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Castell Coch Wedding Photographer

A Neo-Gothic Wedding Venue in Tongwynlais, Cardiff

Wedding Photography at Castell Coch Near Cardiff in South Wales

 

Newly married couple posing in front of Castell Coch near Cardiff

Their happiness is evident as the newly-weds pose with Castell Coch in the background just before their departure.


Castell Coch Couple Standing in Entrance with Portcullis

The large castle doors give a good indication of what’s to come and make an impressive entrance for the bride and groom. I took this portrait after their wedding on the way out.


I have a particular fondness for Castell Coch.  Not least because the Welsh heritage organisation, Cadw liked my photography enough to feature it on their site to advertise weddings at the venue.

See how here the photo below was featured here (the top ‘header’ image is mine too!):

Weddings at Castell Coch featuring Guy Milnes Photography.

I have been the photographer for several weddings at Castell Coch to date, and this page features a selection from some of them.


Newly married couple standing in courtyard of Castell Coch with arches in background - Guy Milnes Photography

The newly-weds pose in the courtyard: I went wide to show off the neo-Gothic architecture.


Bridal Couple Dancing in Woods

I photographed this around the side of the venue where the light is generally good. Sometimes I ask the couple to dance, and here I caught the newlyweds mid-dance in a loving embrace.  Their expressions encapsulate all that a wedding day should be about, and your photographer should strive to capture this natural happiness.


The beautiful Castell Coch (meaning ‘Red Castle’) is like something out of a fairy tale.  Germanic in appearance and set in a swathe of beech woods, you can see it 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.


The wedding party of seven pose as the sun disappears behind Castell Coch

What superb timing: Just before Kris and Chell’s departure, I took this portrait of their wedding party as the sun was disappearing around the back of Castell Coch.


It isn’t 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 marriage ceremony would make for an excellent start to your day before going elsewhere for your wedding reception meal.


Ready to Book Your Wedding Photographer at Castell Coch?

Special Price for 1.5 Hours

**£330**

1.5 hours + beautifully edited photos uploaded in a mixture of colour and black and white.

Pricing includes some arrivals shots, the ceremony, congratulations/confetti and posed shots in the courtyard and the forest.

For 2 hours and above, please visit my Wedding Photography Prices page.


Bride's Arrival at Castell Coch in grey hatchback

The bride’s arrival: Laura is pretty as a picture as she arrives in the car park. Fforest Fawr provides the greenery in the background.


Castell Coch Wedding Photography of Bride with Father

Bride and step-father pose in front of the ‘drawbridge’. The castle makes an imposing backdrop at the beginning of the day.


The bride's father admires her as they cross the drawbridge at Castell Coch

As the bride Libby makes her way across the drawbridge, her father takes time to admire his daughter.


Castell Coch as a Wedding Venue

Designed to look imposing in silhouette with contrasting ornate Victorian interiors, it presents as a unique 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!


Wedding couple with daughter pose in front of Christmas Tree in the drawing room at Castell Coch

When I took this festive portrait of Sam and Neil with their daughter, it was Christmastime… obviously!


Grandmother with granddaughter cuddling at Castell Coch wedding

The few minutes before the ceremony is the perfect time for intimate family shots of loved ones interacting. The love between young and old in this portrait is very apparent.


Grandfather takes photograph whilst granddaughter peers over his shoulder

A natural shot as I capture someone else taking the photos – I embrace guest photography, and couple’s daughter adds to this one’s fun.


There is, unfortunately, no option for a reception or post-wedding ceremony function.

However, it is a fantastic venue. 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.


Castell Coch Wedding Portrait of Bride at Entrance Looking Over Shoulder

A religious touch: The Madonna and child look down upon all that enter Castell Coch. As she entered the building, I asked Laura to turn and went wide to take this photograph.


Also Consider>> Your Wedding at Llancaiach Fawr Manor.


Castell Coch Wedding - Bride arrives through portcullis gate with step-father

I nipped ahead as they enter through the doors of the gatehouse. You can see the faux-portcullis hanging above.


Castell Coch Wedding Photograph of bride climbing steps to ceremony

This image completes the sequence of the bride’s procession into Castell Coch to wed her groom. I need to try to capture this, and I always advise couples’ to take their time to allow for photography.


