It was such a pleasure to be Claire and Anthony’s wedding photographer at The Olde Bell in Hurley in Berkshire. This was my first time at this charming venue and I loved every minute capturing their wedding day here. This was a lovely family wedding and entire day was held at The Olde Bell. A traditional coaching inn, with walled gardens and Tithe Barn, the rustic charm makes for a delightful setting.
The day started with Claire and her bridesmaids getting ready for the day in the bridal suite. A good opportunity to get photo’s of those special details and for everyone to get used to having a photographer around. So many bridesmaids applying each others make-up gave the photos a bit of a backstage fashion show vibe.
The ceremony took place in the 16th century Tudor era Tithe Barn opposite The Olde Bell. The low light making for an atmospheric exchange of vows. Rings on fingers, the newlyweds exited to a shower of confetti. Guests mingled during the outdoor cocktail hour, a good time to catch some candid moments over the canapés, before heading back to decorated barn for the wedding breakfast. Speeches delivered to laughter and a few tears. With the drinks sunk and group shots finished the couple went for a spin in a bubble powered convertible vintage car to enjoy some quiet time together. The plan had been for some photos down by the River Thames, but the day was scorching, yes in the UK!, and as it was a fair walk down to the river, the garden was put to good use instead.
A Grade II listed building,The Olde Bell has a fascinating history, as you would expect from a building which is 886 years old! It first opened its doors in 1135 AD as a guest house. I was told the first people to check in were The Rolling Stones but after actual research, discovered it opened as a place to stay for visitors to the nearby Benedictine Priory.
During World War Two, famous guests included Sir Winston Churchill, Eisenhower & Colonel Elliot Roosevelt, son of the war-time President. Mark from Peep Show would certainly stop by here with Sophie for Sunday Lunch knowing that fact!
Being only 10 miles from Pinewood Studios, it has been popular with Hollywood stars. Visitors have included Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton & Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, Mae West and Boris Karloff. Having had a base at Pinewood Studios in my days working as a cameraman, its easy to see why lunch away from the lot and a walk along the Thames would appeal to the Hollywood elite.
Accommodation for wedding guests is housed in 5 separate buildings with bedrooms and a variety of 4 grades of rooms. Creature comforts include sumptuous hand made mattresses, pure cotton sheets and wool blankets. The spacious Deluxe grade rooms in the Brick Barn are also dog-friendly for your four legged friend. This would be an idyllic venue for a winter wedding.
A huge thanks to Claire & Anthony for inviting me to be a part of their special wedding day. If you are looking for a wedding photographer for The Olde Bell, or any other wedding in Berkshire or the UK please get in touch. Spend as much of your wedding with your guests as possible, and trust me to capture it all for you. No posing required, all you have to be is yourselves.