Whilst there are many barn wedding venues in the Cotswolds, Cripps Stone Barn is a firm favourite of mine. It’s a superb mix of old rustic charm combined with industrial chic – put simply, it’s really just a very cool looking place! Just check out the photos in this post and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
As well as being set in some beautiful Cotswold countryside, the inside spaces are well thought out and ideal for a superb wedding celebration. They have loads of character and importantly, plenty of space if the weather’s not so good. The photographer in me can’t overstate how important having a good, well-lit inside area is. It can really make your photographs sing! At Stone Barn, there’s an abundance of beautiful natural light that comes in through the generous windows and that’s a massive plus when it comes to creating beautiful wedding photographs.
Before I start telling you about Stone Barn in a little more detail, I just want to make it clear that I’m not incentivised by the venue or Cripps in any way and I have no agenda for writing this other than wanting to attract couples getting married in a beautiful venue that I absolutely love to shoot at. I’m always very excited when a Stone Barn enquiry lands in my inbox so I thought it would be useful to tell you some of the things I love about it from a wedding photographers perspective and why Stone Barn is so great. Here goes…!
Ceremonies at Stone Barn
There are a couple of options for your ceremony. If it’s going to be a warm dry day, you could opt to get married outdoors under the oak gazebo or alternatively just have the ceremony inside the barn itself. Both lovely! If you get married in the barn, I’d always advise positioning your guests chairs either side of the window, leaving a lovely pool of natural window light (there I go again!) for you to stand and make your vows in. So whichever ceremony space you choose, both are superb.
Stone Barn can also accommodate 200 day guests, which is a pretty high capacity compared with many venues. The capacity rises to 250 guests in the evening.
Of course, you could always mix things up and have a church ceremony as there are a number of beautiful little village churches nearby to pick from. I recently shot a wedding at St Michael and All Angels Church in Poulton near Cirencester and it was a truly beautiful church, full of character and again, lots of that all important natural light I keep raving on about! If you do get married in church, bear in mind that parking can be something to think about in small Cotswold villages if you have a lot of guests – this is where some wedding transport such as a double-decker vintage bus can come in handy and be a fun experience for your wedding guests too!
If it’s a nice day, there’s plenty of outdoor space where you can enjoy a tipple or two as you overlook the surrounding fields. As I mentioned before, the great thing about Stone Barn is that there’s a number of great spaces for your guests to enjoy inside too without feeling crammed in – crucial in the unpredictable British bad weather. The ample space makes it easy for me to move around without restriction and get photos of your guests. I’ll talk more about catering later, but I can’t mention a drinks reception here without saying that Cripps canapes are the best!
Group photos – rain or shine!
There are plenty of spots to choose from when it comes to those taking those important family group photos – indoors, outdoors, shade, unshaded, it’s all there at Stone Barn so there really won’t be any problem, whatever the light or weather is like – even if it’s blowing a gale! There’s plenty of space to take small family group photos inside the barn itself, away from any wind and rain as there’s lots of lovely directional light flooding into the space thanks to floor to ceiling glass windows. The outdoor look is the way to go if possible though and the Dutch Barn makes a lovely contrasty backdrop with a bit of context.
Couples portraits at Stone Barn
There’s an array of areas at Stone Barn for beautiful portraits. And the bonus is that they are right to hand, literally on the doorstep! In just a few seconds, we can have backgrounds of rolling fields or be using the corrugated exterior of the barn itself.
Whilst portrait time is one of my favourite parts of the day and I really look forward to making beautiful photos of the two of you together, I’m not the kind of photographer who wants to take you away from your wedding guests for long stretches of time as I want you to enjoy your wedding day as naturally as possible instead of turning it into one long photo shoot. So having everything close to hand can help make this part of the day convenient and speedy as well as it being really easy to keep an eye on the light outside so we can nip out for a few photos when the light gets magical!
The Dutch Barn
What can I say about this space – it’s awesome!!! There’s also seating for up to 194 guests for dinner so plenty of room all round.
