June 10th, 2014 | Rachel Parry
I love couples that think outside the box, so when I saw Will and Stacey’s quirky Save the Date video I just knew the wedding would be equally impressive and individual – and I wasn’t wrong.
A traditional church wedding was followed by a fabulous reception at the picturesque Easby Hall in North Yorkshire.
Both Will and Stacey put a lot of thought into the day to include personal touches in honour of friends and family, both past and present.
The stylish couple paid particular attention to their wedding attire with Stacey having a vintage-style bespoke dress designed and made by the hugely talented Kate Beaumont. Meanwhile, dapper Will shunned a traditional Prince Edward suit or top and tails in place of a brown Hugo Boss suit, complete with tweed waistcoat, pocket watch and purple socks.
With images by Chris Booth and Claire Collinson.
Will says: We got engaged while we were travelling in Latin America – Argentinian Patagonia to be more precise. I obviously didn’t have ring in South America, however I did have one in mind.
Before my Mum died in 2010 she asked me to use my paternal Grandmother’s engagement ring. My middle name is Howel – the name of my paternal grandfather – so my Mum thought it would be nice for another Howel to propose with it. When we returned to the UK in 2012 we got the ring-resized and tidied up, using Werk in York.
Our wedding date was September 21st 2013. We wanted either an autumn or spring wedding and didn’t want to wait until spring 2014. We also had to make sure the date didn’t clash with my siblings’ weddings – my brother David got married in June 2013 and my sister Mary got married August 2013.
We got married in St Agatha’s Church, Easby, near Richmond, North Yorkshire, and had the reception at Easby Hall – a very short walk from the church. We wanted a small wedding of 50 to 60 guests and Easby was the perfect size. We also loved having such a beautiful church right next door. It was also only 15 minutes away from Barnard Castle, where Stacey’s family live and where we both went to school. Easby Hall had never hosted a wedding before – we were the first after they got planning permission, which they only received three months before our wedding. This meant we had to essentially plan the wedding in three months but it also meant the hall was free on the date we wanted it.
Easby also had a sentimental connection as Easby Abbey and St Agatha’s church was one of the last places my Mum visited before she passed away.
We didn’t want a set theme – instead we both discussed what we did and didn’t want the day to be like. Without really trying, it took on a classic country feel, just because we liked certain things and ended up getting other things which were in keeping. We had lots of plants and natural colours. Though we didn’t have a concrete colour theme in mind everything ended up being quite muted – no bright colours or bling. We think all in all our choices fitted in well with the surroundings and our personalities.
Stacey visited 11 bridal shops, including some second hand stores, but never felt she found ‘the one’. However she liked elements of certain dresses. Then she came across dressmaker Kate Beaumont, who happened to live just round the corner from our house in Sheffield. Kate was brilliant and together they designed a unique dress for the day. It obviously took several visits and plenty of chats over cups of tea to get the final design right. She also wore gold T-bar sandals from Bertie.
I wore a Hugo Boss brown two-piece suit along with a brown Harris tweed waistcoat from ASOS, tan Dune brogues and an olive green spotted Reiss tie. The brown waistcoat was in honour of my Dad, who also wore a brown waistcoat to his wedding. Stacey also bought me a gold pocket watch to go in my suit and I finished the outfit off with purple socks in honour of my Mum, as purple was her favourite colour.
Stacey’s bouquet contained white roses, for Yorkshire, eucalyptus and mint. Our florist was Liesa Graham – she was brilliant, was able to do everything within our budget and was there on the day to make sure everything looked perfect. The male members of family wore white roses.
The four bridesmaids wore nude Beatrice dresses from Monsoon. As a gift to the bridesmaids, Stacey made them some necklaces. She went on a six-week silver jewellery-making course run by silversmith Victoria Kershaw, who also made our wedding bands, and ended up making necklaces with an olive leaf pendant. I designed the olive leaf. We chose olive leafs because we had olive trees on our tables and an olive design for our invitations.
The best man Steve wore his own suit and the same green Reiss tie as me, which I gave to him as a gift.
One of the things we really liked about our church/venue, was that no transport was needed. Stacey, her bridesmaids and her parents stayed at Easby Hall, which has accommodation, the evening before the wedding. Her Dad, Trevor, was able to walk her down the lane to the church – fittingly, it’s called Love Lane. We were all able to walk back up to the venue after the ceremony. Thankfully the weather was beautiful so we were able to keep the cars parked all day.
