Upper House Hayfield Wedding Photography | Phoebe & James
Phoebe & James got in touch in August 2018 to look for a photographer for their Peak District wedding at the Upper House Hayfield. After 8 months of travelling the world together it was time to start planning the beginning of their next chapter. I was lucky enough to be asked to come along for the ride.
Nestled next to the mighty Kinder Scout mountain and reservoir in the Peak District, Upper House Hayfield is a 14th century shooting lodge and now exclusive wedding venue. Being amongst such grandiose surroundings I was definitely not short of inspiration. The venue is a luxuriously refurbished home with it’s own “wedding day rooms” attached. It’s the closest to feeling at home on your wedding day when you’re not actually at home.
Since first meeting Phoebe and James it’s been a rollercoaster of getting to know such a fun and lovely couple. We’d often catch up to check in and chat about life which made us all both more comfortable on the day.
A strong highlight of the day for me was the service and more importantly the personal vows they delivered to each other in the Upper House Hayfield’s medieval looking Great Hall. Although James needed assistance with his tie in the morning he had no problem delivering an absolutely out of this world vow to Phoebe. The three best men definitely shed a tear and I wasn’t far off.
Although I’m never concerned about rain on a wedding day I was really hopeful of a partially dry day. With Upper House being an exclusive wedding venue they only take on a limited amount of bookings a year so I knew if I was to return it may be a while. I really hoped to take full advantage of the outdoors. It was only 5 minutes into the sheep’s field where I slipped into their deposits. Luckily it was only a minor faux pax and we marched on to capture some incredible photographs of Phoebe’s dress in it’s full glory at the top of the world.
My First Wedding at The Upper House Hayfield
Living just under an hour away from Upper House Hayfield this was my first time photographing at this beautiful Peak District wedding venue. I love rural countryside weddings with a rustic edge as they’re all so magical to be a part of. Georgia and the team at Upper House Hayfield made me feel right a home which was a huge bonus. I often venture further afield to photograph weddings and I don’t charge for the pleasure. I find it incredibly exciting actually and really relish the opportunity to shoot within a new space and a new wedding adventure.
My style of wedding photography is built on a great relationship with my couples. All of my weddings are different and unique; even if I was to shoot again at the same venue like Upper House Hayfield. Time on your wedding day is really important to me as I’m sure it is to you too. So if I can help it I don’t really want you to miss a thing and would love you to remember as much as possible. This caring and relaxed approach to my wedding photography is the reason why so many couples recommend me. They always say it feels like a friend is taking their photographs and not a photographer.
This Upper House Hayfield Couples Kind Words
“My one worry was that I’d be pestered to stand in certain poses or places in order for my photographer to get their photos or that they’d be very ‘in your face’. This didn’t happen at all!”
Planning your special day at Upper House Hayfield Wedding?
I loved being a photographer at this Upper House Hayfield Wedding and would love to return. Why not give me a shout?
A Farmstead, A Shooting Lodge and A Bit of Rest-bite for Agatha Christie
Travelling along roads which started their life as ancient pack horse routes between Edale and Glossop in the Peak District you’d be forgiven for missing Hayfield as you zip by. It’s a small village in High Peak, Derbyshire with an incredibly small population of just 2,700 people. Just a stones throw away from Glossop and Greater Manchester makes this part of the Peak District a real pull for tourists flying in or people exploring staycations from their home base.
The Upper House is just a few minutes away from this small village through winding roads which only seem to get slimmer as you go on. Reaching the private entrance just off of Kinder Road is where the magic really starts to set in for this woodland countryside venue. As you make your way through the private woodland the hustle and bustle of city life is left clearly in the rear view and you start to relax immediately.
It wasn’t always such a private estate though. Back in the 1800s the Upper House sat amongst a group of small dwellings at the foot of Kinder Scout. All of the neighbours originally situated not too far away from the Upper House were occupied and demolished to make way for the Kinder Reservoir. Upper House was kept by Sir James Watts, the Mayor of Manchester, as his personal shooting lodge. During the years following this was when the famous writer Agatha Christie spent many stays here.
The earliest records of this ancient farmstead date back to 1378 and through the years it’s been used for many a different reason and was once occupied by the Knights Hospitallers, Mary Augusta and a near relation of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. The core of the current structure came about in the 16th century.
Oozing with classical stone architecture which is synonymous with the local area it stands strikingly amongst the 6,000 acres of National Trust Kinder Scout estate. Nestled between the private 30 acres of forest, the Kinder Reservoir and Kinder Scout untouchables feel completely isolated from the outside world.
The beauty and indulgent atmosphere only becomes more prominent once you’re indoors. The traditional stylings and high end luxurious decor really do compliment the setting. It’s a rare wedding venue which actually feels more like a home where you just so happen to be able to get married. This is such a credit to Paul and Nicola Hudson, the current owners, who’ve kept it looking so.
