Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Shows Spring 2017
Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Shows Spring 2017

best of both worlds. madison james for a glamorous country wedding at aldby park – lindsey and andy

February 14th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (31)

Happy Valentine’s Day Brides up North! Did you catch our weekend wish list?

It’s time to get all romantic on these pretty pages as today’s seriously sophisticated couple pulled out all the stops for their wedding in glorious Yorkshire. After the groom’s idyllic proposal in Champagne, Lindsey wore Madison James, Andy wore his RAF Number Ones, and beautiful blooms, jaw-dropping home bakes and fizz (Champagne, obviously) were the order of the day.

This outdoor-loving pair created a striking fusion of styles – Lindsey’s deep-cut beaded dress and the colour scheme’s copper accents feel very city chic, but their stunning sailcloth Sperry marquee and those hayfield tandem photographs are pure countryside class.

The best of both worlds – and simply gorgeous to boot.

With images by Chris Milner and video by Brides Up North Sponsor Silver Sixpence Films.

Andy and Lindsey from Silver Sixpence Films on Vimeo.

lindsey says: We got engaged in the Champagne region of France in August 2015. Andy booked us first class Eurostar tickets for a weekend in Paris and Champagne. On the day we got engaged, he had hired a tandem bike (we both like cycling and had cycled from London to Paris earlier in the year together). We cycled from vineyard to vineyard and sampled lots of champagne. It rained a little in the morning so we got wet on the bike but at the last Champagne House the clouds parted and the sun came out beautifully. At around 3pm we got back on the tandem for the last time to cycle back. We’d only been cycling for about ten minutes down a beautiful quiet country lane when we got to a hill. Having had a good few glasses of bubbly in us, Andy asked if we could ‘take five’ at the top and enjoy the view down the valley. And that’s where he took off his helmet (and I thankfully did the same!) and he dropped down on one knee and popped the question!

We spent the rest of the evening drinking champagne (obviously!) and got planning what our dream wedding could look like….

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (28)

We got married on 30th July 2016. We wanted a day in the summer so that (weather permitting) we could celebrate in the sun in my beautiful home county of Yorkshire. I grew up on a farm and we both love the countryside so we wanted to be able to celebrate in with the trees and flowers in full bloom and Yorkshire looking glorious.

We got married at St Helen and the Holy Cross Church in Sheriff Hutton, followed by a Sperry (white marquee by Papakata) reception at Aldby Park in Buttercrambe. We fell in love with the venue and it ticked every box for us – a combination of a stunning stately home surrounded by acres and acres of open fields and countryside as far as the eye can see. A very country style look with the glamour of an incredibly handsome period property. The owners allowed us to have our marquee on their beautiful garden at the rear of the house so that we also had a view down the steep bank to the River Derwent. Perfect! The owners also allowed us to have a camping area so as many of our friends as we wanted were able to camp at the venue for free which was really helpful. We hired a handful of deck chairs and shepherds’ crooks (from Add Vintage) to create a summer’s evening chillout area on the lawn.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (42)

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (45)

The Sperry tent is stunningly elegant. It is made out of sailcloth and has incredible roof contours. We both loved how striking it is and different to any normal marquee we’d seen. Also, Andy has sailed extensively (his parents have a boat on the South coast still) so having a tent made out of sail cloth seemed very apt.

We had a bit of a bike theme (referencing back to the big fat engagement) so we made a bicycle wheel chandelier, sprayed it bronze and suspended it above the dancefloor. We also had a tandem on the day and cycled through the fields at dusk (I just about mastered the art of hitching up a wedding dress!)

Our colours were pale blue and copper. We wanted some blue in the theme as Andy’s RAF uniform is blue. So we went with a pale shade throughout with some copper touches to complement and also to bring some sparkle to the colour theme.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (20)

I wore a fitted beaded gown from Madison James. It had straps and a deep cut-out back. I actually found it at a wedding fair in Manchester. Andy agreed to attend one fair and accidentally (honestly!) I picked one of the biggest in the UK. Typically, I found the dress on a mannequin while we were walking round so I waited until we were well past it before asking Andy if he wouldn’t mind finding a quiet spot in a café at the other side of the show and having a coffee on his own while I checked something out! About 45 minutes later I returned to poor Andy, knowing that I had probably found the dress, but hadn’t felt brave enough to hand over the credit card without having had a second opinion.

