As the cold weather continues to bite, we’re bringing you a little piece of summer this afternoon in the form of Catriona and Pete’s oh-so-pretty wedding day.
Super-sweet and elegant from beginning to end, we love everything about this beautiful celebration. Highlights include Catriona’s stunning Jenny Packham gown, colourful blooms, dainty china and lots of cake!
With images by Tulip Photography.
catriona says: We got engaged on the 23rd January 2013, at Fountains Abbey. We always consider my 21st birthday to be the start of our relationship, the 23rd of January is Pete’s birthday so both birthdays are significant milestones for us. Prior to the proposal it had been snowing. When we arrived at Fountains Abbey and walked down into the ruins to find that we were the only people there. There is a ledge in one of the largest parts of the building and when we got to the top Pete got down on one knee, presented me with the most beautiful ring and asked me to marry him. I, of course, said yes! We enjoyed the rest of the day walking in the snow as a newly engaged couple and then went home to tell our families the exciting news.
We got married on the 19th July 2014. Pete particularly wanted a summer wedding and we have numerous teachers in our family so the start of the school summer holiday seemed like a natural fit. Pete also wanted to wait for the football World Cup to be over – to avoid any distracted guests! This gave us a year-and-a-half to plan the wedding, which I think is a reasonable time frame. A significant proportion of Pete’s family guests were traveling from Canada to join us and so the timing also allowed for an English summer holiday afterwards.
We got married at Saltmarshe Hall, which is near Howden, East Yorkshire. This is a lovely historic property, which has only recently become a wedding venue. We considered a few local venues and while they all offered different wedding packages, there were none that we felt fit with how we wanted our day to be. When we first went to Saltmarshe and met Kate, the owner, we felt really relaxed and she offered us a level of flexibility, which meant we could shape the entire day exactly as we wanted it to be, including bringing in our own catering and access to numerous rooms and their stunning gardens. We took our parents to look around and fortunately they shared our love of the venue as we had already made our minds up and booked it there and then.
We didn’t set out to have a theme as such but my love of vintage does appear to have shone through and the house and gardens lent themselves perfectly to all the ideas we had about what we wanted our wedding to be like overall. Coming from a creative family, I wanted to have a very hands on approach to the planning and make our wedding as special as it could be. By the time the big day came around I had created our invitations and seating plan, sourced and made the bridesmaids’ gifts (vintage dress clip necklaces), made the favours, sourced vintage tea sets for sixty people, made my own veil and baked and decorated the wedding cake!
Our chosen colour scheme for the wedding was a soft teal colour as this was the tone of the bridesmaids’ dresses and the groomsmen’s cravats and handkerchiefs.
I wore the Esme dress by Jenny Packham in ivory, which was bought from The Bridal Collection, in Harrogate. I have never been drawn to the typical wedding dress and wanted something with old Hollywood charm. The Esme dress is simple in its shape but adorned from top to bottom in beads in a stunning pattern. I always looked forward to my visits to The Bridal Collection and had some wonderful days there with my friends and family at various appointments choosing my dress and having it fitted, often followed by a little trip to Bettys.
I teamed by dress with some purple and silver Minette shoes, which I had bought as a student, and it made me smile that my mum once referred to them as “Disney princess shoes”. I made my own veil by creating a small headpiece out of the offcut from my dress when it was shortened and some millinery wire. I attached matching dress clips with blue glass features to each side at the front for my something blue. I then cut the veiling so that it would just be longer than the train of my dress and attached it in a way that the veil could be separated from the headpiece for the evening reception. Luckily it came together really well and I was so pleased with how it looked with the dress. My something old was my wedding band, which is an antique platinum Traub Orange Blossom ring, my new was my dress, and something borrowed was my sister’s Coco Mademoiselle perfume.
My hair and makeup was done by Catherine Elizabeth, who I would highly recommend. I chose her as she provided authentic vintage hair and makeup which complemented my dress perfectly. We had a trial prior to the big day and she really spent a long time getting everything perfect. It really came together perfectly on the day and lasted right to the end of the night.
Pete wore a charcoal grey morning suit from Slaters, as did the groomsmen.
My bridesmaids meanwhile wore long soft teal dresses from the Jenny Packham No1 collection at Debenhams. They had a real 1930s feel, which I loved and I was thrilled that all the bridesmaids looked gorgeous in them. Our flower girl wore an ivory dress from Monsoon and the pageboys wore kilts or grey suits.
We both knew that the photographer would be such an important part of our day and we needed someone we felt at ease with but also trusted to provide us with great photographs that would last forever. I knew Kyra of Tulip Photography from school and after looking at her previous work we arranged to meet her. Once Pete and I had spoken with her for an hour we both knew that she would be the perfect person to provide our wedding photography. She talked through all of the options and she helped us create a wedding package that provided everything we needed. We gave her a list of the portraits that we wanted and she managed to organise us and all our guests accordingly. We couldn’t have asked for a better photographer. She was such a pleasure to work with and we would wholeheartedly recommend her. Our friends and family were also thrilled with photos and thought Kyra was wonderful throughout the day.
