August 22nd, 2017 | Laura McDonagh
Some brides adopt the subtlest hint of a theme – a whisper of a winter wedding, a flicker of a fairytale feel – and some brides go to town. In case you’re wondering, today’s 1920s Great Gatsby-inspired wedding is very much the latter, and when we first saw these breath-taking photographs we could barely contain our glee.
The lovely Victoria and William set out to wow with a wedding that would pay tribute to Fitzgerald’s compelling love story – with all of the romance and none of the tragedy, obviously – as well as recreating the decadent party vibes and stunning 1920s styling of Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film version.
Looking at these stunning photographs, I’m a believer – Gatsby and Daisy are very much alive and living a beautiful alternative reality after getting hitched in an Eliza Jane Howell frock and a striking bespoke suit. And they danced the night away – the Charleston, of course. Our very favourite type of ending – a happy one.
With images by Todd & Moore Photography.
victoria says: We were engaged on the 30th January 2015. William took me away to the Black Swan at Oldstead, a Michelin Star restaurant run by the successful Great British Menu-winning chef Tommy Banks. Dinner was an elaborate tasting menu and, as one of the dessert courses was being served, the waitress placed an open ring box in the middle of a display of Douglas fir. Out of an ethereal mist created by dry ice, the ring – a marquis solitaire diamond – revealed itself. It all happened in the blink of an eye, and was a huge surprise – one that William had clearly put a lot of thought and planning into.
We were married on the 18th March 2017. My sister was to be married in March 2016 and so we decided to wait until the following March and keep tradition going as my parents also married in March almost 50 years ago!
We were married at Goldsborough Church: an ancient parish church in the village of Goldsborough, North Yorkshire, and adjacent to Goldsborough Hall where we held the reception. We chose Goldsborough as it had connections to Harewood where we live and, as we were planning a 1920s Great Gatsby-style wedding, we felt it would fit perfectly. We also wanted a venue where we could have exclusive use for the day and somewhere our close family and friends could stay overnight.
The 1920s Great Gatsby theme stemmed from the fact that we wanted to do something totally different and that no one would expect. We both love the film and its opulent party style, and so an idea was born.
Everything was inspired by the Art Deco period, so black and gold in the main with lots of feathers, pearls and orchids.
I wore a 1920s style Eliza Jane Howell dress. I purchased it from Bridal Rogue Gallery in Harrogate. I also carried a fan made from ivory ostrich feathers made by Kathrine at Fleur Adamo. It was befitting of the era and looked stunning.
William wore a specially designed three-piece suit by Roodduke Bespoke Tailoring, York.
The bridesmaids wore 1920s sequin flapper dresses in black, silver and gold with feather boas, long black gloves, feathered headbands and seamed tights. They looked absolutely amazing!
The groomsmen all wore black trousers, gold paisley velvet smoking jackets with black lapels, a white shirts and sequined gold and black dickie bows. They were the perfect complement to the bridesmaids’ outfits.
We stayed at Goldsborough Hall on the eve of our wedding and, as the church is just across the grounds, we walked there for the service.
Todd & Moore were our photographers; two amazingly talented ladies who put you totally at ease in front of the camera. We chose Julie and Jill because their gallery was full of candid photos rather than lots of staged group shots – exactly what we were looking for. They worked tirelessly on the day and absolutely delivered.
The Red Arrows flew over the grounds twice while we were having photos taken, purely by coincidence, but a nice touch nevertheless!
Décor-wise, we worked with Kathrine of Fleur Adamo, again for the table decorations, which were all designed with the 1920s Great Gatsby theme very much in mind: lots of ostrich feathers, pearls and orchids. Her attention to detail was astonishing.
We designed the cake in a Great Gatsby style ourselves and then worked with Blossom Tree Cake Company in Harrogate, who created it just as we imagined. The result was stunning. We had various sized tiers made of sponge in different flavours: passion fruit, lime and lemon. We also had red velvet cake pops decorated in an Art Deco style as our favours.
We wanted to make the meal memorable and a celebration of Yorkshire, so we served a five course Yorkshire-themed meal with accompanying red and white wine.
The starter was Lowna dairy goat’s cheese and honey mousse with gingerbread and soft garden herb salad, followed by a blackcurrant sorbet. Our main course was Yorkshire beef fillet and 12 hour-braised short rib with beef and horseradish bonbon, garden vegetables and grain mustard jus. The dessert was Goldsborough Hall Yorkshire Mess with rhubarb, cinder toffee cream and macerated strawberries. We then served tea, coffee and petit fours.
We booked a live five-piece band, The Charleston Charlies, for our entertainment, who were absolutely brilliant. They both performed and sang a variety of songs from the 1920s era. To accompany the band, we also hired flapper dance troupe The Funky Feathers, who performed with the band and also gave us a Charleston lesson!
Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend our choice of venue to others – it’s simply stunning, with superb food and lovely people to work with.
Looking back, I couldn’t possibly chose one favourite element from the day: I loved every minute and every time I look at the photos I want to go and do it all again!
We visited South Africa for a honeymoon of three parts. We started with a safari on a private game lodge, followed by a trip on the Blue Train (similar to the Orient Express) and then finished with a week at Camps Bay near Cape Town. A great country with so many different experiences to be had. We’ll definitely return.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – lists, lists and more lists! During the planning, we also trawled through Brides Up North for possible venues and visited lots and lots of wedding fairs for inspiration too!
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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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