Leeds Castle wedding photographerFor your Leeds Castle wedding near Maidstone in Kent
Getting married at Leeds Castle?
If you have booked your wedding at Leeds Castle you are probably now thinking about photography. You may be planning an intimate ceremony with just two witnesses or a few dozen of your nearest and dearest, and on the day would like to spend as much time with them as possible. Which means that you just need an hour or two of photography.
That’s what I do.
You can book photography from one hour upwards*:
One hour – covers the ceremony itself, group photographs, and a few portraits of the two of you
One and a half hours – the most popular option – has more time to include your arrival at the Castle and portraits of the two of you making full use of the available locations offered by the Castle (interiors and exteriors)
Two and a half hours – allows for coverage of the ceremony, multiple groups, your portraits, the room laid out for your wedding breakfast, and photos of you chatting with your guests during your drinks reception
Four, six, eight and ten hour options also available (on request)
If you’re not sure, give me a call on 01342 811631 or simply get in touch via the enquiry form. We can talk through your plans and what you would like from your wedding photography. We’ll work something out together.
It’s all part of the service.
*Wedding photography coverage (attendance) including all of your personally edited, hand-finished, ready to print digital files from just £399, including travel and VAT.
Leeds Castle is described as the loveliest Castle in the World and is one of Britain’s most visited historic attractions. It is nowhere near Leeds in Yorkshire, instead it is in the small Kent village of Leeds (near Maidstone). It is an incredibly popular Kent wedding venue especially for couples who dream of a castle wedding. The wedding coordinators are all extremely professional and on your wedding day the Castle staff and caterers look after everyone beautifully.
Many couples choose Leeds Castle because of it’s history. Originally designed by Robert de Crèvecœur it has been a Norman stronghold, housed several of England’s medieval queens, been home to Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, served as a Jacobean country house, a Georgian mansion, and an elegant early 20th century retreat.
Leeds Castle has many options for weddings. You can get married somewhere else (i.e. a church, register office or other civil ceremony venue) and then just have your reception at the Castle, or have your ceremony and reception at the Castle. The Castle is open to visitors throughout the year and closes in Summer at 5:30pm and in Winter at 4pm. Visitors love seeing brides during their visit and they are also very accommodating during photographs. Couples ask me often what impact the visitors have and I would say that they always add to the experience. In the main Castle, once the visitors leave the Castle staff remove all of the ropes and you and your guests can use the drawing rooms just like a home.
There are many venues at Leeds Castle in which to hold your ceremony or celebration and these are:
Main Castle – the Ceremony Room is elegant and stylish in calm hues of pale green. There are French doors leading out to a drinks reception terrace with plenty of seating. Inside the room there is an impressive 16th Century French Caen stone fireplace. Next door to the Ceremony Room is the Library which acts as your drinks reception area during colder weather. Meals are in the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall which needs very little (if any) decoration as it is grand and full of interest. There is an imposing fireplace (lit in winter) with an oil painting of Henry VIII looking down as you eat. After your meal guests have coffee in the two other 1920s drawing rooms (Thorpe Hall and the Yellow Room). That’s in total 4 large reception rooms in which to relax. Dancing is in the Heraldry Room. You can also stay in one of the luxurious period bedrooms and breakfast is served in the Ceremony Room.
Wedding Breakfast: 100
Evening Reception Castle: 120
Evening Reception Fairfax Hall: 200
Maiden’s Tower – this is an exclusive hire venue adjacent to the main Castle. Once used for weekend house parties it is now used as a self-contained venue for wedding ceremonies, evening celebrations and overnight accommodation. There are two function rooms both with French doors leading to a private garden and 5 en-suite bedrooms. It has a real al fresco Summer garden party feel to it and has plenty of outdoor seating and umbrellas. Breakfast is served in Fairfax Hall.
Wedding Breakfast: 80
Evening Reception: 100
Fairfax Barn – this is a 17th Century Kentish timber barn. It is an ideal reception venue if you are getting married in the Maiden’s Tower or at a different venue and would like to celebrate with 100 – 200 guests. It has views of the Castle and a large terrace.
Evening Reception Capacity: 100 to 200
Battel Hall (from 2018)* – this is a 14th Century home with distinctive historical features. There is a ceremony room, drawing room and library which lend themselves to intimate dinners and parties for up to 25. There are 5 en-suite bedrooms upstairs with views over the gardens. The adjacent grade two listed Battel Hall Oast offers a further bathroom and two bedrooms. You can also hold your ceremony outside in the timber-framed garden pagoda.
