August 17th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
We’ve got a treat lined up for you today on the blog, as we venture to the pretty Ripley Castle estate in Yorkshire, for a wedding that’s brimming in gorgeous details and even a cleverly subtle nod to the groom’s favourite football club.
Melanie and Carl’s exquisite day boasts a rural, country charm thanks to its location – think stone-built cobbled streets, the quaintest of churches and a picture-perfect lake for those all-important wedding shots. We’re in love.
The bride decided to have her wedding dress custom-made, so sorry ladies you won’t be able to find this beautiful gown anywhere else! A rustic bouquet of peach roses, blue delphinium and green foliage complemented this vintage bridal look perfectly. Other highlights from the day include a string quartet, outdoors games and a sweet cart, but we’ll let Melanie share all the finer details!
With images by Kazooieloki Photography.
P.s Have YOU registered yet to join us at Ripley Castle for our awesome CASTLES&CANVAS Wedding Show on Sunday 10th September? Gather your #bridesquad and pop the not to be missed date in your diary. Click here to register now!
melanie says: We had been together just over two years when Carl surprised me with a trip to New York for my 30th birthday in May 2016. He had booked a gorgeous hotel with a window seat overlooking Central Park and, on our first day, asked me to sit in the window seat to watch a slideshow of photographs of us set to Happy Together by The Turtles. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, but with no ring as he’d booked an appointment at Tiffany & Co for me to choose one!
We got married on Saturday 24th June 2017. Carl is a huge football fan and lifelong Leicester City season ticket holder so we wanted to get married in the break between when one season ended and another started. Carl wanted this so that he didn’t miss the football and me so we didn’t miss any future wedding anniversaries!
We tied the knot at All Saints Church in Ripley, near Harrogate, and our reception was held at the beautiful Ripley Castle just across the road. We knew we wanted somewhere in the countryside as we wanted it to be a pretty place for people who had travelled a long way. From the first time we visited Ripley Castle we fell in love with it. The beautiful stone houses in the small village of Ripley made for an incredibly warm welcome before even reaching the castle. The castle grounds are stunning with a picturesque lake, and the castle is built from the same stone as the rest of the village. Inside, large wooden beams gave a really warm and authentic feel to the venue. Nowhere else we saw after this even came close.
We didn’t have a specific theme for the day as we just wanted to include the things we liked. As we got engaged in New York, we tried to have a nod towards this, with our tables named after iconic landmarks, such as Central Park, and our dessert being a specially requested New York cheesecake. In general, we just wanted things that would feel relaxed and enjoyable for everyone.
Our colour scheme was pale blue with peach. Carl wanted blue due to his love of Leicester City FC, so one day when I was browsing Pinterest, I stumbled across a picture of a large pale blue and peach bouquet and instantly loved it. We liked that it was different to anything we’d seen before and how it gave a soft, romantic feel to the images it had been incorporated in.
I had been to quite a few weddings and seen lots of very similar dresses, so after browsing pictures of wedding dresses I decided I really loved sleeves as I felt they were elegant and different. The reality of finding a dress with sleeves was really quite difficult. I went to three shops, all of which only had one or two and all of which were very slim fitting, which did not suit my shape. I made an appointment with a local designer and dressmaker called Joanna Leigh Couture and it was the best decision I made. I told her all of the things I liked and didn’t like, picked the material and lace from her samples and she drew up a design of my perfect wedding dress. I got to see my dress grow and change at our monthly appointments and ended up with a dress that fitted me perfectly and that I absolutely loved.
Carl wore a navy suit with a grey and navy tweed waistcoat and tie. This was hired from Humphrey and Tilly in Thirsk using a national company called Cameron Ross. We found Humphrey and Tilly at a wedding fair and wanted to use them because of their warm, friendly and professional approach.
Carl’s groomsmen wore matching suits and ties but with navy waistcoats, also from Humphrey and Tilly. My bridesmaids, meanwhile, wore shorter, pale blue dresses made by Ebony Rose but ordered from Deborah Moore Bridal in Hessle.
My makeup – and also my bridesmaids and mother-of-the-bride and -groom – was done by Lauren Rippin of Lauren Sally Makeup who was excellent. She made everyone look like the best versions of themselves.
Carl and I stayed at the Boars Head Inn in Ripley the night before the wedding (but, of course, in separate rooms!) As the church and our accommodation was all within the castle estate, nothing was more than 100 yards away from anything else so we travelled everywhere on foot.
