November 11th, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth
Today on the blog we bring you a beautiful real wedding in the picturesque foothills of the Pennines.
After a three-year engagement, Hannah and Tom exchanged vows over the May bank holiday weekend, in the quaint setting of the village church in Ripponden.
Blending rustic charm with an elegant and contemporary décor – not to mention one of the most stunning balconied ballrooms we have ever seen – The Saddleworth Hotel provided the gorgeous backdrop to the couple’s memorable celebrations.
With handwritten notes to each and every guest, as well as a special donation to a charity close to their hearts – this was a wedding brimming with nostalgia and personal touches from start to finish.
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, James Tracey Photography.
hannah says: We got engaged three years ago. Tom arranged for us to go away for the weekend to one of our favourite hotels. He hired a beach hut and brought along a picnic with prosecco. He pulled out the ring which he’d had made for me and, obviously, I said yes. We then headed back to the hotel, where he’d arranged to meet my parents for a meal to celebrate.
We got married on Saturday 28th May 2016. I’m a teacher so we needed a date that fitted in with the school holidays, and with a good chance of nice weather! The bank holiday weekend fell in the middle of our spring bank holiday, so it was perfect.
We tied the knot at St Bartholomew’s Church, in Ripponden. This is our village church and it was also the church I went to whilst growing up, so it was really special to get married there.
Our reception was at The Saddleworth Hotel in Delph. It was actually the first venue we looked at, and nothing else came close. We loved the mix of old and new – the ballroom is amazing and fitted really well with our vision for the day. The double height room really is special. The venue and grounds are absolutely stunning and the team there is brilliant; nothing is too much trouble.
We chose The Saddleworth Hotel partly because of its glamorous setting and wanted to incorporate this theme within our wedding. We wanted our day to be classic and glam, but at the same time reflect us as a couple and be laidback enough for guests to really enjoy themselves. We wanted our guests to feel special, and spot those little touches that made the day about us as a couple and as individuals. So, not an easy job!
We didn’t have a specific colour scheme, although the bridesmaids wore blush pink dresses and the flowers were blush pink and white. Everything else we picked because we loved it and it fitted our idea for the day.
My dress was a chiffon and beaded Justin Alexander gown, which I bought from The Harrogate Wedding Lounge. I had an idea of what I wanted when I started looking for dresses, and this was absolutely not it! But when I tried the dress on, I swished around the room and felt like an amazing version of me! It wasn’t what I set out to get, but it was the perfect dress for our day.
Hayley from House of Creation in Ripponden did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair on the day of the wedding. She was fabulous; patiently looking at my Pinterest boards and listening to my ideas. My hair stayed in all day and suited my dress perfectly. My makeup meanwhile was taken care of by Nicole Riyat, who was amazing. She was calm on the day and really was a perfectionist. It paid off, and my makeup looked amazing all day.
Our bridesmaids wore blush pink Dessy dresses and the groomsmen all wore the same navy blue suit from Next.
The Saddleworth has some fabulous cars available for the bridal party. The boys travelled to the church in a cream Maserati, which then collected the bridesmaids. I made my way to the church in a cream Rolls Royce. We also had a black and cream vintage bus to transport our guests to the church and then the reception venue afterwards.
Our photographer, James Tracey was recommended to us by a friend. He was very relaxed and friendly, chatting to everyone – from the bridesmaids to my grandma! He captured some magical moments without making guests aware he was doing it! He got some amazing photos of Tom and I, but didn’t steal us away from our guests for too long. James spent the entire day with us, arriving for bridal prep in the morning and capturing our fireworks late in the evening. The photos are a fantastic reminder of our day.
Kelly-Louise Floral Artistry, who is based at The Saddleworth Hotel, provided all of our flowers. My bouquet was made up of blush and cream roses, peonies, sweet avalanche and soft pink astilbe.