Wedding couple framed through doorway waiting before ceremony in black and white

The sort of shot that your wedding photographer should strive to capture: Julie and Tony arrived together, and as they waited to enter the drawing-room, I frame them through two sets of doors looking out into the entrance hall.


The Drawing Room

Wedding Ceremonies take place in the cosy octagonal Drawing Room of which there is much to take in.

The fireplace and panelled walls are adorned with murals and imagery, including scenes from Aesop’s Fables and the Three Fates statues.  Butterflies and Birds seemingly fly up through the apex of the vaulted ceiling.


Overview of Covid-19 masked wedding at Castell Coch

Socially-distanced, but no less lovely an occasion: This wide overview shot shows the detail around the room’s back.


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, into the courtyard for congratulations and photographs.


Castell Coch Wedding Portrait of Groom in Drawing Room

From the groom’s perspective: Generally, the groom already waits in the Drawing Room for his bride to join him. Jason looks strangely relaxed here. Not many bridegrooms are!


Your Wedding Ceremony at Castell Coch

Below is a sequence of must-have wedding ceremony shots.

Every moment needs to be carefully composed and captured.

Because of the room’s diminutive size and the green/yellow colour and dim lighting of the Drawing Room, photography can be tricky.  So your photographer has to be at the top of their game and think on their feet to capture a striking collection of images that tell the story of the day:


The bride enters the drawing Room at Castell Coch with her COVID-19 masked father

Chell had her wedding under COVID-19 restrictions – hence her masked father escorting her into the Drawing Room!


Masked guests watch the bride as she enters her wedding at Castell Coch

In similar circumstances, Libby makes her entrance.


Masked guests watch the bride as she enters her wedding at Castell Coch

I love the look that Laura gives the camera here as she approaches her waiting groom.


Bride smiles at groom during Castell Coch Wedding near Cardiff

A loving look between the couple on the bride’s arrival at the ‘altar’ provides an expressive photograph.


Castell Coch Wedding Ceremony Photography in Drawing Room from the Back

A photograph from the back of the Drawing Room: I try to take lots of different angles and variations to vary the selection of photographs.


Castell Coch Wedding Ceremony Reading by Registrar

One of the Cardiff registrars gives the first reading. The mural on the wall in the background depicts some of Aesop’s Fables.


Little girl does a wedding reading at Castell Coch with parents watching

At Sam and Neil’s wedding, their daughter gave a reading to make the ceremony even more special.


Registrar Reads in Drawing Room at Castell Coch Wedding Ceremony

Nice and wide, this portrait orientated shot shows off some of the ornate vaulted ceiling and chandelier.


The bride's father gives her away at her wedding at Castell Coch near Cardiff

An old tradition is upheld as the bride’s father gives her away.


Witness gives ring to bride at wedding

The rings’ sequence is one of the most important parts of the day to photograph.


Groom places wedding ring on bride's finger at Castell Coch

A moment later and the ring’s on her finger: This and the previous photo are largely the same, but demonstrate the different feel that colour gives instead of black and white. Most couples that book me as their wedding photographer like both.


Bride places wedding ring on groom's finger at Castell Coch with three fates in background

This photograph facing the Drawing Room’s front shows the Three Fates looking down on the marriage ceremony.


Couple holding hands in the Drawing Room at Castell Coch with a masked register writing at table

I threw this wide to include a masked registrar writing at the side.


The newly-weds have their first kiss in Castell Coch's Drawing Room

The fireplace provided a stunning background for their first kiss.


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 stricter.  Cardiff doesn’t allow photography of the signing but provides a ‘dummy‘ register for posed shots.


The bride and groom pose with the register in the drawing room at Castell Coch

The newly-weds pose with the ‘dummy’ register. Not the official signing, but the next best thing when photography of the signing isn’t allowed.


Wedding Bookings at Castell Coch

Useful to Know When Booking Your Wedding:

  • You can book your wedding up to 13 months in advance.
  • You can contact the custodian on 02920 810101 to discuss.
  • The venue hire price includes an 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!

The newly-weds leaving their wedding ceremony at Castell Coch

The aisle at Castell Coch is only short, so do take your time when walking back down it as husband and wife.


