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The Bear Hotel Cowbridge Wedding Photography | Arlette & John

Bride and groom smiling while stood on stairs

There are heaps of great wedding photography locations in Cardiff and the surrounding areas of South Wales. These locations include Welsh mountains and coastlines, or quaint little towns and villages. One such place is the charming market town of Cowbridge, located in the Vale of Glamorgan, just a short 12 mile drive west of Cardiff city centre.


Cowbridge is home to The Bear Hotel - the venue for the late-summer wedding of Arlette and John. I'd already captured the couple during a glorious sunset in an engagement shoot at Hensol Forest just a few weeks prior, so they had already had a dress rehearsal to better understand what it was going to be like in front of the camera for the entire wedding day.

Capturing the early morning wedding preparations

Most bride and groom preparations can be quite hectic to photograph - they always have their moments, even if all seems to be sailing smoothly - but on this occasion everything really did sail pretty smoothly. We were fortunate as both bride and groom were staying at the same hotel, just at opposite ends to each other. So although I was dashing back and forth between each room every now and then, it was far easier to orchestrate and get the shots I was looking for than when the bride and groom are at opposite sides of the city to each other.


Furthermore, The Bear Hotel was the venue for the wedding ceremony, reception, and evening party as well - perfect.

I arrived in good time and started photographing the groom and his best men. These were casual wedding preparation shots in the hotel room, some of the finer details - shoes, aftershave, cufflinks, bow tie - a few embraces between the groomsmen, and finally, a mixture of formal and non-formal shots of the groomsmen in the nearby outdoor courtyard.


The weather held very fine for much of the day, so fortunately we were able to quickly make use of this outdoor space during the morning.

This was all before I made my way over to the bridal party on the other side of the hotel - bride and groom always being kept apart, of course!

Things were calm and in order when I arrived, which always makes photographing the morning of a wedding far easier in terms of technically capturing everything, though that's not to say hectic bridal preparations can't be handy as well, because they can be - they typically provide plenty of photographic moments that may not be appreciated in the moment, but most likely will be later down the line when reflecting on the photographs and the wedding day in general in years to come.

I was able to capture the bridal party getting ready, the mother and father of the bride arriving, the dress, the finer details, and all that good wedding-prep stuff. The lighting tends to be quite a test in most hotel rooms, but this particular bridal suite had a decent sized window so it was slightly better lit with more natural light than most rooms usually offer.

Wedding photography captured in Cowbridge

The rest of the wedding day sailed by with not much of a glitch - following some time photographing the wedding party and guests immediately after the ceremony, we headed across the road to the beautiful Cowbridge Physic Garden to capture some shots of the newly wed couple.


Towards the very end of these couple shots it did start to trickle with a little rain, but fortunately we had some cover at the time and were due to head back for the reception anyway.


The light rain shower was short-lived and we were soon back to the warm, dry weather with the occasional burst of sunshine.

There are plentiful opportunities for wedding photography throughout Cowbridge, despite it being a fairly small village with everything centred around Cowbridge High Street. If you have more time than usual to photograph, along with easy access to a vehicle, there are many incredible locations a very short drive away as well, although you'd be well advised to have this all planned out in advance if you're not familiar with the area.

Arlette & John Wedding Photographs


The Bear Hotel sign in Cowbridge, South Wales
Blue bridal shoes, perfume, earrings & invitation on wedding morning
Close up of bride's perfume & earrings on wedding morning
Groom's shoes, bow tie, aftershave & cufflinks
Close up of groom's black bow tie on wedding morning
Groom buttoning up his wedding shirt
Groom adjusting his bow tie
Best man putting cufflinks on groom
Groom and two best men hugging on wedding day
Groom putting on his suit jacket
Groom tying his shoelaces
Groomsmen together on wedding day
Best man holding wedding rings in their boxes
Bridesmaid & flower girl watch bride have make up done
Bride having her make up done
Make up artist applying make-up to bride
Bride drinking Prosecco while having make up done
Bride playing with her hair during bridal prep
White bridal dress hanging in hotel room with blue wedding shoes
Bridesmaid buttoning up bride's sleeve on wedding day
Flower girls watching bride having make up applied in hotel room
Bridesmaids & flower girls helping bride getting ready with shoes in hotel room
A bride hugging her mother on wedding day
Entrance to wedding ceremony at The Bear Hotel in Cowbridge, South Wales
Main wedding ceremony room at The Bear Hotel in Cowbridge, South Wales
Father walking a bride down the aisle
Father handing the bride over to the groom at the altar
Bride and groom hand in hand at the altar on wedding day
Groom putting wedding ring on his bride
Bride putting wedding ring on her groom
Bride and groom having their first kiss on their wedding day
Bride and groom after signing the wedding registration
Bride and groom smiling at each other before leaving wedding ceremony
Bride and groom leaving wedding ceremony
Bride and groom holding hands walking through confetti being thrown
Guests throwing confetti over bride and groom
Bride and groom stood together on stairs
Wedding rings on a rock
Bride and groom posing in Cowbridge Physic Garden
Bride holding groom while she leans back
Bride smiling while holding bouquet flowers
Bride and groom kissing outdoors
Bride and groom holding hands while looking at each other
Bride's wedding ring displayed as she holds grooms hand
Groom carrying his bride and kissing her in Cowbridge Physic Garden
Bride holding her bouquet of flowers
Groom kissing his bride in a park full of flowers
Bride touching her ear while smiling


Photography: Shawn Eastman Photography, Cardiff Wedding Photographer

Venue: The Bear Hotel, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan

Dress: Cardiff Bridal Centre

Flowers: Flowers By Davenport


Shawn Eastman is a Cardiff & South Wales based wedding photographer. He takes pride in documenting two lovers at the start of their biggest adventure together. Along with his couples and families, Shawn is driven to capture something authentic, beautiful, powerful and raw. These wedding day photos captured at The Bear Hotel in Cowbridge, a short distance from Cardiff in South Wales, encapsulate exactly that.

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