The Grand Hotel Wedding in Swanage of Caroline & Oliver
It wouldn’t be wedding season for me without a trip down to Swanage for a Grand Hotel Wedding. It’s a characterful Victorian seaside wedding venue right in the heart of Swanage, which combines a traditional hotel and sea views with a marquee in the gardens – did I mention the sea views across the bay?!
Below is a real wedding story of a recent Swanage Grand Hotel wedding – it’s Caroline & Oliver’s big day.
If you’re looking for a photographer for your own wedding at The Grand Hotel in Swanage, do get in touch – I’d love to have a chat about your own plans!
Last Saturday was destined to be hot hot hot – a glorious day for a wedding, but not always the easiest of things if you happen to be working (or wearing a big heavy gown or a full on suit, to be fair!). Caroline & Oliver’s wedding was at the Grand Hotel in Swanage, where I’ve not been for years – but the whole day being at one venue always makes for a more relaxed and simple day, even without the wall-to-wall sunshine and sea view. Even before I arrived I had a feeling it was just going to be a good day :)
As usual I started with the bride’s room and preps, and as usual it was a madly busy scene with lots of girls, hair and make up in full swing and lots of fun being had by all. Though it was very hot in the room already – you can see below that Caroline made good use of the air con unit to cool off a little!
The little flowergirls were looking super-cute in matching white gowns, pretty-but-sensible sandals and natural headdresses of ‘baby’s breath’. The five older bridesmaids were setting the theme for the day in elegantly simple draped gowns of navy blue, which set off the posies of pale pink roses with more baby’s breath perfectly.
Caroline herself looked beautiful in a summery full-length white gown with a fitted embroidered bodice over a flowing and full chiffon skirt.
During the morning Caroline realised she had forgotten her shiny new Jimmy Choos; her specially chosen Bridal shoes left alone and sad at home. But as it turned out, it was probably a blessing – the day was so hot that the open sandals she had selected to wear on the beach later made excellent wedding shoes on such a hot day – and they matched the bridesmaid’s sandals too!
Caroline was being given away by her godfather, who arrived in the room for a few quiet moments before escorting her downstairs to join the bridesmaids, flowers girls and a very smart little pageboy in his wedding suit. You couldn’t have asked for a more summery setting – Caroline and Oliver were getting married under the gazebo on the lawns overlooking Swanage Bay, with their guests all seated in the marquee.
The two gorgeous flowergirls began the procession, and they had very clearly been practicing. Hold hands, take two steps, pause, let go of hands and scatter a small amount of confetti. Hold hands, one two steps, pause, let go of hands and scatter a small amount of confetti… all the way down the aisle, they never forgot their mission – you can see the perfect lines of confetti from each pause!
Such efficiency was a little intimidating for the Ringbearer, though, who simply had to be carried down the aisle by his mum!
A lovely ceremony followed with a couple of personal readings – and I’m happy to report that the Ringbearer found his legs, and presented the rings perfectly (raising a laugh across the guests!).
Finally Caroline & Oliver were married, and they headed out through the marquee onto the lawns for drinks in the summer sunshine overlooking the expanse of the bay (and the crowded beaches!) below.
We quickly completed the few formal family photographs on the lawn, and then the three off us took off down the steep cliff steps to the beach. We walked along the promenade amongst the beachgoers – amid lots of cheers and good wishes for the happy couple! – and Caroline & Oliver enjoyed a most welcome paddle in the sea (I was looking for a reason to join them, to be honest, it looked lovely).
After a little quiet time together, we worked our way back up to the hotel where the guests were waiting with a confetti tunnel to take the couple into the wedding breakfast.
The air-conditioned hotel restaurant was a welcome relief, and the guests settled happily for the speeches before wedding breakfast.
Once everyone had eaten Caroline & Oliver finished the meal with the cake cut, and then there was time to catch up with their guests before starting the night’s party with their first dance as husband and wife.
Congratulations Caroline and Oliver, best wishes to you both x
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