Cranberry Creek Gardens - a Wedding photographer’s perspective
Norfolk wedding venues
Cranberry Creek Gardens is like a hidden little gem in southern Ontario. Off the beaten path for most folks, can be a little bit hard to find but overall it is certainly worth hunting it out. Recently the ownership is changed, and it's been updated. Now to include a new barn, so that couples can have that awesome barn wedding experience.
That said, the real joy to this place is that it was originally conceived as a wedding venue, more than 25 years ago. The original owner, whom I got to speak with was such a visionary. He laid out trees, and shrubs and pathways and nooks and crannies and tunnels, with true vision, to the delight of wedding photographers today. That includes myself.
If stunning wedding photography, is high on your list, you do not want to skip looking at this wedding venue.
Starting off, it is easily accessible and there is tons of parking for guests. For getting ready, they have a wonderful old farmhouse that has been renovated. It really is excellent, and will serve as a great place to sleep over and get ready for wedding parties. There is also an old bank building, a historical artifact in itself, that is been redone as well. The girls could get ready in the house for example and the guys could get ready at the bank. These two spots are nice and close, but not close enough that you have to see each other if you don't want you.
The real centrepiece however has to be the options you have for your ceremony. A very old church, that once stood elsewhere was painstakingly moved to the property. It provides a simply stunning backdrop for your wedding ceremony. If the weather outside is great, get married right out front. If mother nature is rearing her ugly head, ceremony inside is also very picturesque. Inside the church, can also double as a cocktail reception location for cocktail hour, or dancing later on in the evening.
There is also now, a new barn structure available for your reception. This really is a very flexible wedding venue location. And offers a lot of accessibility and options. Michelle the new owner site coordinator, strikes me as a very easy moment to get along with as well. Which makes all the difference, trust me! I have been to other beautiful properties, but they are so restrictive and stubborn that it can really put a damper on your plans and also make it less enjoyable for guests.
From my perspective however, photographically speaking rustic, charming, and elegant photo opportunities are everywhere. This really is a wedding photographer Paradise. There are just so many spots, and they're not all spread out. They are seemingly stacked on top of one another. Long tree-lined runways, pine trees and spruce trees, leafy green trees and shrubs. Barn board, slats, stone and antique windows. There are even interesting features, like the old steeple that sat atop the church, which has been re-commissioned into a great photo spot. Overall the venue was also talked away quite well, so you feel nice and secluded like you are on your own little wedding island… Just for you.
That seclusion, that is part of the charm I suppose is also a two-edged sword. This place is a little bit out of the way, for your guests coming all the way from Toronto perhaps.
A little bit more history.
To confess, I’m not an expert on norfolk county wedding venues. Thus I had to do a little bit of extra digging to learn about this place. After learning more of the details however, I want to share a little bit more history about these fantastic grounds. Originally a Baptist church in St. Williams, the 1881 Chapel is the centrepiece. Inside it you'll find the original wooden pews that have been restored along with whitewashed walls which make for a clean and timeless aesthetic. Seating inside will fit up to 150 guests. Despite being from 1881, it has modern amenities that I wish all churches had. It's heated and air-conditioned, perfect for your wedding ceremony, cocktail reception, dancing you name it. The outside of it has a ton of character as well, the aged white clapboard is seriously the best of all possible backgrounds. Between not in the windows, I love it!
The gardens surrounding the area, that I mentioned earlier are amazing as well. They are immaculate and are considered one of the most beautiful spots in Norfolk County. They have a huge variety of plants in order to make sure that something is in bloom all season. From spring to fall there really is not a bad time to visit. The grounds are so good they even offer garden tours and outdoor events throughout the year.
The bank I mentioned earlier, they referred to as the 1915 Bank. It's a charming and rustic building and was originally built for the Federal Bank of Canada. It has a capacity for up to 20 guests and can be set up in a wide variety of configurations to suit the needs of the wedding couple. It has a ton of charm and it's perfect for small gatherings, meetings, a little getaway, a space to take a break or a spot for the guys to get ready.
The 1942 barn, don't you just love how everything comes with a number? Is the latest and greatest in terms of being renovated at cranberry Creek. I was fortunate enough to shoot the first wedding where it was available, right at the tail end of October in 2018, that said starting 2019 it is available and raring to go. It has a capacity of approximately 150 guests also.
The Inn, as they call it is a century home also on the grounds that was built in 1915. It is the overnight accommodations, if you choose to stay there for your wedding. It has three fully equipped bedrooms for a relaxing stay, in the tiny little hamlet of Lynn Doc. The main floor is opened right up, so there is a lot of room to move around. It is still intimate however and could accommodate something like a rehearsal dinner, or just be a cozy place to unwind and relax before the big day.
Wedding availability. Even in Winter!
Depending on the kind of wedding you are imagining, you have a number of different options. From the more traditional full day wedding to a Sunday brunch wedding or even winter weddings. If you were doing a winter wedding you are likely going to want to stick to the inside of the church in the quaint and cozy space.
The venue itself can be rented, and you can do most of the things yourself or they can help out with things like DJ, tables and chairs, linens and shuttle to get your guests where they need to go. Since they have the in, you can do a wedding evening sleep over as well for you or your guests.
They can also provide bar service, with an open bar a token bar or a cash bar as options.
As for catering they can book a good caterer for you, or you can bring in whoever you would like, the choice is up to you. They have a variety of vendors they can recommend, with different styles and price points that will suit most budgets, let them know what it is you're after so they can achieve your vision. I said earlier about the rentals, they can also help you find vendors for things like tables, chairs, dinnerware, linens and also tents.
They also offer their location as a spot for engagement photos. Of course if you are having your wedding there, they would love for you to do engagement photos but it is not only limited to those couples. If you would just like to use the awesome grounds for your engagement photos, and you're getting married somewhere else, that is cool to. You do need to book it however, so don't you show up unannounced!
So like I said, there is so much flexibility here. I think this place is a dream come true for the DIY bride. Or if you want them to handle things, they are up to the task as well.
I hope this doesn't sound like I am totally selling out, I promise they didn't pay me to write this! I just want to help them out, because the new owner Michelle is so awesome and so is her venue. I have been to shoot a wedding at cranberry Creek a couple times now and it really is something else. As you will also see in the wedding photos in this article, the place is stunning.