Christchurch Priory wedding ceremony
Having spent the last months watching Vikings on TV I have become addicted to history (when I realised it was made by the history channel!) so I have a new appreciation for where I’m working. Christchurch Priory weddings have always piqued my interest as it is such a grand building but I’ve been researching a little more of late so when I spent the day with Tamsin and Lloyd at their Christchurch Priory wedding ceremony followed by their Highcliffe Castle wedding reception I couldn’t help but dive a little deeper.
Not only was history apparent at this wedding, but Tamsin is also a film photography addict and asked if I’d shoot a roll of film in her medium format camera, oh yes indeed was my reply! You might see that these images are also processed a little differently too as a little nod to her love of film photography.
Christchurch Priory: A Timeless Icon of Faith and Heritage
Christchurch Priory is a historic church located in the town of Christchurch, Dorset, England. Its origins date back to the 11th century when a group of Benedictine monks founded a monastery on the site.
The monastery grew in size and influence over the following centuries, becoming a major religious centre in the region. In the 12th century, the monks began construction on a grand priory church, which would become one of the largest and most impressive churches in England.
The church was built in a Norman style, with ornate arches, intricate stonework, and a stunning vaulted ceiling. It was also decorated with beautiful stained glass windows and a variety of religious sculptures and carvings.
Over the centuries, the church underwent a number of changes and additions, including the construction of a massive bell tower in the 15th century and the installation of a new organ in the 18th century.
During the English Reformation in the 16th century, the monastery was dissolved and the priory church was given to the town of Christchurch. Despite this upheaval, the church continued to play an important role in the community, serving as a place of worship, education, and social gathering.
In the 19th century, the church underwent a major restoration project, which included the addition of a new choir screen, a new roof, and repairs to the stonework. Today, Christchurch Priory remains one of the most iconic and beloved landmarks in Dorset, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
In addition to its architectural and historical significance, the church is also known for its impressive musical tradition. It has a renowned choir that performs regularly at wedding services and special events and has hosted a number of notable musicians and composers over the years.
Highcliffe Castle Wedding Venue – History
Highcliffe Castle is a stunning Grade I listed building located in the coastal town of Highcliffe, Dorset, England. It was originally built in the early 1830s by Lord Stuart de Rothesay, a diplomat and politician, as a private residence for his family.
Designed by the renowned architect William Donthorn, Highcliffe Castle was built in a Gothic Revival style, with decorative features such as turrets, gargoyles, and intricate stonework. The castle was constructed using local red brick and Bath stone, giving it a unique appearance.
In the late 19th century, the castle was purchased by the 3rd Baron Stuart de Decies, who added a number of significant additions to the property, including a conservatory, a chapel, and a clock tower. The castle remained in the Stuart family until the 1930s when it was sold to a private owner.
During World War II, Highcliffe Castle was used by the military as a base for anti-aircraft guns and as a training ground for troops. After the war, the castle was purchased by the local council and used as a hotel and conference centre.
However, by the 1970s, the castle had fallen into disrepair and was in danger of being demolished. A local campaign to save the building was successful, and in the 1980s, the castle was purchased by the Christchurch Borough Council and underwent a major restoration project.
Today, Highcliffe Castle is open to the public as a museum and a Highcliffe castle wedding venue. Visitors can explore the castle’s many rooms and admire its impressive collection of artwork and artefacts. The castle is also surrounded by beautiful gardens and has stunning views of the nearby coastline.
In recent years, Highcliffe Castle has become a popular location for film and television productions, with scenes from popular shows such as Poldark and Victoria being filmed on the castle grounds.
Highcliffe Castle Wedding
Back to the wedding! Highcliffe Castle is a wedding venue that hosts 3-4 wedding ceremonies a day however they also have the facilities for the reception too. That does mean that you have to book the last slot of the day or, as Tamsin and Lloyd did have a ceremony elsewhere and arrive later.
Using the great halls for your Highcliffe Castle wedding breakfast gives such a grand sense of occasion making your wedding day so memorable. It wasn’t until I shot this wedding I was allowed to climb upstairs to the locked store room to get a photo from above the great hall. It’s such a special place.
When the food is over there is the opportunity to walk the grounds as they did in ‘Victoria’ when filming. It’s easy to see why they chode the venue to film with the clear views of the Isle of Wight in the setting sun.
What about the film photos I hear you say? Well I really enjoyed using a film camera again, It really took me back to my roots in photogaphy. Here are a few shots for you to look at. There is a beautiful quality about them that just can’t be replicated using digital methods.