Back in October 2022, I had the pleasure of visiting Sandhole Oak Barn for the very first time to photograph the wedding of the sublime Lucy and Graham. Nestled in the Cheshire countryside in the village of Congleton, Sandhole Oak Barn is an exclusive use wedding venue based predominantly, as the name suggests, in a stunning rustic oak barn. Set next to a tranquil lake, it's a truly idyllic spot, is a hugely romantic venue for any wedding and is now one of my favourite wedding venues.
Rustic Sandhole Oak Barn Weddings
As one might expect of an October day, the skies above Lucy and Graham's wedding day were a delightfully threatening and atmospheric shade of grey (yep, this photographer LOVES rain!), making the beautiful greenery and scenery surrounding the venue pop all the more. Whilst you might naturally think of a barn venue as being the ideal spot for a warm summer wedding, they also make the perfect venue for those cooler autumn and winter days. With it's large windows and high ceilings, the main oak barn, home of the ceremony room, is flooded with natural light even on a gloomy day and has a really cosy atmosphere that makes those special moments feel just a little bit more.. well, special!
Sandhole Oak Barn Wedding Photographer
My day began with Lucy and her bridesmaids in the luxury accommodation, making full us of the dedicated preparation room which is conveniently linked to the beautiful wedding suite. Bride and groom decided to get ready separately, and Graham hunkered down in the lakeside shepherds hut with his best man. Whilst Lucy and her bridesmaids were the picture of serenity, despite the vibrant hum of makeup artists and hairstylists, excitable children and the occasional popping of prosecco, the nervous energy in the little shepherds hut could have been cut with a knife! It's safe to say that Graham was feeling the nerves, though he had nothing at all to worry about in his extremely dapper suit with a doting best man by his side.
A perfect rural wedding venue
Making the most of a well-timed break in the morning's downpour, the bridal party made the short hop across the grounds from the bridal suite to the main barn, where Graham waited surrounded by the couples' nearest and dearest. As a wedding photographer, those few moments before the ceremony starts are some of my favourites; the sparks of excitable tension in the air which peak as the music starts; the nervous smiles, the deep breaths, and the craned necks of the wedding guests desperate to a get a glimpse of the happy couple entering their ceremony. With it's majestic oak plinths and glimpses of the lakeside view through the french doors, Sandhole Oak Barn is a venue that amplifies this beautiful atmosphere perfectly.
Relaxed, unposed photography
Between Lucy & Graham's beautiful wedding ceremony (complemented perfectly by romantic piano accompaniment from the lovely Liz Hendry) and their wedding breakfast, the newly weds and I snuck away from their drinks reception to explore the grounds of Sandhole Oak Barn and find the perfect spots for their couple portraits. Thankfully the weather held off while made full use of the stunning venue, its perfect location and stunning scenery, though the same can't be said when the bridal party and guests joined us outside the barn for group photos! However the bride and groom's friends and family were great fun and weren't afraid to brave the elements to get the perfect relaxed photographs!
Sandhole Oak Barn wedding photography
As the October light started to fade, the newly married couple settled down for their delicious wedding breakfast and speeches inside the cosy barn. I always find speeches to be one of the most interesting parts of the day; you never quite know what to expect! Some wedding speeches include touching, lovely stories of the bride and groom, whilst others take full advantage of the ability to embarrass and laugh about the happy couple - Lucy and Graham's wedding fell squarely into the latter category! A particular highlight for me was the enormous printout of Graham presented at the top table, in an outrageous stag outfit, complete with riotous stories and puns galore. An excellent end to the wedding breakfast, if you ask me.
An evening party at Sandhole Oak Barn
With the formal elements of the day out of the way, there was only one thing remaining to do - party! Sandhole Oak Barn is the perfect space for a super fun wedding reception and all round brilliant time, with a licensed bar, real ales and plenty of space on the dance floor! This crowd knew how to throw some serious shapes, and the additions of a funky saxophonist, beautiful starlit dance floor and photo booth really set the vibe off. Just before my time with Lucy and Graham ended, we took 5 minutes away from the evening reception to tick off one of their main photographic goals - a photo under the pretty clock tower in front of the lake. With the rain-wet paving and beautifully lit oak tree in the background, it felt like the perfect end to a really special day.
Some handy information about Sandhole Oak Barn, Cheshire
Is the barn exclusive use?
Yes, Sandhole Oak Barn is an exclusive use wedding venue.
Can we get married outside at Sandhole Oak Barn?
You sure can! Sandhole Oak Barn has both outdoor and indoor areas that are licensed to perform civil ceremonies.
Are we allowed confetti at the barn?
You are allowed confetti at Sandhole Oak Barn, but it must be biodegradable and can only be used inside the venue.
Is there any accommodation nearby?
Sandhole Farm B&B is directly adjacent to Sandhole Oak Barn, making it very convenient for wedding guests, and can be booked exclusively by couples celebrating their wedding at the Oak Barn. Offering four-star accommodation in the converted stables for up to 37 guests, a Dressing Room, and The Granary Cottage perfect for newlyweds.
Is Sandhole Oak Barn disability-friendly?
Sandhole is disability-friendly, with wheelchair access to all areas of the Oak Barn and surrounding grounds. There is also a disabled toilet in the Oak Barn with wheelchair access.
Is Sandhole Oak Barn on Instagram?
Yup - you can find Sandhole Oak Barn on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/sandholeoakbarn/. If you'd like to find out more about their wedding offer, you can visit their website at https://www.sandholeoakbarn-weddings.co.uk/.