Though Christmas has been and gone it’s still very much winter outdoors and so to start the week in style we’re sharing the seasonal wedding of Stuart and Kerry. Taking place in late December, their big day celebrations include subtle hints to the season and a stunning white, midnight blue and metallic colour scheme.
We adore the atmospheric candle light décor, elegant floral displays and sparkling cake, not to mention Kerry’s gorgeous Suzanne Neville dress – pure perfection!
With images by Andy Gaines.
kerry says: We got engaged on October 5th 2013, in the mirror garden at the Palace of Versaille, Paris. The lake there had fountains in that played to classical music. Stuart said we have the fountains on one side and a statue of Venus on the other, then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
We set the date for 28th December 2014. We decided we wanted a small, intimate wedding and Christmas time seemed ideal for this.
Our chosen venue was Middleton Lodge in North Yorkshire. It ticked all of our boxes and meant that we could get married on site and get ready in our rooms. It is a beautiful home and has a really cool cellar bar to party in. It also wasn’t too far for relatives and friends to travel. I also love the area having spent a lot of time at my auntie and uncle’s house nearby.
The venue had also recently opened up a restaurant called The Coach House and guest rooms in the grounds. This meant we could have people stay there as well as the house. We chose to have dinner at The Coach House the night before the wedding with our family and friends; they gave us the private dining room and the food was fabulous. It was also a good celebration for my dad’s birthday on the 27th.
I gave up on a theme for the wedding quite early and decided I wanted it to be elegant, informal but timeless. So I stuck with a colour theme of white, silver and golds for the flowers, cake and decorations. The bridesmaids wore midnight blue, which suited them all and again, I hoped it would look elegant and wouldn’t make us all cringe in 20 years when we look back on photos!
Stuart also requested that all of the males who attended that had medals, wear them. Stuart’s always had an interest in them after learning about the medals his grandfather was awarded in WWII; he also has his own from serving as a police officer. Stuart asked his nephew to wear miniatures of his late grandpa’s medals, which made him really proud as his grandpa was very important to him.
When it came choosing my dress, I selected a simple, fitted gown from Suzanne Neville called Memoire, which was from the Vintage Rose 2014 collection. It was ivory with pearls scattered across the top front and back. Suzanne fitted a corset for me so that I didn’t have to worry about finding the right underwear! I had seen it in on the website before I went for my appointment. I had a fine silk cathedral veil with tiny pearls embroidered on. Despite trying many on before, I just knew I would find my dress at Suzanne’s showroom. She was lovely, as were all of her staff.
Cat Johnson, from Harrogate, did my make-up as well as my mama’s and all of the bridesmaids. She did a brilliant job and my godmother’s daughter used her for her wedding last year.
Stuart wore a navy three-piece suit from Marks & Spencer. He was very particular about how many pockets and buttons he wanted! He wore tan coloured Loake brogues and a wine coloured tie from Reiss. His pocket handkerchief was also from Reiss and was off white silk.
Stuart’s father was best man and he wore a suit from Marks & Spencer also.
The bridesmaids wore dresses in midnight blue by Dessy. My three best friends wore strapless, long gowns with a sweetheart neckline, and my niece wore a short off-the-shoulder dress to compliment them. My god-daughter wore one from the same shop that was twirly and had a skirt which complimented my niece’s dress. My youngest bridesmaid had a dress from Monsoon as she was just five-months-old.
Andy Gaines, a York-based photographer, captured our wedding day. We had seen his work on his website and when we met with him he was laid back whilst being enthusiastic and understood that we wanted more informal photographs, that weren’t staged.
Following the wedding, we would definitely recommend Andy to other couples. He produced some amazing photos and a lovely slide show with music I wish we had had for our first dance – That’s What’s Up, it’s now our song!
Flower-wise I carried a mix of white flowers and foliage. Emily, our florist who runs BlossEm in Ackworth, was brilliant, I had gone wanting particular flowers and she explained that the ones I wanted were not in season and so would be very expensive if she could get hold of them. She gave me alternative suggestions to achieve the look I wanted.
My bridesmaids were supposed to carry white astilbe but we had to change this at the last minute because we just couldn’t get hold of them. I left the final choice to Emily and she did a great job. She just got what I wanted.
The flowers for the decorations were an extension of our bouquets. It was all white, silvers and greens with lots of candles and little glass antique jars in silver and gold. Emily provided all of the flowers and table decorations. She also made arrangements for the end of each row of chairs for the wedding ceremony. She also provided a lace chair cover for my seat.
