October 19th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
Today’s featured bride is a florist by day, so it goes without saying, she had a very clear idea of (a) her favourite season and (b) what floral arrangements she wanted for her wedding with hubby-to-be, Gareth. And they truly are exceptional – with exquisite terracotta pots and a beautiful trellis just two of the floral highlights.
Tying the knot at Hotel du Vin in York, the venue is beyond pretty, brimming with character. And just a short car ride away lies the Museum Gardens, lending another captivating backdrop to the couple’s fabulous wedding photography.
Beth has recounted so many wonderful and touching details from their special celebrations – we suggest you grab a cuppa and join us as we soak up this impressive springtime wedding…
With images by Sarah Beth Photo.
beth says: Gareth proposed in Rome on July 4th 2015. We had just bought our first house together and decided a city break away was just what we needed before a hectic couple of months moving in and decorating our house. We’d gone for a romantic meal near the Trevi Fountain and Gareth had been very quiet and said that he was tired from a busy day of sightseeing. We then walked along to St Peters Square to see it lit up at night. We were both admiring the view and I was busy taking photos. I then turned around and Gareth was on his knee! It was perfect, and even more so that a kind lady had captured it all, unbeknown to us; a very special photo that we will treasure forever.
We got married on Saturday 22nd April 2017. Spring is one of our favourite times of the year as we love anything outdoorsy. As a florist, I automatically thought, when are my favourite flowers in season?! So it had to be April. We chose the back end of the month hoping there’d be more chance of sunshine, and we certainly did get that! We couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day.
We chose Hotel Du Vin in York as our wedding venue. We spend a lot of time in York as it’s one of our favourite cities. Gareth and I made an appointment to speak to Mollie, the events organiser, and we loved it. The style and décor of the hotel is timeless and simple. The courtyard where our ceremony and evening reception was held has a glass roof so it felt as though we were outside, which was just what we were after.
We had our wedding breakfast in the bistro – another beautiful room with lots of character. We only had 50 guests during the day, so it was lovely to be so close to our family and friends.
There wasn’t any particular theme to the day. Flowers and springtime were obviously a big part of the wedding, but the main thing was creating a relaxed and happy day.
I wanted to include little personal touches, too. I had some gorgeous signs made by Painted by Katie: an order of the day, Instagram hashtag (#happilyeverstorey), and a special board made for a table featuring photos of my grandma and gramps, who I have lost. It meant the world to me having their photos there for everyone to admire. I also had my gran’s brooch attached to the binding of my bouquet, it really felt as though she was there with us.
The colours tied in with spring, with lemons, mint green, cornflower blue and lots of green foliage throughout. They are my absolute favourite colours.
I chose an Enzoani dress from The Harrogate Bridal Lounge. It was the first shop I went to and the fifth dress I tried on. The girls were amazing at the shop, so friendly, professional and full of knowledge about all the dresses and designers.
The dress was everything I said I didn’t want! Flicking through the rails, my mum loved the Kerianna dress. It was very detailed with beautiful pearls, crystals and delicate lace which I loved, but it was strapless. She persuaded me to give it a try and, of course, as always, mum was right! I wore a veil, too, which made me feel less exposed around my shoulders and back; it finished my bridal look perfectly.
My Rachel Simpson shoes were so pretty and they were comfy all day, I took them off for the last hour of the night so I think I did pretty well to stay in heels for nearly 12 hours!
Gareth wore a three-piece suit from TM Lewin, consisting of a navy suit with a fine check and a grey waistcoat. This was teamed with a lemon-patterned tie from Mrs Bow Tie and a pair of brogues from Loake in Leeds, which he had been eyeing up for a long time!
His best man wore the same suit but without the waistcoat and the other groomsmen worse navy suits of their own but they all had matching ties.
My bridesmaids wore a long, floating dress design from ASOS with a lovely lace detail around the top half. It was a pale mint green colour which suited the theme perfectly.
I wanted my maid of honour, Jessica, who is also my best friend of 20 years, to play a special little part somehow. She is a great public speaker so I asked her to do a reading during the ceremony. I wanted it to be a nice surprise for me and Gareth so I didn’t know what it was until the day. She did a fabulous job and it was a beautiful reading she had found called ‘How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog’ by Mali Taylor.
The night before the wedding, I stayed at Hotel Du Vin with my bridesmaids and all my family, and Gareth travelled over with his brother on the morning of the wedding. We hopped in a taxi halfway through the day to the Museum Gardens to capture some photos there – it was good fun trying to stuff my dress into the passenger seat of a small car!
Sarah Beth Photo was our photographer. I would highly recommend Sarah to anyone and everyone! She was everything we could have wished for, and more. I found Sarah at a Brides Up North wedding fair at Nostell Priory and loved her photos and style. We wanted relaxed and natural shots, nothing too posed, and Sarah really does capture people so well. I think I’ve looked through the photos every day since we received them!
We also booked A&A Video. Jonny was recommended to us by Sarah. Jonny created a quick one-minute highlights video, a ten-minute highlights video and full coverage of the ceremony, speeches and first dance. I am so glad we decided to book a videographer as there are so many little things I had missed throughout the day! It also meant a lot to us having the video as my granddad sadly passed away a couple of months later, so seeing him there on our day, smiling and happy, means even more to us now.
My bouquet was full of all sorts, as I wanted everything in it! Tulips, hydrangea, ranunculus, daffodils, David Austin roses, succulents, craspedia, nigella and tons of eucalyptus and other gorgeous foliage.
