Everything you need to know about Hampton Court House Wedding Venue!
If you’re considering Hampton Court House as a potential venue for your forthcoming wedding, then hello, this is the perfect post for you! I’ve been photographing weddings there for a few years now and have got to know the venue and wonderful staff. So much so, I’m now listed as one of their recommended suppliers. So, I wanted to create this page full of information, hints, tips and advice to help you decide if Hampton Court House is the perfect venue for your wedding. Read on…
A little bit of history…
Hampton Court House is an active independent school, set amongst nine acres as part of the Hampton Court Estate, which also houses Hampton Court Palace and Gardens. This Georgian mansion was built in the 18th century for the 2nd Earl of Halifax’s mistress. It functions as a school during the week and transforms into a charming and breath-taking wedding venue each weekend. It’s situated just south of Richmond Park and west of Kingston, is a well-appointed south-west London wedding venue, with great transport links. And yet it’s position, on the very edge of Bushy Park, can fool you into believing you’re not in the city at all! It’s the perfect combination of city venue and rural surroundings.
The house from a photographer’s perspective
On first arriving at Hampton Court House, you and your guests will walk up the gravel drive, where you’ll be greeted by the impressive and imposing sight of the house itself. It’s an experience guaranteed to have an incredible impact on your guests, especially when they take those first steps up and into the grand hall. This monumental space will not fail to impress everyone who experiences it.
The grand hall is a very beautiful spacious room. If you choose to have your ceremony there, you will have the perfect view with Bushy Park as its backdrop. The high, ornate ceilings and that stunning parquet floor are a perfect contrast to the natural and peaceful surroundings of the park outside. There’s also a gallery, high above the hall, which offers an excellent spot for us photographers to get some unique photographs of your ceremony from above. What’s great about the House is the versatility of the space.
While the grand hall is typically used for ceremonies, it’s also the perfect location for a drinks reception if you get married elsewhere. That’s part of the beauty of this venue. As a couple, you have options! You can choose to marry in your church and head to the venue afterwards for your meal and reception. Or you can use the space for your ceremony as well. The venue is exclusively yours for the day, to use exactly as you wish! Hampton Court House works for whatever plans you have.
The venue is licensed for civil ceremonies up to 150 guests. The House many spaces and places, with a multitude of purposes. The garden terrace, its glorious palm trees and the tropical gardens outside the conservatory look really green and exotic at any time of year. They’re so different from what you might expect of a grand mansion house and add to the feeling of being completely away from everything!
There’s a bright, open and summery feel to this space which makes it a beautiful spot to take photographs. Walking through a marble archway into the great dining hall, you might experience a moment of theatricality and drama. With its newly decorated walls and curtained stage, this room reminds me of a small theatre. This space can be challenging from a photographic perspective, with its only natural light source being the huge skylight in the vaulted ceiling high above. And in winter there is no natural light in here. But I’ve worked here often enough that I know exactly how to handle the light to get the best photographs of your speeches and celebrations.
The dining hall has a capacity for 150 guests for a sit-down meal. Next to the dining hall is the glass conservatory, which is where the evening celebrations, cake cutting, and all the dancing usually begin. This space is wonderful at any time of year because the light is always amazing. The conservatory leads out onto that beautiful garden terrace, making it a great space for guests to wander in and out as the dancing heats up and they need to cool down!
A venue for all seasons
I’ve shot weddings in every season at Hampton Court House, which has allowed me to see how the space can be used in all temperatures and weathers.
In spring and summer, the outside spaces offer shade and light, cool, breezy areas to keep your guests happy in the heat. In winter, Hampton Court House uses its beautiful fires to make the space cosy, keeping your guests toasty and warm. Being an all seasons, all weathers kind of place means there are various options when it comes to your group formals and couple photographs. Group shots can take place on the steps outside, or on the garden terrace. Or if it’s wet, inside the grand hall in front of the impressive fireplace. Couple shots are perfect in various places in the main house, the grounds, Bushy Park (you’ll need a licence to take photos there), or in the unique shell grotto, a shell-lined summerhouse, one of the last examples left in the country. It’s accessible whatever the weather is doing.
My hints and tips
If you’re having your ceremony at Hampton Court House, the old library is great for bridal prep. It has lots of light and room for getting your hair and make-up done. It also creates a great backdrop for this part of your day. If you’re not having your ceremony at the house. At the end of the road is Craven House. These luxury serviced apartments are within walking distance of Hampton Court House and offer a great alternative for your bridal preparations. A little further down the road is the Kings Arms Hotel, a beautiful boutique hotel with stunning rooms for you and your bridal party to get ready in. Hampton Court House has a great list of preferred suppliers and I can vouch for all the caterers they recommend. I’d also love to give a special mention to Steph from Fairy Nuff Flowers, who I’ve had the opportunity to work with several times now. She is amazing at what she does, and she’ll do a fabulous job of your wedding flowers!
I love Hampton Court House for all its beautiful space, ornate gardens and grounds. There are a ton of options for spaces to photograph your formal group shots. In the winter, if the weather is dry and bearable, there’s the front of the house. But if it’s too cold and wet, there’s always the grand hall by the fireplace, which offers tons of atmosphere to your images. In the summer, the front of the house or the garden terrace works perfectly. And for that big group shot, the front of the house is a superb spot. When it comes to your couple shots, the possibilities are endless. There are the gardens, the pond and the terraces, which all make great places. I love to get couples into the exotic gardens because the light is spectacular.
Then, of course, there’s that unique shell grotto, a space like no other for beautiful couple shots. With the proximity of all these spaces, I can usually get a good range of shots done in around 20 minutes. There’s also the option to do some photographs at the back of the house in Bushy Park. There are stag and deer in this location all year round so you may get one or two come along and say hi for a few photographs! Bear in mind you will need to pay for a license to have photographs taken in the park though.
Why I love shooting here
Hampton Court House lends itself so well to photography at all times of the year and in all situations. There are so many options for vantage points, like that stunning gallery in the grand hall, for example. With its grand décor, you could be forgiven for thinking the venue is a formal space. But I find it has a warm, relaxed and sort of “shabby chic” vibe to it, making it inviting and informal for you and your guests, once the formalities of your ceremony are over. In the winter, the fires are lit after your ceremony and they bring in big sofas for your guests to relax and mingle in.
The venue is so beautiful and grand and has loads of charm to an already character-filled place. There is such a great feeling about Hampton Court House. You have to be there to completely understand what I’m talking about! Of course, as a photographer, I know I talk about light all the time, but at Hampton Court House it is so perfect. It’s a bright, spacious and accommodating venue. Its understated grandeur means you barely need to do anything to it to make it perfect. Dress it with some beautiful flowers and that will be enough, I’m sure! There’s a fantastic sense of flow to the venue. Its layout allows guests to naturally move from space to space throughout the day. All the staff at the house are incredible. They go out of their way to look after you. Given that the venue gets booked back-to-back throughout the year, that combination of great service and a well-oiled venue means it doesn’t feel like a production line of weddings. Each couple gets tons of time and attention.
Each wedding is treated with complete individuality, making you feel truly special on your wedding day. As a creative documentary photographer, I work with available light as much as possible. This allows me to shoot naturally, candidly and as discreetly as possible. So, a venue like Hampton Court House makes that whole process much easier. You can’t go wrong choosing it as the venue for your perfect wedding!
If you’re planning a wedding at Hampton Court House and are interested in talking to me about your wedding photography, you can get in touch via the link below.