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understated elegance. jenny packham for an elegant wedding at oulton hall

21st December 2015 | Rachel Hirst

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An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (41)

It might be Monday, but it’s the last Monday before Christmas which makes it bearable, right? And to ease you into these last few working days before the festive break we have something truly beautiful to share with you – the wedding of Lauren and Lee.

Now this is a couple with impeccable taste who know that you don’t have to go OTT to make a statement. The understated beauty of this wedding is what makes it so special and easy on the eye.

From the chic colour scheme and soft blousy blooms, to the elegant décor and that swoon-worthy Jenny Packham gown (complete with Nana Choos), guys – you nailed it!

With images by Sarah Mason Photography.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (35)

lauren says: We got engaged after being together for six years in November 2013. We’d recently moved into our first house together and so Lee proposed at home in our front room, out of the blue after I got home from work one night. I work in retail management, so hours around Christmas time are long and stressful, coming home from work to a proposal at 11pm was definitely a welcome surprise although I was entirely lost for words!

We got married on Sunday 30th August 2015, which was the Bank Holiday weekend. We wanted people to have a little longer to enjoy the celebrations, and be able to travel to the venue and relax the day before. My parents wedding anniversary is on the 31st, and they were celebrating their 30th anniversary this year so it felt like a way to share to celebrations while everyone was together.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (32)

We got married at Oulton Hall in Leeds. We live just outside of Manchester now, but met in Leeds which is where Lee is originally from and where I went to university. We looked around a lot of venues, across the North West and Yorkshire, and found a lot of places only ticked a couple of boxes. One of my bridesmaids suggested Oulton Hall, as she’d looked at it before deciding to get married abroad instead. We fell in love with how it was so grand but in an understated way, and felt really warm. The décor of the Repton Room was something nowhere else had and fitted in with a lot of ideas I’d already had about the wedding. We also liked the idea that the reception is held in another part of the hotel, at The Claret Jug in the golf clubhouse. It was nice to have a change of scenery and have a different ambience for the evening reception.

Another reason we chose a venue in Leeds was because Lee’s dad sadly passed away in 2005 and is buried at the cemetery around the corner from Oulton Hall. It was nice to think although he couldn’t be there, he wasn’t too far away.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (2)

There was no theme as such, although everything did tie together really well. We wanted something classic, but not boring and still quite modern. We used lots of mercury glass and candles, which went perfectly with the mirrored walls in the Repton Room and with our colour scheme. The candlelight reflecting on all the mercury glass and mirrors made everything look really magical.

I fell in love with the idea of a grey and ivory colour scheme after seeing pictures on Pinterest of weddings with these colours. The venue is decorated in mainly greys, so this tied in really well. The colour scheme was quite subtle, with shades of grey rather than one block colour. The flowers helped to break the grey up a little bit, by having soft peach and ivory in there too.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (7)

My dress was from Eternity Bridalwear in Warrington, who I highly recommend. I had my heart set on a Jenny Packham dress, and they have an amazing selection. The lovely assistant in the store suggested I tried Eden, although I wasn’t sure as I didn’t think it would suit my figure at all. As soon as I tried it on I knew I’d found my dress. I loved the movement it had even though it was a slim dress, and the beadwork on it was incredible. I felt wonderful in it, which is definitely how your wedding dress should make you feel. They also made me a veil in the same silk tulle fabric as the top layer of my dress, which was literally perfect.

Along with my dress, I wore a Jenny Packham headpiece from The White Closet in Didsbury, who were also all absolutely lovely. Lee bought my wedding shoes from Jimmy Choo as a Christmas present. These were really sentimental as the style had the same name as my nana who has sadly passed away; we nicknamed them my Nana Choos! The only jewellery I wore were earrings from Carat, which were a special gift from some of my lovely friends, and a Monica Vinader diamond bracelet which I have had for years so was my something old.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (11)

Lee wore a slim fitting grey suit from Marks & Spencer, which he really loved and looked gorgeous in. He wanted to buy his suit rather than hire it, so it would be something for him to keep from the day. We found the ties really difficult to get in the right colour, as we wanted a grey very close to the colour of the bridesmaid’s dresses. In the end we found some in Slaters. I bought Lee cufflinks from Links of London as a wedding gift, and had our initials engraved on them as a keepsake.

The groomsmen and my dad wore the same suit combination as Lee from M&S and Slaters.

My bridesmaids wore dresses from Dessy, in Oyster – a really soft, pale grey. I bought these from Abigail’s Bridal in Leeds, as they had a huge selection to choose from. They were really helpful there as one of my bridesmaids was very heavily pregnant at the wedding. Luckily they were able to get her a very similar style to the others which was more maternity friendly and we had it altered to accommodate her baby bump.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (14)

On the day of the wedding Emily Hawkes, did my and my bridesmaids’ hair, and was super sweet and lovely to work with. She did exactly what I wanted for my own hair, and created a different look for each bridesmaid which worked with their individual style. Natalie Willingham did the make-up and was fabulous. She made me feel a million dollars, and created a look for me that worked with my hair and my dress. She made my mum feel really comfortable and at ease even though she doesn’t normally wear make-up, and even got her to wear false lashes!

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (26)

Sarah Mason was our photographer, and did an amazing job. We met quite a while before the wedding, and clicked instantly which is really important, so we knew we were making an excellent choice. We didn’t want stuffy or old-fashioned style photographs, and loved the work that we had seen from previous weddings. Both Sarah and Suzi were absolutely lovely and captured the day perfectly. Having them around didn’t feel intrusive at all, and they blended in with all of our guests. I usually hate having my photograph taken, but it all felt really relaxed and easy. The way the pictures tell the story of our wedding really stir up the emotions we felt on the day, and we love every single photograph they took.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (27)

We spent quite a bit on confetti for our guests, to get that all important confetti shot! I ordered real petal confetti in shades of grey from Shropshire Petals online, and it was so worth it – the photos from it were hilarious. I would highly recommend their website, and they do almost any colour that you could want for your colour scheme.

