Wedding Photography at De Courceys Manor, Cardiff
The De Courceys Manor sign on the side of the building is the first thing you’ll see as you approach the house. It makes a perfect backdrop for some wedding portraits.
A Great Location for Weddings Just Outside Cardiff
De Courceys Manor is situated very conveniently off the M4 just north of Cardiff and just west of Radyr. Apart from the motorway running nearby, the location just south of the Welsh valleys is largely rural with plenty of greenery and beautiful countryside. It benefits from its own grounds, perfect for the newly-weds to stroll and find locations for their wedding portraits.
De Courceys Manor has plenty of attractive spaces ideal for guests to relax. The venue is very photogenic too. This space used to be outside, but now has a glass ceiling allowing beautiful light to pour in.
“Wedding Celebrations You Have Dreamed Of…”
Their website states that:
De Courceys Manor is run as a family business that prides itself on personal service, individuality and imagination. We will work with you to design and deliver the wedding celebrations you have dreamed of… in the perfect setting to capture your special memories.
I agree with all of that wholeheartedly. The staff at De Courceys care very much that everything is spot on. From the morning preparations in the Bridal Apartment, right through to the first dance and evening entertainment, they are there to ensure that your big day goes without a hitch.
The Bridal Suite has a wonderful balcony allowing for outdoor shots when the bride, her bridesmaids and close family are ready – but away from prying eyes!
Build Your Own>> Bespoke Cardiff Wedding Photography Package
Liz had her hair and make up in the apartment’s kitchen. There are many other suitable spots to have it done within the large suite.
Preparations & the Bridal Apartment
The Bridal Apartment comes as part of your wedding package and can be used from the morning preparations. It is somewhere for the couple to retire to at the end of the day. The area really is a five star space and includes four bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, kitchen, living room and balcony with patio table and chairs.
Being just upstairs from where the guests arrive means that the photographer can move freely between photographing the bride getting ready and the groom greeting the guests – (most probably) enjoying a nerve steadying drink in the bar.
The bride’s mum makes the final adjustments to the wedding dress in one of the four double bedrooms.
Guest Accommodation at De Courceys Manor
As well as the Bridal Apartment there are 9 cottages in the grounds (7 double and 2 family) for guests that need to stay overnight. Being that it’s not a hotel in the traditional sense, this is really helpful for those that live a distance away and guests that want to drink. Breakfast is available the following morning too!
Moments such as this are priceless. The groom greeting his guests downstairs in the Atrium goes on simultaneously to the bridal preparations. It’s useful to have quick access to both areas.
The Function Suites
There are 2 function suites at de Courceys. Wedding parties may use one or both. I’ve photographed a wedding there which used one suite for the ceremony and meal, and the other for the evening entertainment and dancing. This minimises the time needed to transition from the daytime to evening events and works really well.
Both suites are beautiful and elegant and perfect for any aspect of your wedding day.
This overview of the groom and guests awaiting the bride’s arrival, shows off the beauty and elegance of one of the function rooms where both the ceremony and meal were held perfectly.
De Courceys Manor: Quick Facts
- The venue caters comfortably for up to 130 guests.
- When you book the venue, it is yours for the day. You do not have to compete with other events or guests.
- De Courceys is independently owned and prides itself on a top-notch personal approach and first class service.
- It was voted ‘The Foodie Venue‘ by Wales Online and appears in Trip Advisor‘s Top 20 Best Restaurants in Wales.
- You can organise a meeting with the Head Chef to personalise your dishes.
- The Manor also caters for anniversaries, birthdays, corporate events and charity dinners.
A closer view of the front of the room. The lovely lighting is really helpful for taking beautiful photographs worthy of your wedding day.
Groom Rory looks remarkably relaxed whilst his grooms men share a joke.
There is room at the back of the suite for live musicians to play during appropriate moments of the ceremony. String quartet Cambria played as the bride entered the room.
The Bride’s Entrance
When the time finally comes for the bride to walk down the aisle, the staff are, again, there to help and guide every step of the way. Someone comes to collect the bridal party from their suite and escort them through the building to the ceremony room. I like to photograph this procession as it can make a nice sequence in the album… I like sequences of photographs!
The bridesmaids enter the room first. Their dresses and bouquets perfectly match the colour scheme of the function suite here.
Bride Liz’s face is full of anticipation as she walks down the aisle with her father.
A registrar gives the first reading. As with any civil marriage ceremony, all readings must have no religious connotations. Whether it’s family members or the registrar who read – the choice is yours.
During the ceremony, i move around discretely to photograph the couple from different angles. I have never had a couple say that I was distracting. At this point they are always so ‘in the moment’.
A page boy presents the rings. It’s always a special moment when close family members are used during the ceremony.
The Cardiff Registrars and the Wedding Ceremony
Apart from the signing (see below) the registrars are very amenable and conscious that the couple want good photo coverage of their day. They are very relaxed and happy for the photographer to move around throughout. The function rooms at De Courceys Manor have plenty of space to change position and take photos from all angles.
It’s important for the couple to slow down during this decisive part of the day. They can be nervous and in a rush to get the rings on and have their first kiss. Don’t be! The longer things take, the more chance the photographer has to take a great selection of images.
