Where/how did you meet?
We met online, all thanks to Ok Cupid! Dave thinks online dating is the easiest thing in the world as he ended up marrying his first date! Alison’s experience wasn’t as plain sailing and she was almost ready to throw in the towel and continue the single life!
Our first date was to a pub in Manchester, we met at Victoria train station. For the first and probably last time in our relationship Alison arrived first (only because Dave’s train was delayed!) Alison almost turned round and went home as the first words uttered to her from Dave were “you’re quite short aren’t you” but she gave him the benefit of the doubt and the rest they say is history…!
Tell us a little bit about yourselves!
We’re both really family orientated, making time for families and friends is so important to both of us. We both have two siblings; Alison has two older brothers and Dave has an older brother and younger sister.
As a middle child Dave has often struggled with life. He more than anyone deserved to be the centre of attention for a change. Fortunately Alison's family is littered with middle children so there is a healthy support network close at hand. Dave makes a living working as a Business Development Account Manager for a fuel company. Alison works as a medical secretary for the NHS.
Where are you both from? If you aren’t a local then why choose Lancashire?
Alison grew up in Liverpool and went to University in Manchester and has lived in Manchester ever since. Dave grew up in Glossop and was living in Stalybridge when we first met. We now live in Urmston, near the Trafford Centre. We didn’t so much choose Lancashire, we just absolutely fell in love with Samlesbury. It was a perfect location really though as a lot of Alison’s family live in Liverpool and on the Wirral, but also being so close to the motorway and Preston train station it was perfectly placed for travelling wedding guests.
What made you pick Samlesbury for your wedding venue?
We got engaged in New Zealand and naturally Alison got straight to it with finding the perfect dress and venue! Neither of us had ever heard of Samlesbury Hall and it popped up on a google search when I searched ‘wedding venues north west’. I made contact and booked a visit with my mum and best friend (and Maid of honour) for the first weekend we were home from New Zealand! All 3 of us absolutely loved Samlesbury and the staff were friendly, approachable and really knowledgeable. I was a little unsure about the Hamlet and the shepherds huts, but seeing them (and feeling how warm and cosy they were – especially for a February wedding!) I felt very reassured and thought they were much more interesting than your standard hotel room!! Alison couldn’t wait to go again and take Dave. She knew he would love the hall and the big open fires and beams!
We both love Harry Potter, Narnia and Lord of the rings and Dave is a big Game of Thrones fan. We didn’t have a ‘theme’ as such but it fitted perfectly with what we wanted. Alison gets quite easily stressed so we were keen to have the whole wedding day in one place and also somewhere with accommodation available on site as this saves on taxi costs.
What did you eat for your wedding breakfast?
With it being a winter wedding we went for a soup starter; choosing creamy broccoli soup. We then had the lamb shank for mains and chocolate brownie for dessert. We had quite a few children and toddlers at the wedding and the staff were really accommodating with the children’s meals, offering both children’s meals and toddler meals.
The whole team at Samlesbury were absolutely fantastic. Nothing was ever too much trouble and they were so accommodating with our questions and requests. Always remember to ask the silly questions as when it comes to planning your wedding day they are just as important. We found the wedding open evenings really lovely and a great opportunity to see the hall dressed as it could be for your big day. This was also a great chance to meet suppliers and ask any questions. We also took full advantage of the menu taster evenings (making the menu choice for the actually wedding slightly tricky!) we really enjoyed our complimentary night in a shepherds hut. Having stayed in one ourselves made it easier ‘selling’ them to our guests as we had experienced them. We also don’t like to be left out and as we weren’t staying in one on the wedding night we liked the chance to stay in one too!!
What was the very best part of your day?
I don’t think either of us truly prepared ourselves for how emotional the whole day was going to be. The whole wedding reflected us as a couple and it was lovely to add so many little personal touches ourselves (but with the help and support of the staff). The whole day was absolutely perfect and sharing it with our families and friends was incredible. Everything went to plan and we even managed to have photographs outside! It’s a bit of a wedding cliché, but the ceremony was just so beautiful. The chapel is gorgeous and with all the stunning bouquets, flower arrangements and decorations that Alison’s mum had spent hours making it looked truly magical. We specifically asked for no photographs other than the professionals to be taken during the ceremony and this was such a good idea as our guests were able to relax and enjoy the ceremony without having to worry about capturing that perfect shot. After the ceremony, we both relaxed and just enjoyed every single aspect and moment of our perfect day, sharing it all with our guests. It went in an absolute whirlwind, but we 100% wouldn’t change a thing. We were both adamant that we wanted a band and felt that the great hall really lends itself to live music. This was one of our best decisions and our dance floor was lively all night long.
Anything else you would like to add?
A huge thank you to Sharon, Rachael and the brilliant team at Samlesbury Hall.
Chair covers and lace and hessian double bows by Joanne from Simply Bows and Chair covers.
Hair and make up – Jennifer Perry make up artistry.
Photography by Drew Findlay Photograph.
Steve Ling Guitarist Band.
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