From the perspective of a wedding photographer, Briscoe Manor has a lot going for it. However, it can be a tricky venue to photograph in, so let’s start off with the easy stuff.
Briscoe Manor is an all-inclusive wedding and reception venue just west of Houston, located in Richmond, Texas. By “all-inclusive”, I mean the wedding Ceremony and Reception can be held in the same location. Not only is this easy on the Bride and guests, but it is also advantageous to the wedding photographer, because typically this translates into more photography time after the ceremony. Briscoe Manor also offers a variety of ways to use that time. For starters, once the guests are escorted to the courtyard for cocktail hour (a process that Briscoe Manor does very well) the entire wedding Chapel and Bridal Courtyard are open for wedding photography. From the perspective of a Houston Wedding Photographer, it is nice to have an indoor and outdoor location available for family formals and bridal portraits completely isolated from the guests. Weather and time permitting, the wedding photographer can use both locations for the greatest diversity of images. All year long, the chapel gets suitable window light via both walls running parallel to the aisle. Likewise, there are 3 steps at the front of the chapel which are very nice for large family formals. In the Bridal Courtyard, Briscoe Manor has a large photo frame, flower beds, and a pergola for your wedding photographer to work with. My best estimation would be that the space is about 80 feet x 80 feet which is enough to capture images with a telephoto lense. (The telephoto lens creates a dramatic, shallow depth of field). Few Houston Wedding Venues offer such a large private space designed for the wedding photographer. Thank you Briscoe Manor!
Briscoe Manor’s Bridal Suite and Reception Hall are both very nice, but can be tricky for the unexperienced wedding photographer. The Bridal Suite is large, has a good air conditioner (with access to the thermostat….something often overlooked that I promise you will appreciate), and instant access to the Bridal Courtyard, decorated very well, with large mirrors. While the large mirrors are great for the ladies getting ready, they can be troublesome to the discerning wedding photographer. Mainly, particular attention needs to be given to flash reflections and background distractions. You will find that the Bridal Suite will get very messy as the ladies get ready. The large mirrors on the two walls give little space to hide the clutter. However, this is a winnable battle that is worth the fight. In fact, it’s really not necessary for you, the consumer, to worry about. It is your wedding photographer, whom by choice of lens, angle, and exposure can isolate segments of the room to achieve perfect images. (Remember, this is a blog about Briscoe Manor from the perspective of a Houston Wedding Photographer).
When it comes to the Reception Hall at Briscoe Manor, I (as a wedding photographer) tend to focus on the size and contrast of the room. By contrast, I mean the North East facing wall with windows. As the only natural light source of the room, these windows can cast a strong directional light during daylight receptions. At the right time of day, Eastward facing subjects will be silhouetted, and Westward facing subjects will be beautifully lit by the natural light. Really, there is no problem here for the aware (and skilled) wedding photographer. However, it is worth noting that exposures can shift dramatically within the same room. Truthfully, this can be worked as a great photographic advantage to Briscoe Manor (again, assuming you have hired a skilled wedding photographer). It is rare that any indoor reception hall has such directional daylight lighting.
The size of the reception hall is also worth noting. As with all large ballrooms, improper lighting by the wedding photographer will produce solid black backgrounds in the images. With proper lighting, Briscoe Manor’s reception hall can give the look of a warm, rustic, (and intimate for it’s size) room. Briscoe goes a long way to help the wedding photographer with it’s stone North wall, which is generally “up lit” by floor lighting cans. (I’m not sure if this is standard at Briscoe Manor, or something you have to pay for, but from a wedding photographer’s perspective, it’s worth it.) Also, this wall is usually illuminated with the couple’s monogram. (Again, not sure if it’s in Briscoe Manor’s package or not.) However, the combination of the the uplighting, monogram, and stone work makes for a nice background in the wedding photos.
The reception hall opens up to a long patio of wooden rocking chairs and an outdoor ceremony location, overlooking a pond and herds of grazing Texas cattle. As a wedding photographer, I really like how this area is laid out. The path to the outdoor ceremony location is downward sloping, and continues to the pond. The advantages to the wedding photographer is an optional downward angle with the pond and cattle in the background. Back at the patio a photographer can find “directional shade” (perfect for natural light photographs) and long lines of window panes which add depth and dimension to the image.
In this post, I have only managed to touch on a few key points of Briscoe Manor. In all, if the country, rustic, sweet tea, wedding is what you are looking for, this is the best venue for you. Yes, there are challenges from the perspective of the wedding photographer, but that is true of all wedding venues. The unique thing about the photographic challenges at Briscoe Manor is, that when done properly, they actually become a strength, which is not true of every wedding venue.
From the perspective of a Houston Wedding Photographer…