November 13th, 2017 | Alexis Forsyth
If you’re Monday morning caffeine hit hasn’t managed to fully wake you up, we’re pretty sure this stunning real wedding will open your eyes – and possibly cause them to pop out of your head – as this is an outdoor celebration with a difference! We’re talking chandeliers, sofas, mirrors and all kinds of opulent details that you wouldn’t expect in this woodland setting.
Opting for Applewood and Blossom Barn Weddings on the outskirts of Leeds, this backdrop was everything they could wish for, giving them free rein over the décor, entertainment and catering for their special day. The transparent marquee offering stunning views of the tree canopies above sounds positively dreamy, and as for the cocktail shack – this is the kind of bar we’d just love to stumble upon in the forest!
Here, Rosie tells us more about how they brought their original and boldly imaginative theme – The Ritz in the Woodland – to life…
With images by A Little Picture.
rosie says: We got engaged on 10th of December 2015, in Lake Bled, Slovenia. Every year we go away for a short break during the festive period and we had decided on Lake Bled for its fairytale, picturesque landscape. On our first day, whilst we were walking round the lake, I stopped to take a photo to send to friends, when I turned around Ben was on one knee! We continued the walk together knowing it was only the two of us who knew, and stopped for lunch and champagne to celebrate!
We got married on 19th August 2017. We didn’t choose the date for any particular reason. We knew we didn’t want a traditional reception venue, such as a manor house, and I came across Applewood and Blossom Barn Weddings. They had only done one wedding before and we knew we could make it our own. They had two dates left for 2017 – so the 19th August it was!
We held our service at St Mary’s Church, Mirfield, which is our local church and happens to be stunning, and then the reception at Applewood and Blossom Barn Weddings on the outskirts of Leeds. We knew we wanted a traditional church service and a different reception venue. We have been to a lot of weddings and though each was beautiful, we wanted something different. At Applewood you can do whatever you want (within reason), so we could pick the decoration, food, music, drinks, entertainment, cake – everything!
The theme for our wedding was ‘The Ritz in the Woodland’. We wanted to create a complete juxtaposition between what people would traditionally expect of a woodland wedding (bunting, wellies, burlap, hay bales) and instead create drama with chandeliers in the trees, plush sofas, mirrors, texture, all white flowers and minimal greenery.
We had a three-course meal, including steak and wine on white table linen with champagne velvet table runners. We had a transparent marquee so people could sit in luxury and see the trees, and walk through the woodland and see elegance and opulence every step of the way.
Our colour scheme was simply ink blue and white. We wanted to keep it classy and elegant.
White flowers with a focus on peonies, roses and hydrangea stood out from the dramatic woodland background – the concept was to use flowers that you wouldn’t find in a woodland setting. We had white table linen and white flowers on mirrored centrepieces.
I wore a Stella York dress bought from Ava Rose Hamilton. It had a sweetheart neckline and was a figure-flattering fit-and-flare silhouette with a subtle flare skirt with lace trim and a train. It had a dramatic, keyhole back. I looked around a lot before going to look at options and loved Stella York instantly as I thought it would fit my shape! It was the one dress I really didn’t want to take off and couldn’t face leaving!
My bridesmaids wore Style 4503 dresses in midnight blue by The Dessy Group, bought from the wonderful To Have and To Hold. Clare was above and beyond accommodating as I had bridesmaids from all over the country and one of my bridesmaids flew in the week before the wedding from Brisbane. My flower girl wore a white dress with fur accent around the neckline and a blue ribbon to tie in with the theme.
The groomsmen wore matching suits to Ben’s, however they had an ink blue waistcoat to tie in with the bridesmaids, again from Joshua Adams.
I travelled to the church in my dad’s friend’s Rolls Royce and Ben drove with his best man in another friend’s Aston Martin. The bridesmaids were transported in my sister Lucy’s white Audi Q7 with my brother-in-law driving. I then travelled in the Aston to the reception and other people made their own way there as people needed to check into their hotel rooms before arriving at the venue.
Our photographer was Alice Little of A Little Picture Photography, and she was incredible! From meeting us to do an engagement shoot and getting to know what made us tick, to fitting seamlessly into our big day – she was fantastic. Her amazing personality, attention to detail and calm persona throughout the whole day (and process) was amazing, and did not go unnoticed by anybody in the bridal party. Everyone agrees – our photos are stunning!
Our videographer was Andy, also from A Little Picture. Andy was brilliant. I don’t particularly like being filmed and Andy was a calm presence who made us both feel relaxed in front of a camera! Our wedding video has been called the best people have seen.
Our bouquets and button holes were provided by Sue Bradley Flowers in Mirfield. They were beautiful with peonies, white roses, white hydrangeas, white ranunculus and some gypsophila. The offcuts of the bridesmaid dresses were used as a lovely touch around the base of the flowers.
Ben had a white peony (until he snapped it and borrowed his best man’s white David Austin rose) and the groomsmen all had roses in their button holes. My flower girl Georgie, had a crown of gypsophila and roses as well as a mini bouquet.
Our wedding venue was decorated completely by Rhubarb and Ginger Home and Wedding, and they were incredible!
