MATT & MARK | THE GREAT HALL AT MAINS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER | NORTH WEST WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
On an unseasonably warm day in October 2019 I was The Great Hall in Mains Wedding Photographer for Matt & Mark. Here is their story.
After three years together and many hints made by Mark as to when I might ask the big question, I finally decided to pluck up the courage and began to plan how and when I would propose to Mark. I already knew the ring that he wanted when I finally did pop the question as he had shown it to me in Tiffany’s in Manchester.
I planned a romantic night away for us in one of our favourite country hotels in the Ribble Valley (The Shireburn Arms) and had booked a meal for us at one of Mark’s favourite restaurants (Mitton Hall). I knew that I wouldn’t have the nerve to do a big grand gesture in public, but wanted it to be special and romantic. I had created a scrapbook of our life together, including details and photos about how we met each other (and each other’s friends and families), special occasions, events and dates and all of the things we had to look forward to together. I waited for Mark to start getting ready for our meal out and sneaked out of the room to get a bottle of Champagne from the bar. Once Mark was ready, I passed him a glass of Champagne and the book and let him read through it. When he turned to the last page, I was on one knee on the floor and the rest is history!
THE VENUE : THE GREAT HALL AT MAINS
Myself and Mark had a LONG engagement but had spent the years since our engagement talking and planning for our wedding. We had originally intended to get married at a boutique hotel in the Lake District before changing our minds and deciding that we wanted a destination wedding (following a once in a lifetime holiday to Aruba). We had already made the enquiries about booking our wedding, however, as it came closer and closer to biting the bullet and securing our wedding with a deposit, we both decided that whilst a destination wedding would have been amazing, it would have meant that many of our loved ones wouldn’t have been able to join us on our special day.
We eventually decided that we wanted our wedding closer to home so that all of our friends and family could be there to celebrate with us. After making the decision, we began scouring the internet and frantically researched a number of wedding venues, however, none seemed to be ‘just the right one for us’, until we came across the Great Hall at Mains in Poulton-Le-Fylde by chance. We looked on their website and Facebook page and agreed it would be good to arrange a look around.
As soon as we stepped through the front door, we both knew that it was the venue for us. We wanted an intimate venue with character and that’s exactly what we got. We knew from the offset that we didn’t want a venue which came with all the trimmings included, but rather a ‘blank canvas’ which would allow us to inject our own personal style and touches to it, without restrictions. We loved that it was a converted barn with an attached manor house were we and our closest guests could spend the night of the wedding. We also loved that it was a private venue with its own beautiful grounds and therefore wouldn’t have to share our day with any other couples, as many wedding venues do nowadays; we wanted our day to be about us, celebrating our day in private with our family and friends, so within the space of 30 minutes of stepping foot in the venue, we secured it with a deposit!
We were so impressed with the staff at the Great Hall at Mains from the offset, they invested the time to really get to know us and made sure that all of the preparations ahead of our big day where in place and that everything ran smoothly. The thing we loved most about our wedding coordinators were that they genuinely seemed just as excited as we were about our day coming together! Nothing was too big or too small and they played a huge role in us having as stress free a wedding planning journey as possible.
THE GROOMS SUITS
With there being two grooms with very different senses of style and ideas for suits, we thought that this would be one of the most challenging decisions to make, however, we made the decision that I would pick my suit first and then Mark would pick his. We knew that we didn’t want matching suits but rather ones that would compliment each other well.
After spending a couple of hours browsing on the internet, I was surprised to find my perfect suit on ASOS! I knew that I didn’t want something traditional or boring and was happy to find a three piece suit by Twister Tailor, in a stone check pattern. I paired this with a burgundy bow tie, pocket square and moccasins.
Mark (being the fashionable one of the two of us!) knew that he wanted something designing specifically for him that would reflect his style! He wore a burgundy velvet dinner jacket with a black lapel, custom black trousers with a velvet stripe, white shirt, black bowtie and waistcoat designed and made by Richard Smith (Manchester). I finally caved and let Mark buy his dream wedding shoes – black patent leather and velvet Jimmy Choos!
