In autumn we photographed a stunning wedding at Cubley Hall in the Peak District in Yorkshire. This was our second visit to Cubley Hall and wow, what a day and what a party! Below we pick our favourite natural images from the day – no posing, no staging, just Alison and Matt having the time of their lives with all their closest friends and family. Then, Alison and Matt tell us about planning their special day – and their favourites moments from the wedding itself. Thank you for taking the time to write such lovely words. Also, Matt and Alison we are so pleased you love your images – thank you for the most lovely feedback, which we’ve included below. Now, here’s the story of this wonderful Yorkshire wedding!
How did you pick your venue? We knew we didn’t want anything too formal and that it needed to feel cosy/homely. Our dining table at home is solid wood and probably influenced us because it has that cosy home feel. We looked at a few different places, old mills, other barns, but they all required us doing (and spending) a lot on decorations and then having to dress the venue. Alison is an events manager and really didn’t want to feel like she was working the wedding day or day before and Cubley had it all and got on with it without us needing to do too much. Plus, they did sausage and mash as a starter which totally sold Matt on it…in fact the food sold Matt on it full stop.
Tell us about your dress! I think I must have tried on about 50 dresses when looking for mine. Everything I thought I would like I hated when it was on. I don’t think I told many people that my idea of a bridal dress, was Maria Von Trapp in the Sound of Music, fitted, flared out but not huge and a train (because when else can you wear a dress with a train?). I saw this dress in the shop and thought that it looked a bit quirky from the front, with the cross over top and then subtle lace bodice, it made it interesting. Wasn’t until I saw the dress bustled up that I really thought I liked it. I’d never seen something bustled that way and it was so different and added another “interesting” element to it that I couldn’t get it out my head. Every dress I tried on after that I was comparing to how I felt in that one. That feeling went on for two weeks (to have had mine made new would have been more that my budget would allow); then Sharon from shop had called to say that it probably wouldn’t need a brand new making and that the one in store could be adjusted. Took a mate with me to do a final check that, yes, this was the one I wanted, and I was sold. Friends who have known me since I was 11 said as soon as they saw me on the wedding day that it was absolutely a me dress. It was so fun to wear!
How did you two meet? How many couples’ stories open, with them openly admitting that “we were wasted”. We actually were, it was second year of uni and we were out with two completely different sets of friends and having never met. I’d spotted Matt earlier on but thought he was with one of the girls that was out with his flat mates. Matt, who had very nearly not gone out that night, had spotted me too but neither of us went up to each other until my friends pushed me to dance with some random guy and I caught Matt’s eye, mouthed “Help me” (I did not want to dance with said guy) and Matt came over. Up to now it sounds alright…Matt came over, asked if everything was alright, dancing guy was like “what?!” and I, panicked as dancing guy sounded a bit angry, said “Yes” and proceeded to runaway to hide in the loos. After about 5-10 minutes I decided now would be safe to leave the loos where I then ran into Matt at the bar and got chatting. After accidentally 12 digit-ing him with my phone number (I mentioned the wasted-ness), but him being persistent and working it out, we went out on what should be among the “worst first dates ever”. Hungover, we met up, where I spent the evening talking to Matt but looking at the wall over his right shoulder and seeing one of the worst films ever made (Valkyrie). We kept chatting even after that date and I think he partly stuck around because I would cook him tea.
Tell us about your day overall – the planning, the day itself, anything you’d like to discuss! Make a decision, stick to it and don’t digress from it. I can’t remember any part of planning where we particularly disagreed, maybe over suits but that was about it. Planning was fine once we just decided to make a decision and stick to it. I’m an events manager, there was a spread sheet with 6 tabs across the bottom within 12 hours of us getting engaged (I was too excited to sleep). We’d had enough friends get married to know not to get sucked into having everything there is on show at a wedding fayre (I only went to one wedding fayre with a bridesmaid to find cake makers and flowers) and also to “be inspired” i.e. steal, best ideas from those weddings to add into ours.
