June 5th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Rachel and Mark’s beautiful wedding day in Wetherby is full of pretty. Peonies, pink, tulle, lace, Louboutins and a rather lovely bespoke gown.
No further introductions needed. I’ll leave you to it!
With images by Helen Lishman Photography.
Rachel says: Mark booked a surprise trip for us in December 2012 and I didn’t know until we got to the airport that we were going to New York!
We stayed in the Plaza and he had pre-planned everything down to the last detail. On the last night after dinner we stopped to look at the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Centre one last time before we went home. Mark was shaking and I thought he was shivering – he then got down on one knee and I burst into tears! We then went for a carriage ride through Central Park but I can’t remember any of that – it was all a blur!
We got married on Friday 9th May 2014. We chose that day because it was exactly four years to the day since our first date. It had a bit of special meaning!
We chose Wood Hall Hotel in Linton near Wetherby. We nearly chose another venue but decided to take a look at Wood Hall before we made a final decision. The drive up to the hotel is fantastic and as we rounded the corner and saw the hotel on the side of the valley it took me completely by surprise and we both said ‘Wow!’. We both had butterflies as we drove up to the building and knew that was the place for us.
My mum had been taken seriously ill in December before the wedding and we very nearly cancelled the whole day as we didn’t know if she would pull through, never mind make it to the day. She did! The plan was always for mum to give me away and I was over the moon when she made it out of hospital and could still give me away – be it from her wheelchair. It was the first time most of the family had seen her since she was seriously ill in hospital and just seeing mum brought everyone to tears.
Our wedding theme was white white and more white! The only colour was in the flowers around the room.
After trying on lots of dresses I couldn’t find anything that felt like the ‘one’. We had met the ladies from Scarlet Poppy at a wedding fair in Harrogate months earlier who had told us that they could make a couture dress to however I wanted it. Eventually my mum said: “Right come on now Rach, its going to have to be made for you”. So we went to see the team at Scarlet Poppy in Pudsey and it was the best decision I could have made. It was exactly as I wanted it. White duchess satin with a tulle overlay and appliqued lace round the neck and bodice and around the hem in a fitted fishtail style with a v neck and low v back. I wore white Christian Louboutin peep toes which Mark had shipped over from America because I couldn’t find them in the UK.
Helen Lishman of Helen Lishman Photography shot the day and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her – the photographs were better than we could ever have imagined! Helen was so professional yet so friendly and warm with all the guests and we both agreed that choosing Helen was one of our best decisions about the whole day.
It sounds cliché but we both said that our favourite moment was the moment we saw each other at the end of the aisle. I was shaking like a leaf and it was a relief to reach Mark at the other end and have him take both my hands – I felt like I might faint before that! We were both grinning from ear to hear whilst we said our vows.
I had a bouquet of pink Sarah Bernhardt peonies – my favourite flowers! Our fantastic florist was Annemarie Wilkinson who could see our vision straight away for the flowers. She was great to work with and we would definitely recommend her! The bridesmaids had smaller versions of the brides bouquet but with a mixture of pink and white peonies.
The venue was decorated with flowers, peonies, white gelder roses, hyacinth, freesias and sweet peas, both on white candelabras and in rustic white jugs.
We bought our own personalised white aisle runner to compliment the colour scheme as the hotel usually provide a red one. The tables were named after our favourite places that we had visited together – New York, St Tropez, Cannes, Monaco and so on.
We gave our guests beautiful white laser cut birdcage style favour boxes tied with ribbon held mini rolls of personalised love hearts, Lindt strawberries and champagne chocolates and drinks tokens for the guests.
The cake was a three tier cake of red velvet, Victoria sponge and chocolate cake made by Lucie Barron – the owner of Cinderella Cakes in Leeds – who just happens to be a good friend of mine! It was beautifully iced in pretty white layers and topped with a pink peony.
We drank champagne all day! The courses were all chosen by the groom during our tasting meal at the hotel six weeks beforehand as I only felt it was fair that he could choose the aspect of the wedding that he got most excited about! We ate Roast Plum Tomato, Red Pepper and Basil Soup to start, Roast Sirloin of Yorkshire Beef with Roast Root Vegetables, Chateau Potato and Yorkshire Pudding for main and Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream and custard for dessert. Followed by the chefs delicious homemade fudge with tea and coffee! A very Yorkshire menu for a very Yorkshire couple!
The magic of the day was unreal. It was lovely to get married in such a beautiful venue and the backdrop of the North Yorkshire countryside was simply stunning. The guests all commented on how polite all the serving staff were and the day went completely without a hitch.
Mark and I provided lots of sweets in glass jars and bought the bags and scoops ourselves so the guests could help themselves throughout the evening. We also had a traditional ice cream cart from the Ice Dream Experience – they went down a treat!
We also provided a basket of white flip flops for ladies to pop on to soothe their aching dancing feet as the night wore on.
We had the resident hotel DJ John Bradd who was fab and not cheesy. We also had a photobooth by Booth Revolution that provided hours of fun for the guests, including Uncle Tony who made one too many visits to the booth even on his own!
For our honeymoon we went to a beautiful resort called Shanti Maurice on the south coast of Mauritius. We spent 10 days swimming in turquoise water and walking on white sand. We took private speedboat tours of the tiny surrounding islands, swam with dolphins, went quad biking through the mountains, had private dinners on the beach in the evening and drank far too much champagne and rum cocktails!
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make sure you take a moment together just the two of you alone at some point in the day. The hustle and bustle is so much to take in and everyone wants to talk to you both, that 10 minutes alone before the evening reception is a must. During our few minutes of time alone Mark gave me a wedding present of some gorgeous black lace Jimmy Choo heels with a card that made me cry!
Congratulations Rachel & Mark!
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Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…