I was super excited to be photographing Gemma and Gareth’s Oakwell Hall wedding on Good Friday.
I had previously photographed weddings at Oakwell Hall Country Park, Birstall in the Hall of the Elizabethan manor house, and was well aware of the amazing gardens and grounds beyond, but this was my first visit to the historic barn for the wedding reception.
The wedding party and many of the guests were staying at the nearby Gomersal Park hotel, with a lot of Gareth’s family from Wales to attend the wedding at their Leeds venue. Gemma and the girls were getting ready in one of the family rooms, which offered some extra room for the ladies hair and make-up with Emma from Pokadot hair and make-up and Lindsey from LJR Bridal and special occasion hairdressing.
As Gareth and his Best Men were also at Gomersal Park Hotel, I was able to pop down to the hotel foyer to grab a few shots of them before they headed to Oakwell Hall.
Gemma’s mum had arranged a beautiful vintage Rolls Royce to take the wedding party the short distance from the hotel to Oakwell Hall.
Oakwell Hall wedding ceremony
Oakwell Hall is a historic 16th century manor house in the village of Birstall near Leeds, West Yorkshire. The Grade I listed hall is set in period gardens surrounded by 110 acres of country park, which make a fantastic backdrop for photographs on your wedding day. I love the hall for wedding ceremonies because the light is directional and dramatic.
The fabulous Steven Heath was providing live music as the guests arrived. Gemma was running a little late, leaving a nervous Gareth stood at the altar until she arrived but when she walked down the aisle, she lit up the entire room and Gareth couldn’t take his eyes off her, or stop smiling.
After the bride and groom had exchanged vows, their son and daughter got up to bravely read a lovely poem to their parents.
After the ceremony, we headed to the formal gardens for the group shots, quickly heading inside to finish as it was a little colder than was comfortable. Gemma and Gareth went for a drive in the wedding car to enjoy some time together on their own and the guests went to the 19th century barn across the courtyard
Oakwell Hall Barn
The barn was decorated with spring flowers and vintage china, set up for afternoon tea with lots of personal touches; a milkshake station for the children to help themselves and personalised Easter eggs, which doubled as name places and favours. After some touching speeches, afternoon tea was served.
Gemma and Gareth had organised for a Kid Zone party bus to arrive, providing entertainment for the children, whilst they enjoyed a cocktail or two. We nipped off for some couple pictures in the extensive grounds. As Gareth is Welsh, we couldn’t resist a picture with the sheep statue!
Evening wedding Reception
The evening reception commenced, with Steven Heath entertaining everyone with three live sets and music in between. After the first dance as husband and wife, the dance floor was alive and the evening street food was served.