Today’s real wedding is likely to evoke a fair few “oohs” and “aahs”, not only due to the adorable flower girls and mini ring bearers, but also the beautiful blooms and adorable décor.
Taking place at Wentworth Castle Gardens in South Yorkshire, bride and groom Jenny and Shawn, were keen to have a bright and happy wedding that gave a nod to the season whilst, most importantly, featured those closest to them.
The outcome is a relaxed yet beautifully styled big day, filled with love, laughter and cuddles!
With images by Fox & Owl.
jenny says: Shawn and I grew up together, living only a street apart during childhood. As we grew up we became friends and as we got older we worked together – over time a romance blossomed.
Shawn proposed to me on our one-year anniversary, during a holiday to Gran Canaria. We were going out for dinner to celebrate and he was insistent on the idea of us going for a walk down to the beach so we went walking through the sand dunes and sat watching the sunset. That is where he asked me to marry him.
Our wedding was on the 26th March 2016. We chose this date because I personally love Easter and because it’s usually a season where we spend a lot of time together as a family.
We have six children between us and lots of children within the family, therefore it was important to us that our wedding was as child friendly as possible. We wanted it to be a relaxed day for all. And as much as we wanted our children involved in the day, they were under no pressure to do anything. We didn’t put expectations onto the flower girls to walk down the aisle – but they did and were wonderful little spring fairies!
Our civil ceremony was held in the conservatory of Wentworth Castle Gardens in Barnsley. We found choosing a venue so daunting. At first and had no idea where to begin the search. We sat chatting about it one day and I asked Shawn, “If we could get married anywhere, where would you choose?” He answered, “A castle”. After a simple Google search Wentworth Castle Gardens popped up and so we went for a little look around. The grounds were exceptionally pretty and as the courtyard came into view we saw a wedding taking place. We could really picture it for our own. That was when we decided it was the venue for us.
With the wedding falling at the start of spring, and on Easter weekend, we decided on a loose Easter/spring theme, using a mostly white and yellow colour palette.
I had two wedding dresses for the big day. During the ceremony and wedding breakfast I wore a Wtoo dress that I purchased at Mia Sposa in Huddersfield. Later, for the evening reception, I changed into a custom-made Honeypie Boutique dress, which was a 50’s tea length, heavily petticoated design, accessorised with a gold glitter bow and a birdcage veil from Crown and Glory. I also wore Irregular Choice ‘Mr & Mrs’ shoes. They were gold and sparkly with a cute kitsch heel. They were very “me” and were one of my very first purchases for the wedding. In terms of jewellery, I wore a pair of earrings, which I purchased from a store on Etsy, and my necklace was a gift from my mum on the morning of the wedding.
Shawn and I also sent each other gifts on the morning of the wedding. I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and several other gifts, including my favourite perfume, and I sent him a black pocket watch, which I’d had inscribed.
Shawn’s wedding attire was a tweed style suit by Marc Darcy London, with a yellow bow tie and pocket square from Mrs Bowtie (gifts from myself). He finished off his outfit with a classic pair of brown brogues. The two best men and usher wore waistcoats that matched the Shawn’s, with tan coloured chinos and yellow ties.
We didn’t have bridesmaids, but instead chose to have our daughter and three nieces as flower girls. They all wore dresses from Monsoon.
Our four sons were our ring bearers. They all wore shirts, tan chinos with the choice of a bowtie, tie, or braces as we wanted them to be happy and comfortable. Each boy also wore a silver sheriff ring bearer badge (gifts from myself and Shawn).
On the day of the wedding I travelled with my father to Wentworth Castle Gardens in a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, which we hired from Yorkshire Classic Wedding Cars.
Fox & Owl captured our day for us and did such a beautiful job – the images were just what we wanted. They complemented the relaxed flow of the day and we are so pleased with how our wedding pictures look – they are stunning!
