February 15th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Sometimes, we just want to have it all. And for today’s couple, their venue choice – Sledmere House in East Yorkshire – more than delivered when it came to fulfilling their wedding day wishlist.
Tying the knot last September in the stately home’s regal setting, the couple then shifted their celebrations in to the more rustic backdrop of the venue’s on-site barn, which Josie and Bruce describe as their own personal ‘DIY project’.
And with so many special touches – the ice cream tricycle, stairway to heaven and petal drop are just a few of our personal favourites – we think you’re going to feel inspired by the abundance of original ideas from their big day. Josie shares all the gorgeous details…
With images from Photogenick
josie says: We got engaged on 26 September 2016. Bruce said there was no specific relevance to this date, however we had booked a trip to Paris near Christmas, so he had got a lock engraved with the date to mark the occasion. Bruce planned to propose at Sails café, Skidby windmill, a location that meant a lot to me. However, I scuppered Bruce’s plans by inviting my mum and granddad to lunch. Bruce chickened out. However, knowing it had to be that day because of the engraved lock, Bruce had to think on his feet and suggested a walk…eventually popping the question! He presented me with the most beautiful ring and, of course, the engraved lock. We celebrated in Paris in December and placed the lock on the love lock bridge.
We got married on 17 September 2016. We didn’t want to wait too long to get married. There was no relevance to this date but we hoped for good weather and, based on previous years, September had been lovely and this gave us just under a year to plan and organize everything for our special day.
We got married at Sledmere House – a Georgian and Edwardian House in East Yorkshire. We were looking for a venue that had everything! We had a big guest list, which we initially found restricting when considering other venues. Plus, we wanted to make the day unique and personal to us but keep some aspects of it traditional.
We quickly learnt that choosing the venue was going to be one of the biggest and hardest decisions. When we came across Sledmere House and the barn located on site – we were blown away, as it enabled us to have everything we wanted; two completely contrasting venues in one day.
We also chose the option of the bridal party having the beautiful ‘red’ room to get ready in with the hairdresser (Hannah Cormack) and make-up artist (Ali Gomerson) attending while the group enjoyed a celebration breakfast.
The house was beautiful, sophisticated and elegant and the most formal parts of our day took place here. We got married in the library and had a petal drop on the grand staircase. We felt like royalty.
The barn was the complete opposite; you could not get anymore rustic! Initially it had no doors, no toilets and there was a tractor inside. It was a huge DIY project but it had so much potential and we had so many creative ideas.
There was no specific theme but the contrasting venues provided two opposing styles, the house was grand whereas the barn was very quirky and rustic. The barn featured a lot of handmade décor and props too. We had indoor and outdoor hay bale sofas and the yard was decorated with bunting. We intended to make this part of the day informal as we wanted everyone to relax and enjoy themselves. We even provided blankets, umbrellas (thankfully, not needed) and flip flops for our guests to ensure they were kept comfortable! The House did not require any dressing – it was perfect as it was.
I wore a full-length ivory lace serenity dress, with a full-length veil from the excellent Wedding Veil Shop in Blackpool. My dress was bought from the Bridal Factory Outlet in Northallerton whose staff were just wonderful. After trying on about 20 dresses at various shops I went back to the very first dress I tried on. In the run up to the wedding I lost a lot of weight and I only had my last fitting with a talented family friend the night before the wedding!
I paired my dress up with multi-coloured shoes from Next. They were amazing but unfortunately broke from all the dancing!
The four groomsmen all wore a similar style to the groom; they wore tweed style jackets, black jeans, white shirts, dicky bows and jeans with tanned shoes and belts.
There were six bridesmaids in the morning and they all wore matching lounge wear from M&S to get ready in. They each wore one of three different styles of dresses in the same colour (mink) from Little Mistress and wore fresh flowers in their hair styles.
The bridal party got ready in the red room at the venue, which is where the Queen stays when she visits Sledmere. We had some novelty transport from the house to the barn for our guests – a tractor-trailer ride, decorated in bunting!
Nick and Nic from Photogenick were our amazing photographers. I think the photos speak for themselves. They are a lovely couple and nothing is too much trouble – they really made sure everything was perfect and made us feel comfortable in front of the camera and caught every special moment. Our guests also commented on how fab they were! They manned the photo booth and gave guests Polaroid prints to take away on the night. A computer screen was playing during the evening so evening guests could see the ceremony. We also had an engagement shoot and on our wedding day they brought along a large mounted print from this shoot, which our guests then signed. Photogenick framed this and presented it after the wedding as an alternative guest book.
Our videographer was Ben Davis from Beed Studios, who was brilliant at capturing every aspect of our day. He provided us with a mini film for use on social media as well as DVDs afterwards.
