Alan Baker-Bright, aged 43, and Matt Baker-Bright, 23, married at Holne Park House in February of this year. The stunning venue is nestled on the southern slopes of Dartmoor National Park, set within the 90 acres of grounds and gardens of the River Dart Country Park estate.
Alan and Matt met when they were both out with friends at their local pub. “Not a romantic start at all”, says Alan.
“Matt walked down the corridor towards where my friends and I were standing, and tripped over my feet! He wasn’t impressed, but I bought him a drink and we got talking. We ended up leaving with each other’s numbers, and that was that!”
After a few months of dating, it was clear that both Matt and Alan saw a long-term future together, and neither could imagine being with – or wanting to be with - anyone else. One evening, when the couple were out for a drink in the pub where they had first met, Matt got down on the knee and popped the question, and Alan immediately said yes. It wasn’t long before the couple started planning their special day, and Holne Park House was their first port of call.
Having attended a wedding at Holne Park House in the past, Matt had already fallen in love with it – not just because of the beautiful grandeur of the house, but because of its stunning and extensive grounds, too. He was keen to take Alan to have a look around to see if he felt the same, and the couple immediately made an appointment.
“After meeting Laura, Holne Park House’s fabulous in-house wedding coordinator, and taking a wander round the beautiful house and its extensive gardens, Alan was just as convinced as I was, and we knew at that moment that it was the perfect place for us to get married”, says Matt.
“With Laura’s help, we booked the venue there and then, and excitedly set about planning the finer details of our nuptials.”
The big day rolled around quickly, with the couple walking down the aisle just 13 months later. The venue offered a stunning winter backdrop for the occasion, with the house decked out in an array of handmade decorations and details - each contributing to the Old English theme Matt and Alan had selected. Although they had no colour scheme in mind to start with, an array of vintage browns, oranges and blues eventually led the way, with the grooms looking dapper in vintage three-piece tweed suits with burnt orange ties and brown brogues. The ushers, meanwhile, were in dark blue suits, which contrasted perfectly with the dark orange piping on the jackets.
No wedding is complete without a romantic touch, and the grooms both wore personalised cufflinks and socks on the day, with each taking along a pocket watch that was engraved with the other’s name.
Keen to add some personality to their day, Matt and Alan added some creative flair with handmade table decorations and favour boxes. Alan hand-painted each place card himself with a design depicting two grooms alongside each guest’s name, finishing with clothes pegs for a quirky and unique feel.
The stand out feature of the day were the beautiful topiary bush letters from The Prop Factory, which the couple had positioned outside the house - A & M, for Alan and Matt - while light-up vases filled with sweets inside the venue proved popular with the evening guests!
Unable to choose just one wedding cake, Alan and Matt opted for a large, show-stopping design, with the large cake surrounded by 130 cupcakes, created by The Cake Stop, in Newton Abbot.
“We stayed at the venue for the whole weekend along with many guests”, says Matt. “We opted for a delicious three- course wedding breakfast in the afternoon, followed by a buffet in the evening, with a DJ playing some great, fun tunes to get everyone enjoying themselves up on the dance floor.”
Although months of planning went into their wedding to ensure that everything was just right, Laura was on hand to help the couple throughout, lending a hand at every stage to make the process as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
“Laura, the wedding planner, is utterly amazing”, says Matt. “Nothing is too much trouble for her. She is one in a million, and her involvement with making sure our day ran smoothly meant we could have it all without having to worry about a thing. She made sure we were happy with everything, right down to the last detail, and right up until the morning of the wedding.”
“Being able to spend the whole weekend at the venue with exclusive use made our experience unforgettable; everything felt that bit more personal. With the house being a private venue, it has a more relaxed feel, and the staff are second to none. They all worked so hard to make sure our day was perfect!”
It’s always hard to choose just one favourite moment from the day, and this was particularly true for Matt and Alan.
“The whole wedding was perfect, and to try and pick a favourite memory out would be impossible. Our friends and family still talk about how perfect and amazing our wedding was, and say that it was the best wedding they have ever been to. Lots of people commented about the attention to detail, and we had to agree that it was the little things that really made our day.
“We have returned to Holne Park House a few times since our wedding and it's like going home to family; all the staff still remember us, and we are welcomed with open arms even though our wedding has been and gone.
“Our top tip for anyone currently planning their wedding? Get most of it done sooner rather than later, and don't leave anything until the last minute. Organisation equals less stress in the weeks leading up to the wedding.
“Enjoy every minute - the day goes so fast, so make sure you take a minute to stand back and look around, taking everything in.”