Circa 2007 was the first time I ever visited Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa for a wedding. As a fresh faced wedding photographer this was one of the earlier weddings I shot.
Having never visited the venue before I went along to scope out the rooms and grounds. Since my first visit to the venue there have been many alterations to the venue. However, Formby Hall has always been a lovely place to visit.
Being one of my earlier venues to have shot a wedding at it's always been a special place for me. I love to work here and it's fantastic to see the place continually grow, improve and develop as a venue, hotel, spa, golf course, restaurant and all the other fabulous things Formby Hall has to offer.
One element to consider when booking a wedding venue is wether or not you want a venue which is able to facilitate guests staying over the night before or night of the wedding. For me this is a massive plus if a venue has rooms on site. Personally, I feel it's essential to have the people you care dearest for stay the night of the wedding as the experience of spending part of the day after the wedding with them is unmissable.
Sure you both may have a sore head in the morning, but worry not as this is nothing a good breakfast and visit to the Spa can't solve!
There are then some venues that lend themselves to either intimate weddings or large weddings. For instance if you have 60 guests there are some venues that would look empty and you would be tasked with dressing the space and filling in the gaps with larger tables and decorations and accessories such as Mr and Mrs signs or LOVE Letters. There are also some venues which don’t have the capacity for 120+ guests.
I have done very small intimate weddings at Formby hall, with around 30-40 guests, whilst on the other hand we have done massive events with well over 120 people! The point being - the two rooms Formby Hall have are adaptable. There are removable partitions that increase or decrease the capacity of the room, making the space perfect for your wedding.
These removable walls also come in useful if your ceremony is at the venue, as they can be erected to make one room into two! The benefit of this is that your ceremony can be set in one section, whilst the wedding breakfast is being set up in the other. So after the ceremony as we take you down stairs for wedding photographs, the well co ordinated staff at the venue move the chairs from the ceremony into the other section of the room, completing the set up for your wedding breakfast. This then enables your guests to filter back into what was the ceremony room after photos for their drinks reception.
This may seem like a minor point but it's very helpful, ensuring there are no delays in the dressing of your reception room plus a seamless transformation of space for the guests.
This room of magic and mystery continues into the evening as well. Whilst you are enjoying your wedding breakfast, the magic removable wall is still in place, leaving what you and your guests may think to be a empty space where you earlier held your ceremony and drinks reception...... BUT! Quietly your DJ, Band, Dance Floor, Photobooth and Candy Cart suppliers have been setting up, meaning once your speeches are complete, the staff remove the partition and the evening kicks straight off! Another great transition between scenes of the wedding day!
One of the most challenging situations for a wedding photographer is when the weather turns on your special day. There are a few options if this happens at Formby. I have shot many times the group shots in the reception area as there is enough space and the light is manageable also.
There is also a covering at the front of the venue under the famous Formby Hall Sign and this can be an option to do some family shots or couple images if the weather isn’t great.
There are then a number of spots such as the stair case and hallways where further images can be gathered. That said, I don’t believe I have ever shot a wedding at the venue where we haven’t been able to get outside for some images at some point within the day.
The grounds at the venue are amazing! You do have to remember that this is a golf course though and access to the course may not be possible. A little like bad weather, this has never stopped us in the past…..
There is a bridge on the course which overlooks the venue, when the light is right this is an ideal spot for couple images.
On route to the bridge there is a water feature and trees, both of which make great stops for wedding photos and video. The front of the building also offers additional opportunities along with some options in the car park for the couples who like the more textured images!
So locations for photography isn’t an issue, there are plenty of spots that can be used no matter what the weather!
The lighting throughout the venue is also good. There are no rooms on site which pose a problem for us when gathering images. There are some naturally dark venues with limited natural light. This isn't a problem as it can be overcome, however it is always better in my opinion to have natural light.
The rooms for bridal preparation are also spacious and bright, two things which are essential when hair & make up is being done. This also makes photographing the dress and essential items easy, with space to hang the dress and photograph the shoes etc.
I have lost count of how many weddings we have covered at Formby Hall Hotel and Spa, but over the years this has been one of the most visited venues for us. The fact that the venue is long established is also a plus in my mind. The team are experienced and have likely encountered every possible scenario when it comes to a wedding day which is a good thing, as experience is invaluable when it comes to weddings.
Over the weddings we have covered at the venue it has been dressed in dramatically different ways, from drapes covering the entire room, large centre pieces, creative lighting, simplistic, through to themed decor.
Personally, I feel the two rooms lends themselves to everything, so no matter what your taste or desired style the venue should be able to facilitate this.
For more information on our wedding photography & film, visit us at https://www.keyholestudios.com and if you require assistance for wedding cars, visit us at http://www.keyholemotors.com/vehicles/ or call us on 0151 708 7077.