10 Best Gower locations for natural wedding photos.
All of the Gower Peninsula’s established wedding venues have areas on-site for wedding photography but many couples, especially some visiting Wales for their wedding from other parts of the UK have a special connection with Gower.
Whether they grew up nearby or visited on childhood holidays or even studied at Swansea University and spent many happy weekends exploring the Peninsula’s wild coast, it’s not surprising that they would like to have photographs in the stunning landscape it offers. The Gower Peninsula is part of Swansea and became the first location in the United Kingdom to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956.
I have put together a list of the most accessible and beautiful Gower locations and some suggestions to help you plan your Swansea wedding. These are all chosen from the point of view that time may be limited and also you are probably dressed smartly rather than ready to go hiking.
1. CEFN BRYN
Cefn Bryn is a 5-mile-long ridge of common land, known locally as the backbone of Gower. It rises from the North and South and at its highest point can offer views to Oxwich Bay, the Lougher Estuary, and on very clear days the Brecon Beacons and West Wales. It is home to cows and sheep and also ponies, and some may try to be in your photos. Catch the sunset just right and the whole hillside can light up. Of course, we don’t always get perfect sunsets but Cefn Bryn is still a dramatic location on a cloudy day too.
Broadpool is still part of Cefn Bryn but is a very good alternative location. It’s a large pond that sits next to a road that leads up to ‘the Bryn’. From a photographic point of view, this location is often more protected from the wind, so if it’s blowing a bit of a gale up high this is a better place to go. During the summer months when the sun sets more to the West and North West it hits the horizon in the perfect spot to reflect on the pond’s surface.
3. CEFN BRYN ROAD
This location is a much-requested iconic image of Gower weddings. It’s still at the foot of Cefn Bryn and right next to Broadpool but it is full of ‘journey symbolism’ and to many, it’s a road they have travelled many times on journeys across Gower.
In the winter months, the sun sets more to the South West and stays low across the hillside which means you can get dramatic sunset light mid-afternoon which can fit just right in between your ceremony and wedding reception.
4. LLANGENNITH BEACH
Llangennith beach is situated on the western edge of the Gower Peninsula, it’s a fairly short drive, about ten to fifteen minutes from some of the Gower’s wedding venues. I would highly recommend sticking to the dunes to save time and get the best views right across the bay towards Rhossili and the Worm’s Head. If your timings allow, this can be an epic place to catch a sunset. This is also an amazing spot for engagement shoots, you would have more time to explore the beach and even go for a paddle along the shoreline.
5. RHOSSILI BAY
The cliffs at Rhossili Bay are iconic, and probably the most famous tourist Gower locations. Views of the Worm’s Head are often used on wedding shoots here, in the early and late parts of the year the sun sets over and behind “The Worm”. In the summer months, it sets more over the bay to the North West so you get amazing golden reflections on the sea. In the summer months, the road traffic can be very slow and the pay and display car park can be busy. It’s worth taking this into account when planning timings if this is where you want to go. You may find it is less busy in the evening but if there is the possibility of an amazing sunset the cliffs can fill up with people.
6. OXWICH BAY BEACH
Oxwich Bay is the home of the Oxwich Bay Hotel but is also a beautiful location if your wedding is elsewhere in Gower. One of the main differences between Oxwich and other beaches around the Gower is that it is East facing and is more protected from South and Westerly winds which are common as they blow in from the ocean. It’s also very convenient because you can park right next to the beach. It’s often packed with people during warm days in the summer but later in the evening as the sun sets it can be more open. In the winter you could find you’re the only people on this two-and-a-half-mile-long beach. Great for bringing your dog along too.
7. OXWICH BAY DUNES
One of my favourite wedding photography locations in South Gower. The dunes are easily accessible with the beach car park. On hot sunny days when the beach is packed and you can’t see the sand for speedos, the dunes can be very peaceful and the perfect place to go for a walk together to catch some natural photos. Later in the summer when the ferns start to grow back the evening sun can make the whole place glow golden green.
8. OXWICH BAY WOODS
The woodland at the end of Oxwich Bay beach is used more for Oxwich Bay Hotel weddings but it is a very quiet location and could be used if you’re getting married somewhere else nearby. It can be a cool escape on a hot day and even a protected spot on a showery day.
9. THREE CLIFFS
Three Cliffs Bay is another iconic Gower beauty spot, The cliffs themselves are not easy to get to if your time is limited. It’s an amazing place to go for an engagement shoot as you can walk across Pennard Golf course but it’s a good hour or two walk to make the most of the area. One way to get here on your wedding day is to see if you can arrange a golf buggy from Pennard golf club, this is something couples have done in the past. Another alternative from the Pennard side of Three Cliffs is to only go as far as Pennard Castle which is on the way to the cliffs and about a fifteen-minute walk across the golf course. I would strongly advise changing to ‘practical’ footwear if you’re planning this.
10. THREE CLIFFS BAY HOLIDAY PARK
Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park offers another location to have the iconic bay in the background. It is located on the West side of the bay and you can usually book a spot to bring your wedding car into the campsite and park right next to the clifftop. It is worth considering this in advance and booking ahead, especially in the summer months.
If you are planning to have photos somewhere away from your Gower wedding venue there are some key things to consider;
- how much time do you have between the end of your ceremony, including confetti and speaking to guests, and getting to your car, and the time you need to be back at your venue for drinks or food?
- If you have a hire car how long do you have with them and are they booked or willing to travel to locations for photos?
- the weather, if it’s very windy higher locations are going to be more difficult, especially for tied-up hair and veils.
- more weather, direct middle of the day sun is fine but late/golden hour sun is amazing!
- yet more weather (we are in Wales after all), if it’s forecast to rain, have a plan B or plenty of time to catch a break in the weather.
- summer months in Gower can be very busy on the narrow roads, so it’s also worth planning extra time in case of traffic to and from your location, or even having a plan B in case the traffic is so bad you can’t get to where you wanted.
- in the summer months, there is often at least an hour’s gap between the end of speeches and the beginning of the evening reception, this could be another good time to pop away for some time together at an epic Gower location.
- in the winter months obviously, the sun sets earlier, so if it’s 4 pm and the sky is pretty clear you will probably get good sunset light from at least 3 pm onwards. But if it’s a very grey day, chances are it will be pretty much dark before the sun sets, so consider these situations when picking your ceremony time and planning when food will be served to maximize the amount of daylight you have.
If you have looked through some of the ‘real wedding’ posts on my website you will see that I have used all of these locations at some point and in every case I have helped plan how and when to go. Natural wedding portraits don’t take long to capture and my approach is for the two of you to spend time together and be present in the moment where ever we may be. You won’t be staged or posed and at most I’ll just get you to stand in the best spot for the view or the light.