Real Weddings

future classic. justin alexander for an autumn wedding at rudding park – ellie & matthew

24th March 2016 | Rachel Parry

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As much as we love to see couples thinking outside the box for their big day, we’re also big fans of those that choose to keep things classic, just like today’s bride and groom.

Ellie and Matt’s big day featured a romantic burgundy colour scheme and simple white blooms with the traditional tails for the men and a stunning fishtail style dress for the bride. Bringing the whole classically themed day together was their choice of venue – the stunning Rudding Park in Harrogate. Having recently visited this amazing hotel for ourselves (see our Blissed Out Bride feature here) we can understand why they chose its unique onsite chapel and attractive reception rooms for their big day celebrations!

With images by Brides Up North Sponsor Stan Seaton Photography.

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ellie says: Matt and I met in 2011 in America. We were both working at a summer camp in Maine. In 2012 we decided to travel to Australia for a year where we visited both the east and west coast. On 10th January 2013 when we were in Kalbarri on the west coast of Australia, we went for a delicious meal at a local steak house. After we finished our meal we walked back to our campsite along the beautiful sandy beach. Once we arrived back Matt got down on one knee and pulled out a stunning diamond ring that he had handmade in New York and flown over. My answer was always going to be yes. We were lucky enough to have our friends in Australia throw us an engagement party in Melbourne.

We got married on Saturday 5th September 2015. This date was extremely important to me in particular, as whilst we were in Australia my granddad sadly passed away shortly after we got engaged. My grandparents were married for 53 years and their wedding anniversary was on 3rd September. It therefore meant a lot to me to have our wedding on the same weekend.

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Our wedding took place at Rudding Park in Harrogate. The venue is absolutely stunning and there were many reasons why we chose it. We wanted to have a traditional wedding and felt the chapel onsite had all the elements for this. As I’m from Bedfordshire and Matthew is from Northumberland, Harrogate was a great place to meet half way for both families. The venue is very accessible to get to yet once you are on site, due to the large grounds, you feel secluded and private. Everything being on one site was another reason we liked the venue, as it meant our guests wouldn’t need to travel. The chapel was the factor that won us over though, it is stunning and gave a really traditional wedding feel.

We went for a classic, elegant theme as it’s what I’ve always dreamed my wedding would be. Our colour scheme was burgundy. We choose this because it’s a ‘loving’ colour and went well with the autumn season in which we got married.

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My dress was from Mia Sposa Bridal in Newcastle. It was a ‘signature’ Justin Alexander design. The dress had a soft sweetheart top, tightly fitted with a soft fishtail skirt. Across the chest was a beautiful diamond pattern. I had always wanted a body-hugging strapless dress but pictured it would be plain. When I tried this dress on, I fell in love with it and even more so with the sparkly detail and diamonds. This then started off my love for diamonds, which I had added into my bouquet.

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Matthew wore a Ted Baker dark grey suit. He had a white pattered waistcoat, grey trousers and tails as well as a burgundy cravat. The suits were hired from Moss Boss. The groomsmen all wore the same as Matthew. Moss Bros were a great option for us as the groomsmen were from all over the UK so it was ideal that they could each pop into their local store with a special code to get their suits.

My bridesmaids’ dresses were Dessy full-length designs in burgundy with straps that went slightly off the shoulders. We bought them from Norwich from a shop called La Belle Angele.

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We picked Stan Seaton Photography to capture our day and I would highly recommend them. Both Stan and Jane are very professional and friendly. They made us feel so at ease and many of our guests commented on how friendly they were. They were with us from the very early morning, where Jane stayed with me and the girls, and Stan with Matthew and the boys, right through to the evening dancing! Our photos are absolutely stunning.

We also had MoviArt Films to video the wedding, who I would certainly recommend. They captured our day from getting ready to the second dance. We have HD DVDs of our special day as well as Blu-ray DVDs. We got to select which songs were used, including our string quartet. The video has a full length version of our day which is two hours long, as well as a cinematic version which is a 20-minute summary of the day! Great for using online to show friends and family abroad. In addition to filming the day, MoviArt Films set up a video diary booth where our guests could go in and leave us a message. It was just wonderful to watch back.