The exchange of rings is the decisive moment of the wedding. With no beginning or end, the ring is a symbol of infinity.
The first kiss is an important moment for a photographer to capture. I always tell couples to slow down here to enable me to get the shot. I love the cheeky smile on the registrar’s face in this photo.
Traditionally each side of the family sits on either side of the aisle. The closest family members sit in the front row, so I always try to photograph them. It gives a more complete guide to how the day was.
The Cardiff registrars don’t allow the actual signing to be photographed as some do. But they set up a ‘dummy’ register afterwards.
Signing the Wedding Register & Photography
There aren’t many parts of the day where photography is restricted but the signing may be one of them. The Cardiff registrars are strict that no photos are to be taken of the signing. Some register offices do allow this but Cardiff apply the rule with no flexibility. Personally I think this is a shame as I prefer to capture natural moments, but have to abide by the rules set out by them.
There is more on this aspect of the day in Chapter 5 of my Wedding Photography Guide: Signing the Register – Rules and Discretion.
Anything that goes on during the day is worth photographing. It will all help to spark memories in years to come.
Now they’re married, time for another sequence as they leave the room as husband and wife. As with all my photography, I give a good selection of both colour and black and white shots.
The De Courceys manager is on hand as they exit to give them their first champagne.
The groom greets family and friends outside the splendid venue entrance.
Congratulating the Newly-Weds
There is a tendency for couples to stay near the door of the ceremony room and greet their guests coming out. I try to prevent this at a beautiful venue such as De Courceys. In good weather, outside the building is the place for these shots. The light is much better and the facade makes a lovely backdrop for some wedding congratulations followed by confetti. So I get them outside and allow for their guests to filter out and greet them naturally whilst I photograph some often emotive and very special moments.
A typical overview shot of this time of the day which makes up the feeling of atmosphere and occasion.
The couple really are given the red carpet treatment as they walk through an aisle of wedding guests for their confetti shots.
The garden swing is a popular fixture at De Courceys Manor. I could resist this one of the bridesmaids playing on it. Here, you can see more of the garden and the side of the house in the background.
There are numerous backdrops for the group posed shots. I take a few in one area and then move on to add interest.
I love the side of the house with those large Edwardian windows and the manor logo on the wall. Perfect for the all-important group shot of everyone.
The venue staff are keen for me to take a ‘staged’ photo of the cake cutting before dinner. After dinner the cake is moved to where the evening entertainment is held, but this area makes for a more attractive portrait.
At some point shortly after the group shots I steal the couple away for some of them alone together. Again, the swing came into its own as this pair were up for some very silly shots.
They also slowed down a bit for some more serious photos showing the love they had for each other.
The same function room where the wedding ceremony had taken place earlier: Now laid for dinner, I always try to take a photo before the guests enter.
The Wedding Breakfast & Beyond
The couple are announced at De Courceys in the traditional manner as their family and friends stand to receive them. I take photos of the guests at the tables right up until the starter is served. At this point, I go for my meal until the speeches but stay on hand in case anything happens to photograph.
Wedding couples are treated like rock stars during their wedding day. Only right too!
Some guests are more exuberant than others. I keep a close eye on the more rowdy tables as the shots are often more dynamic and fun.
The bride chats with some guests after the main course. The couple often go round chatting to their guests during this part of the meal.
Rory doing the same thing. Oddly, couples usually do this separately but sometimes together.
Children at weddings are great… If the adults aren’t up to much, you can bet the young people will be making their own entertainment. Thankfully, De Courceys Manor welcomes them.
This couple decided to sit apart from everyone else – this is becoming more popular at wedding breakfasts.
Here’s that rowdy table from earlier that I was keeping an eye on. This time they’re having their own private toast.
The bride’s mum and a female guest share a joke. This is that lovely bright seating area which is well worth spending time in if guests are sitting there.
A bridesmaid seemingly in deep conversation with a guest after dinner.
I shot this through some decorative plants on the table to give a different perspective.
A wide view of the garden swing on the lawn outside De Courceys Manor. Throughout the day it remained a favourite spot for kids and grown ups alike.
After dinner, new guests often arrive for the evening and I’m around to ensue I photograph the meetings and greetings.
The couple decided to have their speeches later on, so that the evening guests could be there. The De Courceys staff were more than happy to accommodate this as they were any requests.
The groom introducing the father of the bride here.
I’m happy to take portrait requests at any point of the day.
The first dance is a particularly special time of the wedding day. The evening entertainment was in the second function room. I used bounce flash for this which gave a lovely, flattering light on to the couple.
They are always so in the moment at this part of the day that my presence with the camera doesn’t faze them at all.
As everyone takes to the dance floor, the true personalities of the guests comes out and I take some fantastic action shots.
I love it when the older family members dance together.
Little moments like this mean so much to photograph. I only wonder what the joke was!
I stay until about half an hour after the first dance. By then I usually have enough footage and the dance floor has quietened down.
I left De Courceys Manor at about the same time as the bride’s dad. The last shot of the day was this lovely one of them sharing a goodbye hug.
De Courceys Manor,
Tyla Morris Avenue,
De Courceys Manor Wedding Photographer – Guy Milnes Photography.