Our flowers were from Sally at Serendipity Floral Designs based in Leeds. Sally was a dream to work with, and must be one of the nicest people ever! She provided some brilliant suggestions, and really got the look I wanted to go for. I fell in love with the Juliet David Austin roses, as an alternative to peonies which were out of season. I really wanted to go for quite a full and fluffy bouquet, and for the colours to tie in with the grey from the rest of the wedding as well as breaking it up with the soft peach of the Juliet rose and ivory.

The bridesmaids’ bouquets were smaller versions of mine, but all in ivory with a touch of grey foliage. Sally totally brought all of my ideas to life, and I was definitely very emotional when she arrived with the flowers on the morning of the wedding!

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (31)

As the venue was so beautiful, it didn’t need much in the way of decoration so we wanted to go for something more understated. Sally provided us with some silver candelabras which were decorated with gypsophila and ivory candles. We also had large grey votives on each table which had cream avalanche roses in, but these were purchased from M&S and put together by myself and my maid of honour the afternoon before the wedding. Lots of mercury glass votives filled with tea-lights were also on each of the tables; these were really hard to find in bulk, but I managed to track some down online.

I wasn’t keen on having a big top table arrangement, and preferred the look of having a few different smaller arrangements. Sally did a gorgeous display using the same flowers from my bouquet and placed this in a huge mercury glass lantern which sat pride of place in the centre of the top table. My bridesmaids’ bouquets sat in vases on the top table too, and in-between these we had lots of mercury glass candlesticks of varied heights, more mercury votives, huge cream hydrangea heads in vases and candles from Jo Malone and The White Company, which were a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it!

I’d seen lots of mirrored table plans on Pinterest and was really keen to recreate this for our wedding, as I thought it would really fit in with the style and look of the day. I got a huge silver framed mirror from Dunelm Mill, and then a friend of a friend who does some gorgeous pieces on Etsy (Handmade by Sadie Fay) wrote out the table plan for me. Apparently it was quite tricky to do, but I think it looked amazing and we now have it hanging in our house as a lasting reminder.

I didn’t fancy having chair covers, so instead sourced spindle back silver chairs from Y F Events, which fitted in with the look we were going for. They were super easy to organise, and really reasonably priced.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (39)

With Love Wedding Stationery, provided all the wedding stationery. Nicky was lovely to work with, and did a wonderful job of all the bits and pieces we ordered, even creating some bespoke signs for us too.

We weren’t sure what to do for favours but settled on little meringue kisses which were swirls of ivory and grey. We had intended on ordering these online but my mum took on the challenge, and spent many an evening making the kisses, boxing them and tying all the bows and tags around them. She did an amazing job, and all the guests loved that they were homemade.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (45)

We got our cake from Ashleigh at ADC Cakes in Leeds, who was really great. We found it hard to a narrow down the flavours so ended up with a four tiered, four flavoured cake! We had Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle, carrot cake and red velvet. All of which went down a treat with our guests, and we had plenty left over for ourselves after the wedding too. The design was based on one I’d seen a few times on Pinterest, which was a pale grey cake with tiny ivory piped dots all over. Ashleigh recreated this perfectly, and we were really happy with the finished cake.

We had a four course meal for the wedding breakfast, which we settled on after a tasting at Oulton Hall. We knew straight away we wanted a traditional roast beef dinner, as this is Lee’s favourite, so the other courses worked around this. We had smoked haddock tartlet to start, followed by celeriac veloute, then the roast beef, with tarte au citron to finish. All the guests loved the food, and we were definitely all stuffed afterwards.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (51)

When it came to entertainment, a string trio was something we knew we wanted for the ceremony, and heard a few before deciding on The Dotted Crotchets after hearing them in The Trafford Centre one evening. They were brilliant, and walking down the aisle to them playing is something I will never forget. They played a huge variety of songs, and the guests really enjoyed listening to them in the background during the drinks reception following the ceremony.

An old friend of Lee’s, Anish, who is a DJ around Leeds offered to do our wedding reception music for us. He made sure everyone had a fantastic time dancing the night away at the reception.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (56)

After our wedding I would definitely recommend Oulton Hall to other couples. Obviously it’s a beautiful venue but on a practical level they made things really easy. They were very good throughout the whole planning process, and Harshal who looked after our wedding on the day, was wonderful. Nothing was too much trouble, and he ensured that we had no stress and got to enjoy the day

My favourite part of the day was the actual ceremony, and getting to say those all-important words. We obviously hadn’t seen each other the day before and so I couldn’t wait to be back next to Lee and become husband and wife. Everyone was really emotional in the room, and quite a few tears were shed, but we both had huge smiles on our faces the whole time and loved every single second.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (57)

We went to Egypt for a mini-moon a few weeks after the wedding, as we were unable to go straight away due to work commitments. It was perfect to just relax and unwind after all the build-up to the day. We’re hoping to get away for our anniversary next year and have a proper honeymoon then, if slightly belated.

An Elegant Wedding at Oulton Hall (c) Sarah Mason Photography (61)

My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to make sure that your day is how you want it to be, and to have the things that are important to you as a couple. Although other people might want to offer opinions or advice which you should take on board, it should always still be about the both of you.

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