March 14th, 2018 | Alexis Forsyth
Quite simply, today’s wedding is all kinds of pretty. From the bride’s beautiful bespoke gown to the dreamiest of floral arrangements, complete with plush hydrangeas and peonies – there’s lots of wonderful ideas and special touches from Maria and Simon’s celebrations to pin away to your heart’s content.
But, before we can even gush about these details, we have to talk about the fact that Maria underwent spinal surgery in the lead up to the wedding. We think you’ll agree, this adds extra significance to their nuptials, and we’re delighted to hear that Maria had a speedy recovery that didn’t hinder plans for their big day.
And what a big day it was! Exchanging vows against the grandiose backdrop of Leeds Cathedral, Maria and Simon then went on to host their celebrations at luxury Harrogate hotel, Rudding Park, set in 300 acres of beautiful gardens and woodland. Maria’s Italian and Greek heritage influenced their overall theme for the day, too, with pretty olive branches, a lemon tree and even Greek dancing all bringing Mediterranean feels to the proceedings. Read on as Maria tells all…
With images by Paul Read Weddings.
maria says: We got engaged in August 2015, in Rome, at the beautiful Giardini degli Aranci (garden of oranges) with its stunning view of the city. We went just before sunset, and it was such a romantic setting. I really didn’t expect the proposal and after being there for a while, I asked when we could go for a Prosecco! It was then that Simon said it would be nice to take a seat on one of the benches further back from the wall.
Long story short, he said there was a reason he had brought me to the most beautiful secret spot in Rome, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Once I had stopped crying and said yes, we could hear applause from around the park – such a surreal moment but one we will never forget and that place will remain special for both of us forever.
My mum is Italian so I think Simon always knew he wanted to propose in Italy and it was a trip of a lifetime. We ate at a Michelin star restaurant afterwards but spent most of the evening on our phones telling our family and friends about the amazing news!
We tied the knot on Saturday 24th June 2017.We chose this date as it was 11 years to the day since we first started going out.
We got married at Leeds Cathedral, where I used to sing in the choir. I have also known the priest (now a Monsignor) since I was a child, so it was perfect that he conducted the service for us.
We then held the reception at Rudding Park in Harrogate, voted number one hotel in the UK by Trip Advisor for three years in a row. We knew immediately we wanted our wedding to be attended by all our friends and family, and had considered Amalfi (where my family heritage is from) but given difficulties with older family members being able to get there, we decided that there would be nowhere better than Yorkshire, especially given that I’m a Leeds girl and he’s a Wetherby boy.
We’ve both known Rudding Park for years and it was the perfect balance between city and country. The service at Rudding Park is exceptional and the new spa was going to open the year of our wedding – we just knew we were in safe hands. Plus, I have a pretty huge family and it is one of the few venues in Yorkshire that caters for more than120 people. It’s everything we wanted.
I had spinal surgery for scoliosis in November 2016 – it was a huge procedure but I bounced back within three months – just in time for my wonderful wedding dress to be measured and created. I had often been really paranoid about my waist and I am so lucky to have had this corrected before I walked down the aisle. It seemed a long journey back to health and I had three months off work, but that just left more time for wedmin to take my mind off things!
We didn’t have a theme in the beginning, but once I started my Pinterest obsession, I realised I kept pinning things that were tagged as “fine art”. I tried to bring in a bit of a Mediterranean theme, along with pastel colours to keep things understated and elegant. For example, the olive branches on the cake and the lemon tree in the middle of the main hall, the soft candles, soft blues and pale pinks, and the menu was very much inspired by my Italian and Greek heritage. There was so much food! There was also Greek dancing and a bit of Italian Vin Santo which added much more alcohol to proceedings!
With regards to the pastel colour scheme, I wanted pale pinks and blues with Mediterranean greenery as I thought they would stand the test of time when looking back at the photographs. I also love hydrangeas and peonies which helped guide the colour scheme, and indeed the month of June for the wedding, when peonies are available and in bloom.
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