Our photographers were Richard and Christine of Kazooieloki Photography. We cannot recommend them highly enough and we couldn’t have wished for warmer, friendlier people. Looking through their incredible photographs has been like watching the whole day happening again and they have a perfect balance between portrait and documentary style photography. We didn’t even realise they were taking photographs most of the time! We feel very lucky to have had such lovely and artistic people capture our day.
Ripley Castle has its own florist, The Flower Room, so we decided to use them to provide our flowers on the day. I wanted quite a relaxed bouquet with peach roses, blue delphinium and green foliage, all hand tied with a trailing peach ribbon.
The table flowers were simple peach roses to match my bouquet, and the top table had individual jars with alternating roses and delphinium heads. In the church, we had bouquets of gypsophila tied to the pew ends which were then brought across to decorate the staircase in the castle after the service. These flowers were again provided by The Flower Room. On the front of the top table we had a light-up ‘M’ heart ‘C’, which we bought online from Signs That Look The Biz. In addition, Chair Covers of Yorkshire provided our chair covers and helped to transform the look of the room.
Our favours were small wooden laser cut names which we got from VM Bespoke. We paired this with a scratch card for everyone, although the most anyone won was £10!
Our cake was made by the lovely Kirsty at Piece of Cake Harrogate. It consisted of three tiers: one vanilla, one lemon and one fruit, and was decorated with fondant peach roses and pale blue hydrangea to tie in with my bouquet and colour theme.
For our food, we had a pressing of chicken, duck and parma ham to start; roast beef for our main; and New York cheesecake for dessert. The accompanying red and white wine was Ripley Castle’s Sir Thomas Ingleby’s own selection as they produce their own wine. For canapés we had scallops with chorizo, spring rolls, smoked salmon blinis and miniature scones with jam and cream. Then in the evening we had a hog roast. We wanted to choose food that would be liked by the majority of people but was also delicious. Our guests gave us some lovely feedback so we were very happy with our choices.
Entertainment-wise, we had a photo booth from Booth Revolution as we’ve always enjoyed these and it would give people photographs to take away as a reminder of the day. We were given an album with duplicates of the photos taken and, judging by these, the guests really enjoyed it!
We also had a string quartet called Simply Strings, who were a pleasure to deal with. We loved picking the mix of songs and included a variety from Frank Sinatra to Bruno Mars. We even picked the Star Wars theme for a bit of fun!
There were some garden games outdoors, too, provided by the venue and we had a disco in the evening, although I think people spent more time in the photo booth than dancing!
As a special touch, in the order of service given out in the church we did a ‘Who’s Who’ section to introduce our wedding party to the guests. Sarah Wants produced the order of service and it matched our invitations. We also provided the guests with confetti from The Confetti Cone Company, made up of pale blue and peach petals. At the venue, we also had a sweet cart, which we loaded up with lots of sweets and Krispy Kreme doughnuts – this was a huge hit with our guests!
We would fully recommend Ripley Castle to other couples for so many reasons. It is set in the most incredibly beautiful grounds, the food was delicious and their front of house manager, Dave, went above and beyond for us throughout the whole day. He worked tirelessly and was warm, friendly and professional.
It’s very difficult to pick a favourite part of the day. The church service was very special to us. We really loved having all of our favourite people together in one place and really treasured this as it’s unlikely to happen again. Carl and I took five minutes alone to sit on a bench overlooking the lake with nobody else around and we really valued those moments of peace and tranquility together.
We went to Mauritius for our honeymoon and stayed in the 5-star Beachcomber resort at Trou-Aux-Biches. The suite, food, and views from the hotel were all exceptional. We enjoyed a catamaran cruise, a submarine ride and sub scooter excursion as gifts from our wedding guests and took full advantage of the complimentary pedalos, kayaks, glass bottom boat and sailing lessons provided by the hotel.
Our main piece of advice for other Brides Up North is to enjoy every second of the run up, as much as the day itself. We loved the menu sampling, meeting the florist, picking songs for the string quartet and outfit appointments, and didn’t feel stressed at any point as we just wanted to enjoy everything. If anything doesn’t go quite to plan (as it is bound to when so many things need to come together) then try not to worry as there will be so many other perfect things happening that you don’t want to miss.
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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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