Liz at Flowerworks, Pontefract did all the flowers. I worked for Liz for over five years and she’s now a good friend so she knows my favourite flowers and style better than anyone! I had a pedestal design to the entrance of the courtyard, love heart trees decorated with fresh flowers and foliage outside the hotel, and lots of bud vases and mini succulents. I planted up butterfly lavender in terracotta pots and tied our seating plan to each pot. They made lovely gifts for parents and grandparents too, and it’s something they could put in the garden to remind them of us.
On our tables, we had large vases of mixed foliage and a few loose stems of tulips and other delicate bits, nothing too fussy or fancy, in keeping with the relaxed theme.
Liz also created a beautiful cascading waterfall design on the trellis in the courtyard. We had talked about it for so long and I couldn’t wait to see it on the day. I really wanted to go down and give her a hand on the morning but was ordered to stay in the room and relax, it was strange after all the years of weddings I’d set up that it was my turn to be the bride! The trellis piece was stunning and a big talking point of the day, everyone commented on it. I just wish I could have taken it home!
As extra décor, I printed out Polaroid style photos of Gareth and me throughout our five years together, which we hung in the courtyard.
For our favours, me and my mum bought little mini terracotta pots and put a little bit of straw in the bottom and popped a crème or caramel egg on top! Simple but effective, I think everyone ate them before the starters came out! I don’t see the point splashing out on fancy favours, a little gesture and something to tie in with the day was perfect.
We used Norma and Dorothy for our stationery. I am a massive stationery geek and fell in love with what they created for us, it really did sum up our theme on a piece of paper. They also made our table plan cards, name cards and labels for our favours. And also two personalised cards for us to write our vows in.
Cherry Blossom Cakes, in Bawtry, made our cake. We chose three deep tiers of lemon and raspberry, fudge chocolate and banoffee (our ultimate favourite!). Charlotte was fab; she captured our ideas perfectly. The detailing and intricacy was amazing. We still have some frozen which is nice to whip out for visitors.
Me and Gareth both have a huge sweet tooth, so a cake just wasn’t enough for us. We booked Miss Friday to create us a dessert table for our evening do. I have followed Lois on Instagram for a long time and often buy her brownies at our local farm shop so we were very excited to have our very own dessert table created by the lady herself! We chose three different brownie flavours, a caramac blondie, mini blackberry and elderflower cakes, pecan pie bars, mini pavlovas with fresh berries and mini lemon and blueberry tarts. Every single guest commented on them and how delicious each and every one was.
For the wedding breakfast, we let our guests choose their menu options. Our menu choices included pâte with brioche toast, prawn and crayfish cocktail or Roquefort, walnut and pear salad to start. Normandy chicken with dauphinoise potatoes, braised beef with pomme purée or grilled sea bass with chorizo potatoes for main. Dessert was a choice of chocolate and salted caramel tart, Eton mess or baked vanilla cheesecake. It was really important to us that the food was good on the day, we are real foodies and so are a lot of our family and friends. And the chef did not let us down, the food was out of this world. Another reason why we chose HDV.
As for drinks – we had a gorgeous Sauvignon Blanc and a rich Merlot for the wedding breakfast. We also had Champagne for our after-ceremony drink and for the toasts, my dad insisted it was Champagne and not Prosecco!
We didn’t have any entertainment, as we didn’t feel there was any need! We had no children at the wedding, so no one to keep occupied. Our guests could go outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather whilst we were busy with photos. In the evening, we had made a playlist on Spotify and played it through the hotel’s sound system which was great as it saved us money on a DJ or band and we got to choose all the music ourselves! We even included on our invites a space for our guests to write a song they’d like to hear in the evening. And for our guest book we bought an instant Polaroid camera and put out pens, glue and sticky tape for everyone to get creative with, putting out props for people to use and we also had a personalised Instagram frame, which was lots of fun.
I’d definitely recommend Hotel Du Vin to other couples. The hotel really is special and represents the true beauty of York. The simplicity of the décor, the quirky touches in different rooms – there’s even a small hidden library where people can escape to for some quiet time. All the guys especially loved the cigar shack outside as well, we didn’t see them all night! The staff are superb, too. They took care of us from day one and still remember us when we pop in for a drink or something to eat.
My favourite part of the day was going to the Museum Gardens, just me and Gareth, and taking half-an-hour to just enjoy being Mr and Mrs. We both smiled from ear to ear all day and bursting with so much love.
I also loved the morning preparations with my three bridesmaids, my gran and my mum. We were very chilled and had lots of giggles. We were all awake at 5am!
A moment I will never forget is seeing my dad waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs and welling up, it’s not often he sheds a tear, being a typical Yorkshireman!
After the wedding, we did a three-week California road trip for our honeymoon. We had been once before but only done the coast and had fallen in love with the place so we just had to go back and do it all! It was incredible. We are already planning our next trip back and possibly thinking of moving out there in years to come.
My top tips for other Brides Up North are – take in every second that you can, take half-an-hour away from all your guests just to enjoy one another like we did. As once we got back I think I only saw Gareth for our first dance! And don’t stress about tiny details, trust me people will not know if a certain tea light was meant to be in a certain place. And do what you both love as a couple; make the day about yourselves. You may upset a couple of people on the way but hey ho, it’s your wedding day and you’re only going to do it once, so do it right!
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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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