Great Lodge wedding photography

Great lodge is a beautiful rural Essex wedding venue that’s been in the same family for over 100 years. It features an award winning vineyard, red brick barns, a lake and even alpacas that you can feed on your wedding day if you fancy it.

In 2014 Great Lodge became a fully established wedding venue. Take it from me, it oozes character & charm with full exclusivity to the couples that book.

The great lodge sign and exterior shots by the lake
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As I drove up the dusty rural path towards the venue, I saw the alpacas on my right in the field and the bride Jemmas bridal suite on the left. Jemma is a self confessed foodie and the spread on the table as I walked in and introduced myself was pretty impressive. It was champagne and food all round as everyone began to get ready for the day.

Wedding detail shots of the brides shoes, jewellery and the flowers
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Food on the table in the bridal suite
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Bridal party getting ready and drinking champagne
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I love the giving of gifts during the morning and Jemma had expressed to me that she wanted this captured as she opened a surprise gift from her future husband Jonathan. It’s a great way to get everyone used to me being in the room without the attention on the camera. These moments are always fun and emotional.

Bride opens gift with her bridesmaids  sitting on the couch
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I popped over to the main red brick barn while the dresses were going on and the setup there was breathtaking. Honestly one of my favourite’s of the year. It really suited the environment. The main barn at Great Lodge wedding venue is large enough to seat all your guests for the wedding breakfast at one end, and still hold all the evening celebrations at the other end without moving any of the setup.

The wedding breakfast setup featuring the tables and decorations
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The wedding cake and details in the wedding breakfast room
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As I returned to the bridal suite, I saw dad was waiting patiently outside to see his daughter for the first time. We were a little tight for time in the end so he walked in while the veil was going on but it was a lovely moment and settled Jemma as we left for church for the ceremony.

The wedding dress hanging on the wardrobe and the bridal party putting the finishing touches getting ready
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Father of the bride sees his daughter for the first time in her wedding dress
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I loved Jemma’s wedding transport too. It was a vintage campervan which a great way to travel in my opinion. This was the first time I saw Jonathan on the day (at the altar). He actually looked pretty calm & collected to be fair. It was a lovely service and impeccably watched by their wedding guests.

The bridal party get out of the wedding campervan and walk towards the church in the sunshine
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The wedding guests wait patiently in the church for the bride
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The bride and groom see each other for the first time in the church
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The back of the wedding dress and rear views of the ceremony from the back of the church
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Portrait of the bride and groom during the ceremony
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Images of the wedding guests laughing during the ceremony
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The exchange of wedding rings
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The end of the ceremony and the bride and groom get to kiss at the altar
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Cheeky grin from a young boy in a suit and a photo of the confetti
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The bride and groom walk back down the aisle smiling
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We did the confetti in the church grounds and headed back to Great Lodge ahead of everyone else to capture some nice memories of the couple with their campervan.

The confetti shot outside the church
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The wedding guests congratulate the bride and groom after the ceremony in the church grounds
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The bride and groom with their wedding campervan back at the great lodge
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It was a stifling hot day so drink and canapés were most welcome by all. The lodge has stunning grounds to enjoy a nice chat in the sunshine. The wedding party were a stones throw from the main barn with views of the lake as the backdrop.

Wedding drinks and staff cutting meat up for canapes
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Wedding guests enjoying the sunshine and drinks
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After the couple whet their whistle, I whisked them off around the wedding venue for 15 minutes and utilized the vineyards, the lake and the barn. Jonathan & Jemma wanted a relaxed session with nothing too posed so I just allowed them to be themselves and it worked out great.

I prefer it when a couple can enjoy the day with their guests as opposed to turning it into a photo shoot, so 2 x 15 minute sessions is fine for a majority of my weddings.

Bride and groom laughing by the red brick barn
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Bride and groom sitting on a haystack  drink champagne and laughing
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Bride and groom walking in the vineyards and by the lake
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Shots of the bride in her wedding dress in the sunshine
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From here on in, the wedding took place within the main barn. The food service was impeccable and the speeches were really emotional which is never a bad thing. As the night drew in, the couple had one last surprise for their guests.  They opted to have a fire pit with some cozy blankets to keep you warm while you have drink and chat the night away. It was a lovely campfire vibe and I thoroughly appreciated how much planning had gone into creating such a wonderful day.

The wedding guests seated and laughing during the speeches
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The first dance images
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Guests enjoy the campfire outside the reception barn
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We had quite a few party people at the wedding that couldn’t wait to join the happy couple on the dance floor. This made for some very entertaining memories to say the least.

Wedding guests dancing and enjoying themselves on the dance floor
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Dance pictures of wedding guests and people using the photo booth
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I wanted to end on one last image of the couple enjoying a moment away from the guests. It gave them a breather and also meant I could say goodbye properly and thank them for making me feel so welcome. Jonathan and Jemma really are a delightful couple and I wish them all the happiness in the world on this epic new journey together.

Bride and groom in a romantic photo with hanging lights in the grounds of the great lodge
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So my time was up at the Great Lodge in great Bardfield, Braintree. Take a look for yourself at this wonderful wedding venue and see if this meets your requirements for your big day.

Feel free to get in touch and good luck:

I’m Chris Woodman – Great Lodge wedding photographer.

Until next time

Take care 🙂

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