Marriott Griffin Gate
The Marriott Griffin Gate is a resort and spa hotel located on a golf course in Lexington, Ky right off the interstate. I have photographed several weddings at Griffin Gate. In fact, my very first wedding as Bourbon & Brides was photographed in the hotel’s ballroom. But what makes this venue so unique is how versatile it is. There are several places on the property you can choose from to have both your ceremony and reception, which allows every bride to have the option that fits best for their wedding vision. Also, because the venue is a hotel, it is possible to have everyone get ready on the property, which decreases the stress of having people travel and coordinating times and movements of the bride and groom.
Read on to see examples through the wedding day:
Usually detail shots are not dependent on the location as much as what the details and the wedding theme are. One exception to this is the dress. Putting the dress in a location on the venue’s property helps tell the story and set the scene while showing off that beautiful gown you’ve purchased. At Griffin Gate, my favorite spot is the hallway on the top floor of the hotel. Another beautiful hidden spot in next to the pool.
Getting ready in a hotel room is a way to have consistent and clean photos while getting your hair and makeup done and putting on your dress. At Griffin Gate, I love being able to position the bride in front of a hotel window and allowing the beautiful light to shine on her face.
Similarly, positioning the groom beside the window and changing my camera settings slightly gives his photos a regal and distinct feel for a masculine look. Griffin Gate’s rooms are all very similar and they all provide very similar lighting and photo opportunities. I prefer these images in black and white, as it adds to the regal feel.
The cool thing about the Marriott is you have endless choices for where to have your wedding ceremony. I have shot three ceremonies on the property. Two behind the reception building on the green and one in front of the mansion. All 3 were outside in warmer months. What I love about these locations is the beautiful view behind the bride and groom during the ceremony. For the ones on the green, you have a sweeping view of the golf course and a big beautiful sky. For the one on the lawn in front of the mansion, you have the gorgeous backdrop of the classic house.
I have found that the Marriott Griffin Gate hotel is one of the easiest places to photograph a couple and wedding party. There are a lot of beautiful spots near the hotel and mansion that have great lighting. And in the spring, the flowers are magical! The hotel also provides their couples with golf carts to navigate the property so we can take photos wherever we want without worrying about distance or having to walk far in heels. A lot of couples like to take photos on the bridge near the lake, but my favorite spot is the wall of greenery next to the little bridge on the other side. The light has been perfect every time I’ve taken a couple there!
Outside the mansion is a great spot as well, but what is even better is in case of rain, we have the option of the covered porch or inside the house.
The one downside to shooting at Griffin Gate is that the sun sets on the opposite side of the property than where portraits can be taken. What that means is the sun sets behind the road, which is actually blocked by buildings and trees. It isn’t easy to get sunset photos at Griffin Gate. Silhouettes are almost impossible. If the sunset is beautiful enough to create beautiful light on the opposite side, I can get a beautiful sunsetting photo, with a little help from photoshop, of course!
There are several options for a reception area at Marriott. There is the ballroom, which is like most hotel ballrooms and would require a little more decorating. The two separate tented buildings, which look very nice with the permanent draping the hotel has provided for the ceiling. The fourth option is the mansion. which provides a beautiful classic feel. The mansion has the dinner rooms broken up, which can be a problem for some couples who want to keep all their guests together, but the decor is amazing! When you chose to have your reception inside the mansion, you also have your dancing outside on the patio, which means you will be dancing under the stars.