As it is a true favourite venue of mine and one that I know fairly intimately, a special guide for my Luton Hoo wedding couples or those considering booking this splendid venue – A look at weddings at this gorgeous venue and Luton Hoo Wedding Photography ideas.
A little story
Many years ago, when I was only small, my family went to see a proms event in the grounds of the Luton Hoo estate. Being the pre-teens that we were, my friend and I soon bored of the classical music on offer and went exploring instead. The grounds were spectacular and even though the main house was not in use at the time, the door had been left open and we couldn’t resist the “offer” of further exploration. I still remember seeing the grand staircase for the first time, I remember being blown away by the beauty of the architecture and design. Being able to shoot at this stunning venue still feels like a privilege, even today.
The original building was established on the site in 1601, the stunning mansion house you see today was built in the 18th century for the 3rd Earl of Bute, then Prime Minister to George III. The grounds cover 1,065 acres of beautiful countryside straddling the Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire border and include a golf course, restaurant, brasserie and a country club. When Elite hotels purchased the estate in 1999, they restored it beautifully, perhaps even beyond its former glory. It makes a truly wonderful option for couples considering a venue in this area. As well as the mansion house itself, the estate also boasts a modern hotel building at the opposite end of the estate; Warren Weir offers more modernity for some couples as well as larger capacity for bigger events. Another great advantage is just how easy it is to access, only 5 minutes from the M1, and yet you feel utterly surrounded by gentle countryside and it has great event potential all year round.
Wedding Photography at Luton Hoo
Luton Hoo is one of those venues where it is just not possible to take photographs using each and every beautiful feature! We would spend your entire wedding day just doing photos and would have barely scratched the surface. Instead, I will discuss with you what made you both fall in love with this venue – we can plan the day to utilise different areas and features over perhaps two or three short couple sessions with you. This is a great way to take advantage of your favourite elements and ensure no time is wasted whilst we make the absolute best of the time, light and available architecture to create some amazing photographs. The venue does naturally lend itself perfectly to a more directed photography style, however other couples love the grandeur, yet still just want a good celebration with lots of relaxed fun and natural photography.
Weddings at the Mansion House
The mansion house is steeped in history and has been stunningly restored to maximise original features as well as modern comforts and functionality. Every room is beautiful and has potential for wedding photographs. The internal features and dimensions of the mansion house mean that there are plenty of brilliant opportunities for great shots even if the weather is against us on the big day.
Large fireplaces, ornate detailing, floor to ceiling bookshelves and, quite possibly the most breathtaking staircase you may ever see in person all combine to make Luton Hoo a truly special venue. Every room has character, providing a great atmosphere for any wedding and despite all of its obvious grandeur, it doesn’t feel huge, pretentious or overwhelming for couples or their guests – and that is something truly special in a venue like this.
The Terrace and Gardens
I love how the room that holds their drinks receptions opens directly onto the stunning upper terrace overlooking the main gardens. This enables guests to mingle inside with comfortable, soft seating or to spill out onto the terrace. A private area is reserved for you and some guests will wonder the gardens and grounds. Whilst others enjoy the seating on the terrace, socialising and creating beautiful natural moments for me to capture in the photographs.
The terrace is also a wonderful place to enjoy your confetti moment and to base ourselves for the group photographs. Your guests are able to watch the activity comfortably and remain well looked after by the attentive team at Luton Hoo. The gardens are full of little features we can make use of, fountains, folly’s and using the venue itself as a backdrop make for some excellent options.
As mentioned earlier, it would be unwise to try and achieve every great possible shot with every couple. I will use our discussions of your preferences, as well as my own expertise and experience of shooting this venue to narrow those options down to the ones that you will love the most. We usually break these into two or three mini sessions depending on each couples preferences, this works so well for a number of reasons – you are not too far from your guests and you can enjoy a few minutes of time alone with each other. We also travel in a different direction each time, this way too time is wasted just walking and we can utilise the changes in light/weather to create dramatically different looks.
The grounds near the mansion house
With such a large area to cover, Luton Hoo will provide couples with golf carts upon request to make it easier to access the farther regions of the estate. We can also get a few silly shots of you using them (if that is your kind of thing), I find driving the golf buggy’s an enjoyable ‘perk of the job’.
Just a couple of minutes walk from the main house is the Secret Garden, a gorgeous, almost hidden, landscaped area in a hollow amongst the trees, this can be a wonderful retreat for couples and gives them a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the reception.
Warren Weir is the newest addition to the estate, it is a purpose built hotel and events venue with a tasteful and contemporary feel to it and allows the venue to cater for larger events. The weir can accommodate around 400 people in the main event space, with adding spaces allowing for flexibility for usage and giving options in the case of poor weather. The venue has some lovely modern features as well as the opportunity for images in front of the estates active weir which is just adjacent to the main building. With access to the grounds of the main estate and such brilliant capacity, the weir really is an alternative worth considering for your wedding.
The grounds near the Weir
The grounds at the other end of the estate have a different feel to them, with the breathtaking main lake that spans 60 acres providing the real focal point. The pathway which runs alongside the lake offers a photogenic route to other great elements; the little woods, the long grasses and the little boating deck all add to opportunities for amazing images.
Both venues offer wonderful spaces for evening entertainment and dancing. The Mansion House has a couple of options on where you hold your evening celebrations. The venues modern sound system means that your chosen music reaches your evening guests, hopefully all the encouragement they need to get on the dance floor!
Some of the more elite venues can be a little restrictive with couples, making it difficult for them to be able to personalise their day how they might want to. The team at Luton Hoo are generally happy for couples to bring their own (reasonable!) ideas with them. Beer for your drinks reception, an afternoon tea, singing waiters, sparklers or utilising the pool table for an uber cool shot of ‘the guys’!
Luton Hoo offers hundreds of rooms across its three main venues – The Mansion House, Warren Weir and Parklands Country Club. I have been privilege to do some brochure and promotional work with this venue and I can happily attest to the quality and comfort of the rooms. There are plenty of options available to suit different budgets and some of the rooms have been designed to be dog friendly if you just cannot leave your pooch at home. All of the rooms offer mini-bars, comfortable beds and modern facilities and they even do special events for young children and families in the evenings.
Whilst all of the rooms are lovely, I would recommend staying in a suite in the mansion house itself for a truly authentic and luxurious experience.
The Service and the Food
I mentioned earlier, that for such a grand venue it lacks pretention. It feels comfortable and friendly and I think credit really goes to the staff. The team at Luton Hoo are professional, friendly and will work hard to accommodate for couples and their guests. You will be well looked after from enquiry down to the morning after your wedding at breakfast, I really cannot praise them enough.
The food is unsurprisingly exceptional, as well as catering for weddings and events, the estate boasts two award winning and fine dining restaurants; Wernher Restaurant in the mansion house and Adam’s Brasserie at the country club. My couples have always reported positive venue tastings to me and Luton Hoo accommodate for cultural and dietary needs with a fabulous and varied set of options available. I can also fully recommend the Afternoon Tea at the mansion house, because, well, scone with jams and cream, cakes and delicious sandwiches… need I say more?
I hope that you have enjoyed looking through some images from this stunning venue! I am always happy discuss specific ideas with my couples. If you are considering Luton Hoo for your own wedding or event, you can get in touch with the amazing wedding team here. If you are already booked with Luton Hoo and want to talk wedding photography, you can reach me here.