Wedding Breakfast: 25
Standing Buffet: 50
Drinks Reception: 70
Garden Marquee: 100
As a Leeds Castle wedding photographer I have learned that it takes a really long time to get around the grounds during the couple photos so I would advise taking a pair of heels on your viewing day to get a feel for this. I would strongly advise booking a golf buggy to get around. It saves 10 minutes out of every 30 which means that you’ll have more time with your guests. It’s tempting to stay near your venue but getting out to have a photo taken with the Castle in the background is really a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Catering at Leeds Castle is first rate. I have eaten hundreds of wedding breakfasts and Leeds Castle tops the list… by a long way. I have put a photo in the slideshow below of a typical three-course meal and just looking at it brings back joyous memories!
For more information or to arrange a private viewing please contact Sophie Welsh at Leeds Castle.
Kent ME17 1PL
T: 01622 767877
Next Wedding Showcase
*Wedding Showcase at Battel Hall 16th & 17th June 2018 (by appointment)
Visitor Opening Times (Castle)
April to September 10:30am to 5:30pm (last entry 5pm) / October to March 10:30am to 4pm (last entry 3:30pm)
Closed 4th & 5th November 2017, 14th July 2018 (from 2pm) and Christmas Day
Ticket price (adult) £24.90 which gives access for a full year
Car: Junction 8 of the M20 motorway follow brown and white tourist road signs (free car park)
Rail: Southeastern to Bearsted Station and from April to September there is a coach shuttle service run by Spot Travel
How long should we allow for photography?
Ceremony & Reception
Arrivals: 15 to 45 minutes
Civil ceremony: 15 to 30 minutes
Group photography: approximately 3 minutes per grouping of up to 12 people
Everyone photograph (80 people): up to 15 minutes
Guests and couple during drinks reception: 15 to 30 minutes
Dining room / wedding breakfast details: 10 to 15 minutes
You can have a simple portrait taking up to 5 minutes somewhere near to your ceremony room, all the way up to a grand tour of the Castle and gardens. At most venues I recommend setting aside 15 to 30 minutes for couple photographs. Leeds Castle is an exception. It takes a lot longer to get around and I would absolutely recommend setting aside 45 minutes.
If being with your guests is more important then stick with a simple 5 minute portrait. If taking in the scene, the Castle, the grounds, the architecture, the history, and the interior designs is important then you need to plan your allotted time carefully. I can absolutely help you with that. Simply list the important locations and I can let you know how long it will take.
Many couples split their couple portraits into two parts, especially during summer weddings when it is light for longer. They allow up to 30 minutes during their drinks reception and then another 15 or 30 minutes after their meal. This means that the nearer to the Castle ones can be done early on, and the last vista scenes can be done when the light is more spectacular or even at dusk for maximum effect.
Preparations & Evening Reception Coverage
If you would like your bridal preparations, groom and ushers photographs prior to your ceremony, and photos of you with your bridesmaids and parents prior to your ceremony this can be added to your coverage. In addition, you may wish to add the period from the end of your drinks reception to your first dance and beyond.
Four, six, eight and ten hour coverage options are available for all Leeds Castle weddings (subject to availability). Please ask for details.
Outside, where can we have couple photographs taken after our ceremony?
The time of year and position of the sun plays a large part in the decision as to where to have your photographs. Choose a photographer who knows Leeds Castle well, at all times of the day, and in the different seasons. Ask your photographer for advice.
Fairfax side view (from the east) taking in the moat, Castle, Maiden’s Tower, and Gatehouse
Main driveway side view (from the west) taking in the moat, Castle and Gatehouse
Pavilion lawn with the weeping willow over the little bridge
Portcullis and ruin although you need the sky on your side for this
On the main island a view across the two viewing platforms, the flower beds for foliage, and the Castle doors
If you have (a lot) more time do also consider:
Lady Baillie Garden and Culpeper Garden especially if you like plants & flowers
Oriental garden with red bridge
Interesting trees the other side of the golf course
Do you think the golf buggy is essential?
It saves 10 minutes in every 30 minutes so the answer is ‘yes’ if you are on a tight timeline or would like photos taken at the following locations:
Lady Baillie Garden and Culpeper Garden
Interesting trees the other side of the golf course
What happens if it rains on our day?
For light to medium rain umbrellas work beautifully. Some of my favourite wedding photographs include umbrellas. For examples at Leeds Castle have a look at this rainy Summer wedding.
For heavy to torrential rain you can have your groups and couple portraits taken in the ceremony room or other reception space. In the Castle there is the library, the staircase, and two drawing rooms. In the Maiden’s Tower there is the second reception room. In Battel Hall there is a drawing room and library.
From a photography point of view the light inside the Castle is actually more flattering and interesting. Using a combination of natural window light and subtle flash creates elegant and stylish portraits that really take advantage of the Castle’s architecture and interior designs.
Leeds Castle slideshow
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