The same show returned in the October so I went back with my mum and one of my bridesmaids (Natalie, who had flown over from Amsterdam where she lives) so I could try the dress again. I safely assumed that mum and Natalie’s tears were a good sign so half-an-hour later (after they’d wrestled the dress off me!) we were sitting drinking more champagne celebrating that I’d found my dream dress.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (34)

Andy is an Officer in the RAF so he wore his Number Ones to get married in. He changed into a navy suit (matching the bestman and ushers) just after our drinks reception and before sitting down for dinner. Andy’s wedding ring was made out of an engine turbine from a Concorde airplane. His dad was a flight engineer on Concorde and flew for British Airways for 20 years until retirement. We trawled the country trying to find a working jewellers who could work with a titanium piece of engine and eventually found one in Birmingham. They etched a drawing of Concorde into the inside of the ring alongside our initials and our wedding date.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (4)

The bridesmaids wore simple floor-length dove grey dresses with copper shoes and accessories. The dresses were a steal from ASOS and both girls looked stunning. The dresses had subtle slits in both the front and back and also the side. The groomsmen wore navy suits from Moss Bros with copper ties. The flower girls had white dresses with fake petals in the hems. The page boys wore matching blue bow ties, braces and pinstriped shorts from M&S with brown deck shoes from Debenhams.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (11)

I was made up when a very good friend of mine, Rich (we met climbing Kilimajaro in 2010), offered to drive me and my dad to the church in his Mercedes. He is a professional chauffeur so is well-versed at getting brides to the church on time, or thereabouts!

Andy, his best man and two ushers drove to the church in Andy’s mum’s 1970s Morris Minor Traveller. Andy’s dad had lovingly restored the car over the last two years and it was finished to pristine condition in time for our wedding which was simply amazing. Andy’s brother Nigel (also the best man) drove us away from the church in the Morris as husband and wife. Andy’s dad had even removed the passenger seat and had crafted a wooden table with two glass holders to sit in its place so that we could have champagne on the drive from the church to Aldby Park.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (13)

Chris Milner was our photographer. He was absolutely incredible; so relaxed and had some great ideas to create individual photos if we were up for it (which of course we were!)

We used Penny and Ed of Silversixpence Films as our videographers and they too were incredible. I could watch the DVD every day of the week. It’s so professional yet so personal. All of our friends have been amazed at the quality of the finished product. It really is priceless.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (17)

A family friend (Barbara Pinnock) did my flowers. They were dusky pink roses with gypsophila. The bridesmaids had huge bunches of gypsophila and the men had white rose button holes.

Mum and I went to the wholesale flower market in Leeds two days before the wedding. We bought so many flowers that our camper van was packed to the roof with them. A mass of hydrangea (dusky pink, lilac, white), roses, gladioli, green blooms and blue thistles sat in jars on the tables.

Some of my mum’s crafty friends also made some huge amazing hessian sack swags which had artificial flowers and fairy lights intertwined in them. They hung from the poles of the tent and looked incredible.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (21)

As favours, we gave guests a mason jar with a chalk board sticker on which we wrote each of their names. It served as a water glass on the table and spirits/cocktail glass on the evening.

Knowing some star bakers, we decided to ask Andy’s mum to make two tiers and my friend Paul to make two tiers of our wedding cake. Andy’s mum makes a mean chocolate cake (his favourite) and Paul makes an incredible carrot cake so we had four tiers of chocolate and carrot cake, iced with royal icing. A stunning rose garland was created by the florist which delicately wrapped around the cake and made it look more incredible and professional that we could have dreamt of!

