Colourful Wedding

all i want is you. maggie sottero for a small and intimate wedding at hipping hall – laura & peter

Laura McDonagh


Laura and Peter’s intimate wedding at Hipping Hall was full of luxurious details: a Maggie Sottero Ettia gown, Jimmy Choo heels and home-grown seasonal blooms that packed a real punch – just take a look at those peonies!

This pair of foodies also created a menu to die for, agonising over canape and course choices until they were sure their perfect day could boast the perfect wedding breakfast.

Laura is full of praise for photographer Rachel Joyce and it’s easy to see why: these photographs sparkle with joy, love and summer sun.

With images by Rachel Joyce Photography.


laura says:

Peter proposed on Boxing Day 2013, when we were in Australia visiting Peter’s brother, his wife and children. Peter was insistent that just the two of us head out on Boxing Day. However, Peter’s plan of proposing to me amongst the vineyards at Moet & Chandon didn’t work out so all day he was on edge and wanting to stop at every lookout or place of interest on our trip. Finally, after driving up mountains and through forests, he found a perfect spot at Sugarloaf Reservoir in Christmas Hills, Victoria. I wasn’t expecting it and we both cried!

We arranged our wedding for Saturday 30th July 2016.  We chose the date because we wanted a summer wedding and for Peter’s family from Australia to be there.

We decided on Hipping Hall in Kirkby Lonsdale for our venue. We visited the hall in 2015 and loved that it was so small and intimate. Plus, there was snow and it looked so pretty. We couldn’t wait to see it in summer. Being foodies, we also loved that our guests would be well looked after and enjoy amazing food and wine.


There was no particular colour scheme to the wedding; we just wanted bright and fun colours. The venue was impressive enough without having to dress it too much. We did however, theme a lot of the wedding around the lyrics to our first dance song, All I Want Is You by Barry Louis Polisar, as they’re so lovely.

I wore a Maggie Sottero dress called Ettia. I adored it from the first time I tried it on. I’d always wanted quite a straight dress and thought that the vintage style of this particular gown was just stunning, especially the pearl and crystal embellishment. I bought it from Aristocrats in Chester, who were fabulous. Dress shopping was unexpectedly easy. Aristocrats was the first shop I visited. I tried about ten dresses on and they were all lace apart from the Ettia, which I eventually went for. To this day I’ve no idea how I even ended up trying it on – it was nothing like the others I was trying. My mum and two friends all cried (so did I!) so I knew it was ‘the one’.  I bought Jimmy Choo shoes as a treat and on the wedding day Peter left a matching Jimmy Choo clutch bag in my room.


Peter wanted a less formal feel for his outfit and I’ve always known he doesn’t enjoy wearing a tie for work. So we asked ourselves why would he wear one for the wedding? He looked so handsome and smart in his Hugo Boss suit with crisp white shirt and no tie. His accessories also added a touch of style with his Oliver Sweeney shoes and handmade pocket square from Ylleanna, Biella in Italy, matching lapel pin and socks.


As we had such a small wedding (only 41 people), we decided that we didn’t want formal bridesmaids and groomsmen and wanted to make it a family day instead. I therefore had Peter’s three nieces as my bridesmaids. They looked stunning in pink floral dresses. Pete’s nephew kept the rings safe and presented them to us in the ceremony.


I used Laura Jayne Hair and Makeup to take care of the beauty elements of the big day, and she was absolutely fantastic! Everyone commented on how lovely she was and how comfortable she made them feel. Laura also did hair and makeup for my mum, Peter’s mum and my three bridesmaids and they all looked absolutely stunning.  It lasted all day and night and still looked perfect when I went to bed. I just wish I could have the ‘Laura Treatment’ every day!


Our photographer was the fabulous Rachel Joyce.  Would we recommend her? Would we ever! Rachel captured every moment of our wedding day perfectly, with an eye for the most amazing details like a bee landing on our flowers. She listened to exactly what we wanted from the photos and delivered more than we ever expected. We’re not usually keen on photos of ourselves but we loved every image Rachel captured; when we looked at the first image, I cried! Rachel was an absolute pleasure to spend time with on our wedding day and we loved our little photo ‘breaks’ with her. She even ruined her shoes looking for perfect places for us to have photos.


