If you are looking for a wedding venue with unique and luxurious décor, then you’ll probably want to check out The Crazy Bear, in Stadhampton. As a Crazy Bear wedding photographer, I can’t resist an opportunity to capture the eclectic details of this place – I mean, all weddings need a unicorn, a bear, a giant wooden ship’s captain, and driftwood lions, right?
The hotel and restaurant are decorated in sumptuous colours, with fairy lights strung from the ceilings and throughout the garden. Quirky is probably one of those words that gets overused… but this really is a quirky, and totally unique venue. It’s also a place where you can be yourselves and party hard!
Crazy Bear weddings – Blátháin and Samuel
I joined Blátháin and Samuel as their Crazy Bear wedding photographer, at one of Oxfordshire’s most unique venues. The couple had always wanted to stay at the hotel, and when they found out they could get married there, I think it was pretty much decided!
As I looked around the venue, I was immediately immersed in the eclectic world of Crazy Bear weddings, with dark walls, gold details and fairy lights everywhere – Oh and the enormous unicorn head towering over everyone! The gardens had a real tropical feel to them, with some vibrant Moroccan-style details and even more surprising statues and focal points. This was going to be GREAT!
Blátháin arrived and started getting ready with her bride squad in Suite 12, an elegant room with sumptuous crushed velvet and gold wallpaper, and loads of gorgeous Art Deco details. Usually, for bridal prep I’m looking for natural, ambient light – Crazy Bear wedding photography is very different, and I was excitedly setting up off-camera flash for some dramatic portraits of Blátháin and the girls getting ready.
As Blátháin had her hair and makeup perfected, I went for a walk with her bridesmaids and her wedding dress through the tropical gardens with driftwood lions watching on! The vibrant colours of the gardens adding an extra pop of colour to some fun photos that set the scene for the day. The girls were brilliant fun and were having such a laugh together as they got ready.
I met up with Samuel downstairs as he was adding some finishing touches to the ceremony room, wearing his custom-made, dark green wool three-piece suit from Moss Bros. The pair met whilst working for a science publishing company and have an enduring geekdom for all things scientific and macabre! They created the design for their table centrepieces themselves using Erlenmeyer flasks with anatomical hearts. Their décor had a nod to the glamour of the 1920s, from art deco style invitations and stationery to the jewel tones for the flowers, and lots of glitz for the bride squad and bride.
They weren’t kidding about the sparkle and glitz! Blátháin’s Pronovias wedding dress from Bridal Rogue Gallery was perfectly fitted, with elegant lace details and a flowing train, complemented by an incredible 1920s tiara, and cathedral-length bridal cape with twinkling rhinestones. The brilliant bridesmaids wore rose gold sequinned dresses from Coast, (you’ll notice a theme with the rose gold!) adding even more sparkle and glamour to the day.
Crazy Bear wedding photography
As their guests started to arrive, they began to fill the ceremony room. Crazy Bear weddings take place in the Oak Room, with a deep red aisle carpet, mirrored ceiling, and dark wood panelling. The dramatic lighting of the entire day at this venue was a really fun creative challenge, capturing all the gorgeous details in rich and vibrant colours.
The flowers for the day had been created by Sara from Bloomin Chic, and they went perfectly with the theme, with bright red roses (the same colour as the bride’s lipstick!), green foliage, and pampas grass. Blátháin insisted on including blueberries in her bridal bouquet – a bit of a risk when you’re wearing all white, but Sara made it work and it looked brilliant!
Blátháin walked down the aisle to marry Samuel, and you could really see her face light up. The look they gave each other when their eyes met was just adorable! Emotion is everything to me, these two are so in love, and it shows! The beautiful readings throughout their ceremony were really personal, and it felt so special to be part of their day.
Wedding at the Crazy Bear
After their wedding at the Crazy Bear, Blátháin and Samuel were greeted with cheers and the most high-energy confetti throw ever! They got absolutely covered!
Following a few drinks and hugs with their guests, I organised group photos in the gardens, making as much use of the outdoor space and light as possible.
As luck would have it, there is a massive, oversized bench (painted in a similar green to one of their wedding colours) so their guests climbed on for a group shot, making use of the extra height. Then I arranged some smaller, softly lit group portraits in the garden, packed with the love and personality of the couple, and their friends and family.
As there are so many interesting features for a Crazy Bear wedding photographer to capture, we chose to have several short photoshoots throughout the day, to make the most of the variety of light and the quirky backdrop. While their guests were finding their seats, Blátháin and Samuel snuggled up underneath the giant unicorn, next to an intricately carved screen, which made for some really romantic and usual Crazy Bear wedding photos.
I also took them for a little relaxed wander in the gardens, it was such a pleasure to work with them, I’m pretty sure they didn’t stop laughing and smiling for the whole day. A romantic stroll with elegant silhouettes ended up in a pile of laughter on the floor, as all good weddings should!
Crazy Bear wedding breakfast
The glasshouse had been set up for their Crazy Bear wedding breakfast, with a draped ceiling and Moroccan lanterns giving it an elegant but relaxed atmosphere. The couple absolutely beamed as they were announced as husband and wife, and greeted with huge cheers from their guests.
Heartfelt and highly amusing speeches came from Samuel’s best man, and Blátháin’s maid of honour, as well as the bride and groom themselves. There were some really tear-jerking moments of emotion between them all, in front of their loving friends and family. The yummy food was provided by the Crazy Bear Stadhampton wedding team, and they had traditional barfi from Barfia instead of a cake (in seven different flavours), a nod to the bride’s Pakistani heritage.
Then, something cool happened (luckily, I had been let in on the surprise!), Blátháin had written a song especially for Samuel on their wedding day, and one of their friends stepped out from behind the curtain and played it for them, one of the best serenades I think I’ve ever heard!
Wedding party at the Crazy Bear Hotel, Stadhampton
The newlyweds kicked off the evening with their first dance, and were joined by their guests for some epic dancing to music from the brilliant band, The MP3s!
Part of the fun when you are working as a Crazy Bear wedding photographer, is thinking up ways and finding fun angles to capture the detail of the venue as part of the couple’s story. Blátháin and Samuel wanted to make sure they had a photo with the Crazy Bear himself, so I used the blue of the night sky to make this image of them really pop. There’s also a huge wooden ships-head statue that we had some fun with, and we finished the night with a quick snuggle on the staircase of the Routemaster bus reception area of the hotel (expert sneaking by the newlyweds!).
Congratulations Blátháin and Samuel!
I was delighted to join these two as their Crazy Bear wedding photographer, it was a day of so much love, laughter and endless opportunities for creativity. They are the kindest, most welcoming and fun-filled couple, and I really enjoyed capturing the memories of their awesome, totally unique wedding day. Congratulations!
Looking for a Crazy Bear wedding photographer?
If you are looking for a Crazy Bear wedding photographer, I’d love to chat with you about your day. Please do get in touch, my Awesome PA, Rhi will check if I’m available on your date and we can start planning!
You might also want to check out some other weddings I’ve photographed, if you are looking for classic architecture then some of my work as an Old Royal Naval College wedding photographer or this wedding at Hengrave Hall might interest you. Alternatively, you can explore another vibrant celebration I captured as a Gloucestershire wedding photographer or the crazy party atmosphere of this wedding at the Corinthia Hotel.