“The loveliest, dearest old house” – Octavia Hill
Set back from a busy road, and the intrusions of the 21st century, Island Hall is a gorgeous classical Georgian house that I have long admired and that I first had the great privilege to photograph as part of our Cecil Beaton inspired bridal fashion photoshoot.
Island Hall, a private home and gorgeous wedding venue, situated in the centre of the Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire and sitting resplendent on the banks of the river Great Ouse, overlooking the ornamental island from which it takes its name. Beyond is lovely Portholme, an immense water meadow and an area of outstanding natural beauty……idyllic and perfect for stunning wedding photography.
The house, included in Simon Jenkins’ ‘England’s Thousand Best Houses’; and featured in Country Life and Period Living, is home to Christopher and Lady Lynda Vane-Percy and their family. Christopher is the seventh generation of his family to live here but the journey of discovery that he took to get here is another story in itself.…..
Exclusive & Elegant Weddings
I have photographed weddings at some pretty impressive locations and destinations, but none quite as personal or intimate as Island Hall. Luxury weddings and events are expertly managed by Christopher and his daughter Grace (a renowned fine art photographer). Couples and their guests enjoy exclusive use of the house and from early spring through to autumn you can also have a splendid marquee on the island. The day after our bridal photo-shoot they were holding their first civil wedding ceremony in the stone flagged entrance hall, a gorgeous space flooded with natural light from its windows and graced by an impressive stone fireplace.
The purchase of the house in 1983 by Christopher and his wife was the start of many years of loving and painstaking restoration that brides and grooms, and their wedding guests, can now benefit from. As a well-respected international interior designer Christopher’s renovation has included restoration of the mews house and gardens, including an exact replica of a lost 18th century Chinese bridge to reconnect the gardens to the island, from which the house takes its name.
This is a house that I would call ‘comfortably grand’. It’s a house that clearly thrives on being full of lovely happy people, perfect for a very English elegant wedding.
The photos that adorn the walls and surfaces of the house, tell a story about the house’s history, from summers on the river, family weddings and celebrations, and important historical occasions. The family portraits and furniture quietly exude the aristocratic presence of their ancestors (Lady Lynda’s father was the 5th Baron Ebury).
I just love the history and proportions of this beautiful house. The strong colours and architecture of its interiors provide a dream backdrop for your wedding photography whether it’s for an elegant timeless bridal portrait or candid shots of you and your guests enjoying the day. The stone flagged Entrance Hall where our beautiful shot of the bride is taken surrounded by candles, is also perfect for an intimate civil ceremony, and brides are invited to get ready in the exquisite bridal suite where walls covered in toile du juoy fabric cocoon you in a blanket of luxury. Make your grand entrance down the handsome oak staircase, framed at ground level by the stunning blue Doric columns that provide a beautiful backdrop for bridal portraits. Romance and elegance combined.
When the ceremony is over and it’s time to celebrate, the exquisite gardens are idyllic for couples to wander through, especially in early summer when the gardens are wildly romantic, full of beautiful scented roses.
You’ll be welcomed and cossetted for your wedding day at Island Hall but if you need any more convincing here are my top 5 reasons to hold your wedding at Island Hall: