¿HOW ITS A WEDDING IN CORTAL GRAN?
DISTRIBUTION OF EXTERIOR SPACES IN CORTAL GRAN
THE EXTERIORS OF CORTAL GRAN
If you are planning to celebrate your wedding in Cortal Gran, you should know that you are in front of a small jewel (very well located) in the heart of the “Alt Empordà”.
Located a few meters from the beach, this castle is surrounded by apple groves. This margin of fields that surrounds the farm, and its location in the middle of a passing roads, makes the complex very separate from any residential area.
It has many strengths points. Among them the space and the capacity to host weddings with many guests.
So if you are thinking of organizing an stylish wedding, keep reading. Because surely after that, nobody will be able to forget your wedding!
ARRIVING TO CORTAL GRAN
Cortal Gran is located next to a town called “Sant Pere Pescador”. Comming from Girona, we have a long half an hour. And driving from Barcelona an hour and a half approximately.
The road has no loss. But we have to be careful. Since if we do not know the way to get there, and we set up the GPS, it may send us through offroads roads. If everything goes well; you will reach Cortal Gran by the paved road that surrounds the sea.
The main entrance is the one we see in the first photo of this slider. Our guests must continue about 100 meters ahead, where they will find their parking lot (3rd photo). Then they will enter the to our wedding in Cortal Gran through the path behind the greenhouse.
THE MAIN COUNTRYARD
We are going to take this point as a reference to locate ourselves in Cortal Gran. The patio is the first thing we come across when entering through the front door. And it is the key point that connects all the spaces.
It is a large and wide area. There are not many trees or much shade during the middle of the day in summer. But this changes during the afternoon. When everything will be in shade of several trees.
This makes this space as a mere transit area. Since any decoration setup here is going to be exposed to severe heat.
Leaving aside the temperature issue, the strongest point of this field are the views it offers us of the castle. This is a good area for a photocall if you are planning to do some group portraits before entering to the pavilion.
THE MAIN GARDEN
You will have to choose between a thousand of different options while you are preparing a wedding at Cortal Gran. There are endless options (each with its pros and cons) that we will have to choose for each moment of the wedding.
Don’t get me wrong, this place has everything you need. But It’s wide variety of configurations, puts yourself in the crossroad to choose which space is best for every moment of the day.
Let’s start with the main garden. The one which is in front of the pavilion. Without a doubt, it is the largest outdoor area in all of Cortal Gran. Seriously, the photos don’t do justice to its true size.
Here you can organize a celebration overlooking the castle, or set up the tables for an outdoor dinner. But from the photographic point of view we must bear in mind that it is a very wide area. Positive if we have natural light to shoot. To keep in mind if we must use the flash to illuminate at night as we will have no roof where to bounce the light.
WEDDING VENUE CORTAL GRAN
¿WHAT WE LIKE ABOUT CORTAL GRAN?
MODERN SHRINE IN CORTAL GRAN
Inside the main garden, a little bit hidden at first sight, there is an area that deserves a separate mention: the shrine.
It’s surrounded by little pool (foot-high), but the “living” area is actually small. Yes, it is beautiful and original space, but it will be a headache for me (your wedding photographer). Since I won’t have much room for move myself, and I will have to use a telephoto lens to capture the moments and don’t cut the vision of the guests.
You will see this is easy to solve choosing the right profesional. But be very careful with the time of the celebration and the position of the sun. Maybe the metal columns or the ceiling will cover half you’r face. Creating a line with a lot of contrast between lights and shadows. Something that will become very ugly in the result.
SWIMMING POOL AND CATERING KITCHEN AREA
To finish in the garden section, we are going to see the pool. It is located at the end of the enclosure. And is a bit hidden behind the dance area of the pavilion and the kitchen/catering facilities.
It doesn’t have much of a secret. In fact, I doubt that on the wedding day you will take advantage of this space. But being placed next to the party area… You never know who can end the night by taking a dip!
On the other hand, I also wanted to show you the extensive facilities that the catering will have to prepare all your food. Cargo vans/trucks can come and park behind the castle, so guests won’t see anything. And the staff can work very comfortably.
THE GREENHOUSE OF CORTAL GRAN
This small greenhouse located in the garden on the left hand side of the yard, has no waste. There are couples who decide mount their ceremony in front of the house. Others use this area to celebrate the cocktail with the guests while they can enter and take some cool photos there.
It is a very small space, so it will be better to leave it open and for people to circulate freely there. In summer, this whole area enjoys a good temperatures in the afternoon. A time when the tallest trees in the second photo, they offer generous shade.
It is a comfortable and easy area for the photographer’s work. A site in shade, with still enought natural light. Just keep in mind to neutralize the green casts from the grass/trees in post. Here you have all the ingredients to take natural and spontaneous photos.
THE "CHAPEL" OF TREES
On the left side of the castle we find this area where, with great care (and time), it has been possible to create a kind of dome with the branches of the sorrounding trees.
On the day of taking this article’s photos, I could not find the worker who parked his car there. At first it bothered me to have to take the vehicle in the photos. But now I think it is a good reference to take scale of how big this site is. It’s a wonderful site to host a wedding ceremony, but be careful! From my experience I can tell you that thos is an area of high contrasts.
Depending on the time of year, and the thickness of the leaves, your body may be plenty of spots of sunlight that sneak between the branches. Something not very flattering for your wedding memories… Keep in mind the time, your position and also sun’s during the ceremony. Sometimes, waiting for a low sun will be the best solution.
WEDDING CASTLE IN COSTA BRAVA
¿WHERE IS CORTAL GRAN LOCATED?
