue for The Suit frontman Neil and his wife Emily

And finally a location that played host to a recent engagement shoot – Wollaton Hall in Nottinghamshire – which only this summer was used in the filming of the latest Batman movie Dark Knight Rises. A virtual double for the previous Wayne Manor– Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire – the exterior of Wollaton looks like it will feature heavily in the new movie along with a small purpose-built graveyard set.

Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire

Dave and Sylvia are ready for their close up in the grounds of Wayne Manor

I’m sure these places have many more claims to fame than those mentioned here, but they are all reliably based on chats with friendly hotel staff and a little bit of Googling (Hurrah for Wikipedia and IMDB).

If I’ve missed any please leave a comment and let me know.

All the copyright of images on posters and such like remain the property of the various studios and special blogger respect and etiquette goes out to whose images of Wollaton are included here.

And of course massive thanks to all the couples whose weddings are featured.

OK. That’s a wrap folks!

RS x

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