Photographing Weddings at Normanton Church
I absolutely love being a Normanton Church Wedding Photographer; the fact that I live down the road plays a small part… however, Normanton church, set on the shores of Rutland Water, is truly spectacular – it is absolutely steeped in history and holds over 100 weddings per year, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular wedding venues in the area. Read on to find out why I love photographing weddings here, if you’re planning on getting married here, or maybe you did get married here, let me know in the comments!
Normanton Church – Steeped in History
St Matthews Church is a grade II listed building located on the shore of Rutland Water. Normanton used to be a village, and the church, built in the 14th century served as a parish church until the 1700s. At this time, a large part of the village was demolished to create an estate for the Heathcote Baronets – they used the church as a private chapel and mausoleum. In 1826 a portico was added, creating an eye-catching alcove.
In 1920, the Heathcote family relocated and the estate was divided up. The Nave and Chancel were replaced in 1964, but the church sat unused and unloved until the 1970s. At that point, the village of Normanton was to be flooded to make way for a reservoir. The church would have been partially submerged by the water, a public outcry led to it being saved. The church was de-consecrated and the bottom level filled with rubble and topped with concrete, it was connected to the shore via an embankment and all of it was surrounded by boulders to create a breakwater as you can see in the iconic photos of it.
The site was home to the ‘Normanton Church museum’, which is now located in the visitor centre – to this day it is used as a venue for civil weddings.
The church, and Normanton as a whole, is a buzzing centre for photographers; whether it is nature, landscape or wedding photography. Many a times I see people on the shore with tripods and remote cable releases, dragging the shutter speed to get those silky smooth waterscape images. I love to use the scenery to frame the images I take, making sure there’s foreground interest, leading lines, the rule of thirds (where appropriate). I, personally, like to use a wide angle lens to get a lot of the scene in my images, when the church looks as beautiful as it does then I want to make sure my memory card is full of the sharpest, best photos I can take – taking care of the composition and delivering photographs for brides and grooms to treasure forever.
Every wedding is special, so why should you choose to get married at Normanton Church? Well, firstly, it’s so unique and unlike any other venue I have worked at. Having the ceremony here, followed by group photos and a couples’ portraits in the grounds afterwards gives you the freedom to then go and have your arrival drinks, wedding breakfast, speeches, cake cutting, first dance and all that jazz in another local venue (of which there are plenty to choose from!)
The wedding ceremonies I have covered here are always beautiful, the local registrars are themselves very passionate about the venue, and clearly love to marry couples there. As the father of the bride, or groom, walks down the aisle, you can see the pride on their face, the guests look on, and the partner waits at the top of the aisle to welcome their beloved. This is one of my favourite parts of a wedding; the anticipation and joy on all of the guests’ faces is such a beautiful moment to be a part of, and something I love to photograph.
After some vows, possibly a reading or two, wedding rings are exchanged – symbolising the never ending love between these two people. The couple will now proudly be announced as married, and will exit the church together to be greeted by all of their friends and family. Confetti isn’t allowed at Normanton Church, but I have known of many lovely couples to provide bubbles for the guests to blow instead (it’s a good idea to get your bridesmaids, flower girls, page boys, ushers or best man to hand these out in advance). The moment after the ceremony is finished is such a beautiful time, everyone is congratulating you, you’ve just said “I do!” – this is a good opportunity to find a quiet area around the back of the church for me to take some natural, beautiful photographs of the two of you.
If you’d like to discuss me being your Normanton Church wedding photographer, then please get in touch.