Your Wedding Day at Upper House Hayfield
A wedding day at the Upper House is like no other. It’s the ultimate venue for a luxurious intimate wedding. With a real exclusive use banner in place you really are alone with your guests in the rural beautiful english countryside. Performing a limited number of weddings a year ensures all their couples get full use of the facilities and by doing so they’re able to host whole weekend stays for you and your party. So rather than run in on your wedding day then out the same night you can really take in the surroundings and enjoy the relaxation which can’t help but be felt.
So arriving early with up to 30 guests you can decorate the venue yourself and take a DIY approach or bring in your own florists and venue decorators really sit back and relax. Whatever your approach you’ll have loas of time before your big day and when it finally arrives all the nerves about forgetting something your ensuring your perfect day is reflected will be gone for good.
Waking up on the morning of your wedding at Upper House is like waking up in a beautiful holiday let which feels so much like home. With your choice of an abundance of rooms to get ready in you can really have everyone together in one of the multiple kitchens or enjoy a more private morning in one of the cosy suites with just you and your make up artist.
With such an abundance of room your partner can also get ready in their own wing with all of their friends and family meaning you’ll never have to worry about them making it there on time as they’ll already be right there.
To say your vows, exchange your rings and to enjoy your first kiss you can marry legally in the Great Hall in front of the ancient stone fireplace. With medieval circular candle chandeliers above you this really is the most magical setting for you to say your “I Do”s within.
Once you’ve signed your register and had your official marriage certificate you can dance down the aisle an make your way through the small grotto bar to the vast Courtyard space which will be sectioned off for you and your guests to enjoy the open air whilst also being able to snuggle up under the rustic stretch tents kitted out with outdoor heaters and fluffy blankets.
For your wedding breakfast you can either make your way back into the Great Hall to indulge in your very own medieval banquet or saunter through to the newest addition of space. The large permanent Tipi structure adjoining at the side of the Upper House Hayfield is a really great rustic touch to continue the party with all of your guests. Once again you’ve the great choice to bring in your very own catering suppliers to really bring your wedding breakfast dreams alive.
After the speeches have finished and the toasts have been drunk you can use the Tipi or outdoor space for mingling and chatting with your evening guests (up to 130) before dancing the night away in the great hall.
The trip back to your room when the night draws to a close is one of few steps and you’ll wake up surrounded by all of your loved ones and be able to talk about how awesome your day was at the Upper House Hayfield. For those unable to fit in at Upper House there is also some great local holiday cottages nearby.
As well as being a great place for those in the UK looking to escape the normal trappings of weddings it is also a great venue for couples looking to hold a destination wedding with a real slice of english culture. Fly in to Manchester airport and be at Upper House Hayfield within just 25 minutes.
A Photographers Dreamland Out in the Sticks
Before the day Phoebe and James met with me at the Upper House Hayfield and we walked around the grounds together taking it all in. Even though it can seem quite small and unassuming at first it’s anything but as the rooms weave around in a labyrinth often confusing me. I very rarely visit a venue before hand as it doesn’t really have any baring on your wedding day. On your day the light and way things are decorated will be completely different so a walk around is not really needed. With Upper House Hayfield being such an exclusive venue it was hard to find many photographs online and the vastness of the surrounding countryside is one you really need to get your head around.
Just as I thought, being an Upper House Hayfield wedding photographer on Phoebe and James’ big day was out of this world and I loved every minute of photographing amongst such history in the past present and eventual future.
Although light is limited through the small stained glass windows it’s a lovely bit of cultivated light which if harnessed can make the photographs oh so more atmospheric. Light is something I always love to play with and be challenged by and often is what separates your photographs from another.
As I photograph all of my weddings along it usually means one partner in the morning is seconded whilst I spend most of my time with the other. I can usually work a work around if you’re nearby though and Upper House Hayfield really boasts the best of this situation as I only have to wander through the labyrinth of rooms to get to the other person meaning you really do get the best of both worlds of photographs on your wedding day.
The large stone path and steps at the front of Upper House Hayfield are perfect for those formal family photographs. If the ancient stone is not the backing you’d like then just down the steps you’ll be backed by the 30 acres of private woodland so it really is the best of both worlds when it comes to choice.
Talking about all of these awesome photography situations I’d be silly to leave out the best of all. Upper House Hayfield’s intimacy and feeling of isolation really does create an extra layer of special when capturing those couples portraits. The stunning rolling countryside of hills working their way up to Kinder Scout, the deep blues of Kinder Reservoir or the lush dappled light of the forest really does provide an incredible backing. Saying this you’ll still need a photographer who knows how to defeat the paradox of choice at this venue as you could literally set a photograph up anywhere. You want someone who can really capture this beauty.
Upper House Hayfield Wedding Photography
Other Weddings I’ve Travelled To
in the Peak District and further afiedl