Lets get this week off to a swinging start, shall we? Vanessa and Andrew chose to go for Gatsby glitz for their speakeasy style wedding at East Riddesden Hall.
The gin might have been flowing, but nobody was feeling melancholy on Vanessa’s big day – add some super styling, fabulous florals and a dress so good it had to be worn twice, and you’ve got one helluva party.
And as we all know, a little party never killed nobody!
With images by James & Lianne.
vanessa says: Andrew asked me to marry him during our annual ski holiday in 2013. We were staying in the French resort of Morzine when Andrew, with massive help from our friend Dan at The H.O.F.N.A.R Experience had arranged a surprise picnic at the top of the mountain overlooking Switzerland to celebrate our two year anniversary.
Afterwards, when Andrew was packing up the picnic in the snow, he was down on his knee and pulled out the engagement ring (which he had designed himself) and asked me to be his wife, to which I said yes. Unbeknownst to me Andrew had already asked my traditional father for my hand in marriage on a ski lift days earlier and him, my sisters and brother were waiting at a mountain bar further down the hill with champagne waiting for our arrival to celebrate!
It was the perfect proposal!
Our wedding was on the 2pm on the 13th September 2014. You know what they say about the 13th being unlucky for some? Well we are the opposite! We met on the 13th through an online dating service, we found our and moved into our dream home in Harrogate on the 13th so there was no other date would have chosen.
We got married at Christ Church on The Stray in Harrogate. It’s a beautiful church set in a great location, nestled in an area of calm just outside the centre of the town.
Our guests were then whisked away on vintage buses to East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley. East Riddlesden Hall has always been a perfect venue in our eyes, as when we initially talked about wedding venues both our answers were that we would love to have our reception in an old barn. We spent days scouring the internet looking for such a venue with little success. We eventually stumbled across East Riddlesden Hall through our photographer’s website instantly knowing that this was the place for us.
Our theme was Great Gatsby glitz meets underground prohibition. We both love gin so we had the tables named after different gins and an old crystal decanter filled with gin on each table with bowls of lemons and an individual bottle of Fever Tree Tonic at each place setting. There was even a cocktail table where you could mix the gin and make a Vansoire or a Bob Roberts cocktail.
The colours were dark grey and mint green as they work really well together in contrast. Andy used it on our invites, table plans and other stationery and designed it all himself.
I had a beautiful Claire Pettibone dress. I couldn’t stomach the full cost of a brand new one, so I bought it second hand from a lady who was selling hers on a preloved site. The only downside was I had to try it on for the first time in a grotty train station toilet – it just made the experience even more memorable!
I carried a bouquet of Sweet Williams, ivory Roses and some very special Patience Roses from Nicolla Florist in Wetherby.
Our attendants wore their own outfits. The two best men wore dark grey suits and the bridesmaids wore mint green and charcoal grey – all different makes and styles.
Our photographers were James & Lianne – we found them online and had a real affinity with their style of photography. We wanted laid back and natural and that’s what they provided – beautiful, natural contemporary photos – we even had some taken with a vintage 1930’s camera which we adore
The reception flowers were amazing – we had a huge mix of flowers from pampas grass and gold sprayed baby’s breath with peacock feathers and willow branches. All our reception flowers were supplied by Emma’s Home & Garden.
Mel Brooksbank at stylemywedding.co.uk designed the whole look of the day – all the props and little touches were all made possible by her – she set up the whole venue and rents out all the props from her collection. It completely took the stress away on the day and made it all look magical.
We wanted our guests to have a good time so we spent a lot of our budget on food and drink. GFS Catering did our food – we had a mix of canapés with Pimms and Saltaire Brewery Ale on the lawn before a main course of BBQ food including ribs, chicken & chorizo skewers and a selection of salads and sides. For pudding we had a trio of mini lemon cheesecake, crème brûlée and chocolate brownie.
Our friend recommended the caretaker’s wife at a local school to make our mountain scene cake – it had a chalet, hot tub, piste, gin, BBQ and our little car – she’s incredibly talented! Andrea Anderson isn’t a pro but she should be.
We are famous in our friendship group for BBQ’s so we made our own BBQ rub and packaged it up in test tubes for our guests to take away as favours.
Andy also had a box of Romeo & Julietta cigars which we handed out after dinner.
We had outdoor games, a coconut shy, croquet and boules.
One of the best bits was the dress-up box and frame – we hired old vintage fur stoles, hats and gloves and everyone dressed up and took pictures with our instant Polaroid camera.
Alex Graham & The Concords play outside Harvey Nicholls every Christmas and one year I stopped and asked them for their card, vowing they would one day play at my wedding, then one day they did. They play proper rock n roll and also some of the new stuff – they had the crowd in the palm of their hand and everyone was up dancing the night away
Emma and the wedding team at East Riddlesden Hall are so helpful and friendly – they try to embrace people’s ideas rather than impose rules and regulations like at some venues. It’s a National Trust site so the grounds are beautiful and well kept. It was also excellent value for money.
We loved driving over from the church to the reception in the Aston Martin, just casually driving through Harrogate and the Yorkshire Dales with the music up loud and celebrating being newlyweds in style!
For our honeymoon we went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy and travelled around Positano, Sorrento, Capri and Ischia. Our favourite stop was The Relais Blu Hotel near Sorrento but Capri was stunning – if you haven’t been already you must go. We were lucky enough to see the fireworks festival in Ravello which was an amazing experience.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to pick the three most important elements for the wedding and concentrate your budget around them. Ours were food & drink, the band and the venue. For example, I was looking at chair covers but Andy pointed out that for the same price of the chair covers we could have an extra 30 bottles of champagne. Needless to say we went without chair covers in the end and I didn’t even notice!
Try not to look at too many options as it’s easy to confuse yourself – try or get quotes from a maximum of 3 places. 3 venues, 3 dress shops, 3 caterers… otherwise the planning can be all consuming.