Old Thorns Hotel and Resort
I have to admit that I had never heard of Old Thorns hotel near Liphook when Chelsee got in touch last May. I've not played golf in years. Pulling into the large car park there it is quite a sight. How I imagine these sort of golf/hotel resorts look like in North America. (I think Old Thorns now has Chinese owners. The estate was once owned by Ken Wood, inventor of the Kenwood food mixer). A different sort of wedding venue that I usually work at. Described in a newspaper review, "A resort hotel with phenomenal facilities, from helipad and ballroom to ecopods and four-room apartments. Unwind with a few rounds of golf, the latest therapeutic facial, a swim or sauna and then catch a game in the sports bar or sip on a cocktail in the champagne lounge." This venue was not only vast, it had a lot of rules...more on that later.
Unique wedding venue in Hampshire
Old Thorns hotel has a rather unique and eclectic look. The same newspaper article described so, "...the style is flamboyant and blingy. Massive driftwood sculptures of an elephant, gorilla and giraffe loom in reception, while framed black and white photos of film stars and golfing legends clutter the wall.
Elsewhere the Gatsby-esque ballroom is full of monochrome Deco glitz, a lofty atrium champagne bar boasts a giant glitterball, and a huge restaurant shows off exposed brickwork, flock chairs and leather horse-shoe banquettes. Old wooden beams in the original part hint at the old dairy farm the hotel grew up around." The old photographs were very good. But the venue is vast.
Chelsee was getting ready in one of the apartments, in one of the large apartment blocks that overlook part of the golf course. The ceremony had been due to have been outside but a 'slight' threat of rain and the venue switched it to the 'chapel' - a curious triangular room with a downward slope. Drinks afterwards were in the bar, overlooked by pictures of Daniel Craig and Winston Churchill...it's eclectic. Dinner, speeches and dancing in the vast Gatsby ballroom. These were the boundaries of the wedding space. Another wedding was taking place on the other side of the venue. No going out into the grounds (even the corridor) unless escorted. Luckily Chelsee and Gary wanted coverage as natural reportage - no group shots, no elaborate couple portraits. As Chelsee said, 'In regards to the wedding photos, we would like natural, unexpected pictures rather than any form of group pics. We will not be going off for photos on our own.' Just a quick snap of them together in the bar as everyone headed off to the ballroom. You have "two minutes' said the venue... (There was plenty of time after...as there often is...) Shooting reportage photography is a bit of a challenge here. Like many hotel venues they have their very set way of doing things - doors continually shut, staff carrying the bride's dress, people floating round the couple all the time. Areas off limits, escort in the grounds required - you end up having to shoot around it.
Here are a few images from this wedding at Old Thorns hotel...
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY AWARD
An image from this wedding won a Fearless Award - getting awards from this international wedding photography competition is very hard - I now have nine...
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