My three bridesmaids and I carried bright bouquets from The Great British Florist. They were just stunning.  We chose The Great British Florist as they specialise in seasonal flowers grown in the UK. Because we had no set colour theme, I thought it would be exciting to see what bright and summery blooms we’d receive. The Great British Florist doesn’t guarantee availability of types of flowers or colours so we had no idea what was going to arrive but we had every confidence they’d be amazing and they truly were. Each bouquet had the most stunning pink peony in the centre. Even the bees and bugs at Hipping Hall loved them, as captured in Rachel’s photographs.

We also had a milk churn of flowers on each table for the wedding breakfast. Peter’s family helped me arrange them the day before the wedding and Peter’s sister-in-law wrapped lace and hessian around our bouquets.


The name place for each guest at was a vial of tea with a motto such as “love is brewing” tied together with bright ribbon. After the wedding we thanked each guest for coming and for their kind gifts by giving them a photo frame with a picture of them from the wedding.

Our cake was made by the super talented Tracey from the Little Cherry Cake Company in Lancashire. We asked Tracey to design a cake based on our first dance song and we specifically wanted flowers and honey bees as they feature heavily in the lyrics. She showed us a sketch of the cake she’d designed which was only topped by the sight of the real thing. The cake was fun, bright and not your average wedding cake. It had three layers: one of carrot cake, another of chocolate and a third Victoria sponge layer. I can report that they were all absolutely yum!


As I said, we love our food, and the menu was where we spent a lot of time and effort in planning and discussing options with Hipping Hall. Oli (the chef at Hipping Hall) really accommodated us and the food was amazing.  After the ceremony we served Veuve Clicquot rose and three cocktails: Hipping Sling, Hipping Punch and Elderflower Collins. We also served a selection of canapes: mushroom choux buns with truffle mayo; venison sausage roll with cranberry ketchup and barbecue ham hock with tarragon mayo and pickled apple. We also served small slices of the wedding cake with the canapés as we wanted people to enjoy the cake rather than having it at the end of the night as an afterthought.

For our wedding breakfast we went for a starter of pan roasted trout with broad bean salsa, pea foam, cured trout with caviar. This was served with Limney Horsmonden, Davenport Vineyard 2014. Our main was beef fillet, crispy cheek, radish puree, charred radish, salsa verde and confit ratte potatoes. We served it with Novas Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2013. The dessert was chocolate sphere, truffle, and caramel & mandarin sorbet, served with Muscat de Rivesaltes Les Enfants Sauvages 2014. We then had cheese and biscuits with quince and chutneys, plus a sweetie table. As if people weren’t full enough, we served pizza when the dancing got going later on! Rachel Joyce captured the food beautifully and it tasted as good as it looked.


Entertianment-wise, Dave Pilla and Ellie Coast sang our first dance song and then continued to sing and play guitar. They got everyone dancing and in the party spirit. Our guests didn’t want them to stop and convinced them to carry on playing a little longer. Even people I’ve never seen dance were up on their feet, including my mum and dad (although my dad won’t admit it now)!


After the party was over, I wanted to make sure that the people who weren’t staying at Hipping Hall could get back to their hotels easily without any hassle so I organised transport with Dan Willian Coaches Ltd and Dan was great to deal with.


I’d recommend Hipping Hall to any couple looking for a small and intimate wedding venue with super food, drink and service. The staff at Hipping Hall were on top form all day and nothing was too much trouble during our whole stay. At every step of the planning (and even when we felt we were being a bit picky) they bent over backwards for us.


Our favourite moment? Just having all of our family and friends around us made the whole day so special. Our little photo breaks with Rachel Joyce were also amazing as they were time for Peter and I to be together as a couple and talk about things that were happening at the wedding.


After the wedding we had a minimoon in Bath and Cornwall for seven nights. Some of our lovely guests had bought us surprises along the way. We enjoyed great weather and had a fabulous time mainly talking about the wedding! We’ll be having another honeymoon next year – destination to be decided.


I know everyone says it, but my top tip to other Brides Up North would be – enjoy every second of the day. We’d also recommend choosing your photographer carefully; we were very lucky to find Rachel Joyce and have her beautiful images to enjoy for the rest of our lives. So many of our friends have said that they wished they had better photographs of their weddings, yet I know we won’t have the same regret.


I also just want to say a big thank you to my mum. Unbelievably, she won £10,000 from doing a Take a Break puzzle and kindly donated the money to our wedding fund. It was so touching and kind!

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