A local lady called Beverley Ann Skull supplied our flowers. She came by recommendation and was just fabulous. Beverley is so talented and creative, she spent so much time making sure everything was perfect. She did the bridal bouquet, six bridesmaid bouquets, seven button holes, a top table arrangement and 11 centre pieces.
The barn was a massive DIY project, we were fortunate in that our family and friends helped us with creating handmade props and decorations. Keeping in with the rustic theme, we had jugs of fresh flowers placed on logs for our centre pieces, with handmade hessian and lace bunting. We also borrowed Christmas lights from everybody we knew!
We also hired our dance floor, LOVE letter lights and some fantastic waterfall lights from the lovely Jo and Peter Knapp at Elegant Covers and Bows.
The groom’s mother provided a vintage style sweet stand complete with scales and paper bags. We also had a ‘stairway to heaven’ – a vintage step ladder decorated with flowers and candles with photographs of our recently deceased loved ones.
Large painted pallets were decorated with Polaroid pictures of our memories together pegged on twine. There was also a beautiful seating plan made by our sister in law, using vintage photo frames attached to a pallet.
For our wedding favours we gave each of our guests homemade chilli jam, “made with love” mostly by my grandparents but Bruce and I helped with the first batch!
We also gave our guests a ticket, to buy themselves a drink on us at our bar which was hosted by Kim Hickson Events.
We had a five-tier cake designed in the style of a pillow stack. Each tier was carefully designed and decorated. Each one was a difference flavour, including traditional fruit, lemon drizzle, Victoria sponge, chocolate fudge, and chocolate and Guinness. It was made by one our best friends, and the Maid of Honour at the wedding, Jasmine Sarucan.
We also had huge trays of caramel shortbread provided by Sails café in Skidby which were delicious and a favourite of the groom.
We served Prosecco and beer at our drinks reception. The sun was shining on the patio which was perfect because instead of canapés, we opted for something different – an ice cream tricycle. This was provided by Dream Shakers, a local company that makes delicious homemade ice cream, including mango, salted caramel and traditional vanilla.
We had a three-course seated wedding breakfast at the barn. We designed the menu and our caterer Hester of Blancmange Catering was more than happy to accommodate. We had spicy parsnip soup or pate for starters, followed by roast beef, a chicken dish or a mushroom stroganoff for our main options and then Sicilian lemon cheese cake or sticky toffee pudding for dessert. It was delicious and everyone commented on the quality of the food and service.
In the evening, we had a fish and chip van from KK Catering Services parked in the courtyard to feed all our evening guests. Again, great food and great service.
Kim Hickson events provided our bar, offering a good range of different drinks including cocktails at good prices. The team were fab.
Both myself and Bruce are big fans of live music. So, we knew we wanted to have a live singer. We got a bit carried away, and booked three, on top of a DJ and a dance performance.
First, we had Danny Maddocks, who sang live during our ceremony, the petal drop and drinks reception. We chose specific songs for walking down the aisle etc. He was brilliant.
Jack Conman and Ellen Brooman are both local singers, they performed during our evening reception separately as guests were arriving. Each learnt and played songs we had requested in advance and Ellen performed live for our first dance singing Kodaline – The One. It made it so memorable.
In the evening, guests gathered round to watch a dance show performed by my sister Chantal Green and her partner Andrea Borrelli. They are England’s no.1 WDSF amateur Latin couple. They wowed guests with a 5 dance performance before getting everyone on the dance floor to teach them a basic salsa dance.
Our original DJ did a no show, but thankfully this was quickly resolved as a friend called upon Marco Monguzzi, a local DJ who saved the day just in time!
There were so many special moments from the day – from the petal drop on staircase and the tractor-trailer ride to the ice cream tricycle and the dance lesson. There was also a special guest appearance by Jasper, our dog!
I would recommend Sledmere House and the barn, together or separately as a venue to get married. There is so much potential to make every wedding unique and your own, the barn provides a blank canvas and the house and grounds are an incredible backdrop for photos.
We went on honeymoon two days after the wedding for one month travelling around Thailand and finishing up in Dubai for four nights. It was the trip of a lifetime; we saw some fantastic places, ate some great food and it was just what we needed after all the wedding planning. We enjoyed diving, a Thai cookery course, visiting an elephant sanctuary, jungle zip lining, staying in floating tents in the jungle and a desert safari. Thailand was somewhere we said we always wanted to go especially before having children. It’s a good job we went when we did, because we have just found out we are expecting baby Wetherhill in June!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be enjoy every minute, don’t worry about the small details, as on the day it doesn’t matter. Remember to take time out together as a couple on the day itself, to soak it all in.
One minor slip up that couldn’t go unmentioned is that during the ceremony, I managed to mess up my vows – stating I would take Bruce to be my “awful wedded husband” rather than lawful. I don’t think I will never live that down. It was certainly the ice breaker!
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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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