A wedding photographer’s review of Gatton Manor as a wedding venue
Gatton Manor is an 18th century manor house overlooking a lake and surrounded by 200 acres of golf course very close to the village of Ockley on the borders of Surrey and West Sussex. The venue is privately owned and offers civil wedding ceremonies and wedding receptions catering for up to 250 people for finger buffets or 100 people for a seated banquet. For couples who’d like to use Gatton Manor for their reception but prefer a church ceremony, you can choose to marry at the nearby St. John the Baptist Church then go on to the manor afterwards.
Entry is via a long winding drive leading to the manor house and golf club, with parking for the manor house just beyond the golfer’s parking area. Once out of the car you’ll pass the lake and fountain first,then lead on to the manor house itself. For civil ceremonies, the Abinger Room holds up to 90 guests. The room is quite long, and from a photographer’s point of view it benefits from window light all along one side (also giving some lovely views across the golf course too). Overall light levels are quite good for a ceremony room, and large windows towards the front where the wedding ceremony itself will take place mean our bride and groom should be nicely lit for the duration of the ceremony – always a boon for your wedding photographer!
Once the wedding ceremony is complete, guests can make their way to the bar area for champagne and canopes, and in good weather can also enjoy the patio area outside which leads onto grass and views of the lake. In addition to this, your wedding photographer will enjoy making use of the pretty Victorian water gardens, which provide a multitude of great photo taking opportunities for a creative photographer to take advantage of including rocks, shrubs, open shaded areas, small intimate and secluded wooded areas, stone steps, and ponds – they’re all there just waiting to be photographed! Do take care if you’re venturing out though, because some parts can be slippery at times so you’ll want to watch your footing if the weather has been inclement anytime beforehand!
Back inside, your guests will be looking forward to their wedding breakfast which is served in the main seating area adjoining the bar and consists of a main dining room leading into a slightly smaller dining area to fit in arger groups. Dark wooden beams add to the warm feel of the area, as does the wall mounted tungsten lighting which can look lovely in photos – but your photographer will need to know how to expose carefully to cater for both the daylight entering the windows at one end of the room and the darker areas further away from the windows, which are predominantly lamp-lit. Certainly not an impossible situation by any means – but be aware that a single light on camera just aint gonna cut it! My recommendation for photographing speeches and guests in is to use multiple radio controlled flash units strategically located around the room, and then balance these with the ambient lighting for best results.
All in all, Gatton Manor offers a good range of features for a Surrey/Sussex wedding with friendly staff and pretty surroundings and lots of potential for great wedding photography – so if you’re looking for a nice relaxed wedding venue in this area then this should definitely be on your list of places worthy of further investigation.
Robert Hooper is pleased to be a recommended wedding photographer at Gatton Manor. If you’re looking for an experienced professional photographer to photograph your Surrey or Sussex wedding, please contact us for more information.