Lee Hawley

An Insiders Guide to Cotswold Weddings

An Insiders Guide to Cotswold Weddings

Cotswold Wedding Guide - An insiders unique insight

 

Origins

They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and this Cotswold Wedding Guide is a product of that mindset. When Coronavirus hit in March 2020 I had nearly 50 weddings scheduled for another busy and exciting year, and then within a couple of weeks my diary had been stripped bare all the way up to September (at the time of writing, it may get worse yet!).

I took some time to take stock, and to analyse the situation for me and the business and find any positives that could be used. It was clear that one big change is I was now time-rich. Which is a posh way of saying I didn’t have much to do now! I considered a few options. One was doorstep photography, which I have seen many other photographers now do to great effect, but I just didn’t feel it was my sort of thing. The other option was to blog galore, on anything and everything! With lack of time being the main reason I don’t get to blog as much as I would like under normal circumstances this was a good option, as it helps the websites google performance, and potentially exposes me to more couples.

Lightbulb Moment

But I had another idea brewing, that I felt had even more potential to elaborate on. Having already considered what skills and/or knowledge I have that can be reapplied in the current situation, an overwhelming understanding of Cotswold weddings was top of the list.

I had always had it in mind to produce a blog or section on my website to help couples in finding the right venue for them, but I simply never had the time with everything else associated with being a wedding photographer to do it. But now it was clear this had potential to become a much larger project, and being the sort of person that struggles to sit twiddling my thumbs (even though we have a 4 years old and 7 month old keeping us busy) I have relished the opportunity to use this time to do something I would not have been able to do otherwise and resulted in a truly unique Cotswold wedding guide.

So I am excited to introduce you to An Insiders Guide to Cotswold Weddings.

Passion

A labour of love, pouring all the knowledge of Cotswold weddings I have gained into a 64 pages printed guide of inspiring images, insights and insider tips.

Expert Contributions

I have called upon some of my industry buddies and top venues to contribute with their advice and experiences, as well as interviews from some of my amazing brides who have given priceless tips from their first hand experience, and being advert free, everyone featured is on merit, so you can know this is a genuinely honest product.

The guide Is for couples ranging from those starting the process trying to get a handle on where to star, through to those who know what they want but need help in finding the right people for the job, and to those who don’t really know what they want, but know they will when they see it!

So through 100’s of inspiring images, and over 20,000 words, I believe this guide is an essential tool in helping couples plan their unique Cotswold wedding! I’m incredibly proud of it, and it has turned out way better than I ever hoped, but throughout the process I have doubted myself endlessly. Asking myself, is this really of any value? Who’s going to want to pay for something I have written? Who cares what I think? But then I had these exact same doubts when I first had ambitions to become a wedding photographer, and that turned out OK, so I have taken a brave pill and put myself out there for criticism and ridicule, but have produced something I am proud to put my name too.

 

I have genuinely loved every aspect of this. Everything you see in the guide from the writing, through to the page layouts and photography has been done by me and contributors where detailed, so it has been incredibly satisfying. Working with my wonderful supplier colleagues who have contributed to articles throughout has been genuinely heart-warming, with special thanks going to my wonderful previous brides Haley & Rebekah who agreed to be interviewed and supplied their time so generously in creating the “Say YES to the Right Dress” article, and to Sophie for her wonderful insight in “A Couples Story” of her journey to the I do’s!

There is also a small army of unsung helpers in brides-to-be who are booked with me for the future, that have been a mine of useful information when researching the marketability for this project, and deciding what articles should be included, and what they would find helpful in their journey, so thank you to them.

Finally, if you would like to purchase your copy, just go to www.cotswoldweddingguide.com. Being just me behind this project, I don’t have huge marketing clout so recommendations are a big part in helping it grow, so if you felt inclined, please share this post on your socials, and let any brides and grooms to be know about it. Please also give the social media accounts a follow by clicking instagram and facebook

something that I feel has been missing from my wedding planning

“This guide is just brilliant!!  Honestly, something that I feel has been missing from my wedding planning – an independent guide that you know isn’t paid-for advertising like in all the magazines.

Thorough the content, with ample ‘air-time’ to each topic, and I love the recommendations of different suppliers.

I particularly like the logistics/timing section, and the ‘real’ wedding interview at the Slaughters Manor.”

