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A Nice Day for a Fake Wedding

Earlier this year I found myself attending four fake weddings in one day- a sentence I never thought I would find myself saying. Despite not being a huge fan of weddings myself, setting up Elizabeth Gaskell’s House for a wedding photoshoot was actually a lot of fun-all jollity and no awkward speeches (admit it, we’ve all been there!).

The whole day of the photoshoot was full of the hustle and bustle of fake wedding preparations. Sally (the House Manager) and I found ourselves rushing around from room to room, setting up furniture and flower arranging one minute, and posing as bridesmaids and guests the next (I’m in the picture above as a wedding guest). Whilst posing and chatting for the buffet scene my ‘cake eating’ began as acting and then transformed into something more literal (with permission from Sally of course) so I wasn’t complaining!

Fun history fact: The wedding veil worn by generations of Gaskell women can be found in our morning room at the front of the house. It is on loan to the house from the Gaskell family – apparently one of her younger descendants thought the veil would be a bit outdated for her own wedding-and I don’t blame her, it’s not the trendiest veil and it does look a bit heavy! Apparently Elizabeth was more of a bonnet kind of girl which sounds far more hip for a Victorian lady.

One of the rooms which we set up for a ceremony shoot was the drawing room (see the photo below), which is my favourite room in the house with its boudoir grand and view of the delightful garden complete with Charlotte Bronte quote. I’ve included an artsy shot of our volunteer/resident pianist Robert playing the boudoir grand piano and setting the mood.

Fun history fact number two: Boudoir grands are far less saucy than they sound, and they lie somewhere in between a concert grand and a baby grand on the size spectrum. Boudoir or parlour grand pianos aren’t actually made anymore. They went out of fashion when the upright piano began to be manufactured, which were popular with middle-class Victorian consumers because they were cheaper and took up less space than grands, but still produced the unique, sonorous sound of a piano. This makes the fact that we have a boudoir grand in our drawing room even more exciting, and it’s very similar to the piano that the Gaskell daughters would have been taught on by Charles Hallé (founder of the Hallé orchestra- yes, we enjoy name-dropping in this House).

We collaborated with the Manchester Florist for this photo shoot, who provided us with a range of beautiful bouquets of roses with unique colour schemes and bunches of vintage, country garden flowers which looked as if they had been freshly picked right from the Gaskell’s garden outside.

As of 2018 we will be offering not-fake weddings at the house (unless you want a fake wedding of course, in which case book one with us by all means) so whether you’re a fan of the author or just a fan of unique properties and delicious cake, it’s an excellent option as a wedding venue in my opinion (as a volunteer at the House, it goes without saying that my opinions are unbiased, obviously).

Megan Christo, Volunteer at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

Photography by Mark Tattersall

Posted
22-11-2017 in blog

We've got a house...it certainly is a beauty...I must try and make the house give as much pleasure to others as I can.’

Elizabeth Gaskell, in a letter to her friend Eliza Fox in 1850.