December 22nd, 2016 | Alexis Forsyth
Continuing Christmas week (wahey!) in style on the wedding blog we’re delving into Chris and Olga’s magical day at the beautiful Ripley Castle in North Yorkshire – one of our brand new Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Show destinations for 2017 no less!
We just love everything about their story – from the rainbow that appeared in the sky during their first visit to the castle, to the stunning handmade wedding dress, created back in Olga’s hometown in Russia.
And let’s not forget about their amazing fireworks display and the appearance of their very own Russian MC, who added something that little bit different to the day’s proceedings!
With images from JPR Shah Photography
olga says: We got engaged on 31 August 2015. We were walking in the rain at Harlow Carr Gardens near Harrogate – Chris had been carrying the ring with him all morning and was waiting for the right moment. Despite the rain there were quite a few people around and it was difficult to get a moment alone. We turned into a little hidden garden, full of strongly smelling lavender (which reminded Chris of his late grandmother’s garden) and he then went down on one knee and popped the question – it was very romantic.
We tied the knot on 4th June 2016. During the early days of our relationship, I left the UK to fly home after our initial month together, so when we were thinking about a date for our wedding, we suddenly remembered that heartbreaking day and decided to turn that sad memory into a happy one and use it to bring us together for the rest of our lives.
We got married at Ripley Castle. The reason? A rainbow! I had set my heart on an English castle and Ripley was the first place on our venue list, as Chris is a Harrogate lad. We were incredibly impressed by the wonderful, professional welcome that the staff there gave us, but even though we felt very much at home there, we wanted to compare it with some others. However, while visiting, a rainbow appeared in the sky. Rainbows have always been lucky for us, appearing on our first date and when we got engaged, so we felt that it was always our lucky charm. It was definitely a sign for us, and our decision was made immediately as we drove away!
We wanted our wedding to have a classical English theme to suit the wonderful surroundings at Ripley Castle, coupled with some traditional features of a Russian wedding too. It was important for both of us that it embraced both cultures.
Our colour scheme incorporated a combination of ivory, pale gold, lemon, soft tangerine and mint green. We started with my favourite colour for my dress (ivory) and complemented it with the gold and lemon in Chris’ outfit – we added in other colours through my knowledge of the world of fashion (these colours were ‘in’ this year for spring weddings!) – they looked wonderful together and seemed to fit in harmoniously with the castle’s interior.
I wore a stunning dress designed and hand-made by a well-known and internationally renowned wedding salon called Belfaso, which is based in my home city of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia.
Gemma Earl Make Up did the hair and makeup for the bridal party on the day of the wedding. I worked closely with Gemma to get the right ‘look’, including a trial run the week before when we tried a number of different styles.
For his attire, Chris hired his suit from Moss Bros. He wore a traditional long black topcoat and yellow/gold waistcoat and cravat, with morning suit trousers.
The groomsmen wore similar suits to the groom (also from Moss Bros), but with silver waistcoats and cravats.
The bridal party travelled to the castle from the White Hart Hotel in a stunning white convertible Beauford Open Tourer booked through Limo Broker Ltd.
We can’t find the right words to give thanks to our photographers John and Christina for their amazing photography – it was like something from a wonderful dream. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve looked at the pictures and what hugely wonderful and happy memories they produce for us, and everybody else who sees them. We have fallen in love with every picture. They seemed to be in exactly the right place every time. Their photography is a mixture of emotion and sophistication – the pictures speak for themselves really. It’s unbelievable that they’ve managed to capture all those precious moments and breathtaking sentimental details.
Our flowers were supplied by The Flower Room at Ripley Castle. I carried a beautifully shaped tear drop cascading bouquet that included white roses, mango calla lilies, white orchids, pale gold roses, lemon ‘Blonde Beauty’ roses, white veronica and mint green coloured foliage (eucalyptus). It was tied with a gorgeous satin soft gold colour ribbon that flowed beneath the bouquet.