Jo Ledger

Contributers

Lee Hawley Photography – www.leehawleyphotography.com - 07540894286

Jacks Kitchen - www.jackskitchen.co.uk - 01242 226818

Hey Pesto – www.heypestocatering.co.uk – 01452 731902

Cotswold wedding hair - www.cotswoldweddinghair.com

Face Perfect by Jodi - www.faceperfectbyjodi.co.uk – 07595270200

Bridal prep rooms - www.thebridalpreprooms.co.uk – 07595270200 & 07789735691

Lauren Gosling - www.laurengoslinghair.com

Lovebird Make Up - www.lovebirdmakeup.co.uk – 07568330251

SJP Bridal - www.sjpbridal.co.uk – 01452698340

Cherish Cakes by Katherine - www.cherishcakes.co.uk – 01454269243

Tonys Toons – www.tonystoons.co.uk - 01452722980

Haley & Rebekah - Say YES to the Right Dress

Sophie - A Couples Story

 

Request  Brochure & Price List

This is not formal wedding photography

I tell your wedding story naturally and creatively. No awkward poses, no saying cheese. My goal is for you to feel like you have a friend as your photographer, and by doing that I capture you at your most you.

I truly invest in my couples, spending time to understand what makes you tick. Even if you don’t really know what you want, in a brief chat over coffee I will understand how best to approach your day, resulting in you being relaxed and able to enjoy your wedding and resulting in a set of images tailored to you.

​To receive my latest brochure and full price list, please complete the simple form . I’d also love to hear a bit about your day! Packages start from £695.

This is not a wedding production line, you will not be added to any mailing lists and I will reply to you in person

Posted by Lee Hawley
Hyde House – Gihani & Stuart

Hyde House – Gihani & Stuart

How do you plan a Cotswold wedding?

Cotswolds wedding photography is what I do, but planning a Cotswolds wedding requires more than choosing your wedding photographer. We have a thriving industry here that has grown around a remarkable array of quality wedding venues. Not only does this make Cotswold wedding photography the dream job, but also means I get to work with the best wedding suppliers in the business too.

For the couple it is about assembling your perfect team! You'll have your checklist of jobs to fill and I wholeheartedly recommend you meet them all before booking. The quality of their work is obviously essential, but nothing beat seeing the whites of their eyes to be sure you can trust them to deliver when it matters. But also to decide if they will be nice to work with. Your dsuppliers should add to your wedding experience, not detract from it.

Quick Links

Featured Wedding
Cotswold Wedding Shows
Bridal Prep Rooms
Engagement Shoots

Featured wedding - Hyde House - Gihani & Stuart

You can pretty much guarantee whenever Sandra Elizabeth (hair) and I get booked for the same wedding, the bride will be a total legend and the bridal prep on the day will be a lot of fun. This theory has been proven several times in 2019, with Gihani being a particular highlight.

Even for a Cotswold wedding photographer used to beautifyul venues, Hyde House is stunning. Purpose built for weddings with separate ceremony (both inside and outside) and wedding breakfast spaces, loads of indoor reception space, and beautiful gardens and grounds for when the sun shines. Not to mention a passionate and attentive team, which cannot be underestimated in having the perfect, trouble free day.

Gee and Stuart had the Grange for their ceremony.  A purpose built building exclusively for ceremonies, that they even got input from photographers on the lighting design. Gee looked incredible as she walked down the aisle. When you look below at the photos fill in your own caption for Stuarts face after he sees her!

The whole day was a dream to capture. Gee and Stuart didn’t stop smiling, and Hyde House provided the perfect back drop. Plus great inspiration for some their couples portraits.

Can’t wait to go back soon!

 

above all one of the nicest people

Hyde House Wedding Photography

Lee you are my hero, you could not have done for Stuart and I. All my friends loved you. Thank you so much. Got a little emotional looking at the photos We are both so lucky to have worked with an amazingly talented and above all one of the nicest people. Thank you so much for capturing our day. xxx

Gihanni & Stuart

Suppliers

Photography - Lee Hawley Photography

Hair - Sandra Elizabeth

Make-up - Florence Wear

Dress - Stella York

Venue - Hyde House

Video - David Grange

If that doesn’t get Hyde House on your short list of venues, nothing will! I am there at least twice next year, and cant wait to go back for more of my favourite Cotswold wedding photography.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog, you can find more here and to see more of my work on Instagram go to my galleries page!

Wedding Shows

The internet is of course the first stop when planning, and with many couples planning a Cotswold wedding living outside of the Cotswolds it's the only realistic way, but if you can get along to some of the high quality wedding shows we have in the county you can get a lot of jobs ticked off efficiently, including your Cotswold wedding photography. I am a regular at the Bride & Groom show at the Cheltenham Town hall every January and Autumn and the Cheltenham Race Course show in February and Autumn, amongst many others.

