Unless you follow Brides Up North over on Instagram (ahem!) then you probably won’t have noticed that I’ve been off skiing in the Alps for the past seven days… a sneaky little holiday before the Brides Up North wedding exhibition madness begins, but things certainly weren’t any less pretty or less busy on these pages this last week!
I’ve left one set of mountains to come home to an email mountain of my own, so whilst I get cracking on that lot, I’ll leave you with our first beautiful wedding of the week, Helen and Joe’s stunning vintage inspired celebration in the Yorkshire Dales.
With images by Joe Stenson.
helen says: For my 33rd birthday we went to Manchester to watch Eddie Izzard Live. We had booked an apartment and Joe had secretly upgraded us to the penthouse suite. On the morning of my birthday Joe surprised me on the roof terrace with a champagne breakfast and my birthday presents. The last present I opened was an empty box… when I looked over to Joe he was beside me and down on one knee with a ring in his pocket. I was shocked that he had finally proposed to me and I hadn’t even seen it coming!
We were married on 19th April 2014. We made the most of the long Easter weekend with our friends and family.
I am from Staffordshire and Joe is from North Yorkshire so we looked at venues in both counties. We wanted to get married at a venue that had everything on one site and could offer us the whole weekend. After doing lots of internet research on our summer holiday we had shortlisted it down to three places. After visits to all three we quickly decided on Taitlands in Stainforth, North Yorkshire. This beautiful venue had everything on site: a coach house with marquee, a grade II listed house with guest bedrooms, a smaller cottage and beautiful walled garden with the amazing Yorkshire Dales as a backdrop.
As the venue was fairly vintage and rustic I knew to keep it in with that theme. There were lots of homemade bunting and fabric hearts which I had spent months making and with the help of family and friends collected lots of vintage bottles from car boot sales, vintage fairs and antique shops for the flowers. I also spray painted vintage lace doilies with coral fabric paint and used these for the table centres – a job I really loved. For the marquee we hired some huge letters of our initials from Add Vintage who I met at a vintage fair in Leeds.
My favourite colour is coral so I wanted the bridesmaids and the flowers to follow that. I also wanted spring colours so ivory and sage green went perfectly with the coral. The colour theme wasn’t too obvious but there were subtle hints.
After trying on about fifty different dresses (!) I had a good idea about what suited me (and what really didn’t). After trips to 13 different shops, I found a beautiful ivory gold vintage lace design by Justin Alexander at Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden and knew it was the one. I chose my veil from Ava Rose and purchased some beautiful vintage hair pieces from Chez Bec after seeing them on a wedding blog. My pearl earrings and bracelet were also from Chez Bec and I had personalised bracelets made for the bridesmaids, each with their birthstone on. I wore beautiful vintage closed toe shoes called Orla from Rachel Simpson.
My hair and make-up was all done by Helen Whincup from Harrogate, a self-employed hairdresser. She travelled to the venue very early and was a huge help at calming me down and getting us all ready on time.
Joe wore a blue three piece suit which he bought from Reiss in the January sales. He accessorised with tan brown shoes from Barker Shoes and a coral and blue tie from House of Fraser. His outfit was finished off with his Granddad’s 1970s gold pocket watch which was a surprise from me on the wedding morning enclosed in an engraved pocket pouch. He really looked very handsome.
My bridesmaids, my sister Sarah and two closest friends Thea and Jenny, wore coral lace mid length dresses from an American supplier on Etsy complimented with patent nude shoes from BHS, again in the January sales.
I walked in to ‘I will wait for you’ by Mumford and Sons (I had been waiting nearly 14 years!) and as I got to the front and Joe finally turned round I stopped crying and started to sing the lyrics to him. I hadn’t planned to do this and afterwards I learnt that the entrance song had been played in full when they thought I was ready to come in so really he had been waiting for me!
After seeing two or three florists I visited Twisted Willow Floristry in Ripon. Joanna was absolutely lovely and really got the idea of what look I wanted without me knowing much about flowers. She came up with some amazing bouquets, buttonholes and corsages made up of peonies, roses, gypsophila, lily of the valley, ranunculus, anemones, larkspur and muscari. She also provided dried confetti for my DIY paper doily confetti holders and the same flowers as the bouquets for the table centres and venue which my mother-in-law then put together in a very natural way. Joe’s mum did such an amazing job the day before putting this all together.
After the ceremony we had an Easter egg hunt and also hired some outdoor games (croquet and giant jenga) from Add Vintage to keep guests entertained.
