Wedding Photography at Castell Coch Near Cardiff in South Wales
I have a certain fondness for Castell Coch. Not least because Welsh heritage organisation, Cadw liked my photography enough to feature it on their site to advertise weddings at the venue.
See how here: Weddings at Castell Coch featuring Guy Milnes Photography.
I have been photographer for several weddings at Castell Coch, but this page features mainly images from the marriage of Laura and Jason whom I photographed in Spring 2019.
The beautiful Castell Coch (meaning ‘Red Castle’) really is like something out of a fairytale. Germanic in appearance and set in a swathe of beech woods, it can be seen in the hillside for miles around. The castle is located just off the A470 north of Cardiff near Taff’s Well, and above the small village of Tongwynlais. It isn’t really a castle at all, but a fine example of 19th Century Gothic Revival architecture. However the site has Norman military origins (see history below). A Castell Coch wedding would make for an excellent start to your day before going elsewhere for your reception meal.
Looking to Book Your Wedding Photographer at Castell Coch?
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Castell Coch as a Wedding Venue
Designed to look imposing in silhouette with contrasting ornate Victorian interiors, it presents as a striking and most unusual wedding venue. The main drawback is that it is only suitable for the smaller wedding parties as the maximum amount of seated guests is 26 (30 including the registrars and bride and groom). If you’re having a larger wedding ceremony, then you may have to look elsewhere… Hello Caerphilly Castle!
There is unfortunately no option for a reception or post-wedding ceremony function. However, it is an amazing venue and if it appeals to you, why not have a small ceremony there with close friends and family, moving on to one of the Cardiff area’s many larger wedding venues for your reception, evening meal and entertainment.
Also Consider>> Your Wedding at Llancaiach Fawr Manor
The Drawing Room
Wedding Ceremonies are held in the cosy octagonal Drawing Room of which there is much to take in. The fireplace and panelled walls are festooned with murals and imagery including scenes from Aesop’s Fables, statues of the Three Fates and Butterflies and Birds seemingly flying up through the apex of the vaulted ceiling. Bench seating is provided in a theatre style with a central aisle. After the wedding ceremony, the couple and guests exit through the Banqueting Hall and into the courtyard for congratulations and photographs.
Your Wedding Ceremony at Castell Coch
Below is a sequence of must have wedding ceremony shots. Every moment needs to be carefully captured. Because of the diminutive size of the room and the green/yellow colour of the Drawing Room, photography can be tricky. So the photographer has to be at the top of their game and think on their feet to capture a striking collection of images that fully tell the story of the day:
Signing the Register – Cardiff Registrar Rules
Every marriage licensing authority have different rules and regulations regarding the signing. Some are happy for photography unhindered, whilst others are more strict. Cardiff, don’t allow the actually signing to be photographed but provide a ‘dummy‘ register for posed shots.
Wedding Bookings at Castell Coch
Useful to Know When Booking Your Wedding:
- Weddings are booked up to 13 months in advance.
- The custodian can be contacted on 02920 810101 to discuss.
- Bookings cost £695 (Mon-Fri) & £820 (Sat-Sun).
- This includes the entrance fee for up to 28 people (including bride and groom).
- A conditional refundable bond may be charged on booking.
- 30 minutes is allowed for the ceremony and 30 minutes for photography time in the courtyard.
- Castell Coch is closed throughout January.
- The venue requires proof of Public Liability Insurance on booking.
- The venue takes up to two weddings a day (depending on timings) – presumably you’d only need the one!
Always ensure that a registrar is available on your proposed date before booking Castell Coch as your venue. Contact the Cardiff Register Office to arrange on : 02920 871680.
Read More>> Having a Short or Small Wedding Day?
Congratulations, Bubbles and Group Shots
One of the most lovely times of the wedding day is when the newly-wedded couple are greeting by their guests wanting to give their congratulations. This is the time that shows the true relationship between the guests as with the selection of photos below.
Castell Coch does not allow confetti but bubbles are a popular alternative. It’s up to the couple and photographer how to use the remaining time at the venue. I tend to photograph congratulations, bubbles (if used) and then finish with the group and couples portraits.
And After Your Wedding?
You and your guests will normally move on to the wedding venue. Castell Coch doesn’t provide catering due to ‘Health and safety reasons…’ but Cardiff provides an enormous amount of choice for your wedding breakfast venue.
If you’ve booked a shorter photography package (up to 2 hours), there is loads of scope for couples portraits in the deep woods of Fforest Fawr and around the back of the castle to fill the time. The following portraits are an example of this…
Castell Coch – A Potted History:
- C1081 – the Normans built the a castle on the site to protect their new acquisition, the Cardiff and the Taff Gorge route. This was soon abandoned.
- Gilbert de Clare (Lord of Glamorgan – also responsible for building Caerphilly Castle) subsequently built a stone fort on the site in around 1267 to control his Welsh lands.
- The castle thought to be destroyed in the Welsh rebellion of 1314.
- 1760 – Castell Coch was inherited by the 3rd Earl of Bute – John Stuart as part of a marriage settlement.
- In 1848, John Crichton-Stuart the 3rd Marquess of Bute inherited the castle and employed architect William Burges (the ‘eccentric genius’) to reconstruct it to be used as a country residence for the summer.
- Work on the castle was completed in 1891, and apart from planting a vineyard, Crichton-Stuart had little use for it. Wine was made on the site until the First World War.
- In 1950, the 5th Marquess of Bute placed Castell Coch under care of the state (along with Caerphilly Castle) and the conservation is now managed by heritage trust Cadw.