The Leverhulme Hotel is a unique boutique hotel set amongst the idyllic village of Portsunlight on the Wirral. Back in 2009 Pixsmiths shot a wedding here for an overseas couple. Now they should have been in the ballroom but since the hotel opened in 2008 it has been undergoing a series of transformation. It will be great, once its finally finished. Needless to say the promised ballroom for our couple was not quite ready which was a little disappointing for them. However they still had a great wedding in this beautiful art deco hotel and we really enjoyed the day with them.
One year on we were watching a wedding of a colleague at Portsunlight Christchurch, their reception was also at the Leverhulme and happily the ballroom was completed by then. Other work is still ongoing though, the garden area has been landscaped and a new gazebo had recently been installed, which when settled and the garden around it has matured, will add another useful photographic feature. A big improvement is the new road, owned by the Leverhulme which links to the rear entrance of the ballroom all the down to the back of Christchurch. Not only much easier for wedding cars to access the hotel this way but it connects the church and hotel so well it makes it easy for the bridal party to walk in fine weather. Keith and Lisa decided to do this, and Keith’s brother the morning of the wedding had linked the trees with ribbons and bows in the wedding colours to indicate the route – a brilliant idea!
Next wedding coming up is at Sandon Hal in Staffordshire. We had the opportunity to visit this ancestral home of the Earls of Harrowby at the weekend when the the weather was clear and bright A beautiful stately house, the drive up through fields with grazing cattle and pheasants running all over the place like roadrunners was delightfull, especially with the golden autumn colours. Hope it stays that way for our bridal couple! Whatever the weather, there are features a plenty inside for the photographs. Plenty of long windows let the light in and afford grand views out to the extensive gardens. Wooden staircase and arches lead into a room suitable for about 85 -100 guests. Small parties can be accommodated in a more intimate dining room. Upstairs are period dressed rooms , loved the pheasant wallpaper, obviously a feature for the estate, and a balcony is available for overhead shots, ideal for those group pictures. Weddings ceremonies can take place in the estate church if resident in the area, whilst civil ceremonies take place in the library, a beautiful room looking out onto the gardens. The library can also be used for indoor photos after a ceremony too if weather is inclement. Always helpful to have a plan B!. An ornate conservatory with bar area provides a perfect place for drinks afterwards and for some cool bridal shots. Our thanks to Jon Guard the manager for showing us around this gorgeous stately home, can hardly wait to be back and taking the wedding shoot here.
On the way out we spoke to a couple who were visiting venues for their daughter who was currently in Australia – hope these pictures taken will give an understanding of how beautiful this venue is which somehow mixes grandeur with cosiness.
Whilst celebrating our silver wedding in St Lucia we saw several weddings taking place at the Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort – the most intimate of all the Sandals resorts, being the smallest and friendliest.. Thought it might be an idea to share our views of weddings here in case it appeals to you as a venue for a destination wedding.
Its certainly a beautiful setting with the sparkling turquoise Caribbean Sea in front of you. and the colourful gardens around. Two gazebos are available for weddings, carefully prepared with tables, linens, flowers and cake etc.. They are fairly small so only suitable for small groups and bear in mind that the officiant, photographer and videographer are also present! Hence more suited to small wedding parties. The ones we saw were mainly just the bride and groom and their witnesses (can be provided by Sandals).
There can be several weddings a day – our last day there were 4 – 11am, noon, 3pm and 4pm The ceremony takes about 10-15 minutes, cake is cut and a champagne toast made by the couple for the photographers. A small canape buffet was then often served in the gazebo to the wedding part – larger groups were set up on a lawned area. The happy couples often had a dance in the garden afterward. It was It was funny to see newly weds in their just married T-Shirts the next day too.
Weddings also took place on the beach, with sunbathers and swimmers around it seemed a bit surreal! Either way you are probably going to use the services of a Sandals photographer. It would be too expensive to fly out a photographer and accommodate them, besides which a work permit is required here if not a local. They all seemed good at posing couples and taking the pictures efficiently. We had a few chats with Gavin the main photographer – he used the same camera as us and we exchanged a few ideas about settings, positions and albums. As a side note we had Gavin do a photo shoot for us on our anniversary and it made a change for us to be on the other side of the camera and be posed. Gave us a new perspective on that!. 15 min Complimentary photo shoots were available – prints were obviously extra, packages for 10 prints on a CD and 7 x 5 print for $99 were available. Single prints $20 but the more you have the better value it was. Albums can also be purchased and pictures can even be viewed on-line when back home in case you change your mind about which ones to choose.
We saw couples of all ages getting married here, it was lovely to see them. Sandals being a couples only resort its not possible to have family children present so these weddings suit those who want to enjoy a wedding in beautiful surroundings. either by themselves or just a few family present. Its hot and humid out here so Brides cool dresses and shoes that are beach friendly are the order of the day! Several brides wore pretty flip flops – esp if they wanted pics on the beach afterward.
Sandals were great at organising the bridal preparations. All the couples we spoke to had a great day and got special treatment at their eveing dinner.