Our florist was Haute Katurah. When it came to flower choice I wanted something simple that complemented our spring theme. Thinking about how Shawn and I grew up together reminded me of being young, playing, the sun shining, making daisy chains and picking buttercup bouquets for my mum and grandma. As a result we had wicker bunny shaped wreaths made up with daisies and gypsophila. The buttonholes were designed to complement my bridal bouquet of daisies and I also wore gypsophila sprigs in my hair. The flower girls had wicker baskets and scattered petals down the aisle.
The wedding breakfast/reception room was where our florist really worked her magic and creativity. The tables each had a large white jug filled with spring flowers and we had a beautiful floral frame made up as a backdrop. The frame was made by my brother and the flowers that adorned it were arranged again by Haute Katurah. It was just stunning.
Further decor included ceramic bunnies adorning tables, Easter themed photo booth props and bunting.
I made the favours for our guests, which also doubled up as place settings. Each place setting had a white egg cup in which sat a chocolate egg (either Lindt, Thorntons, Dairy Milk, Galaxy, Kinder Eggs etc). I wrapped these in a variety of yellow, striped, spotted or floral fabrics. This was then tied up with twine, to which I added a white luggage tag with the guests names and hole punched daisy shapes.
My lovely mum made our wedding cake. We told her what we wanted and she whipped it up. She truly is a cake wizard. It was perfect!
Our wedding caterers were Complete Catering Service. We had cocktails served with canapes on the terrace after our ceremony, then for the main meal we opted for an afternoon tea. The children had their own children’s table where a child friendly afternoon tea was served (including jelly). We later had pie and peas served during our evening reception to keep guests’ energy levels up.
As entertainment for the wedding we hired the Leeds City Stompers, who played during the evening reception. They were fantastic and a huge hit with guests! Looking back, it was our best decision. We were blown away by how good they were and how they got our guests up and dancing. Our first dance was to Leeds City Stompers performance of It Don’t Mean a Thing.
To keep the children entertained throughout the day we put on some Easter themed games, such as wooden egg and spoon race, Easter bunny beanbag toss and hoopla. At the table they also had an Easter tablecloth to colour in (which kept them busy during speeches).
Following our wedding I would recommend Wentworth Castle to other couples for the grounds, as it was such a beautiful backdrop for photographs. As we did not want a religious wedding in a building such as a church, we found the conservatory to be a beautiful alternative for our ceremony. Overall picking the right wedding venue is really down to personal choice. A couple needs to pick a location that ticks the right boxes for them and it must be somewhere that feels right.
As well as the venue, and the suppliers already mentioned, I would also recommend Lyndsay Howson, who styled my hair, Julia Jeckell, who did my makeup and Emma Jones Handmade Designs, who took care of our wedding stationery.
On reflection I’d say that the ceremony was our favourite part of the whole day. Our daughter and nieces walked down the aisle as flower girls and we had our sons present the rings. It was a really proud moment where it felt like our family was coming together.
We didn’t have a honeymoon in the traditional sense as we opted to take the children away on holiday instead. We all went to Fuerteventura for a week and had a really lovely time!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be to make lists, involve others and accept help, as however long you think you will need to plan a wedding you will no doubt end up feeling that you need longer. We spent many a day roping family into ‘crafternoons’ to help set up seating plans, make ribbon wands and confetti cones etc.
Looking back on our day we have no regrets. Yes, it rained. Yes, things went a little wrong. But it’s true when people say you really will not care on the day.
The catering and venue were our biggest expenses but the DIY helped save money. I did a fair bit of DIY in terms of making place cards, name cards, signage and favours as well as ribbon wands and tambourines from sewing hoops with bells, netting and ribbons.
Throughout the wedding planning process we were also fortunate to have my sister-in-law Nicola Warren (owner and wedding planner at Applewood and Blossom Barn weddings), on hand to offer her expertise and guidance, which helped steer us in the right direction when making choices and decisions.