Real Weddings

real wedding recap: pronovias for an elegant wedding at grays court, york – katie & andrew

05th January 2017 | Rachel Hirst

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It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 9th January 2017 but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from 2016. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.


If timeless elegance is your thing, prepare to fall head over heels as we share the beautiful big day of Katie and Andrew on the blog today.

Picking the stunning Grays Court hotel in York, as the impressive backdrop to their wedding, Katie and Andrew married in a romantic outdoor ceremony, complete with a petal and lantern-lined aisle.

Concentrating on the details, the champagne, blush and gold styling and florals are nothing short of sensational, and we adore the wedding party’s gorgeous attire too! Top marks all round!

With images by Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography.



katie says: Andrew proposed in Mijas, Spain, in June 2015 on a family holiday. He had planned to propose during the first few days but my best friend also got engaged at the same time when we were away, which was amazing, but as a result, Andrew said he felt he had to wait a few more days so he could have his turn of getting down on one knee!

Knowing we always wanted to choose the engagement ring together and having been planning for a long time, he proposed with a Pandora engagement charm, getting down on one knee in the botanical gardens in Mijas in the hills overlooking the Spanish coast – it was beautiful! Andrew had asked my mum for my hand in marriage the day before so everyone knew about it except me. I didn’t have a clue!


We set the date for Saturday 14th May 2016. Our venue had an outside ceremony area within stunning gardens, so it was vital that we had a spring or summer date. This was the only date left in May and it was extra special as I turned 30 in the same week.

Our chosen venue was Grays Court hotel, in York. It is an elegant, luxury, boutique 11th Century house with outstanding features, long gallery and breath-taking gardens. York walls overlook the venue and we found Grays by chance ourselves in 2010 when walking the walls and witnessed a beautiful wedding there in the gardens. York was one of our first city breaks together and we go every year so it is a special place for us. We didn’t entertain anywhere else when choosing the venue.


We had always wanted black tie tuxedos and elegance as the style of the wedding, and so we planned a classic, romantic, intimate, English wedding with lots of style and detail.

For the colour palette, we had lots of white, champagne, blush and gold tones, with fantastic details. It was the colour scheme we naturally gravitated to and complemented our venue.


When dress shopping, I chose to visit Eternity Bridal Wear in Cheshire, as it was a local stockist of Pronovias, which was the designer I wanted to try the most. It was the only shop we went to and about five dresses in, we found ‘the one’. I always knew I would end up in a fitted dress with back detailing however this was more embellished with beading and a tulle train and I totally fell in love with it. Karl, Zoe and Ann at Eternity are amazing and Zoe knew which would be the dress for me when she asked my mum and nan to close their eyes as I came out of the dressing room. The store is beautiful too. I wanted something that felt like me, something I felt comfortable and beautiful in with lots of detailing but something I could also dance in.

Accessories-wise, I chose a Joyce Jackson two tier cathedral length veil embellished with Swarovski crystals, it glittered in the sun! My crystal embellished bridal shoes where from Badgley Mischka shipped from America, I wanted something different and sparkly. I also wore a Tiffany & Co bracelet, which was a wedding gift from Andrew.

On the morning of the wedding my bridal party’s hair was styled by Emily Hawkes, who went above and beyond and even helped me get into my shoes and dress.


The groom and groomsmen went to Whitfield & Ward in Wilmslow, to choose their outfits. From the moment we stepped into the collection of the suits we felt in such safe hands. Craig and the team there are fantastic. Andrew wore a classic tuxedo, with a black buttoned tailored white shirt and horse-shoe shaped waistcoat. He paired these with lustrous patent leather shoes from Christian Louboutin and Mont Blanc cufflinks.

When it came to the bridesmaid dresses, one of my bridesmaids had moved to Dubai not long after our engagement so something which could be sent to her easily was important. I had always wanted a midi length dress, something fresh, young and pretty with clean lines but really struggled to find anything I liked, as most I came across where maxi and old-fashioned. In the end, I found them on ASOS; nude, classic, strapless style dresses with a slightly flared midi skirt, I felt they were timeless. The girls wore Jenny Packham earrings as part of their bridesmaid gifts and nude pink shoes from Faith. The groomsmen wore engraved pocket watches as their gifts.


We chose Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography to capture our day and it was one of the best decisions we made! Holly is internationally recognised as one of the UK’s best fine art photographers and we wanted our photographer to capture the elegance and dreamy like quality of the wedding and a fine art photographer was the only one who could do this. We really splurged on the photographer and videographer and it was important to us that we were all on the same page aesthetically wise. Holly and Phil are wonderful and we couldn’t be happier with the photos, they take us straight back to our day and the detail and beauty of them is wonderful. We have three large prints framed in our living room and loads dotted around the house. I would 100% recommend them for classic, beautiful wedding photos.

Choosing Papertwin Weddings as our videographers was another great decision that we made. If you are looking for professional, romantic, personal videographers, these are your guys. We have been bowled over by our video and on the day we didn’t even know they were there capturing all the special moments.


My wedding bouquet, created by Leafy Couture, was absolutely gorgeous and everything I dreamed it could be! It was one of the best moments when the flowers arrived as so much planning had gone into these and it was a wonderful surprise, they couldn’t have been better. I had a large bouquet of champagne and blush peonies, avalanche, white o’hara and vendella roses and bombastic spray roses with some sweet peas and ranunculi, with the bridesmaids having a smaller version. Our bridal party wore rose corsages on their wrists and the Andrew and groomsmen wore white avalanche roses.

We chose Leafy Couture to provide the floral decorations for the venue too as their flowers and designs are spectacular. Andrew allowed me full reign of the flowers and design and Sarah at Leafy Couture really ‘got’ our vision.