Externally, we had a fireplace in the woodland with our initials carved in it with pictures of both of our parents at their wedding in frames above and we had chairs with silver velvet to sit on. Chandeliers hung from the trees, and signs, lanterns and mirrors adorned the exterior. We had a ‘chill out marquee’ with sofas and a guest book, archways of white fabric in the trees and white flowers in vases as well as white love letters. We also had giant lanterns with pillar candles and quotes in gilt frames in the gaps between the trees and fairy lights wrapped around them. The decking had a ‘New York roof top bar theme’ with tall round bar tables with white table cloths and white roses, with festoon lighting overhead and an antique white post box for cards.
Internally it was breathtaking – we had chandeliers hanging inside the marquee and through the roof you could see the canopy of the trees. A mirrored bar was located in the top corner along with a cake stand, which was a reclaimed dresser with a tri folding mirror with square glass candle holders with blue ribbon and diamante brooch on either side. We had white chair dressings tied with the ink blue ribbon folded over chiavari chairs and immaculate white table cloths with champagne coloured velvet centrepieces. On these we placed circular flower arrangements, again from Rhubarb and Ginger, with a hurricane lantern and a pillar candle in the middle. Each table had the table name in a small white ornate frame, which tied in with the seating plan.
As favours, we gave out custom-made slider flip-flops. We created a logo for the wedding featuring our initials and the date, and had the flip-flops in boxes, with white for women and blue for men. It meant our evening guests could also come, get involved and feel included as by the end of the night, heels were off and flip-flops were on! We have had people asking us for spares for use at home, but none were left behind!
We chose a three-tiered classic looking cake, with three different flavours – vanilla, chocolate and lemon – with white icing. The middle tier was plain with the top and bottom tiers having a bobble effect. White ribbon and diamante broke up the tiers, with peonies artistically positioned. Our cake was very kindly given to us by my sister’s mother-in-law, Patricia. We let people help themselves throughout the evening, meaning there was none left when Ben and I had a chance to sit down together in the chill out marquee for ten minutes! We hear it was insanely tasty though!
Abbie at Northern Fields did the catering for the wedding. We had a mix of canapés, including curry cured salmon with wasabi and cucumber; chicken liver parfait and onion chutney, and hazelnut crusted goat’s cheese, pizza pops with smoked cherry tomato. We then chose a starting platter of halloumi fritters, fried baby squid in a salt and pepper spice; bourbon and marmalade glazed pork belly skewers; baby chorizo in a red wine and chilli jam; tomato, basil and feta arancini; crispy Italian wafers, artisan bread and crackers. Our mains included roasted slow aged sirloin with crispy new potatoes, roasted carrots, green beans and pine nut crumb; and pan roasted salmon fillet with new potato salad, peas, asparagus, lemon oil and watercress puree. To finish, we offered DIY ice cream sundaes, with biscuit crumble, chocolate sauce, salted caramel sauce and funfetti sauce. We also served Tanqueray gin, san Miguel, house wine and champagne with a focus on cocktails!
We had a cocktail shack hidden in the woodland where people could spend some time on the lovely summer’s evening. This was where we had a special game set up. On each table there were tokens for one free drink at the cocktail shack. The rule being you had to answer a question about us. Get it right and you received a drink of your choice, get it wrong and it was a shot of our choice. Very entertaining with people coming up and saying, “I didn’t know you could….”
As further entertainment, we had the wonderful magician Oliver Parker from Close Up Magician, who was exceptional and an absolute hit with everybody. The music on the decking on arrival and during dinner was provided by Bluephunk. Four of the band members joined us as a blues and jazz band. They were unbelievable and created an amazing atmosphere.
Following our wedding, I would most certainly recommend our choice of venues to other couples. St Mary’s in Mirfield was incredible and everybody was so accommodating. The organist was incredible as was the florist who decorated the archway of the church and the pew ends. We had bell ringers and a choir and the service was spectacular. I would also highly recommend Applewood – Nicola and Damien are so accommodating and really will try to do anything you ask them. Damien went to the extra lengths to create a rigging system where the chandeliers hung and Nicola helped co-ordinate our plethora of suppliers, making less hassle for me!
Looking back, I had so many highlights on the day. Walking down the aisle was incredible and seeing Ben standing there. Walking into the marquee and seeing all our friends there with us, to celebrate and see our vision come to life. Also, the speeches were incredible.
For our honeymoon, we spent three weeks travelling around Malaysia and visiting Dubai on the way home. We spent three nights in Kuala Lumpar at the Shangri-la and then travelled onto Borneo where we spent five nights in Kota Kinabalu at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru and then went to an island off the coast of Borneo to stay at the Gaya Islan Resort for nine nights, stopping in Dubai at the Conrad for three nights on the way home.
We did a mix of relaxing and adventure, seeing orangutans, monkeys, eagles, camels, fireflies, bears, kayaking, hiking and exploring the country. We went dune surfing in Dubai, jet skiing in Borneo and shopping in Kuala Lumpar.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – enjoy it, as it goes so quickly, and don’t let other people influence your decisions. When I said that I wanted the Ritz in the Woodland theme, people said I was crazy. I ended up having the perfect day because I stuck to what I wanted.
A special mention goes to Emma and Josie at Rhubarb and Ginger who really were our fairy godmothers and made our crazy idea a reality! Everyone played a massive part but without them we wouldn’t have achieved the theme of our wedding
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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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