The perfect Mid-Wales DIY wedding venue
Plas Dinam is a "Do It Yourself" country house wedding venue. It's set in the beautiful Mid Wales countryside, on the outskirts of Llandinam, Powys - less than an hours drive from Shrewsbury. And it's one of my all-time favourite wedding venues.
I've been trying to work out why I like it so much ever since I photographed my first wedding there, and I think I've finally got it… It's because it's the sort of place where I would have got married. In fact, we got married at Walcot Hall, which is only 50 minutes away, just across the border into Shropshire and has a lot of the same qualities.
Plas Dinam ticks an awful lot of the boxes that for me, the perfect wedding venue has to tick. It's exclusive use, for the whole weekend. There's accommodation. You can get married inside, or outside. The house is grand, the stables are rustic and the gardens are gorgeous. You can hire who you want, to do what you want.
If you want to keep it relaxed and informal you can provide the bar yourself - no corkage! If you want to make it more of an occasion you can do that too. That's the best thing about DIY wedding venues, you can have the wedding you want, exactly how you want it. Sure you may have to do a little more work, but that's half the fun, isn't it?
Documentary Wedding Photography
My opinion is that you should be able to relax and enjoy your wedding. I mean, after all, it is one great big party, right? The last thing I want to do is take you away from your mates and make you feel awkward while I take photos.
So, that's why I take a candid approach to photographing your day. I aim to capture all the little moments as well as the big ones as they happen. That's how I capture genuine reactions, real moments and create images that have significant memories attached to them.
Everything you see on my website is 100% unposed, it's a moment that happened naturally during the course of a real wedding.
I think my favourite quote about my approach to wedding photography comes from the wedding I'm about to show you... The Bride's Father had told Orla (the Bride) that he was impressed with me, going on to say "He's in your face, but not in your face." And I couldn't have put it better myself!
Orla & Henry's Plas Dinam Weekend Wedding
Although I hadn't met Orla or Henry before their wedding, they welcomed me in like I was one of the family - quite literally. I met them at the house the day before their wedding. After a warm welcome, I was shown to my room, dropped my stuff off and got to work!
It was hustle and bustle to get as much done as possible before the rest of the guests arrived. Once everyone had arrived, we had a break for food and wine, then it was back to the stables for the finishing touches. I really enjoyed hanging out with everyone the night before. It's great for me to have a laugh and get to know everyone before the big day.
One of the best things about having a weekend wedding is that it makes it much more of an occasion. You get more time to spend with your friends and family, so you don't feel so pressured to make sure you speak to everyone on the day. And by having a photographer there for the weekend, means you get photos of all that too. You know, like the moment your family from Ireland arrive!
Getting Ready At Plas Dinam
The rooms at Plas Dinam are fantastic for morning preparations. They have big windows and plenty of space for hair & make-up stations! The views out over the rear gardens and the countryside beyond are stunning. And are especially handy for keeping an eye on the weather if you're planning an outdoor ceremony - like Orla and Henry were.
The whole morning was lovely. Orla got ready with her mum, her bridesmaids and her two flower girls. When they weren't having their hair or make-up done, they were looking through a book of the Hen-Do photos and reminiscing over fun weekends away.
I nipped down to catch up with Henry and his groomsmen in the snooker room where they all had a drink or two and Henry opened his card and present from Orla.
Outdoor Wedding Ceremony
There are a few different ways to make your entrance if you're having an outdoor ceremony at Plas Dinam. My favourite is the longest way. You exit from the back of the house, then make your way through the garden, down a few steps and along a winding path to the front of the house. This route gives you a bit of time to compose your thoughts but also makes for some lovely photos too.
Outdoor ceremonies are my absolute favourite and this one was no exception. It was touching, personal and despite the grey clouds, it stayed dry!
Champagne, Canapés & Lawn Games
After the ceremony, everyone headed to the rear garden to start the celebrations! Welcome drinks, canapés and lawn games made for a great start to the afternoon. The sun was just about winning its battle with the clouds and there was a real sense of celebration in the air.
Orla & Henry wanted to double check everything was going to plan in the Stables, so I used this as an opportunity to get a few photos just the two of them.
Wedding Reception In The Stables
I really like the house, but the Stables are my favourite part of Plas Dinam. It could be because that's generally where the party is, but I like to think it's because of the amazing light and the vintage tiled stalls.
It's a great space to take you from the wedding breakfast to drunken dancing. And that's mostly because of the glass roof above the stables. It provides the most amazingly soft, diffused light that fades beautifully as the sun sets. Plus, there's no need to move tables as there's already space for the band off to the side.
Polaroid Originals Photo Booth
Photo booths pop up at a lot of weddings. You can get them in all shapes and sizes from the sit-in booth (that might remind you of passport photos) to the full-on converted camper van!
I include a handful of Polaroids with every wedding I photograph. I like them for their character and their sentimental value.
So, when Orla & Henry asked about setting up a Polaroid Photo-booth I was more than happy to help. They used my Polaroid Originals camera, and I organised a bulk order of film. They set up their "photo-booth" in one of the stable stalls. Filled with funny props, inflatable instruments and a string washing line to hang the prints on - it made a great room for a bit of instant film fun.
Trilogy Rock Plas Dinam Wedding Party
I love a live wedding band. They bring so much energy to a wedding party and Trilogy absolutely rocked it! Although as you can see, I don't think these guys needed much encouragement. The dance-floor was packed all night. And during the interval, their friend Kerry organised céilí! No rest for these guys 😍
The After Party
After Trilogy had finished their third encore(!) there was a bit more dancing, some traditional Irish songs sung by some very talented guests… But this is where things start to get a bit blurry. Orla and Henry insisted that I join them for a drink, so I think it was around 11 pm that I had my first pint. But 1 pint, quickly turned into 3 or 4. And 11 pm quickly turned into… Well, 3 or 4 am.
Graham had planned to do some fire spinning for a little entertainment but with all the excitement it got forgotten, until… about 2 am when it sounded like a great idea and not at all dangerous!
Last Photo Of The Night
You may have spotted a rather pregnant lady in some of the photos above. Well, we'd had a few chats through the day and it turns out she was "due" the day of the wedding! She was still going strong on the dance-floor well into the night! However, I stumbled into them on my way to bed about 4 am, they were sneaking out not wanting to bump into Orla & Henry… They weren't avoiding saying goodbye, her waters had just broken and they were on their way to the hospital and didn't want to cause a fuss. The last photo I took that night is of her pretending to have a contraction!
Seen something you like?
Venue: Plas Dinam | Make-Up: Jessica Jackson Make Up Artist | Hair-Stylist: Beautiful Brides by Kim | Bridal Party Flowers: Blooming Catrin | Venue Florist: Wild Bunch | Caterers: Fingers and Forks | Band: Trilogy
"Thank you for being an amazing photographer at our wedding, but also for going above and beyond for us... We really & truly appreciate everything you have done for us."
Love Orla & Henry x x