This afternoon we’re delighted to be sharing the wedding of avid Brides Up North reader Julia, who vows to remain a follower of the blog, despite now being a Mrs (which is more than alright with us!).
Having waited patiently for a proposal from her beau, Julia was determined to stretch the wedding celebrations across more than just one day and so planned the big day bash for over the May bank holiday weekend.
Following a family tragedy the wedding was almost postponed, but brave Julia and her family decided that a happy day was what was needed, and included special and personal touches to mark their loss.
This wedding is filled of love and laughter as well as beautiful styling and lots of fizz. Big thanks to Julia for sharing this with us.
With images by Chiyo McMillan Photography.
julia says: Wayne and I had been together for ten years before he proposed. It was a running joke among our family and friends that he would never do it and all my hopes were beginning to fade. The proposal came following a stay at Slaley Hall in Hexham, to celebrate our ten year anniversary. Wayne suggested a walk before we set off home but I refused as it was raining and we had to get back for our dog, Lola. I wasn’t aware at the time, but he was then forced to drive the hour-long journey with the ring box shoved in the back pocket of his jeans. We arrived home and Wayne was very eager to take the dog for a walk – we did and after what seemed like miles he finally got down on one knee and proposed. We are away from each other so much as Wayne is in the army that our walks together are very precious, so it was the perfect time and setting. I, of course, said Yes!
We got married on Saturday 28th May 2016, however our celebrations lasted all weekend. We chose this date because it was the bank holiday weekend. We had a wedding rehearsal followed by pre-wedding drinks and nibbles on the Friday evening and hosted a post-wedding barbecue the day after. I had waited so long for this wedding that I had to stretch the celebrations out for as long as I could!
We did however almost postpone the wedding as my brother Alan died eight weeks before it was due to take place. He collapsed whilst running a half marathon on his 31st birthday. He was going to be an usher and master of ceremonies at our wedding. We considered putting the wedding back but in the end my parents persuaded us to go ahead and try to make it the happiest occasion possible, which we did.
We incorporated my brother into the day as much as we could. We celebrated him through a special prayer during the ceremony, mentioned him in the speeches and a toast, our favours were replaced with donations to the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young, in his memory and we invited his old school friends to attend the reception. I also had a charm with his photograph on that was attached to my bouquet. This was given to me by a friend ahead of the wedding and it meant so much to me – I hardly put my bouquet down all day.
Our chosen venue was The Yorkshire Wedding Barn, in Gilling West, near Richmond, North Yorkshire. We viewed just three venues in our search and after we had been to the barn we didn’t want to view anything else, it was perfect. Newly opened in 2014 by Amanda and Neville Bird, the venue has a newly converted modern barn with beams wrapped in fairy lights and offers a blank canvas for receptions. The barn is surrounded by holiday cottages, each with their own hot tub (plus a hot tub in a tree house in the bridal suite), and ‘glamping’ style shepherd’s huts, which can accommodate up to 30 guests. The venue is in a gorgeous setting and offers beautiful views of the Yorkshire countryside.
We wanted somewhere that we could have exclusively for the whole weekend which also had plenty of room for people to stay and the barn ticked all of the boxes. So many people came up to us at the wedding and said how beautiful the venue was and we were even lucky enough to have sunshine over the weekend too!
We didn’t have a theme for the wedding to begin with, but whilst designing our stationery with A La Memoire we came up with a ‘country elegance’ theme, which seemed a perfect fit. This consisted of rustic elements such as wooden log slice centrepieces, wine boxes filled with flowers and hessian bunting teamed with pearls and lace for an elegant edge.
Ultimately we just wanted our wedding to be relaxed, full of fun, alcohol and good food, and for everyone to have a good time. We had so many people tell us that it was the best wedding that they had been to, so I think we succeeded in that!
When it came to the colour scheme we were quite laid back but knew we wanted muted, pretty pastels. Pink was the most dominate colour, which we used across all of the stationery and the flowers, the best men and usher’s ties were pink and my bridesmaids wore a pale lilac.
