May 19th, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
When Sara and Paul stumbled across Rudby Hall in North Yorkshire, they knew they’d found the perfect venue to host the intimate country house wedding of their dreams. It offered them a sophisticated, luxurious and exclusive setting as well as a warm, homely feel – they even allowed the couple’s Westie dog Bonnie in on the celebrations!
All the elegant details of their timeless day have been captured beautifully: think handsome buildings, fine gardens, soft pink hues and romantic florals. Get ready, guys: this one’s a beauty.
With images by Victoria Edwards Photography.
sara says: We got engaged in November 2015. Paul had planned our engagement at Thornton Steward reservoir as it’s one of our favourite places to walk our Westie dog, Bonnie. He even got up early to hide a photo album of memories and champagne. Unfortunately though, it started pouring down when we got there and I insisted on going home! Paul later had to go to the ‘pub’ to retrieve the hidden surprises and instead proposed on a spa weekend later in the month.
Our wedding day was 1st October 2016 . I’d always dreamt of a summer wedding but, after looking round beautiful country houses, such as Rudby Hall, we thought it seemed such a waste not to make use of the full house! There’s also something romantic about candlelight on a dull day.
Our ceremony was held at All Saints Church, Hutton Rudby and the reception was held up the road at the beautiful Rudby Hall.
We really struggled to find a venue that accommodated under 60 day guests on a Saturday; most had a minimum of 70 which we simply didn’t have. Another bonus of Rudby Hall was that we had exclusive use from Friday to Sunday, so the celebrations felt really intimate; it was like home for a weekend!
Theme-wise, I’d describe our wedding as classical romantic/old English – including the rain! The theme revolved around my love of all things pretty and floral and the colour dusky pink.
In the run up to the wedding, I thought buying my dress would be a nightmare but I actually bought the first one I tried on! I later realised scrolling through Pinterest that I’d pinned the same dress six months before our engagement, so it was meant to be. I wore a simple Mori Lee fishtail gown paired with a delicate crystal ribbon belt that matched my shoes perfectly.
Laura Mac did my makeup on the day of the wedding, which was flattering and natural. My bridesmaids and mum loved their makeup too. In the morning before the ceremony I felt so nervous, but Laura’s friendly and warm personality put me at ease. She was lovely to have around and I would thoroughly recommend her.
The bridesmaid’s dresses were from ASOS and the men’s suits were from Next. The ties were also from ASOS, which matched the bridesmaids’ dresses perfectly. Paul and the groomsmen all wore the same suits, although Paul teamed his with a waistcoat.
In terms of transport on the day, my dad’s friend kindly let us borrow his Maserati to travel to the church, which did the job perfectly.
After a long search we chose Victoria Edwards as our wedding photographer. We just loved her natural style. We wanted to capture real moments instead of traditional staged shots and Victoria did a great job of preserving the details of our day artistically.
The flowers were everything I’d ever dreamt of. My lovely friends Nic and Kim at Our Little Shed took care of my beautiful blooms, creating stunning candelabra arrangements and mantelpiece displays using hydrangeas, avalanche roses, eucalyptus and wax flowers. My favourite had to be the pretty heart wreath which hung above the church entrance. The flowers lasted for weeks and we proudly displayed them at home to ease the post-wedding blues.
We wanted something fun for favours that everyone would appreciate, so settled on scratch cards. As they’re not the prettiest items, we also bought mini envelopes and tied them with pink and gold ribbon to match our theme.
Lindsay at Fairy Cakes and Co created our delicious three-tiered cake of chocolate sponge and lemon and blueberry. The cake was decorated with fresh flowers from our florist to tie in with the rest of the décor.
The food was one of the most important aspects of the day and 99 Catering did a fantastic job. We served a range of canapés for our hungry guests in between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast which included mini Yorkshire puddings with roast beef, smoked salmon blinis and Parma ham with mozzarella, all washed down with Peroni and prosecco.
For the wedding breakfast, guests had a choice of ham hock with piccalilli and brioche and double baked cheese soufflé to start followed by braised blade of beef with fondant potato and claret jus or chicken stuffed with blue cheese rolled in pancetta set on a leek and asparagus risotto. Everyone had the same assiette of desserts, including berry cheesecake, chocolate terrine and lemon posset. In the evening we served mini fish and chips in cones and roasted pork loin – classic evening food!
We had a DJ and croupier tables in the evening as entertainment. It worked perfectly as the DJ played in the drawing room and the croupier tables were set up in the lounge. The croupier tables went down a storm! In fact, it was surprising how competitive everyone got over Monopoly money!
We used Love Light hire for the giant S&P and Mr & Mrs lights, which added to the atmosphere and décor beautifully.
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend Rudby Hall to couples looking for an intimate venue with exclusive use. Sandra and her team couldn’t have been more welcoming; it truly felt like home for the weekend and we were able to put our own stamp on the place. They even let Bonnie be part of our big day. It wouldn’t have been the same without her, even if she did steal the limelight!
My favourite part of the day was after the wedding breakfast. We finally relaxed and managed to chat to all of our guests and really enjoy the party. I’m sure a couple glasses of fizz helped, too!
We chose Lux Grande Gaube Mauritius for our luxury honeymoon getaway. We spent 14 nights enjoying amazing food and sunshine and explored Port Louis and the National Park in a convertible Mini. We also enjoyed island boat trips and saw dolphins at sea – definitely the highlight.
My advice to other Brides Up North would be to relax! Enjoy the build-up – you’ll never get the chance again. All the small details you obsess about really don’t matter in the end. I’d also recommend a good trawl of Brides Up North. I loved checking out the real weddings every week; there’s no better inspiration than having a nosey at how other couples do it!
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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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