I love my job. It means I get to spend time at some of the most beautiful and unusual wedding venues throughout the south. And Gravetye Manor is pretty hard to beat. Last October I shot a wedding at the Manor, witnessing a very happy couple tying the knot. Thank you so much to Sheneen and Lee for the privilege.
The couple held a wonderfully colourful Mendhi ceremony and party on the Thursday before the wedding, and the actual wedding itself took place on Saturday 10th October 2015. If you’d like to know more about the venue, one of the most lovely, ancient and mellow buildings you can imagine with a long and fascinating history, here are my impressions.
Proud to play my part as a Gravetye wedding photographer
The manor house itself is more than four hundred years old, dating back to the late 1500s, now a luxury hotel and restaurant. The setting is so stunning it’s hard to believe it’s only eight miles or so from bustling Crawley and a stone’s throw from pretty East Grinstead. It couldn’t feel farther away from the madding crowd with its mellow honey-coloured stone, beautiful mullioned windows, dark oak furniture and splendid wood panelling.
Peaceful, mellow and the ultimate in luxury
Richard Infield built Gravetye Manor in 1598. It was a labour of love, romance itself, created for his beloved bride Katharine Compton. You can still see portraits of the long-dead lovers carved in oak over the fireplace in one of the many gorgeous bedrooms.
Unlike many homes of that age, an age of political and social turmoil, Gravetye has always been steeped in peace. The ambience is still one of the ultimate in tranquillity. And the gardens are some of the finest in Sussex, created by the Manor’s one-time owner and one of England’s best-known gardeners, William Robinson. From 1884 onwards he worked passionately to create the ultimate English nature garden, planting and landscaping in a sensitive way that enhanced the natural beauty of the place. He adored his garden and, though it might seem whimsical, I think you can still sense his joyful spirit amongst the lush greenery he loved so much.
Peter Herbert, who loved the place just as much, transformed the Manor into one of the finest hotels in Sussex from the late 1950s onwards, and it has been beautifully looked after ever since. The house itself is full of wonderfully exotic fabrics, fine antiques and glorious wood panelling, history personified.
A genuinely happy venue for supremely happy occasions
To me it feels like a truly happy place, happy to the heart of the ancient stone it’s built from. It’s small enough to be intimate and friendly, big enough to deliver a unique grandeur all of its own, a gem of a house that still feels like a home. Nestled like a precious sixteenth century jewel in its lush grounds, it welcomes visitors warmly, a handsome and friendly old place that’s full of personality and grace. Plus all mod cons, of course!
The bridesmaids’ flowing, royal purple outfits looked stunning set against the vivid flower beds, the female guests fluttered like beautiful, vibrant butterflies against the Manor’s soft, deep green lawns, the male guests were incredibly dapper and smart. For me, as a creative person, it really was the ultimate venue, the perfect setting for a magical event, observed from my usual position in the background. And the food… don’t get me started on the food! It really was a work of art.
I’d be thrilled to play my part again as a Gravetye Wedding Photographer for another blissfully happy couple. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more you can visit the Manor’s website here.