Finding my dress for the wedding was a more stressful experience that I had anticipated. I went on six different shopping trips, dragging my poor mum to every one, and I think I managed to try on around 50 dresses before finding the one. I finally chose a Maggie Sottero dress called Sybil. I wasn’t keen at first as the dress had a low neckline and a low back, two things that I said I didn’t want. The shop assistant pointed out the dress to me and told me that it was new into the shop and that it hadn’t been tried on yet, so to humour her I tried it on. It was beautiful and an absolute show stopper, once I was stood in front of the mirror with a veil I knew it was the one. It was antique ivory, lace with delicate sheer, lace straps and a full skirt. I bought the dress from Amore Bridal Boutique in Middlesborough.
As Wayne is in the army he wore his military uniform. His groomsmen wore a mixture of military uniform and three-piece blue suits from Moss Bros, with pink paisley ties and pocket squares.
The task of finding bridesmaid dresses proved almost as difficult as finding my own dress. Not because they were difficult or because they ranged in sizes/body shapes – we just couldn’t find something that everyone was happy with in the colours that I wanted. In the end we all agreed on a floor length, pale lilac dress with an embellished halter neck from ASOS. The dresses weren’t quite what I had envisaged for the day but when I saw the girls in them on the day they all looked absolutely stunning, and they worked perfectly with everything else. I have had so many people ask me where they were from!
On the day of the wedding I travelled to church in my uncle’s Range Rover. The groomsmen and bridal party travelled in a red tractor from the barn across the field to the church, which was provided by the Yorkshire Wedding Barn.
Our photographer was Chiyo McMillan. I met Chiyo at a wedding fair at the very start of my planning. Her photographs were so natural, relaxed and beautiful, which is exactly what we wanted, so I knew she would be perfect. On the day Chiyo was so discreet and made us all feel totally at ease. Trying to get all of our family and friends gathered for group photographs was a bit of a nightmare but Chiyo was very patient and the final photos are amazing.
Sam Coggins of Flowerlab, Darlington, provided our flowers. Sam was absolutely amazing and the flowers were beautiful. We had peonies, hydrangeas and roses, all in muted shades of pinks and ivory.
For extra floral displays my dad filled wine boxes with hydrangeas and lilies, which we placed at the entrance of the church.
In the run up to the big day Wayne and I had collected glass jars, which we decorated with lace, pearls and twine, and used them as vases for the flowers in our centrepieces. They worked perfectly on the wooden log centrepieces that my dad made for us. We had also collected champagne and prosecco corks, which we decorated with pearls and lace, and used them for the name places.
As the barn is already a lovely space, decorated with fairy lights wrapped around the wooden beams, we wanted to keep the decoration to a minimum so the only other decoration we had was light up letters. We had originally planned on having our initials “J&W” but the day before our wedding we found out that the J had been broken beyond repair at an event. Panic ensued and we frantically tried to think of what else we could spell or where we could find another supplier at short notice. In the end Ultrasound Disco (our original supplier) came to the rescue with some display “love” letters which fit perfectly in the space available and looked lovely.
We deliberated long and hard about favours and what to have. I had initially wanted a betting slip or lottery ticket to reflect Wayne’s love of betting, or something edible or drinkable! But as we were already providing all of the alcohol for the day and a sweet table we decided on a charitable donation. We would never have imagined that it would end up being a donation in memory of Alan but it was, and it felt like the right thing to do.
On each of the reception tables we also had a ‘kissing menu’, which listed a variety of tasks for the table to do in order to see us kiss. They could sing us a love song, start a Mexican wave or give some marriage advice. Everyone got really into it and I think we had a song from every table, which was such great fun. We never stopped laughing throughout the whole meal and it really added to the fun and relaxed atmosphere that we were going for.
The kissing menus and all our other stationery items were made by A La Memoire. I had initially planned to do this myself, but the reality was just too much work. Leanne is wonderful and her designs are simply gorgeous.
