This is a feature wedding / venue gallery. If you are planning a wedding in the Oxfordshire area do take a look at the Prices, the Photo Galleries, the Videos, and the Albums. This gallery illustrates just one of many for you to browse e.g. try The Manor Weston on the Green Bicester, The Oxford Oratory
Lots of couples choose this lovely Thames riverside location for their wedding ceremony and reception - the Oxford Thames Hotel, which is in Sandford-on-Thames a short distance to the south of the city of Oxford. It should not be confused with the Oxford Spires Hotel, which is nearer the city centre.
The Oxford Thames Hotel is a big hotel with extensive varied buildings and large landscaped gardens which stretch down to the riverbank. There is plenty of free onsite car parking.
This is a busy venue, often with more than one wedding or event taking place on the same day, but the buildings and grounds are large and can accommodate a lot of action!
The registrars who conduct ceremonies at the Hotel are an easy-going bunch and are always a pleasure to work with for professional photographers and videographers.
Marriage ceremonies can take place in the Oxford Thames' newly available pavilion just beside the riverbank. Or the gazebo if you prefer that name, or the pergola if you prefer that! Anyway, it enables couples to enjoy what is essentially an outdoor wedding ceremony whilst complying with the English law requirement that ceremonies can only take place with the bride and groom beneath a permanent structure.
There are lots of good backdrops for the essential wedding photos, anything from the informal riverbank and old Oxford barge, to the semi-formal italianate gardens near the main buildings.
Lets start by having a little wander around the grounds at the Oxford Thames Hotel. The first photo below shows the main entrance at the front, with its warm sandstone and roses which always seem to be in bloom:
The semi-formal gardens to the rear are protected by stone walls and the mature trees provide some welcome shade in which to shoot wedding portraits:
Then on to the lawns sweeping down to the riverbank:
The pavilion / gazebo / pergola earlier in the day before the wedding ceremony:
Some couples choose to have a church marriage ceremony rather than a ceremony at the hotel. This couple were married at The Oxford Oratory, otherwise known as St Aloysius Church:
There are of course numerous quaint Oxfordshire churches around and about the Oxford Thames Hotel. This couple were married at the Holy Trinity Church Headington Quarry Oxford:
The next groom made it straight to the hotel for his wedding ceremony and reception. The groom and all the groomsmen are living history enthusiasts and play the part of World War Two United States soldiers. They arrived in their 1940's US Jeep!
Some lovely suites are available for the girls to get ready in. The olde worlde feel is maintained outside and inside the hotel as in the next photo showing our bride's shoes in front of a very period looking windows frame:
This bride gave the traditional bouquets a miss and instead chose some colourful and elaborate feather creations which worked great. Our bridesmaids were kitted out with these:
The ring attached to the garter was of special significance for Jo and so it just had to be photographed!
Our bride seemed to be pleased with the way her getting ready was going!
Our groom listened attentively to his briefing by the registrars just before the start of the wedding ceremony:
Here is that "soldier" again - the groom in full flow in his living history mode.
The registrars are easy to work with and Peter is able to shoot a good selection of photos throughout the ceremonies:
Its challenging to shoot subjects inside a pergola on a bright sunny day as there is such a huge difference in the ambient light from the inside to the outside. Inevitably the whole range of light cannot be captured but it can still work great, such as in this photo of our couples first kiss:
The first floor suite in which this ceremony took place has tricky lighting for professional photographers and videographers to fight. There is a big contrast between the lightest and darkest areas of the room and this is difficult for the equipment to deal with, especially when auxiliary lighting is (quite rightly) not welcomed during the ceremony. Again the ceiling has numerous small downlighters and these can caste an unflattering uneven illumination on participants. So make sure your photo and video peeps know their onions!
This "military policeman" had his baton at the ready just in case the groom might try to do a runner!
There are some great character shots to be had during the wedding reception:
Everyone enjoyed a lovely barbecue in the fantastic summer evening sunshine:
The old Oxford barge moored on the river alongside the Oxford Thames Hotel is another terrific photo location:
The gardens at the front of the Oxford Thames Hotel are also a great location for some "traditional" wedding photos:
The riverside can be a nice shady location for some semi-formal group photos:
The gardens near the main hotel building are well tended and landscaped and are also great location for some more wedding photos:
This bride had put together what Peter thinks is the longest list of formal photos ever seen at 93 groups. But who can blame her since so many family and friends had made the special journey.
One of the hotel's function rooms was kitted out ready for our use for the wedding reception, but it was such a glorious evening that most guests preferred to bask in the sunshine in the adjacent courtyard:
The wedding breakfast can be located in the hotel's main Oxford Suite. Here we can see the room prepared ready for the influx of all the guests:
The various table decorations look great:
Receiving lines - where the bride and groom and usually the parents greet each of the guests at the entrance to the wedding breakfast - can be a hard shoot because of all the unpredictable sudden movements and usually in low light, but can make for some terrific special moment photos:
This wedding reception featured a curious Gallic custom; the bride and groom sit back to back and raise a shoe of their new spouse in answer to various questions raised by the guests. Peter's schoolboy French was not up to translating that so you'll have to look at the images and take his word for it.
The black and white floor in the old barn which hosted the dancing looked very photogenic alongside the live bands metallic red drums:
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