When you’re planning how to set up the room, I would recommend having your top table facing the window (yup, I’m going on about window light again!!). You’ll be able to see all your guests from this position and it really is the most flattering light and background for when dinner is over and it’s speech time.
I quite often move around the room during speeches to capture as wide a variety of photos as possible for you, so if possible, consider this when putting your table plan together. A few gaps here and there in-between tables are handy to allow me to move about and get a variety of shots, especially if you have a videographer too as I’m often unable to cut in front of them otherwise. The team at Cripps are very experienced and are well placed to advise on the best setup. Just don’t choose to sit with the window behind you that’s all – it’s much harder for the camera to focus and the angle of light is not flattering.
Time to Eat!! Catering at Stone Barn.
Cripps really can’t be outdone when it comes to incredible tasting food – let’s face it, there aren’t many venues that have huge open flame barbeques for a start! The open kitchen makes them a real feature for guests to look at too – they’re pretty impressive! Having been fed by the Cripps catering team numerous times, I can honestly say it’s a real treat being fed at any of the Cripps wedding venues – the food is exactly as they describe it – they use the best ingredients, cooked simply and served generously. Simply delicious!
In the evening, out come the most amazing wood-fired pizzas that help keep everyone fuelled up with plenty of energy to dance well into the night!
Talking about dancing….
The Stone section of the barn is the perfect space for your dance floor – fairy lights, flowers and lanterns create an intimate atmosphere. It’s close enough to the bar to keep everyone easily topped up but not so close that guests who are taking a breather can’t hear themselves think!
I rarely shoot first dances using ambient light only (All too often it doesn’t look as good as I can make it using my own lights) and this space also happens to suit how I light first dances perfectly, with space to tuck my light stands out of the way whilst still being able to throw a little pool of magical light onto the centre of the room.
Making a weekend of it all!
Stone Barn is in the scenic and beautiful Cotswolds so you’d be crazy not to want to make a weekend of your celebrations. Lots of my couples have guests who travel far and have to stop overnight, so it kind of makes sense to enjoy a long weekend out of it all. Many guests plan day trips either side of the wedding to places like Bourton-on-the-water and Stow-on-the-Wold or even going a little further to experience Oxford.
If you know that there’s a large group of you staying for the weekend, then one good idea a bride and groom had recently was to all club together and book a large capacity holiday rental to stop in for the weekend.
They created a website that contained all their wedding information, along with suggestions of places for guests to visit during their trip. With it being a large property with outdoor space, they arranged a barbeque on the afternoon following the wedding to which all guests were invited. A great way to spend a little extra time with everyone! Let’s face it, it’s rare to have all your closest family and friends in one spot at the same time so you might as well make the most of it! Everyone loved it!
I do believe that the more relaxed you are on your wedding day, the more fun you will have and the more you and your guests enjoy themselves, the better your set of wedding photographs will be.
Giving your guests the excuse to unwind before the wedding and even get to know each other a little by way of a meal or some drinks the evening before can really help create a relaxed, informal feel on the wedding day itself. Whatever you end up doing, just make sure you’re not stressing about favours or table plans the night before the wedding! Take a bit of time out to relax and maybe hang out with friends.
Stone Barn really is the perfect Cotswold wedding venue and I’d love to be part of your wedding plans there. My aim is always to create natural and relaxed photographs that will bring you back to each wedding day moment and those family and friends who you enjoyed the best day of your lives with!
Here’s what Ellis and Stuart said about my approach to their Stone Barn Wedding.
“Thanks sooooo much! We’ve spent the last few days enjoying every single one of the photos you’ve put together for us!
Everything from the amazing highlights slideshow (with wonderful syncing), to the quality of all the photos, to the amazing story you’ve told of the day, to the ease of use of the website, to the number of photos you’ve given us…. (the list goes on), we are honestly beyond pleased and amazed with what you have provided us.
As for a favourite, or even a pick of favourites, that’s a tough one as they are so many we love. Thanks from the both of us!
If my approach to wedding photography appeals to you and you’d like to check my availability or chat a little further about your Stone Barn wedding, please get in touch either via my contact form, or on 07862 701402. I’d love to hear from you!