bride grooms jive dance ihg hotel sandford oxford oxfordshire wedding photographer
Back to Blog Sophie and Ashley’s Wedding

voco Oxford Thames

Drive just over 3 miles South of Oxford city centre and you will find the village of Sandford-on-Thames and nestling on the river banks is the voco Oxford Thames, a modern hotel with a history going far back to the Middle Ages. This picturesque river bank was the setting for Sophie and Ashley’s magical outdoor wedding ceremony.

The hotel stands in 30 acres of parkland with manicured formal gardens. Although the hotel dates to mediaeval times, it has a moden feel with contemporary decor to match.

Rich History Of voco Oxford Thames

Records of the Manor House, which now houses the hotel, date back to the early 12th Century and was closely linked to the Order Of The Knights Templar. The Knights was a large organization of devout Christians whose mission was to protect European travellers visiting sites in the Holy Land. They also carried out military operations during the time of the Crusades.

This historic manor passed through many hands, including Thomas, Cardinal Wolsey, soon after Henry VIII dissolved the Knights Templar order. Now, as a hotel, it boasts a variety of modern rooms, a high-quality restaurant and a charming bar.

In the 1500s, the manor was bought by a Welshman whose granddaughter married William Napier. The hotel’s restaurant carries the Napier name. The interesting history of the Napier family and their connection to the hotel doesn’t end there. In 1610, William Napier’s brother, the Blessed George Napier, was hung, drawn and quartered for treason in Oxford Gaol! George Napier’s mutilated quarters were placed on the four gates of the city and his head at the gates of Christ Church. The body of the Catholic priest and martyr was collected by William and buried secretly in the Chapel of the Knights Templar, at Sandford-on-Thames.

In the late 18th Century, the Lord of the Manor became the Duke of Marlborough, whose official residence was Blenheim Palace. Most of the prominent features of the Manor date to this period.

The Ceremony & Wedding Banquet

voco Oxford Thames

Sophie and Ashley were married under the arch of the hotel’s charming Riverside Gazebo within view of a white, ornately-crafted, 18th Century barge. The bridal party included four bridesmaids, two flowergirls and a nattily-dressed pageboy bearing the wedding rings on a white cushion.

After a confetti shower, guests sipped champagne and were entertained by a very skillful cartoonist. The hotel’s River Room and Conservatory Restaurant had been beautifully decorated with floral arrangements for the wedding banquet and speeches. Sophie and Ashley’s celebrations, including a Wedding Sparklers Parade, carried on late into a glorious summer’s evening by the Thames.

I hope you enjoy these images….

For more riverside wedding celebrations, but with a difference, take a look at Jo and Adam’s Wedding.


Hire Steve for your Wedding

I would love to tell your story! We will make time to talk, get to know each other and plan your special day together.

Check my availability