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (27)

The Hog & Apple did our catering. Their Instagram and Facebook pages sell their food for them. It is simply food art. I have no idea how they manage to cater for so many at such a high level. Everyone commented that it was the best wedding food they had ever had. The plates looked incredible and no one went hungry. I loved their style; they break the mould and challenge what standard wedding catering looks like. They were happy to design a menu that featured anything and everything that Andy and I wanted to make it individual and memorable. We had a sharing tapas board served on huge wooden boards followed by a duo of lamb with mini shepherd’s pie and dauphinoise potatoes. Dessert was pistachio and olive oil cake.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (30)

As for drinks, Andy and I took a trip to the Calais Wine Superstore at Easter and stocked up on 80 bottles of Lindemans Shiraz-Cabernet, 80 bottles of Jean de la Roche Sauvignon Blanc and 200 bottles of French fizzy wine (Mousseaux). The bar was also stocked with barrels of ale from local brewery (Treboom). We had a separate cocktail bar stocked with gin, vodka, rum, whisky and Jaegermeister. We had a Methuselah of Lanson champagne to share out but the best man thought he’d won a grand prix and sprayed most of it around the tent after his speech! My mum had also made ten litres of Sloe Gin six months before the wedding so shots of that were on tap as soon as dinner had finished. Drinks at our evening bar were £2 each in an honesty box for the Yorkshire Ambulance who helped me when I had an accident climbing in the Yorkshire Dales in 2011.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (39)

Entertainment-wise, we had Hull-based band The Ordinary Men play on the night. I‘d booked them twice before for two fundraising barn dances in my home village of Little Weighton. I knew how amazing they were and how good they were at getting everyone dancing, which is exactly what they did. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

We had a Silent Disco from 1am after hiring equipment (50 headsets) from Silent Disco Direct and had two Spotify playlists playing.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (41)

We included a couple of individual touches in the day. I decided to record a version of Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird to walk down the aisle to. A friend of mine is a sound engineer and was kind enough to record me singing in his studio. I played it to Andy shortly before the wedding day but no one else really knew it would be me singing until they arrived at the church and read in the order of service that the vocals were mine.

We changed one verse of the hymn ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’ to more wedding-friendly lyrics (We pledge to one another). We also had a Guard of Honour as we exited the church with 12 of Andy’s friends and colleagues in uniform with swords arched above us.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (56)

Other suppliers not yet mentioned that we used were Blue Sky Event Hire to hire (not very glam, I know!) the generator. We also hired a huge trailer fridge from them which was invaluable and kept all the wine and bottled beer and mixers chilled. Elite Hire Toilets provided the essential loos, which were very impressive considering they were on a trailer. Piped music etc!

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (73)

For our honeymoon, we went on a road trip in Canada. We flew into Calgary, picked up a jeep and drove up to the Rockies where we had three days in a lakeside lodge surrounded by mountains. The lake is so remote that it is only accessible for four months of the year due to snowfall! We then drove through the Rockies up to Jasper, then onto Whistler and then onto Vancouver Island where we took a seaplane and kayaked around some remote islands. We saw three grizzy bears and one black bear in the wild which was incredible.

A Glam Country Wedding at Alby Park (c) Chris Milner Photography (78)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – if you have a family friend who is very organised, try to convince them to be your on-the-day organiser. I gave my mum’s friend a plan of the day and he made sure everything ran smoothly. And we bought him a big gift to say thank you!

Also, prepare and practice your speech in front of a good friend who can give you some nice but critical pointers! And speak sloooooowly (I rushed mine, unfortunately!)

Finally, relax and enjoy the day. Remember everyone is there to support you and to celebrate with you. Don’t sweat the small stuff – things may go wrong but as long as you both say ‘I do’ and there is food and wine on the table then there’s really not much to worry about!

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about the author

Laura McDonagh
Laura is a true Northophile: she married Adam in Durham in 2011 accompanied by 200 Northumbrian lamb shanks and a Mackem 1950s tribute band who did a rockabilly cover version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. They honeymooned in Northumberland in a 1972 MG convertible, went surfing in Alnmouth and made it to the Edinburgh Fringe (let's ignore the fact that it rained all week). Her big mantra is 'no regrets'...but if she could travel back in time and wear a wedding dress with a Peter Pan collar and pockets, she'd pretty much die happy.

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