RSVP Candy helped us produce all of our fantastic wedding stationery from the amazing personalised wedding story invite and poster to the personalised name badges, wedding programmes, table plan, table names and signs for our photo booth, easter egg hunt and sweet table.
We used vintage postcards of the Yorkshire Dales and a stamp from Not On The High Street for our save the dates. As we had lots spare my creative sister used the leftover postcards and created us a print of our names which we hung up on the day in the ceremony room.
We also had photo bunting hung around the coach house of all our guests from over the years. This created a lot of laughter and some embarrassment for our guests.
The food was all supplied by Taitlands’ caterers and we had a selection of Yorkshire canapés out on the lawns followed by country terrine, slow cooked Taitlands lamb and lemon tarte for the wedding breakfast. Locally produced and perfect for spring.
The fizz and wine was all supplied by Majestic. We had gin and elderflower tonic for when guests arrived, prosecco and raspberry liqueur for after the ceremony and a sauvignon blanc and rioja for the wedding breakfast which complimented the lamb perfectly.
We had two cakes, a 6 tier wedding cheesecake made by The Courtyard in Settle which was the main part of the evening supper with pork pies. Our good friend Hannah made three different flavoured cupcakes with a top tier fruit cake. These were amazing and I really can’t recommend Hann-made cakes enough.
During the wedding breakfast we had a wedding quiz (all about our guests) and later on in the evening we had a DIY photobooth and polaroid camera so guests could leave their photos and messages in a guestbook.
Our favours also doubled up as pin badge place names in coral for the girls and sage green for the boys. By the end of the day everyone was wearing them, which also helped with introductions. We also had a sweet table and wedding quiz for our guests to enjoy.
Joe researched the entertainment for months and we were so pleased with the Leeds band that we finally chose. Vibetown provided two great sets of live music, with two singers, brass, guitar and drums. Our first dance was ‘Hey Ho’ by the Lumineers as we didn’t want a slow smoochy one and we both loved the lyrics. By the second set everyone had bought the photo booth masks and props onto the dancefloor which the band found hilarious. We also had a spontaneous breakdance competition between guests and there were one or two power cuts when the generator kept cutting out but the saxophonist kept playing solo until the power came back on. Superb.
We managed to find a top guy to take our wedding photos at a vintage fair in Leeds. Joe Stenson is unbelievably talented and such a kind, great guy to work with! We did two engagement shoots before the wedding, including a trip to the pub which made us feel right at ease with Joe. A month or so before the wedding Joe asked if Jemma, a friend of his, could come along as a second photographer as she wanted to shoot some more film so we got two fantastic photographers for the price of one. Jemma was so good at making the girls feel relaxed on the morning of the wedding and Joe was so great at capturing the real feel of the day. We would give them both the best possible recommendation to anybody looking for a wedding photographer.
The venue and the backdrop of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales was perfect. Everything was on site, including accommodation for the bridal party and all our other guests stayed locally in Settle, only a 10 minute taxi ride away.
Emma the owner and her husband Martin were very good at accommodating our requests. We wanted the wedding breakfast in the marquee which they didn’t usually do, we were able to set up the venue on the Thursday and our bridal party could arrive early on the Friday so we could relax the day before. Emma let us use her home as if it was our own and was very relaxed about most things. Her staff on the day were great too.
I can’t wait to go back there one day for a visit when we are walking in the Dales.
Our favourite moments from the day included our entrance to the wedding breakfast. We came into the A-Team and high-fived everyone as we went round the room. We loved the speeches and the surprise video messages from guests that couldn’t be there, including my nan and a few words from one of Joe’s favourite comedians Richard Herring!
A couple of days after the wedding we flew to Miami beach for a short stay and then went onto Belize and Mexico for jungle trekking, visits to lots of ruins, snorkelling and lazing on beautiful Caribbean beaches. It was great to spend some quality time with my new husband after 10 months of wedding planning and the scenery and weather was amazing. It was tough going back to work after nearly 4 weeks off!
Joe and I planned the wedding we wanted in 10 months! We did have ‘wedmin’ to do pretty much every day but we really enjoyed it. I would say spend your budget on the food, drink and music – that’s what all your guests will appreciate the most. We wanted those special little touches too so made time to have or make things that were personal to us, that others may not have noticed.
My top planning tips for other Brides Up North would be to set budgets and make decisions early to give yourselves time at the end for all the fun things. On the day itself, try and relax and take it all in as it can be quite overwhelming. We had half an hour by ourselves just as the sun was setting, when we went off with the photographer, and it was lovely just to catch up and relive some of our favourite moments.
Finally, never put your drink down, you’ll never remember where you put it!