CORTAL GRAN'S PORCH
Before entering to the pavilion, you must have noticed this covered porch. We access it from the main yard, and it is right next to the entrance of the pavilion. Its arched entrance makes it a place with lots of light and shade at the same time.
So if you are thinking of a more intimate and collected wedding, this could be a great choice. If not, it can become the perfect background for a photo call with the guests before going in to eat.
It has plenty of natural light, but if the day is cloudy we may not have as much light as we would like. So I recommend using quick lenses to take photos in here. Push a little bit the ISO from the camera and problem solved!
THE WEDDING PAVILION
This pavilion is massive. Very big. And under my photographic criteria, its distribuiton is a success.
Here you can fit tables of all types, classes and sizes. Do you want a single long table with all your friends there? Well you can do it. Do you prefer small tables and distribute people by groups? They will all fit in there.
But for me its best success is the height of the site. Which is neither very low (comfort and ventilation for all), nor very high. Plus that it is painted in a whitish color tending to pale ocher. So you have a perfect surface to bounce the light from the flash. This way we get a soft light and make sure we can work comfortably to capture the moments of dinner. If you are not familiar with artificial light, it becomes a must when the sun goes down. If not we will have plenty of blurry and out of focus frames in your memories…
DANCE FLOOR AND PARTY ZONE
Here it comes the best time of the day! Or the night. Depending on how you look at it… At the end of the pavilion we can find the dance floor / party area.
Things to highlight: the open bar takes advantage of the bar under the arch. and the dj usually sets up his equipment in front of the largest window. During the good weather season, the sofas you can see now in the room, are set up at the outside garden. This is possible thanks to the fact that all the doors (brown on the outside, white on the inside) opens to the exterior. Leaving a very large party space, and with three different areas (bar, dancefloor, chill out).
Photographically I recommend working the party with off-camera flash. Why? Have you noticed the double height of the ceiling? One part is rustic and dark, the other is newer and paler. If we bounce the flash here, we will have a big difference between images in terms of light. Taking out the flash from the camera shoe, we make sure that all this serie of pictures will become homogeneous.
CORTAL GRAN'S HISTORY
¿WHERE DOES CORTAL GRAN COME FROM?
The story goes back to 1365, when the Lordship of “Sant Pere Pescador” was granted to the “Caramany’s family”. And this also included the town’s castle as well as various lands around it. The castle of Cortal Gran as such, was built later, arround the 15th century. Because of pirate attacks, it was built as a fortified house for the defense of the zone.
Juan, the current owner, inherited the family farm in 1984. He initially decided to rehabilitate it and have it become his residence. This became a reality in 2000. Later, around 2011, the propiety and its gardens were opened to host weddings in Cortal Gran.
From that moment, the Caramany family began to mixing their activities between farming and livestock, and also weddings. Nowadays they continue with the exploitation of the apple orchards that surrounds Cortal Gran.
THE INTERIORS OF CORTAL GRAN
Once we are inside the castle, the first thing we are going to find is the “pati d’armes”. Which can be translated as the gun’s yard. The door on the right hand in the first photo, is the one that allows us to enter and go up stairs forward to the rooms.
The other two doors hide us two multipurpose rooms that have a lot of charm. One with a large table, the other with a small indoor pool. A very minimalist room because of the environment in which it is. But with a very large potential in terms of decoration montages.
For me, this yard is perfect for hosting a “first look” between the couple. Otherwise, we can use the swiming pool room to take some intimate portraits of you two. An LED torch or a flash would help us getting creative here.
Going up stairs from the gun’s yard we find this impressive scene. Juan, the owner of Cortal Gran, has its own rooms here. Keep in mind that he lives there during all year, so this is his daily living area.
This area of passage can be used to take photos of preparations or for some personal portrait.
It should be said that to the human eye is a fairly dark area. So if we want to take good photos, we are going to need a lens with a large aperture and a camera that can handle high ISOs well.
Neither we can forget that we are talking about the interior of a castle. As wide as this area is, we will have to use a 24mm or a 35mm lense to cover enough scene and do not cut our subjects.
SECOND FLOOR AND FIRST ROOM
Reaching the second floor, we will find a large hall with a billiard. It is a wide area with “good” light where to take some photos of the preparations.
The first room that we are going to comment is the one with the window facing the gun’s yard. It is narrow and large, but has plenty of natural light. Being narrow, I highly appreciate that there is a large mirror in front of the entrance door. If the wedding videographer is inside, we can take advantage of the reflection and keep photographing without disturbing each other’s workflow.
The bathroom is very narrow and does not have much space. So I recommend this room to the boy. Since he won’t need as much space for his preparations as the lady.
THE BIG ROOM
Finally we reach the greatest room for your wedding at Cortal Gran. This could be a great place for the bride’s preparation. It is more extensive than the previous room, and allows several people (among family members and professionals) inside, without disturbing each other.
The only negative point is that it is an extremely dark room. In fact, there are more natural light coming through the bathroom than through the bedroom window. So we will have to force the camera’s ISO, and use large aperture lenses if we want to have good photos of the preparation. An LED panel could be helpful in some situations too.
The bathroom is narrow and long, but with much more natural light, A detail that the makeup artist will love for sure.
HI LOVELY COUPLE!
I'M MARC, THE PHOTOGRAPHER BEHIND THE CAMERA IN BLANC MATE
I HOPE I'VE HELPED YOU TO VISUALIZE YOUR WEDDING IN GRAN CORTAL
CORTAL GRAN IN NUMBERS:
- Capacity for weddings up to: 250 people
- Capacity guests in the house: 4
- Suppliers exclusivity: No
- Rental type: per event day
- Near a church? Yes
- Rental price: from XXXX €
- Connections and ease of arrival for guests: good
- Parking: Yes
More info in: www.cortalgran.com