The flowers at the venue were amazing too. Kelly-Louise created two huge ‘clouds’ of roses and peonies, which stood on two of the guest tables and looked stunning. The remaining guest tables had huge jewelled candelabras with floating candles around the base and hanging from the arms. These were so unusual, and looked fantastic, especially from the bar area above. She also dressed the top table with floating candles and scattered rose petals, creating a magical effect. Kelly-Louise did an amazing job of accentuating the venue’s fantastic features and creating the timeless, classic look we were after.
As a special touch, our table names were framed photos of Tom and me, aged one, two, three and so on. These were a talking point at each table and the source of much hilarity, at our expense!
We created an interesting card table by including photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days. This was a lovely way of acknowledging people who couldn’t be with us on the day, and it really meant a lot to the family members who were there.
We wanted our favours to be personal to both our guests and us so we decided to write cards to every guest, thanking them for coming and telling them how special they are to us. Guests commented on how lovely this was, and we enjoyed watching them all open the cards as they sat down to eat.
We also made a donation to The Stroke Association and gave all guests a purple pin badge. My dad has had three strokes, so it was really important for us to give something back to a charity that has supported my family. It meant a lot that so many of our guests wore their badges, too.
Our wedding cake – from M&S – was a blush pink colour, with cream flowers cascading down the three tiers. It consisted of one fruit and two sponge layers.
For the wedding breakfast we had a choice of duck terrine or crayfish and smoked salmon salad to start. The mains included aged beef fillet with red wine sauce or crispy pork loin with caramelised apples and calvados sauce. To finish, guests could choose from glazed lemon tart with passion fruit sauce or pistachio and honey parfait. Guests also had the choice of red or white wine, which was topped up throughout the meal.
Music is really important to Tom and we wanted to reflect this throughout the day. We had a string quartet in the church that played the bridal party in and out. We walked down the aisle to Here Comes the Sun and walked out to All You Need is Love. The string quartet played again during the drinks reception at the venue, which created a really relaxed atmosphere. Then, in the evening, we had the DJ based at the venue and used Typical Type’s giant love letters as a backdrop to the dance floor, which looked fabulous in the photos.
Also, before serving the evening food of hot bacon sandwiches, we had a firework display in the grounds of the hotel. This was a fantastic way to kick-start the night do and was a lovely way of bringing everyone together.
Following our wedding we would definitely recommend Saddleworth to other couples. The venue speaks for itself – it really is stunning. But what you don’t see in the pictures is how fantastic the team is. Daniella and John were at the end of a phone or email at any point during the planning process and this is invaluable. Staff on the day made sure everything ran smoothly and all of our guests were happy without us even having to think about it. This meant we could concentrate on what mattered – enjoying our special day with our family and friends, knowing that everything was taken care of.
It’s really difficult to pick our favourite part of the day – we both loved every minute of it! I think the bit that I remember most vividly is walking into the church. The string quartet had just started playing and I could see Tom at the end of the aisle. The photo James took of us captures this moment beautifully (above) – it was really special.
After the wedding we enjoyed a few days in Majorca for our minimoon as I was due back at work shortly after the wedding. We’ve since managed to get away on our actual honeymoon, where we spent four nights on Lake Como and then travelled down to Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. It was great to see two completely different parts of the same country. We ate some fabulous food and visited some amazing places – we can’t wait to go back!
My top tip for other Brides Up North is, make sure you take a step back at some point during your wedding day and just watch. It’s so overwhelming to be in a room with all your favourite people, who are all there to celebrate with you both. There’s just so much love in the room; it’s magical. Also, don’t worry about the small stuff – stick to your vision and keep in mind that it’s about the two of you getting married. Everything else is lovely, but it’s not essential.
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Originally from north of the border, Alexis has lived in the North East for the past 15 years and considers herself officially an adopted Geordie. A qualified journalist - Alexis took up the position of editor at the region’s longest running business publication in 2015 before moving into a marketing role for one of the UK’s largest independent arts and craft galleries. Alexis currently edits her own lifestyle blog, where you can find her latest musings on all things Newcastle-related, together with a smattering of her Instagram-worthy cocktail and foodie pics. Yet to find Mr Right herself, Alexis sees this as a mere formality when it comes to tying the knot, as she’s already picked out her dream wedding dress, theme and venue...
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