We got got engaged at the beginning of 2018 and had our legal ceremony, at Hull Guildhall later that year, with just a few family members present. We planned our ‘official’ wedding celebrations for 20th August 2019, exactly four years to the day after we first met. We asked Patrick’s parents if we could have our wedding celebrations at their house – which is a beautiful old farm – and luckily, they said yes (they are still finding beer cans and glasses in their garden!)
As wedding photographers with a 10-month-old baby, Harrison, perhaps picking a date at the height of summer wasn’t the wisest decision. A few days before the big day, we began worrying we might be looking at a wedding equivalent of ‘Fyre Festival’. After photographing the last wedding before our own big day, we found we had only two days left to make the wedding happen!
In the end though, with a lot (and we do mean a lot) of help from friends and family, we managed to pull it off.
We had planned planned the day to be as relaxed as possible, with everything taking place at one location. After the ceremony there was live music from ‘Chris and Louie’ and ‘Pavey Ark’ and the fantastic Magician James Kirman kept everyone entertained. The gardens and buildings were open for adults to move around – and children to run around – as they pleased. It was perfect – a real DIY Wedding triumph!
It really was just that – us, our family and our friends setting everything up, serving everything and keeping the whole day running smoothly. It was just what we wanted – an utterly unique day, unlike any other wedding we’ve photographed (and we’ve photographed hundreds and hundreds of beautiful weddings!) Our day also lacked many of the traditional aspects of a wedding day: bridesmaids; best man; we just had one speech; and no sit-down meal. We didn’t set out down a ‘negative route’ to not do things, it was just the outcome of going for what we wanted – as relaxed a day as possible for everyone.
We had a humanist ceremony in the open, superbly officiated by our very close friend and fellow photographer Matt – the G in ‘M and G Photographic’. The ceremony involved ‘handfasting’ – or as Matt explained ‘tying the knot’ – using handfasting cords woven by Hollie. They were tied by our siblings and children. We also had personal vows, plus readings chosen by our friends Stef and Hannah. Then, the rest of the day was what all our couples have always told us to expect – a complete blur! Up to the first dance the hours just raced by.
We had an ‘unplugged’ wedding – we asked our guests to leave their cameras in their bags and their phones in their pockets as we just wanted everyone to have a fantastic and relaxed day and forget about capturing moments – and just enjoy themselves. Though there were several notable, if brief, exceptions: Hollie sneaked a few photos in the morning before our photographers arrived, more out of nerves than anything (see the first photo in this blog!) Then, Patrick took one image of Hollie breastfeeding and lastly, Patrick’s dad, who is never without a camera – you can see a few images by him in this blog too! We are so pleased we had an unplugged day – it was so refreshing when going through the images to see people interacting with each other without the interruptions of picture posing and selfies and not a phone in sight.
Our favourite moments of the day are hard to pick as there were so many. A few highlights though start with the ceremony: as Hollie walked into the garden through the rose bushes and we made our first eye contact with each, we both burst into tears – our photographers Chris and George ensured we have images of the both of us crying our eyes out! We love these images as they take us back to that exact moment and overwhelming feeling.
We also loved throwing confetti after dark – we must admit we nearly forgot this completely and gave our photographers a little challenge when we said we were going to do it right there and then in the dimly lit garden! But it was such a fun moment which everyone loved (and the images look fantastic too!)
The two times we went for a quiet walk with only our photographers in tow also gave us some lovely memories. As we have mentioned already, the day really did go so fast, so taking some time to ourselves to chat and laugh together like we always do was lovely. We didn’t treat this as a ‘couple shoot’ with our photographers, we just did what we always do when we go for a walk. Our amazing photographers just happened to be there to take some amazing photographs of it all!
As wedding photographers, picking our photography team was a big decision. Having worked with them so many times at weddings all over the country for M and G Photographic, we knew exactly the kind of photography Chris and George specialise in. Most importantly we know what brilliant photographers they are. Though, even then, they delivered images beyond our best expectations – not one pose, no staging, no direction. Just stunning, natural photography. Thanks so much Chris and George – we will treasure these images always.
Chris and George only took one group shot all day – you can see it further down this blog – it’s of our perfect little family and the only time Xavi and Harrison stayed still all day (we say still, but as the two images show, not that still). Apart from that one group shot, it really was all natural photography, which is what we wanted. The results are stunning.
We did as much as possible ourselves in terms of planning, with Hollie working tirelessly on decorations right the way through the year and Patrick’s parents working day and night on the ‘venue’ and their already beautiful garden.
We were also lucky enough to enlist the support and expertise of a great group of, well quite frankly, amazing people:
‘Floral and Lace’ – Zara is THE best Florist in Yorkshire, if you want stylish and contemporary flowers, do not go anywhere else.
Patrick’s sister Ellen Mateer for baking AMAZING cakes and making AMAZING evening food and AMAZING canapés and AMAZING extra buffet food – we have no idea how she managed to find the time to do it all.
‘The St Quentin Arms’ for providing such lovely buffet food.
‘The Artisan Café’ in Hull for supplying so many delicious cakes and sweet treats that everyone loved (the Artisan is our very favourite cafe, we are so pleased they were part of our day!)
Sophie Cash for doing a stunning job with Hollie’s make up
‘Edge Mobile Hairdressing’ for doing a wonderful job with Hollie and her family’s hair
‘Deborah Moore Bridal’ for supplying the stunning ‘Sottero Midgely’ dress that looked so amazing on Hollie.
Josh for making such a beautiful wedding video for us – we cry each and every time we watch it!
Overall we did leave things just a little tight by waiting until only a few days before the wedding to put it all together, but in the end, it was more than worth it. We planned the day we wanted, and everyone had a great and memorable time. All the emotions come back every time we look at our wedding photographs – it was a day full of such love (and many, many happy tears!)
Shortly after the wedding Hollie’s family had some extremely sad and unexpected news that has rocked everyone. So now, even more than we imagined, we are so pleased that we have this collection of images to look back on forever. Our photographs show both our families smiling and laughing, everyone captured in time enjoying such a perfect day together”.
Patrick and Hollie Mateer.