Our wedding cake was made by my very talented uncle. It was a three-tiered fruit cake with ivory icing and lace detail. Our cake topper was a present from my cousin Kathryn; it was a bride, a military groom and a Dalmatian. On the morning of the wedding I was in the barn setting up the last few bits and noticed that the groom had gone missing from the top of the cake. As lots of our friends were staying at the venue the night before I thought it might one of them might have taken it as a joke. Until I found the groom minus his head on the floor! I decided not to take this as a bad omen and after some quick fixing with super glue he was back to normal.
All of our catering for the wedding was done by Ray Wade Catering. We had canapés with our drinks reception, which included mini fish and chips, tempura prawns, spicy cocktail sausages and Cajun chicken skewers. Our wedding breakfast was roast beef. Each table got a joint of beef which was carved by a guest. They were given a chef’s hat and apron which added a really fun element to the meal. We had a trio of desserts including mango cheesecake, chocolate roulade and Pavlova, to finish. Ray Wade also provided a barbecue that we hosted at the venue the day after the wedding.
We chose Ray to take care of the catering because we had heard so many good things about him and his food. After our tasting with him we knew it was the right decision.
As my friends and I are massive prosecco drinkers so prosecco had to be a big part of the day. We provided magnum bottles on the table with a tag saying “time to drink prosecco and dance on the table”. We also had a prosecco bar so people could transform their glass of fizz into a Bellini, Bucks Fizz or Kir Royale.
To provide entertainment during the daytime we had a singer and acoustic guitarist called Paige Temperley, who we booked through AMV Live Music. She was absolutely amazing. She sang modern songs in an acoustic way which was perfect. In the evening we used Ultrasound Disco and as a surprise for Wayne I booked a Saxophone player called Sam Halstead through Cat on Sax. She was great and got everyone dancing.
After our celebrations at The Yorkshire Wedding Barn, we would definitely recommend the venue to other brides and grooms. It couldn’t be in a better location, the views are amazing and the local church is beautiful and so close to the venue. The barn gives couples complete flexibility and lots of accommodation too so the party can last as long as you like. You can also bring in the caterers and entertainment of your choice, although the owners Amanda and Nev do have some great recommended suppliers. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect venue for our wedding.
One supplier that I’ve not mentioned who I would also recommend is Rebecca Wright Hairdressing. Rebecca is an artist when it comes to hair. She did mine, my three bridesmaids’, both mums’, my god mother’s and even Wayne’s hair on the morning of the wedding and everyone looked amazing!
Looking back I’m not sure that I could pick a favourite part, it was all so wonderful and went by in a flash. There was a moment when Wayne and I were having photographs when we just stopped and looked back at the barn with all of our family and friends enjoying themselves, and I just thought to myself this is exactly what we wanted.
It was also so lovely to have the evening before with everyone that we don’t get to see very often. We bought lots of food and prosecco, which my family prepared for us whilst we were at the wedding rehearsal and from the moment we got back it was fun, laughter, dips in the hot tub and generally catching up with everyone, which was so special.
Straight after the wedding celebrations we went on a minimoon to Marbella. We are planning a bigger honeymoon for later this year/early next year.
Following our wedding my top tip for other Brides Up North would be to advise nominating a member of your wedding party to be the person to gather family members and friends together for photographs so things can run smoothly. Trying to get all of the photographs that we wanted but also wanting to enjoy the day and be with everyone was something that I really struggled with on the day.
During the wedding planning I wrote a blog whilst which documented the milestones in the run up to the big day, which is lovely to look back on now. I’d therefore also recommend keeping some kind of record of the planning process. It might not seem it now, but you will miss it when it’s all over!
I have been an avid reader of Brides Up North, even before I was engaged. I absolutely love seeing other people’s weddings and how they have added their own personal touches. Wedding blogs are also a great source of inspiration whilst planning your own big day. I hope it’s ok that I’ll still be an avid reader even though I’m married now… vow renewal next!