January 25th, 2018 | Laura McDonagh
Michelle and Steve’s small but perfectly formed celebration has us all a-quiver here at Brides Up North. They were determined to keep things intimate, elegant and classic and, looking at these stunning images, we’re sure you’ll agree that they achieved their goals.
Brides Up North Sponsor, the stunning Bowcliffe Hall hosted their ceremony and reception and this classy couple opted make to use of the entire venue. Steve was already a Bowcliffe fan, but for Michelle it was love at first viewing – the different rooms and idiosyncratic layout provided endless potential for wedding day planning. They were even lucky enough to have a private blessing in the tiny garden Chapel – a beautiful moment of still and calm reflection before the partying began.
Over to the lovely Michelle to spill the gorgeous details…
With images by Catherine Kerr at Eyecapture Photography.
michelle says: Steve and I met through work and had been together for four years. Steve proposed whilst on holiday in the Maldives and we were married exactly a year later.
Steve hadn’t really planned the actual proposal in advance; he just felt the time was right and that it would be good to have some time alone whilst we were on holiday. The biggest challenge, apparently, was keeping the ring hidden and safe until he actually proposed. He was paranoid I’d find it, or he’d lose it before he actually popped the question! Luckily, though, he kept it safe and decided to ask me mid-way through our holiday one morning after breakfast. He’d written the big question in the sand before we went to breakfast and thankfully it was still there when we headed to the beach!
We live locally to Bowcliffe Hall and Steve is also a member of the Drivers Club, so he knew the venue well. He thought from the beginning that it might fit the bill but hadn’t mentioned it to me. When I saw the Hall for the first time, however, I knew instantly that it was going to be the place where we would get married. It was fantastic – it made the decision so easy, we didn’t even visit anywhere else. It was the perfect choice.
From the start we were both focused on ensuring that the wedding would be intimate and tailored to the things we love the most. We had a vision of a small family wedding with approximately 50 guests at the ceremony and wedding breakfast and an additional 20 joining us for the evening celebrations. The Hall is so unique with the various rooms that we decided to use the entire venue including the wing and the chapel – after the main ceremony we had a wedding blessing with only our parents present, which was incredibly special. It was a moment of calm and reflection which gave us all time to truly appreciate our wedding and the day.
In terms of a colour scheme, we went for cream with a touch of pink – very subtle and classic. The venue accommodated our every wish and the rooms looked amazing, utilising the lighting with hints of pink throughout.
I went with my mum to choose my wedding dress from Abigail’s Brides and I was more than delighted with the end result. It was by British designer Nicola Anne from her Vintage collection. I’ve never felt so amazing in a dress and I absolutely loved the lace detail and the fish tail. I got my shoes from Nine West.
Steve had always wanted bespoke tailored suit, so he treated himself to one for our special day. He tracked down a tailor, James Shipton, he’d met at a dinner a few years earlier as he’d promised him that if he ever was going to have a suit tailored then he’d ask him. He did a fantastic job. Steve completed the outfit with a pair of navy Jeffery West navy.
I arrived at the venue with my mum and dad in a cream Beauford Cabriolet hired from The Yorkshire Wedding Car Company. I’ll never forget being in the car with my parents and the laughs we had on the way. It was a special moment of feeling very excited about the day ahead which we’ll all treasure forever.
For our flowers we had a mixture of cream and pink roses with a little greenery. Simple but classic.
The song I walked down the aisle to was Canon and Gigue in D Major by Johann Pachelbel. My dad walked me down the aisle and we were both so very happy. It meant the world to me to have my dad by my side as I walked towards Steve. I felt amazing and could feel the love and happiness filling the room around me as I saw the faces of my family and friends.
We were both so incredibly happy and the ceremony went by in a blur. There’s a fantastic photo of us signing the register while our 2-year-old nephew is lying on his tummy in the middle of the aisle playing with a car, completely oblivious to everything else going on. Priceless!
Our photographer Catherine Kerr of Eyecapture Photography was amazing from start to finish. She wanted us to be relaxed throughout the day and capture all our special moments, which she most certainly did. We were delighted with the end results.
Food-wise, we opted for a three-course meal, which was delicious and enjoyed by all. We were served efficiently, and the wine chosen by Michael at Bowcliffe Hall to complement the food was fabulous: a delicious Fleurie and a classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, with a glass or two of Taittinger for the toasts. We decided to have our wedding breakfast in the Blackburn Wing and, as the sun shone down on the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, it all felt heavenly.
The cake was a traditional delicious fruit cake from Betty’s. However, our goddaughter’s Peppa Pig birthday cake (she was two a few days before and we all sang happy birthday to her) appeared to be just as popular with our guests!
When it came to the entertainment, we’d decided at an early stage that we wanted have a live band. After hours of reviewing potential bands we decided on Purple Velvet and were not disappointed. They did a fab job and ensured we had guests up dancing right the way through the evening. Our first dance was to John Legend’s All Of Me. It was very romantic and perhaps a little slow to dance to but it meant a lot to us and that was the important thing. After that the tempo definitely picked up, with everybody joining in.
Choosing Bowcliffe was an easy decision as it’s completely unique. It was the only venue we visited and were so pleased with our choice. We love the grounds and Hall, everything is immaculate and the attention to detail, as well as the quirky individual touches throughout the venue, are second to none. All our guests commented on how different and amazing it was.
Michael and his team there looked after us amazingly well. From the outset we were made to feel relaxed about the day as we knew it would be wonderful. Michael took the time to understand what we were looking for and carefully planned out our day with us. Due to this care and planning from start to finish, as well as the truly unique setting of Bowcliffe Hall, we created the perfect wedding day. Steve and I will never forget it, and nor will our guests!
It’s so difficult to pick out a favorite moment of the day but I guess the speeches were very special and just the overall feeling of happiness with all our family and friends enjoying the celebration with us.
The day was an amazing mix of friends and family, sunshine and showers, food and drink, speeches and pictures, gin and tonic and chat and dance. And, somewhere in between all that, we fitted in a wedding! We enjoyed and savored every minute.
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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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