The planning: overall, I think we just went with “we like these things” and added what we could into the wedding day e.g. all the music that was played was from films and TV shows we like, there were a few “Lord of the Rings” themed bits as Matt is a huge fan of Tolkien and the films (books first I have to stress!) so I had got him a pin, engraved pocket watch with the Rohan emblem and we had the gate sign from Bag End and our wedding ring box. Plus we like red wine and gin so those bottles featured on the table plan and centre pieces. The day itself was amazing! I hate a cliché but it really was the best day! Seeing all our friends and family together, having fun and being happy was the most brilliant feeling. You can’t really explain the feeling. You are just so happy and relaxed and grateful for everything. Plus it is a lot of fun!
Your favourite moments on the day We really love getting some couple photographs after the ceremony, mainly because it was nice just be together and this was the first chance we had with no one else around. They were also loads of fun; we could just be ourselves and not have to worry about anything (that is such lovely feedback as it’s exactly what we want to achieve with every wedding, thank you Matt and Alison!) Also the speeches – maybe not Matt’s favourite moment but I loved them! My Dad, Matt and PJ were all excellent and all funny. It helped that I was a “creative” child with my anecdotes of when asked to sit on the steps at nursery, did as I was told but not without first wriggling my way across the carpet announcing I was being “a wiggly worm”.
The first dance: neither of us are dancers particularly and Matt had spent a week or two leading up to the wedding worrying that he would completely fluff everything and fall over (the shoes were very slippy). We got to the day and still hadn’t rehearsed anything (or ever danced to our song, despite us both absolutely loving it). It was only when Matt said “shall we just wing it?” that any sort of plan was made… I certainly wasn’t expecting Matt to pick me up and spin me round, but (despite getting a little dizzy) it certainly produced some amazing photos (credit of course to you guys).
The sparklers: that was just awesome, it might have been a cold evening but worth it!
The photography! You were the best; you are so easy to get on with, you join in but also disappear, you got some of the best shots that we didn’t know about or expect at all. You work with such intuition and ease that you knew what to get without us having to ask for anything and are two of the nicest and most genuine people we’ve met. The boys would like to thank Hollie for enduring their atrocious play at Mario Kart, and apologise for taking her to Tesco… And Patrick, thank you so much for getting a photo with my mum seeing me the first time as I hadn’t even thought of it.
Our own favourite images: we (Patrick and Hollie!) like to pick out our favourite images from the weddings we are chosen to photograph.
I love this image for its spontaneity. For 99% of the day, I am planning my shots, reading people and events, predicting moments before they happen. I do this so that not only can I be ready to capture all the best natural moments from the best positions, but also so I can capture them as creatively as possible. I don’t want to just photograph things in the same way all day, framing the subject exactly the same, again and again. However, this isn’t always possible as with this moment. I turned around to see the bouquet flying through the air – it’s hard to suppress shock and awe in these situations, but thankfully I did! And instead of just watching nervously to see if Alison would catch the bouquet, I was able to keep my nerve and photograph the moment as it unfolded. Alison caught the bouquet expertly and it was positioned perfectly over her face as she did so, brining to mind a painting by Rene Magritte. The image is framed centrally which is rare for me, but this adds impact, due to the symmetry of the scene. As a documentary wedding photographer, you must be ready for any event, at any time.
Much like Hollie’s favourite image, this was an unexpected moment that I wasn’t quite prepared for. Matt and Alison really were enjoying the first dance, despite earlier saying they felt a little nervous. They really owned the dance floor! It was the kind of first dance that I know makes me smile goofily behind my camera as I’m capturing it – luckily Hollie is the only person to ever notice this! It really was a dance full of joy though and so much fun to capture. Then, suddenly, Matt picked Alison up and spun her incredibly fast around the dance floor (Matt, you were extremely nimble on your feet!) I quickly upped my shutter speed on my settings and shot at burst mode – but I left my shutter so it did still capture a little movement (it’s not an entirely ‘sharp’ image) I think this is what makes the image – it feels real. You can feel the energy and excitement of the moment – as Alison explains above, they just “winged it” and had fun and you can see that in the photograph. Also the spot lights, fairy lights and dimly lit guests watching on add real atmosphere and help create a story within one single image.
Thanks for reading – Hollie and Patrick Mateer
Documentary wedding photography by Yorkshire Wedding Photographer M and G Photographic. We are award winning photographers, recently winning Best Wedding Photographers at the TWIA Awards for our region.
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