We had Aquiesse candles around the venue; in black orchid and black sandalwood, which made the house smell wonderful. My bridesmaid Alaina and I had made little candle holders out of glass jars, gold and silver sand and decorated with gift rope, mini sleigh bells and fresh holly.
Our seating plan was made by my niece, mum and her partner. They made Christingles and beautifully hand wrote the seating plan for each table, which were then put into the Christingles in place of candles. They also hand wrote the menus up for each table.
Stuart and I made everyone’s name place setting. We produced baubles with each guest’s name inside and filled them with little gold stars. People took them home and are still hanging them on their trees.
On the tables for the wedding breakfast we put an easel up that held a compilation of family wedding photos. My grandad was particularly pleased to see his wedding photo with my nana as she unfortunately had passed away a few years before.
I also got little flags with quotes on, silly moustaches for the tables and ‘Hooray’ flags to wave after the ceremony (they had little bells on!)
As favours, we gave out white chocolate macarons that were decorated with gold leaf.
We had a three-tier cake with a different flavour for each tier; lemon, raspberry Bakewell and spiced apple. It was decorated white and silver – the silver was like icy glitter. Unfortunately it arrived decorated differently to what I had asked for and it didn’t fit the colour scheme. Thankfully were able to add extra flowers that Emily had prepared for the bridesmaids to wear in their hair!
In terms of food and drink, we had prosecco and Winter Pimms at the drinks reception after the ceremony. Guests were then served canapes whilst photos were being taken: Yorkshire blue cheese and red onion marmalade tart (we love cheese!), wild mushroom, tarragon and chorizo crostini, cottage pie truffle mash and mini venison sausage with sweet chilli ketchup.
For the wedding breakfast we wanted to make sure as many people as possible would enjoy the food. We chose a chicken liver and almond parfait with crisp balsamic glazed onions to start and glazed goats cheese, rocket pesto and sunblush tomatoes with pickled beetroot salad as the vegetarian option. For main we had assiette of lamb; pan seared loin, pressed leg, slow cooked belly with red wine and rosemary jus and deconstructed butternut and roasted red pepper lasagne as the veggie option. Dessert was dark chocolate delice and salted hazelnut praline with vanilla ice cream. Our friend told me after that she doesn’t really like lamb but she thought the wedding breakfast was one of the most delicious meals she’d had.
We drank Malbec and La Brouette Blanc white wine with dinner and toasted with prosecco. Stuart had a bottle of port that had been produced in 1967 that he had been given for his 18th birthday and was saving for a special occasion; he decided this was it and asked every male to pour the port for themselves and the lady next to them without ever putting the decanter down until finished in Masonic tradition (Stuart was a Mason).
In the evening we had a Greek feast; grilled chicken and lamb souvlaki with garlic and lemon, grilled halloumi and rocket salad, tomato, pine nut and olive salad and warm flatbread with tzatziki and olive tapenade.
As entertainment, we had a cellist at the drinks reception following the ceremony – he played a mix of modern tunes. We had attended the wedding of friends and he had been playing there. We thought he sounded great and decided to book him.
My niece is an excellent pianist and her wedding gift to us was to play a mini concert for us, which included David Grey’s This Year’s Love. She can play by ear but doesn’t always like to perform so it was a special gift. She also drew a beautiful design on the front of our guestbook so that it was unique to us.
For the evening, we booked singer Carly Wood, who performed in the cellar bar and her boyfriend DJ’d the rest of the evening for us.
Following our wedding we would absolutely recommend Middleton Lodge to other brides and grooms. It was a magical day and the team were very supportive and helped with little details I hadn’t even considered to make things run smoothly. The venue feels so welcoming and you do feel that it is your home for the duration.
Looking back, I’d say my favourite part of the day was sitting down to the wedding breakfast and taking a minute to look around and see how much everyone was enjoying themselves. At that moment I knew being married to Stuart was how it had been since the beginning of time (does that make sense) – like we had been, and would be, married in any life time (poor Stuart!). I said to him it didn’t feel different being married because every part of me felt this is how it had always been and was supposed to be.
For our honeymoon we went to Malaysia. We spent a night in Kuala Lumpar and then travelled to a private island called Pangkor Laut, where we stayed in a water bungalow.
My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – make sure you give yourself time to get ready and take things in. Also, remember it is your day – lots of people have particular ideas about your wedding as they have probably been dreaming about it longer than you!
Oh, and the best piece of advice I was given (by the seamstress at Suzanne Neville’s) was not to get hung up on the small details as only you really knows how it it’s meant to be and everyone else will think it looks beautiful or went how it was supposed to anyway.
Finally, enjoy the day – the work has already been done for you and it’s time to enjoy the experience!