When it came to the flowers, I carried a bouquet of pink peonies, peach roses and purple hydrangeas created by Julie of Flowers by Julie, a local florist recommended to me. My bridesmaids each carried a bouquet of white flowers and our flower girl carried a pomander ball of white flowers.
Julie also dressed the entrance hall and table in the ceremony room with white hydrangeas and roses with greenery. The bridesmaids’ flowers were put in vases on the tables during afternoon tea and my bouquet was the top table flowers.
As favours for our guests, I bought lots of porcelain charms from Jo Heckett’s Etsy shop in heart, butterfly and flower shapes. I made these into magnets by gluing a small magnet onto them. I then stuck them onto the place setting labels, which we attached to each guest’s tea cup.
My family and I all contributed towards making the wedding cake, whether it was the baking or decorating. Each layer was a different type of cake: fruit, chocolate or Victoria sandwich. I love the Wizard of Oz and really wanted to incorporate it somewhere in the day. The cake was iced in green with a yellow brick road traveling down the front. There was a gingerbread house on top with the wicked witch’s legs, including ruby slippers, poking out from underneath. The Wizard of Oz continued to be referenced in the best man’s speech, in which he likened the groom and a number of our closest friends to various characters with some touching anecdotes.
We decided pretty early on that we were going to have afternoon tea for the wedding breakfast. We didn’t want something too heavy and there is something so pleasant about having afternoon tea. I was discussing this at work with a colleague, Louise, who, with one of her good friends Amanda, kindly offered to make this for us. We had a sampler evening where we tasted and created a menu and on the day it was the best afternoon tea any of us had ever had. There were sandwiches, pastries, scones, homemade jam in four different flavours (made by my dad) and plenty of cake choices to choose from. They coped with dairy-free and gluten-free guests and the treats continued to be enjoyed by our families during the post-wedding celebrations. Tea and coffee was served throughout the afternoon and we had bottles of Prosecco and Belvoir Raspberry Lemonade on the tables for light refreshment!
We used the Lincolnshire Hog Roast Company, to provide a relaxed evening meal for all of our guests. We were very lucky that the weather was so lovely in the evening and people were able to stand outside chatting and having dinner together.
For the entertainment, we had a number of different rooms available to us which enabled us to cater for different people’s needs. We had one room that we referred to as the ‘Vegas’ room, which included roulette and blackjack tables, along with a photo booth, all provided by Jack’s Photo Booths Hire. Frank Sinatra and his friends provided the soundtrack to this room. We then had another room for dancing. We started with a mini Lindy Hop dancing lesson as this is a passion of mine, this was led by my good friends Kerry and Phil with their fellow dancers from Kingston Swing. After the dance lessons ended the DJ took over, he played for the rest of the night, finishing with some rock and punk songs that Pete and I had picked!
One of our main shared passions as a couple is our love of films. As such, all of the music featured on our wedding day came from some of our favourite films. I walked down the aisle to Latika’s Theme from the film Slumdog Millionaire, as we signed the register some of our favourite music from Fantasia played and we walked out to the sound of Kermit the Frog singing The Rainbow Connection. One of our favourite photos is us laughing as we left the room wandering how long it would take for people to realise who was singing. Our first dance was to the song Dreams on Fire, another beautiful song from Slumdog Millionaire.
Following our wedding, we would absolutely recommend Saltmashe Hall to other couples. Since our wedding I have spoken to numerous people who are either attending a wedding at Saltmarshe Hall or actually getting married there themselves. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue or a more accommodating host, Kate and her family were fantastic.
It’s hard to pick just one single part of the wedding as my favourite, the whole day went perfectly and passed so quickly. One of my main highlights was sitting with my family for the afternoon tea and speeches. Pete said that his favourite part of the day was watching me arrive as I walked down the aisle. Our combined favourite moment was when we got to spend some time together and danced to our punk rock playlist with all of our friends (I had to abandon my wedding shoes and unleash my pink sequin converse for that bit!)
The morning after the wedding we jetted off on honeymoon. We travelled to Manchester airport and flew to Lisbon where we stayed for three nights in the unbelievable Lapa Palace Hotel, after the last minute frenzy of putting the final touches on a wedding it was nice to enjoy some relaxation by the pool and explore the city of Lisbon. After Lisbon we travelled to Sao Miguel, which is the largest island in the Azores, where we enjoyed the beautiful Azorean countryside and explored the island in our hire car. We spent ten nights in the Terra Nostra Garden hotel, which included outdoor thermal waters and botanical gardens. We organised this through Archipelago Choice, a travel company we found online, who created a great bespoke holiday for us.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to be well prepared. Don’t leave everything until the last minute as then any little problems that might arise can be easily ironed out without causing unnecessary stress. Make sure that you have the wedding that you want. You spend so long planning and preparing for your wedding and the day itself goes by so quickly, make sure you enjoy every minute. We certainly did!