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Gorton Monastery Wedding Photography

Sarah & Mark had been together quite a few years and the time had come to tie the knot, after a nervous muddy proposal on the south coast with a definitive ‘yes’ the stage was now set for their Manchester wedding day. 

One of Manchester’s best venues

For years we’d been looking forward to shooting a wedding at the iconic Gorton Monastery or to give it it’s historic name the Friary of St Francis, such an impressive building which has been brought back to life with years of hard work from dedicated volunteers. Sarah and Mark fell in love with the space and were looking forward to sharing this stunning space with all their family and friends. Sarah had plotted the best April weather dates over the past few years to find the best weekend…all the work paid off and their day was the warmest Saturday we can remember for a while.

Modern wedding outlook

These guys had been together for long enough to know exactly what they wanted and what they didn’t too, which is perfect. Sarah didn’t want the fuss of bridesmaids or the old tradition of her dad giving her away, so her mum and dad entered first and she bravely took the long walk down the aisle in her own stride. With a nod to Sarah’s love of music and her job at RNCM, the ceremony was accompanied by the playing and singing of her close friends. 

Sunshine, speeches, a song and a shimmy on the dance floor

With the sun beating down the courtyard space, was the ideal splash of fresh air and greenery in this Manchester venue – you would easily have believed you were anywhere exotic, not just a few mins from Manchester city centre. With everyone enjoying the drinks, chatting with old friends, kids running around in the sunshine, the perfect time to capture all those real documentary moments of their Manchester wedding day.

Sarah surprised everyone with her speech which turned into an amazing rendition of a song just for Mark, the music then continued into the night with the theme of musicians from the Royal Northern College of Music. Twisted Tubes added fantastic vibes filling the huge space with a definite party feel. These guys again did it their way with no first dance just themselves and a mass of their friends kicking off the dancing.

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Gorton Monastery Wedding Photography by Pixies in the Cellar • BlogHomePrices & Contact

Wedding venue: Gorton Monastery

Wedding band: Twisted Tubes


Manchester’s Monastery or should that be Friary?

So who knew Manchester had it’s very own monastery, well until a few decades ago this amazing building was a long lost decaying relic on the outskirts of the city centre. With much research into this stunning building and it’s history the official word on the street is well it’s a friary, and even the courtyard gate says so too. So I hear you cry what’s the difference between the two and does it matter? Well does it matter is entirely up to you and how you like the English language to be used or whether you’re marketing for a monastery – sounds better than a friary I mean that could be a chip shop eh?! It would seem a friary has monks too but they go out and about into the community rather than stay cooped up in their building (a monastery), so in fact a friary sounds much better as their inhabitants are all about helping those around them, with a bit of God thrown in too ;)

A Monastery wedding day

So enough about the use of the English language, what makes Manchester Monastery an epic venue to say your vows? There’s so many positives. The most compelling reason is the monastery building itself is so stunning. Designed by the famous architect Edward Pugin in 1872, often coined Manchester’s Catholic cathedral. Gorton Monastery is one of Britain’s finest buildings and before restoration was on an endangered lists with the likes of the Taj Mahal and Pompei. You get the feel of a grand old church or cathedral without the need for any religion, as it now all deconsecrated. It’s not just any old boring church either, it’s years of neglect have you could say added to it’s unique character, with it’s very shabby chic ornate altar taking centre stage. To say your vows in front of your family and friends with the the Italian and Californian marble intricately carved altar complete with atmospheric candle light really is a dream wedding location. With a bit of good karma there’s another fantastic wedding bonus of real green outdoor space in the red brick courtyard cloisters – not many city centre venues can boast such outdoor green tranquil space. Into the evening the distinctive lighting of the Monastery comes into it’s own, great for some colourful images – perfect for that late night party vibe. On a practical note it’s close to Manchester great for local accommodation for what ever budget from the cheap and cheerful to those swanky boutique Manchester haunts. Along with this it has a huge free car park, which for Manchester is almost unheard of. Worried about wedding guests numbers, well with The Monastery there’s no need to worry it has a huge maximum capacity of 450! That’s not to say you need to fill it, as you can see here it works equally well for smaller weddings of a more manageable size from 85 guests upwards. Guests with any mobility issues will also be super happy here, no steps, everywhere you’ll need to go is wheelchair friendly.

A modern twist

If you’re worried with all this talk of epic Victorian gothic architecture will it feel all a little old and stuffy? Well as it happens the recently completed ‘Welcome Wing’ is a great modern juxtaposition to the old and Victorian bringing the Monastery right into the 21st century and beyond. Huge windows, allow tons of light to flood the entrance area, so even if that Manchester weather is a little inclement you can be sure to have plenty of bright and airy space for your guests to enjoy until the sun comes out again in the cloisters :) As well as a well stocked bar this newly ecologically designed addition to the Monastery really does add all that’s necessary to make for a perfect Manchester wedding venue.

Wth all this going for it The Monastery is definitely up there with the top wedding venues in Manchester and you get that warm fuzzy feeling that you’re also supporting the upkeep and continuing restoration of one of Manchester’s architectural and cultural gems. If you’re just thinking of this as an option it’s super easy to look around (just check their website for opening times) and pop in for a coffee and cake at the tasty Pantry Cafe, they even do a great afternoon tea – what more excuse do you need ;)



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