THE GREAT HALL AT MAINS WEDDING DAY THEME
Knowing that I was going to be marrying someone who was creative, artistic and very talented, I handed over the reins of deciding on our wedding theme to Mark who had always had a very specific vision of what he wanted our wedding day to look like!
Our colour scheme was white and green, with hints of gold scattered throughout; we knew that the main focal point of our wedding day would be fresh flowers and decorations, many of which, Mark spent a painstaking number of hours designing and creating from hand, including the invitations, table plan, welcome sign, favours and name cards!. We wanted our wedding to look both professional and personal!
We also wanted some statement pieces to finish off the venue and compliment all of our other decorations and flowers which included a huge fairylight backdrop, pallet furniture with scatter cushions and throws and whiskey barrels which were used as additional seating.
As mentioned above, the one thing we both agreed on and knew would play an important part in our wedding day was our flowers. Choosing our florist was always going to be really crucial to ensuring that our vision came to life perfectly.
We met Sara Barrow, the owner of Flowers with Passion, at a wedding fayre at Mitton Hall and instantly clicked with her – Mark shared his ideas of exactly what we both wanted for our wedding day and Sara just ‘got it’ from the offset. We met with Sara a few weeks later at her shop in Longridge and after several hours of chatting and running through ideas, we secured her for our date with a deposit and had several meetings afterwards to ensure that all of the preparations were in place ahead of our big day.
Our hopes and expectations were exceeded by Sara’s incredible talents when our big day finally came around. The entire venue was covered with fresh flowers from corner to corner, wall to wall and floor to ceiling. Our flowers of choice included orchids, hydrangeas and a tonne of foliage and greenery. We had five chandeliers decorate in orchids and foiliage, floating candles in vases going the length of the aisle surrounded by eucalyptus and succulents, a rustic flower arch decorated with white and green flowers and draped in white fabric, a suspended flower ceiling going the length of the bar area, intricate tree centre pieces (bursting with orchids, hydrangeas and foliage) and stunning vase displays on pedestals at the top of the aisle. We even had pheasant feathers incorporated in all of our floral displays which added a final perfect touch!
THE GREAT HALL AT MAINS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
This was something else that we spent a number of days and nights scowling Facebook and websites for our perfect Great Hall at Mains Wedding Photographer. We looked at a number of photographers, all of who were fantastic and talented, however, we were really mindful that you only get one opportunity to have your wedding day photographed and we knew that our photography had to be the right one for us. We made contact with a number of photographers, but found some of them to be quite pushy which put us off immediately. We eventually came across David’s Facebook page and were instantly impressed by his photographs.
We made arrangements to meet at the Trafford Centre and immediately felt at ease and relaxed. David just came across as a really nice guy with a passion for photography and a genuine interest in wanting to ensure that our day was captured perfectly in pictures. After booking David, he stayed in touch throughout and answered all of our questions promptly and reassured us that everything would run smoothly on the day. David welcomed our ideas and went out of his way to get extra resources (at no extra charge!) without a second thought. We met with David a few months prior to the wedding for our pre-wedding photoshoot and he talked us through how the day would plan out and what we could expect (as well as taking some incredible photos which made us even more excited in the lead up to our wedding day).
Our expectations were exceeded on the day. David slotted into our wedding party and made everyone feel instantly at ease. All of our guests commented on what a nice guy he was and said that we couldn’t have asked for a better great hall at mains wedding photographer (which we obviously wholeheartedly agree with). Nothing felt rushed or staged on the day, the whole process felt natural and David made sure that we weren’t taken away from our guests and enjoying our day! He captured our day beautifully, we found it almost an impossible task to narrow them down for our photo album as they were all so perfect!
