• Great Fosters Wedding, Surrey

Hertfordshire wedding photographer Zoë Cooper

‘Zoë was very inconspicuous and yet knew exactly what she was doing. Our families both loved her, and she was such a pleasure to spend time with on the day. Thank you so much Zoë, we couldn’t recommend you more highly!’

I first met Claire and Richard when I photographed Claire’s sister’s wedding at Hatfield House. I adored the family so was thrilled when Claire contacted me to photograph her own wedding at Great Fosters in Egham, Surrey.

Great Fosters is a Grade 1 listed stately wedding venue and hotel set amongst 50 acres of gardens and parklands in Egham. Its location close to Heathrow, the M25 and M4 is ideal for weddings where guests are coming from all sides of the country (and potentially the world!).

Claire and Richard had relocated to Australia, so wedding planning communications were done by email until they returned back to the UK in time for their Hen and Stag celebrations. As well as Australia, I have had couples this year plan their UK weddings from Africa and California, and have never found it to be an issue communicating with couples wherever in the world they may be based.

Claire chose to get ready with her family and bridal party at a beautiful property near Windsor overlooking the River Thames, before making the short journey to Great Fosters in the family VW Campervan.

Claire and Richard chose to hold their wedding service in The Orangery at Great Fosters. Its huge 18th century styled windows offer great views over the south terrace and Magnolia lawn, and filled the room with bright sunshine.

Claire walked down the aisle to string quartet who would later provide their evening entertainment. Their ceremony was relaxed and heartfelt.
Reception drinks were served outside on the Tithe Barn terrace for the guests to enjoy the glorious September sunshine, and explore the vast gardens at Great Fosters.
The landscape gardens and grounds of Great Fosters are stunning, and a wedding photographer could not ask for more in terms of scenery. But with the bright sunshine there was little in the way of shade, so I needed to reassess where we had planned to conduct the family photos, and find an area with more flattering and even light.

Later in the day when the sun had lowered and the light more forgiving, we went back to the areas of the garden we had wanted to use in the first place for some more family photos.

Claire and Richard’s wedding reception was held in the 14th Century Tithe Barn at Great Fosters. The Tithe Barn was originally situated in Surrey and dates back to 1390’s. It was dismantled and re-built at Great Fosters in the 1930’s.

Both families have a wickedly funny sense of humour, and the speeches were as expected full of anecdotes and teasing which had everyone including myself in fits of laughter. The best men double act did a great job and saw to it that Richard did not get off lightly.

After the cake cutting Claire, Richard and I took a little time out to go back to the gardens to capture some informal moments in the beautiful grounds as the light started to fade.

The evening reception was held back in The Orangery, where the Ceilidh band Licence to Ceilidh ensured everyone was on the dancefloor from the first dance onwards.

I love photographing wedding receptions with Ceilidh bands. Not just for the knowledge that you will have a packed dancefloor, but more for the expressions on guests faces, and the laughter that comes with trying to learn a dance – or as in most cases, freestyling after a while.

If guests needed a break then The Painted Hall which is adjacent to both the Tithe Barn and The Orangery served as a quieter area for guests to get a drink from the bar and have a rest from the dancing.

Claire and Richard’s wedding was every bit as fantastic as I had expected it to be. It is testament to them to have created such a laid back and fun wedding in such a grand venue.

Thank you Claire & Richard for having me as your wedding photographer!

Wedding Ceremony held at:
The Orangery, Great Fosters, Stroude Road Egham, Surrey, TW20 9UR

Wedding Reception:
The Tythe Barn, Great Fosters

Wedding Reception Band:
Licence to Ceilidh

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Zoë Cooper Hertfordshire Wedding photographer covering Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, the UK and destination weddings.