 

 

 

The Bridal Prep Rooms

A wedding doesn't start at the ceremony time. The morning of the day shouldn't be something to just get through, it should be part of the days fun and excitement, and by booking the right people it can be every bit as memorable as any other point of the day. Two people who understand this are Sandie and Jodi at the Bridal Prep Rooms who have set up a bespoke prep venue for exactly that! With many venues having compromised or no prep space at all, taking advantage of this space could make all the difference.

 

 

 

Should we have an engagement shoot?

There are a number of reasons why these are worth considering. The biggest being it gives you some experience working with your photographer. I love seeing couples go from quite apprehensive about what they are going to be expected to do, and finishing the “shoot” with a big sigh of relief that the hardest thing they’ve had to do is walk with their fiancé in the Cotswold countryside! Having this backdrop on our doorstep for these shoots is yet another joy of Cotswold wedding photography, so as well as the experience you will get some lovely photos too!

 

 

 

REQUEST A BROCHURE & PRICE LIST

This is not formal wedding photography

I tell your wedding story naturally and creatively. No awkward poses, no saying cheese. My goal is for you to feel like you have a friend as your photographer, and by doing that I capture you at your most you.

I truly invest in my couples, spending time to understand what makes you tick. Even if you don’t really know what you want, in a brief chat over coffee I will understand how best to approach your day, resulting in you being relaxed and able to enjoy your wedding and resulting in a set of images tailored to you.

​To receive my latest brochure and full price list, please complete the simple form . I’d also love to hear a bit about your day! Packages start from £695.

This is not a wedding production line, you will not be added to any mailing lists and I will reply to you in person

Posted by Lee Hawley
Red House Barn Wedding – Laura & David

Red House Barn Wedding – Laura & David

Redhouse Barn - Laura & David

Redhouse Barn Wedding Photographer

Venue

Redhouse Barn in Bromsgrove Worcestershire is a pretty special made to measure wedding venue. When it was converted it was a no half measure approach, and with no lack of thought. As an experienced wedding photographer I can see the many subtle details in its design that don’t happen by accident! Things like the subtle colour changeable lighting throughout the entire building that the couple can change to suit their colour scheme, and the way the layout is made to create a natural flow to the days proceedings and avoid the awkward “room turn around” period were people end up in a corridor whilst it is done as so often happens at other venues! Add to that a passionate family run team over seeing things, and you get a genuinely personal and special experience, which is why working as a Redhouse barn wedding photographer is so enjoyable and rewarding.

Laura & David obviously agree, as it is where they chose for their wedding, and me as their Redhouse Barn wedding photographer.

Wedding

I always say the venue is only half the factor in my enjoyment for a wedding day, and that the couple is the other, and Laura and David were so much fun to spend the day with.

The day got off to a great start in Redhouse Barns beautiful prep area with Laura chilled and her bridesmaids and family excited about the day ahead. During the prep time I shot all the details and I love Laura & Davids colour scheme. A really bold choice which is always a bit of a risk, but it looked amazing!

The ceremony took place in the barn itself followed by the reception quickly spilling out into the gardens in the sunshine. In the speeches we got some brilliant reactions from Laura as David did a cracking job of embarrassing her.

During the wedding breakfast I nipped off down the road in my car to check out a bridge I had found online and to check access. It was looking good, so at sunset Laura & David threw their trust in me and off we went. We first got a couple of banker shots in the fields, but what I really wanted was to use the grotty train bridge which provided a nice bit of irony when compared to our beautiful couple! Check out the photos below to see what we got!

Magic man

A special shout out needs to go to Christian Fletcher. On the morning of the wedding his 8 month pregnant wife was rushed into hospital, Christian got everything communicated to the venue and a plan B was formed for Christian to get there for the gap between speeches and the evening starting, which of course he made and performed as perfectly as ever.

Many of us in the wedding industry are “one man bands” and our business is our life and reputation as well as our livelihood, so when very rarely things like this happen it’s a horrible experience. I’m pleased to confirm all was eventually OK and Christian had a beautiful baby a few weeks later!

A big thank you to the Redhouse team for making me so welcome, a genuine pleasure to work with.

Can’t wait to go back soon.

 

What struck us at first was how he wasn’t pushing for a hard sell……instead he was interested in getting to get to know us both

Redhouse Barn Wedding Photography

We first met Lee at a wedding show in Cheltenham. What struck us at first was how he wasn’t pushing for a hard sell like a lot of other photographers were, but instead he was interested in getting to get to know us both. Ever since then Lee has been super friendly but professional and it helped make the day and photos far more relaxing. He captured our day perfectly and we were so happy with everything he did from start to finish. Even our guests were complimenting how brilliant he was.
We couldn’t believe how quickly he turned the photos around and it was a lovely touch sending us a small selection when he got home that very night.
We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Lee to anyone who is looking for a wedding photographer.

David & Laura