We actually chose not to have a videographer but were extremely fortunate that we had a fantastic great hall at mains wedding photographer who was able to capture our day perfectly in photographs! Many people told us that this is something that we would later regret, however, we have never had that feeling since our wedding day as the memories, stories and pictures that we have are priceless and timeless!
We were both actually quite calm after being together for so many years prior to our big day, however, I don’t think we both expected to be so emotional! Walking down the aisle and seeing your partner walk down the aisle after you, knowing that in a matter of minutes you will be a married couple is an extremely surreal experience!
We were both so focused on making sure that we repeated back exactly what was said to us by the registrar, but at points, we had to remind ourselves that we were surrounded by our friends and family because in that moment, it did feel like we were the only ones there! The ceremony was filled with laughter, crying and cheering and was everything that we wanted it to be (even despite the minor hiccup of not being able to get Mark’s ring on to his finger!)
THE RECEPTION & WEDDING BREAKFAST
There is no other word to describe our wedding day other than perfect and it is probably is the most cliché thing to say, but it’s true when people say that it goes by in the blink of an eye. It was really important for us, as a newly married couple, to take some time out at different parts of the day just to be alone and soak it all in!
THE WEDDING CAKE
Our wedding cake was created by LouLou’s based in Whalley. Gemma was able to create a masterpiece which tasted as good as it looked! We had a three tier cake comprising of three different flavours – raspberry and white chocolate, black forest and salted caramel! We chose to have a white wedding cake with two smooth layers and one ribbed. It was decorated with gold asymmetrical dripping on each tier and gold leaf. The cake was topped with two flamingos (my favourite animal as we wanted to inject something personal with a bit of humour into our cake) and a wedding cake topper purchased on Etsy. Our cake table was draped in moss, orchids, succulents and foiliage and our cake was framed by a huge floral hoop decorated by our amazing florist!
Our wedding breakfast and evening food was provided by Twelve’s catering in Kirkham – the food was absolutely delicious and a hit with all of our family and friends! There wasn’t an empty place in the entire venue! We had a leek and potato soup for starter, slow cooked shin of beef for main and a deconstructed black forest cheesecake for dessert! We just wanted simple bacon and sausage sandwiches for our evening food so that people could grab a quick bite to eat and then get straight back on the dance floor!
Venue The Great Hall At Mains
Photographer David Conway Photography
Grooms Suits Richard Smith Bespoke Tailor, ASOS
Flourists Flowers with Passion, Sara Barrow
Wedding Cake LouLou’s
Catering Twelve’s Catering
THE FIRST DANCE
Our first dance song was Carrie Underwood – Look at Me – probably one of the easiest decisions we made throughout the wedding planning process! We have both loved this song for years and it is special to us – we have seen Carrie live in concert and love country music, so it was the obvious choice for us.
Our first dance was another surreal moment – it was lovely to be surrounded by our family and friends when we had our first dance together and were so happy to see so many of them join in towards the end of the song. Immediately after our first dance ended, the music continued and I don’t think the dance floor was empty at any point throughout the rest of the evening.
We had a DJ who was included in our wedding venue package which worked perfectly for us. We aren’t ‘bandy people’ and just wanted a bit of something for everyone! The evening celebrations were amazing! Just seeing everyone dancing and belting our classic songs at the top of their voices! Our sides ached from laughing throughout the night (and our heads hurt a bit the day after – too many Jagerbombs and Sambuca shots!)
THE WEDDING DAY
It was amazing to have all of our family and friends together under one roof to celebrate our special day and we were completely overwhelmed by the love, well wishes and generosity shown to us. It was really important to us that first and foremost, our guests felt relaxed and had fun, and we were pleased to see and hear that this was the case. Our wedding day was filled with love, laughter, happiness, dancing, singing, drinking and eating! We couldn’t pick out any particular moments that were special as the entire day was!
It was a real pleasure being The Great Hall at Mains wedding photographer. Mark and Matt had a fantastic day and all the suppliers came together to create their perfect setting.
See more of David Conway’s work at his Facebook page here