I absolutely loved photographing this wedding, which appears on my featured weddings page. Claire and Joe’s day was all about fun, music and good times!

The wedding service took place at St Laudus Church in Mabe, and from here the wedding celebrations continued down the road in Falmouth at the newly refurbished Merchants Manor. In between the service and reception we stopped at Swanpool beach for a few pics of the happy couple by the sea.

Claire and Joe are both extremely talented musicians and play in a band together. Claire plays the violin and Joe the trumpet so the musical element was a very big part of their day! As it happens, many of the wedding party were also musicians, some of which played in the evening entertainment so as you can imagine the music was incredible! Claire and Joe even managed to get up and perform a ‘first song!’

There are so many lovely moments from this day to name them all so I’ll let the photos and Claire and Joe’s words below tell their story. Claire and Joe, I wish you both all the happiness and thank you again for having me as your wedding photographer cornwall.

Check out Claire & Joe's wedding slideshow below

Falmouth Wedding - Merchants Manor - Stewart Girvan Photography


Claire & Joe

Here is their story……


Tell me a little bit about yourselves, for example, where did you meet?

We met at Bath Spa University at an orchestra rehearsal. We started a conversation about Joe’s cool belt and the rest is history. We’ve played music ever since and we’re so lucky that our friends were up for playing a piece as our first ‘tune’ with us.

Can you tell me about the proposal?

I come from Cornwall and every time we visited I had to take Joe to this very special beach called Swanpool because I loved it so much. It quickly became our place and we went whenever we could to skim some rocks and take in the sea air. So, when we went on my birthday, to me it was just a normal visit, but we were stood on the shore, looking at the horizon and Joe said the words ‘I love you’ I knew straight away what was coming next!

Can you tell me about your venues and why you chose them?

We’d viewed a few places around Falmouth, but nothing really inspired us. I wasn’t so sure about Merchants Manor because I’d been there for my school prom when it was called Greenlawns, but as soon as we stepped in, we loved it. The new owners have changed it completely and we loved that it was a family business. It felt so comfortable to be there.

Were you going for a certain style or theme for your wedding?

We wanted everything to be ‘us’. We hand-made all our orders of service, the flower jars, the heart confetti, the bunting, all so that it could have our chosen colours (blue and yellow) and music throughout. I even wrapped our post box for cards in sheet music. We’d picked our favourite composers and our favourite pieces from those composers to make themes for our tables. We put information about the pieces, why we picked them and how they related to us on each table, which helped make everything more personal. We visited Swanpool on the way to the reception for some epic photos and the church we got married in was the venue for my parents wedding. Everything was so personal and we loved creating every aspect of it.

What is your most memorable moment from the day?

Such a hard question! Joe found there was too may to choose from but the most ridiculous moment was when one of Joe’s cousins did a wood pigeon impression solo during Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely’. Not many people knew what was going on and he got stage fright so he couldn’t do it, so funny! Mine is: When I walked down the aisle with my dad. I still get nervous thinking about it but when I realised all those faces looking at me where my friends and family and were there to support us, everything was fine. When I’d reached Joe and he marvelled at the poofy-ness of my dress I finally relaxed. Our combined most memorable moment was our first dance. Our friends Rich and Harri played the song for us and did such a beautiful job. We’re not the best dancers but it felt like we were the only two people in the world during that song.

Why did you choose Stewart Girvan Photography?

We’d talked to our married friends about their photographs and they all said that it’s possibly the most important thing to get right. After the day is over, your photos are the main thing you will have to remember your day. We researched a lot of photographers and were looking for someone to capture people, not to snap posed, constructed moments. We loved Stewart’s work and we trusted he would deliver for us. The photos speak for themselves, he caught the fun of the day.

How did you feel about having your photos taken and were you pleased with the final images?

Honestly with Stewart we didn’t know our photos were being taken half of the time, which is exactly what we wanted. He was the fly on the wall that captured the honesty and joy of our day. We’re so so pleased with our photos.

Can you tell me about any other suppliers that contributed and played an important part to your wedding? For example, florist, makeup artist, transport, entertainment.

Our beautiful flowers were provided by Cornwall Country Flowers. My dad was the postman for Alvinia for over 20 years and as soon as she knew Joe and I were getting married she jumped at the chance to be our florist! We loved her values of growing fresh, seasonal flowers rather than flying them in and her passion for beauty in flowers really took the workload off us! However, she did encourage us to get involved! On the day before our wedding we had a masterclass in making pew ends and were left to our own devices to make them! It was a lovely hour out of the day to de-stress and do something as a family to contribute to the wedding.

My make-up was done by Hannah Symons who is beautiful both inside and out. She made me feel so comfortable and helped take some of the stress out of the morning of the wedding. I felt huge respect from her for me as a person and she made me look and feel beautiful. My make-up stayed on all day!

Cool 4 Campers provided our bright orange VW camper. They ordered ribbons and decorations for it in our wedding colours and made it look so lovely. We didn’t have to lift a finger, which was a BIG help that morning! We felt so cool trundling along in it 🙂

Our entertainment was provided by our friends. They did such an awesome job and everyone completely let loose in the evening –

Brides 2 Be in Falmouth were simply amazing. Gemma made the whole process so easy for me! I was pretty hard to work with because I had NO idea what I wanted. She said to me as soon as I stepped through her door that she knew what dress I was going to have. She was right.

I tried on at least 14 dresses in all shapes and styles and hovered on a few that really didn’t suit me – which Gemma informed me of!

She’s so down to earth and when I tried on my dress it was the first one I didn’t comment on. She pointed that out, which made me realise that I actually really….really really like the dress! She let me come back a few days later to show my gran, which was really important to me and so nice of her to do. Gran cried and that was it, the dress was mine!

Do you have any advice for future couples planning their wedding?

Plan ahead and do what works for you. We planned our wedding in bursts so we could take a break from it every so often. This worked for us because we got so excited in the bursts, but it wasn’t such a slog to get everything done so it didn’t feel like work. This also helped because we were so intent on creating so many things ourselves. Make job lists for both people to do – it will make your to-do list half the size! I think finding what is most important to you about your wedding day early on makes it so much easier further down the line.