Chris wore a pale lemon rose upon his lapel. Pearls and a few elements of the bridal bouquet were included in Chris’s buttonhole too.
For the ceremony table, we had a stunning long and low arrangement including the flowers and colours of the bridal bouquet.
Other decorative touches included aisle petals, hurricane lanterns, and foliage and flowers on the staircases and balustrades.
As favours we handed out milk chocolate hearts in laser-cut boxes with personalised tags and blowing bubble hearts.
We had a traditional three-tiered fruit wedding cake made for us by an expert patissier, Johannah Randall, who is based in Stamford. She made the cake to our own specifications – it was wonderful and even more tasty a couple of months later when we took the 10kg bottom tier to Russia for our overseas relatives at our second wedding reception in Nizhny Novgorod.
Before the wedding breakfast, we served a range of canapés, including quails egg Florentines, queen scallop and chorizo skewers, smoked salmon blinis with dill crème fraiche and vegetable spring rolls with soy dip.
For the main meal the starter was pressing of poached and confit corn fed chicken, caramalised pear, pickled mushrooms and pea shoots. This was followed by roast rump of Yorkshire Dales lamb, lamb shoulder hot pot, sweet potato and fine beans. To finish, we tucked into chocolate delice, banana and salted caramel ice cream.
We had accompanying wines – Shiraz and a Chablis with the meal, along with Champagne and Prosecco for the toasts and reception respectively and Port served with supper later in the evening.
Entertainment-wise, we had a DJ from Jonny Ross Music, who was great. We also had a Russian MC – Ivan Gronsky from Nizhny Novgorod, to explain to the guests each of the Russian traditions that we incorporated into the day and other differences that guests would see if it were a Russian wedding; this was great fun and the guests loved it!
Our wedding was filled with special touches, because it was a combination of British and Russian traditions. At the entrance, every guest received a lottery ticket and later on during the entertainment, the luckiest guests got a very special dining prize from the newlyweds.
After the wedding ceremony, to celebrate this new chapter in our lives, the bride’s mother comes with a special loaf of Russian bread called KARAVAY (which our MC brought all the way from Russia for us!). Traditionally, in Russia, when a new family is created, the parents meet the couple and the bride’s mother says a few words wishing all the best to the bride and the groom; after which the couple bite into the bread with salt.
Another little touch was our box of inscribed wooden hearts for each guest so that they could leave us a message, which were all very touching!
The large calibre firework display during the evening was another highlight, and was an incredible surprise for Chris, which I had arranged in secret. We set off the display ourselves (under supervision from our suppliers Fireworkers Limited) and the fireworks went 300 feet into the air and even reflected in the lake – it was an amazing spectacle that ended with a huge pair of firework hearts.
Following our wedding we would certainly recommend Ripley Castle to other couples. You can’t help but get swept away by the romance and tradition of the venue – the 15th century interior, traditional English gardens with fragrant roses and the stunning terrace views of the scenic lake create such a unique combination that added so much charm and magic to our day. The food was amazing; the menu and wine tasting day beforehand made us feel like VIPs. The staff – Evie in her organisation and Dave running things on the day – made it seamless and just an absolute joy to experience. They just couldn’t do enough for us.
Looking back, it’s hard to select one specific part of the day as my favourite as it all went so wonderfully. The ceremony was incredibly touching with some wonderful traditional touches provided by our Russian MC. It could not have gone more perfectly from start to finish!
Sadly, as we have our own business, we have been unable to take a lengthy honeymoon yet – we have promised ourselves somewhere exotic next spring. We did manage a week in Anglesey after the wedding though, which was a dream.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, there are key areas you should try to get right – the venue, the photographers and the bride’s hair and makeup – so you need to select people you have total confidence in and who you feel connected to. We couldn’t have chosen a better group of suppliers. Other than the venue, which we booked several months in advance, we organised the rest of the arrangements in the last month before the wedding day! The Brides Up North wedding fair at Stockeld Park was a lifesaver, too.
And lastly, relax and enjoy yourselves; just follow your heart with your choices!
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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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