Top Wedding Venue Booking Tip:

Always ensure that a registrar is available on your proposed date before booking Castell Coch as your venue. Do this before looking at booking your ceremony  venue to avoid disappointment.

Contact the Cardiff Register Office to arrange on 02920 871680.


The happy couple exit the Drawing Room after their wedding at Castell Coch

I take sequences of photographs at various points throughout the day. Their exit from the Drawing Room is an ideal time to do this…


The bride and groom pass through the Banqueting Hall after their wedding ceremony

…and as they walk through the Banqueting Hall


Wedding Portrait in Banqueting Hall of Castell Coch in Black and White

The staff at Castell Coch are generous with time. On the way out, they allow the taking of portraits in the Banquet Hall if required.


Wedding Portrait of Couple Holding Hands in Banqueting Hall of Castell Coch

The ornate windows embrasures and seats in the Banqueting Hall are ideal for post-ceremony shots such as this.


Read More>> Having a Short or Small Wedding Day?


Wedding Portrait of Wedding Couple Exiting Castell Coch

Stepping outside into the fresh Welsh woodland air: The light changes again from inside to outside, and I ask the couple to pause for a few seconds before exiting the building to enable me to set up the camera for daylight.


The couple walk down the steps into the courtyard at their Castell Coch wedding

The directional light is impressive in the courtyard and illuminates the couple’s descent down the stone staircase well.


Congratulations, Bubbles and Group Shots

One of the most lovely times of the wedding day is when the newly-wedded couple greet their guests, all wanting to give their congratulations.  It’s the time that shows the true relationship between the guests as with the selection of photos below.


Grandma and granddaughter holding each other in courtyard at Castell Coch

A natural loving shot post-ceremony.


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 the congratulations (as everyone is keen to wish the couple well), bubbles (if used) and then finish with the group and couples portraits.


Congratulations Hugs in Castell Coch Courtyard

The love between the groom and his brother is undeniable in this image. The wide-angle shows the bride looking on as well as some of the courtyard’s architecture.


Congratulations Hug for Groom in Castell Coch Courtyard

An exuberant guest hugs the groom:  It seemed to work better in black and white although I’m not sure why!


Bride's sister hugs her after wedding ceremony

This natural moment worked best in colour. The bride’s sister is all smiles as they hug — a beautifully emotive shot to capture.


Three female wedding guests taking a selfie in the courtyard of Castell Coch

Nothing is off-limits as I use the time to capture everything that is going on – including selfie shots.


The bride hands the bouquet to a friend who is pointing at her partner as he runs off

Libby didn’t throw her bouquet but handed it to a friend, which seemed to concern her boyfriend in the background somewhat.


Groom posing with brother and his wife who is laughing

I try to make the posed group shots fun and end up with a selection of shots that says a lot about those present.


Groom poses in quirky images with four male guests with hands on their hips at Castell Coch

This one was their idea, not mine!


Bridal Portrait in Castell Coch Courtyard

It’s lovely to photograph some individual portraits too. I spotted Laura standing alone and took advantage of the situation.


Castell Coch Wedding FAQs

 

Q. WHY GET MARRIED AT CASTELL COCH?

A. This is a mock-medieval wedding venue like no other.  Exquisitely decorated, the octagonal drawing room will play host to your small wedding day.  The circular courtyard has terrific light for photography and your posed group and couples photos.  On top of that, it’s situated high up in the magical Fforest Fawr and is just a short journey from Cardiff.  To see numerous wedding photos I have taken at the venue, have a look through this page.

 

Q. HOW LONG BEFORE THE WEDDING CEREMONY CAN WE GAIN ACCESS TO THE ROOM FOR PHOTOGRAPHY?

A. Castell Coch is open to the public most days throughout the year and doesn’t close for weddings.  This means that you can access the drawing-room early, but will be sharing it with curious tourists until it is closed a few minutes before your ceremony.

 

Q. IS PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED OF OUR MARRIAGE CEREMONY AND VOWS?

A. Yes – the Cardiff registrars are very helpful and welcoming to photographers. They also allow the photographer to move around the room to capture different angles.  The only part of the ceremony where photos are not allowed is the register signing.  A ‘dummy’ register is set up afterwards for posed photos.