We incorporated several personal touches into the day. For example when the guests arrived back at Easby Hall, we had canapés and cocktails. The cocktails were Pisco Sours – in honour of family friends Martin and Rachel, who had flown over from Abu Dhabi for the wedding. We’ve known Martin and Rachel for years but bumped into them in Peru when we were travelling and enjoyed many Pisco Sours together. My Godmother, Christine, is a vicar, and was able to take part in the marriage ceremony, including delivering the address. Meanwhile Claire, one of the bridesmaids, designed some brilliant road signs to direct guests to and from the church and hall.
We used two photographers – both friends. The ‘official’ one was Chris Booth – a friend of mine.
One of Stacey’s bridesmaids and one of her best friends, Claire Collinson, is also a photographer, but despite her other duties on the day, she was still able to get some great pics before and after the service. We’d obviously recommend them both. As well as being awesome photographers, it’s great to have someone who knows you both taking the photos.
We didn’t to use too many flowers – we always think it’s a terrible waste of money to spend hundreds on something which is on the compost heap within a couple of days. Instead we wanted to use lots of fresh, live plants. We had olive trees on the tables and in the church, large bay trees in the church and at the venue and herbs dotted around the guest book. We’ll be able to keep the plants for many, many years to come, which will be lovely. The only flowers we had were single white roses on the backs of each chair and simple arrangements inspired from the bouquet on some of the pew ends in the church. All plants and flowers were provided by Liesa.
For our favours, we had small envelopes containing Oriental poppy seeds – hopefully our guests have sown them this spring. Also the place name cards were held by a glass bauble by Cox and Cox – hopefully our guests hung them on their trees at Christmas as a reminder of our big day.
Good food was high up on our list of priorities. We had some canapés before the breakfast – these included an avocado and roasted pepper one designed by ourselves in honour of the food we ate on the evening of my proposal. Starter was a blue cheese soufflé, main was stuffed pork loin with apricots and calvados sauce. Our catering was provided by CWC Malings, of Catterick. The evening food was a Taylor’s pork pie, homemade chutney, and cheeses. The wine was sourced from France – we drove to my sister’s wedding in Bordeaux and brought back a car load of red and white from the Grand Mayne vineyard. Obviously, it was a great price and very, very nice. Our fizz was Cremant de Bourgogne – a personal favourite of ours from a holiday to France a few years ago. We had a free bar and also had an 86-pint cask of Richmond Station Ale – from the Richmond Brewery, just a few miles away. It didn’t last long!
We didn’t have a ‘traditional’ wedding cake. Instead, Stacey’s twin sister Kirsti, made five different cheesecakes – one for each of the tables. These doubled as our desserts for the wedding breakfast. The table names – Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackcurrant etc – corresponded to the fruit that was in the cheesecake.
We had a pianist during the canapés and the wedding breakfast, but apart from that, our music was provided by an iPod and a few disco lights hired from Teesdale Community Resources in Barnard Castle. The room at Easby isn’t massive, so we didn’t want it taken up by a band or a DJ.
Both my brother and best man told me how important it was to find a bit of time together as a couple during the wedding day, so during the meal, at a gap between courses, me and Stacey nipped out and had a walk around the grounds of Easby Hall, looking back down towards the church. It was a nice moment of quiet reflection amid a fairly busy day and certainly a favourite part of our wedding.
We found that planning an event as big as a wedding in just three months doesn’t leave much time to plan a big holiday. That said, we still did have a honeymoon – we’d booked a couple of weeks off work so wanted to do something, so we headed to Turkey for a bit of sun on the Turquoise Coast before flying to Istanbul for a few days. We still have a big holiday planned though – we’re going on a belated honeymoon to South Africa later this year.
All our suppliers were great and we would highly recommend them. In terms of a top tip for other Brides Up North couples; leave longer than three months to plan it! In all seriousness, Stacey relied heavily on her bridesmaids, all of whom were great. We also received lots of help from other friends and family – don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones for help, advice or a second opinion.
Congratulations Will & Stacey!
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Regular guest blogger Rachel joined the Brides Up North editorial team as features writer in May 2014. Senior Reporter at The Sheffield Star (a serious journalist then!) Rachel draws on her background as features, bridal & lifestyle editor for previous regional titles and time spent working for Yorkshire’s most successful PR agencies. Yet to tie the knot herself, Rachel's own wedding looks set to be very, very pretty...