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When it came to the flowers we were very lucky as a family friend Jayne Wood, who owns her own florist The Flower Basket in Wooler, Northumberland, kindly offered to provide my bridal bouquet, bridesmaid flowers and buttonholes as her wedding gift to us. My flowers included white roses, calla lilies and white freesia with greenery. Small diamonds were also added into the flowers.

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To style the venue we used a company based in York called Finishing Touches. They provided us with table centre pieces, which were fish bowls with a candle in the centre surrounded by six white roses. They also provided us with white chair covers, dark red chair sashes and matching table sashes. We also had two bay trees with white roses at the wedding receptions doors.

For our personal touch, our table numbers were 1-9 and we used photographs of us as children aged 1-9 to correspond with the numbers. We also had framed photos from our pre-wedding photo shoot displayed around the bar for the evening reception.

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Instead of giving favours we made a donation to the Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis charity on behalf of our guests. Each guest received a charity pin and a thank you card. This charity is very close to my heart as I suffer with Ulcerative Colitis.

We had a three-tier wedding cake and each layer was a different flavours: lemon, vanilla and Victoria sponge. This was covered in white icing with iced roses down one side and finished with a red ribbon around the bottom. Our cake was made by Harrogate-based Piece of Cake.

We went to a food tasting at Rudding Park prior to the wedding to choose the menu for our wedding breakfast. Following the ceremony we had canapés of mini fish and chips, herb tart, goats’ cheese and cranberry and a mini beef and Yorkshire pudding. The starter was duck parfait or pea, broad bean and garlic soup for the vegetarians, followed by mains of chicken breast, dauphinoise potatoes, fine beans, butternut squash and jus, then roasted bell pepper with couscous and garden vegetables for the vegetarians. Dessert was strawberry cheesecake.

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To provide some musical entertainment during the day we had a strong quartet to play at the ceremony and during the canapés and photos before the wedding breakfast. We used Kendal String Quartet, as they came highly recommended. In the evening we had a live band, who also did DJ sets, called Champagne Skies. We found them through Garston Entertainment and chose them because they were young, fun and entertaining and their music was fantastic – the dance floor was never empty the entire night.

We also hired a photo booth from Booth Revolution for the reception. This was a fantastic part to the wedding and the photos were printed twice, one set for guests to keep and one for our guestbook, which our guests then signed next to their photos. This was then wrapped up at the end of the night and presented to us as a wedding gift.

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Following our wedding we would definitely recommend Rudding Park to other couples. The staff were outstanding and took great care of us from the moment we visited to the day after our wedding. The venue itself is beautiful and in a great location. Having an onsite chapel makes it even more special. The food was delicious and drinks were regularly topped up. The staff were so friendly and helpful in ensuring the day ran smoothly with no hiccups. After the wedding when Matthew and I came back to the room, we found two bottles of champagne, a card and a painting of the venue which was given as gift to us from all the staff! I thought this was such a nice touch. I also got a small gift hamper on arrival to the bridal suite the night before the wedding.

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Becoming Mrs Johnson and getting my wedding ring on my finger was, without doubt, the highlight of the day! It was also great to spend the day with all our family and friends. We were lucky enough to have our close friends from Australia, New York and Ireland fly over, as well as my cousin from New Zealand. It was incredible to see all our close family and friends from all over the world celebrating and enjoying themselves. We were so grateful to them for making the journey. Our Reverend named David also made our day extra special and put us, and all our guests, at ease. We met up with Revered David several times before the wedding and I have to say what a positive and lovely man he is.

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For our honeymoon we went to an island north of Male called Chaaya Island in The Maldives. We went for two weeks and it was beautiful. We had a water bungalow and there was champagne on arrival. The island was a dream: we snorkelled in the clear blue seas, got massages at the spa, went on a dolphin sunset cruise, had a private candle lit dinner on the beach and much more. We also met another couple who were also on their honeymoon who we have now become very close friends with.

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My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to make sure you get a good photographer and videographer because the day goes by so quickly it turns into a blur and having the video and photos to look back on really help you to remember just how special and amazing the day was. You can also relive it again and again. I would also say take every moment in and remember it’s your day and you’ll only get it once so do what makes you happy.

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