 

Q. IS CONFETTI ALLOWED AFTERWARDS FOR A NICE PHOTOGRAPHIC SEQUENCE?

A. Unfortunately confetti is not allowed due to the venue being open to the public.  However, blowing bubbles has become a popular alternative and is permitted in the courtyard of Castell Coch.

 

Q. WHAT IS THE LIGHT LIKE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY INSIDE CASTELL COCH?

A. The light in the Drawing Room where wedding ceremonies take place is exceptionally dim.  There is some artificial wall light, but this is poor.  Your photographer will be tested and will have to use bounced or diffused flash.  However, the room is gorgeous, and the lighting should pose no problem for a professional photographer.  Have a look at how I dealt with Castell Coch’s lighting on this page.


Father Give Bride a Wedding Kiss on Cheek

The silly shots are often the most memorable. Laura’s step-father gave her a funny kiss. I used the unusual composition to emphasise the silliness!


Wide shot of wedding couple in Castell Coch Courtyard

Now, this wide portrait shows the stairway up to the Banqueting Hall and Drawing Room. You can see the door to the hall at the top of the stairs.


Posed family wedding portrait taken in Castell Coch courtyard

The alcoves here provide interest to this otherwise straight group portrait.


Group Posed Shot of Everyone at Castell Coch Wedding in Courtyard

A waving shot of the whole wedding party taken from Castell Coch’s balustrade.


Whole wedding party lined up for photo in the courtyard of Castell Coch

Another spot for a shot of the whole wedding party also shows a broader view of Castell Coch.


Group portrait taken of whole wedding party from above showing the architecture at Castell Coch in the background

From the other side and in portrait orientation, this group photograph shows some of the building’s architecture and scale. Happily, the scaffolding is now gone.


Family wedding portrait in subdued light taken at Castell Coch

Up on the balustrade there is some lovely muted directional light, so I used it to take this portrait of the whole wedding party.


Wedding guests blowing bubbles as couple watch framed by an alcove's arch

Confetti is not allowed at Castell Coch, but blowing bubbles has become a popular alternative. The great directional light highlights the bubbles well and makes for an excellent sequence in the finished album.


Bride, groom and daughter on balustrade of Castell Coch with Christmas decorations

I took this photo shooting upwards from the courtyard. The Christmas decorations added a nice touch.


The groom kisses his bride after their ceremony at Castell Coch

Black and white gives a timeless quality to wedding portraits.


Couple kiss in entrance of Castell Coch in black and white

Back outside the castle, this time together as husband and wife.


Wedding guests leaving Castell Coch, being very careful not to trap their heels in the drawbridge gaps

Careful now! The gaps in the wood on the drawbridge can be tricky for those wearing heels to negotiate.


Wedding party posing outside Castell Coch, with the whole of the venue in the background

There’s no finer place for a group wedding portrait than with Castell Coch’s imposing presence in the background.


And After Your Wedding?

You and your guests will generally move on to the wedding venue. Castell Coch doesn’t provide catering due to ‘Health and Safety reasons…’ but Cardiff delivers 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 photographs are an example of this:


Bride and Groom Holding Hands with lavender bouquet

A natural shot as they were preparing to dance. I exaggerated the amazingly vibrant colours in the edit to give a striking portrait.


Wedding Portrait in Fforest Fawr in black and White

Deeper in Fforest Fawr I went wide. The black and white highlights the textures and light well.


Wedding Portrait of Couple Walking in Fforest Fawr

This one is of the newly wedded couple entering the forest. The light behind the couple is from the car park outside Castell Coch.


The newly-weds descend the drawbridge at Castell Coch wedding

Descending the drawbridge – the splendour of the castle towering above them.


Couple posing at Castell Coch with stranger lady pointing

And Finally… I’ve no idea who the pointing lady on the right was, but I included her to this portrait for a bit of fun!


Castell Coch,
Tongwynlais,
Cardiff.
CF15 7JS.


Castell Coch is One of South Wales’ Top Small Wedding Photography Venues.

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Wedding Photographer in Cardiff & London

Guy Milnes Photography is based between London and Caerphilly covering South Wales, Bristol, London and the home counties.
He has been a professional photographer since 2008 and loves to capture the true atmosphere of the wedding day as it unfolds naturally.

 

Preferred Contact Number:
07947 613070

https://www.guymilnes.com/

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