When we went over to meet Sarah I knew she would deliver our romantic theme of champagne, blush and white tones. We had hundreds of white rose petals down the aisle and on all our reception tables with gold votives of pretty blooms on the head table and each reception table. Leafy Couture also provided our centrepieces of candelabra with pearls. Andrew and I sourced our silver lanterns and about 300 gold and champagne candle holders with lots of pearl detailing – there were lots of candles! This was so much fun to do this together and the night before the wedding we set all the tables up with our immediate family – I would have been lost without them. Coming down the morning of the wedding to see the reception room set up and all Leafy Couture had done was something I will never forget. The room smelt amazing! Andrew and I also sourced romantic poems, scripts and verses for the reception tables.


We used Add Vintage for our love letter light-up sign and gold framed blackboard of our significant dates as a couple – ‘Our Love Story’. We also had a large classic mirrored seating plan made By Invitationly, Liverpool, and a personalised Instaframe and props, which provided extra fun in the evening for our guests.

The Paper Doll, Liverpool, made our champagne and pearl embellished order of service, we wanted these as a keepsake for our guests and we had handmade menus for each guest at the tables too.


We chose not to have any wedding favours and instead we made a private donation to a charity significant to Andrew’s family.

We bought our wedding cake from Marks & Spencer – a four-tiered sponge cake; it was just what we wanted in terms of design. Although on the night we forgot to actually cut it and give it out to our guests!


Another area of the wedding that we really splurged on was the food as this was a really important element for us. Grays Court were great in providing us with the option of giving our guests a choice of starters and mains prior to our wedding, which we felt was a nice touch. We chose canapés of smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese blinis, mini Yorkshire puddings topped with Yorkshire beef and horseradish and halloumi, pesto and cherry tomato mini toasts. Our main menu was a choice of starters; chicken liver paté with red onion marmalade, rocket and toasted ciabatta or goats cheese and beetroot tart topped with rocket and a balsamic glaze. Main course was a choice of either breast of corn-fed chicken: woodland mushroom and garlic stuffing, roasted artichokes and truffle dauphinoise, or roast strip loin of beef, duck fat roast potatoes, selection of summer vegetables, served with a red wine jus. We also had a vegetarian and vegan option for our guests. We had a trio of desserts to finish, which included lemon posset, salted caramel and chocolate mousse and warm chocolate and walnut brownie with salted caramel sauce. Our evening menu consisted of a full buffet spread including large chocolate fudge cakes, as we wanted our guests to really tuck in. Our venue also provided us with a list of summer cocktails in the gardens, which consisted of Bellinis, Amaretto Fizz, Elderlini, Summer Sangria and French 75.


When it came to the entertainment, we chose Wedding Jam as our musical suppliers for the DJ set and a full band, including saxophone of the simply fantastic The Andy Williams Band. Music was seriously important to us and one of the first things we booked. We wanted a class act for our band and soul, funk and groove was the tone of the night. Andy has toured with Hot Chocolate and Ruby Turner so felt we had the best wedding music we could find. Paul our DJ and owner of Wedding Jam, worked with us for months leading up to the wedding putting together our set list and musical tastes. It was full of funk, soul, neo-soul, Ibiza Balearic vibes and R’n’B – De La Soul, Gregory Porter, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder and R Kelly, were highlights.

Pre-ceremony we put a playlist together of songs that hold meaning in our relationship over the years, such as Coldplay Magic, Ellie Goulding Army and The Carpenters Close to You. I walked down the aisle to Gregory Porter Real Good Hands, as this was our engagement song that Andrew played to me and incredibly special, the words are beautiful!


Following our wedding we would absolutely recommend Grays Court to other couples! Not only is the venue stunning, with exclusivity on the day of your wedding, but it’s the staff that helped make the day what it was. Rhiannon, our wedding planner, has top organisational skills and an eye for detail, which is what you need. She also got back to our emails fast in the run up to the wedding, which is what you need when wedding planning! Our bridal suite and rooms for the guests at the hotel were also stunning.


Getting ready on the morning of the wedding was one of the highlights. It was super relaxed, chilled and full of laughter. It felt like magic with the sun shining into our room and the tunes playing in the background when getting ready. It was the best morning I have ever had. I will also never forget walking down the stairs to the aisle to meet Andrew, seeing him standing there is something I will treasure he looked so handsome. It looked like half of York were watching us from the walls too! Andrew and I also had lots of time together in the day, which was great fun and very romantic.


After the wedding, we had a minimoon in Santorini as it is a special place to us and our main honeymoon will be in the Maldives when I finish my masters and have some proper time off! Santorini is a unique place and it holds great memories so it made sense for us to go back there.


My top tip to other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the build-up and take time to plan the details of the day, it really helps. We sourced a lot of our décor ourselves, which was a lot of fun! Our wedding planning process was fun and relaxing; it shouldn’t be a stressful time. Remember it is your day and it is all about the two of you, so do what makes you both happy.

Also, I went to Jo Malone with my mum to pick my wedding scents; two combined perfumes of peony and blush suede and nectarine blossom and honey. I also chose bath oil, shower gel and body lotion to layer the perfumes, so when I wear these scents it instantly takes me back to our wedding day. I really recommend a bride does this during the lead up to her wedding, it was super fun and special.

the big picture


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  • January 7, 2017 | Permalink | Reply

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Not to mention your great professional band and DJ.Entertainment is so important and working with whoever your hiring before hand, the months leading up is key. That way you get the perfect set list to your personal musical tastes, full of funk, soul, neo-soul, Ibiza Balearic vibes and R’n’B – De La Soul, Gregory Porter, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder and R Kelly, in this case!

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