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The Spinnaker Tower is a wedding venue with a difference. The wedding ceremony itself is held up the tower, as is wedding breakfast, and the view of Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, the harbour and Gosport is magnificent in both night and day - and if you’re really lucky and your timings work out, the view of a sunset is awesome.
Parking for your guests is in the big underground car park for the Gun Wharf Quays complex. There are plenty of outside portrait opportunities for both day and night on the water front and amongst Gun Wharf Quays.
At the top of the tower there are two observation decks. The upper of the two, the smaller, is usually the one they use for the ceremony, then it’s down one flight of stairs to the lower of the observation decks for the wedding breakfast. In the middle of this deck is the famous glass floor through which you can see the dizzying “straight down the tower” view.
The evening disco is on the ground floor of the tower and has recently been refurbished very nicely.
This is definitely a novelty venue but one drawback for you might be the ceremony start time. Because the tower is open to the public during the day, the ceremony cannot start until after the tower is closed to the public which can be 5pm or later.
If the visibility is good, the views are stunning. If the weather is good, the outside portrait opportunities are abundant. Sadly if the weather closes in then you may not get much of a view and you may be restricted to inside-only photography which is a little restrictive in the tower.
One thing that is very important to consider if you are thinking of booking the Spinnaker Tower is your choice of photographer. From a photographer’s point of view it is quite technically challenging and the tower staff have told us that more professional photographers then you’d think struggle to shoot well in the tower (e.g. balancing the interiors with the panoramic exteriors, dealing with the bright blue interior lighting on the lower deck, ensuring you don’t get flash reflections in the 240 degrees of glass, shooting great portraits and night because of the late start, etc.).
We are well practiced at all these techniques and deal with these issues easily...if you’re going to book the tower, do try and book a photographer who is likely to cope well with these technical demands.
The Spinnaker Tower is a novel wedding venue for weddings at any time of year but we would say it is probably better during the Summer months, when the sunset is later (in December it is dusk at 3pm and your ceremony can’t start until after 5pm) and it is likely to be warmer for portrait sessions on the water front.
by Steve Dunster
20 May 2014