Preston park proves popular for couples’ big days

Nicola and Adrian Davies at their wedding in Avenham Park.
Credit Rob Ditchfield Photography
Nicola and Adrian Davies at their wedding in Avenham Park. Credit Rob Ditchfield Photography
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Couples across Preston have been swapping traditional wedding venues for the great outdoors.

Dozens of people have tied the knot in the city’s Avenham and Miller Parks, since the green spaces began accommodating weddings in December 2013.

Nicola and Adrian Davies at their wedding in Avenham Park.
Credit Rob Ditchfield Photography

Nicola and Adrian Davies at their wedding in Avenham Park. Credit Rob Ditchfield Photography

In 2016 alone there were 26 weddings - with many couples choosing to marry in the spot where they met or had their first date.

That was the story for Nicola and Adrian Davies, who got hitched at Avenham Park three years after their first date there.

“I decided that day I would marry him”, said Nicola, 42, looking back on their date at a vintage festival on the park.

The pair, who live in Bamber Bridge, had been friends previously and went out together in July 2013.

Nicola and Adrian Davies at their wedding in Avenham Park.
Credit Rob Ditchfield Photography

Nicola and Adrian Davies at their wedding in Avenham Park. Credit Rob Ditchfield Photography

Nicola said: “I knew him and I knew it was right.

“We got engaged in December 2014 and it was the August after when I started looking at venues.

“I was looking for something alternative to a registry office - we had both been married before and we wanted to have a nice do and a big party.

“I stumbled upon it online. I had no idea you could get married on Avenham Park, but I saw it mentioned and realised Preston Council was running it and all the information was on the website.

Stephen and Shelley Geraghty at their wedding in Avenham Park, with children Stephen, Aaron and Archie
Picture credit: Robin Hill

Stephen and Shelley Geraghty at their wedding in Avenham Park, with children Stephen, Aaron and Archie Picture credit: Robin Hill

“I came home from work and said ‘If you could get married anywhere, where would you want to do it?’

“And he said it would have to be Avenham Park and I said there you go.

“He didn’t even ask how much, he just said that’s where it’s happening.”

The couple, who have 10 children between them, got married in September in the “beautiful” Belvedere building on a “perfect” day.

Stephen and Shelley Geraghty at their wedding in Avenham Park.
Picture credit: Robin Hill

Stephen and Shelley Geraghty at their wedding in Avenham Park. Picture credit: Robin Hill

Stephen Geraghty and his wife Michelle, known as Shelley, also tied the knot at the park in June.

Stephen, 36, a civil servant from Ribbleton, said Shelley had only moved to Preston from the Midlands a few years ago.

He said: “I showed her the park and the building, and we met with someone who showed us the Belvedere, and she just instantly fell in love with it.”

He described their wedding day as “brilliant”, and said the rain held off long enough for the ceremony to be able to take place.

He said: “People thought it was beautiful.”

Coun Robert Boswell, Preston Council’s cabinet member for community and environment, said: “It’s no surprise couples want to tie the knot in a truly unique setting, surrounded by stunning Victorian English Heritage grade two listed parkland and beautiful scenic backdrops.

“Avenham Park is extremely popular with Prestonians and visitors alike, and it holds many precious memories.”

The park has three venues where couples can tie the knot - the Belvedere venue, the Rose Pagoda venue in Miller Park, and the Pavilion which can also hosts receptions.

For non civil ceremonies, there are two additional locations of the Cannon Viewing Point and the Japanese Gardens.

The parks have so far hosted 47 weddings.

A wedding fayre will be held on Sunday from 12pm to 3pm.