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a winter’s love. essense of australia for a chic wedding at the mansion, leeds – jen & leigh

01st February 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

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A Chic Winter Wedding at The Mansion (c) A Little Picture (79)

Today’s real wedding is all about the fun factor, with newlyweds, Jen and Leigh, making sure this was one of their top priorities when planning their special day. From the ceremony and decorations to the food and music, they also injected a personal touch across every aspect of their nuptials and the celebrations after. And we’re completely smitten with the results.

The gorgeous Grade II listed Mansion in Roundhay Park, Leeds – a Brides Up North Sponsor venue, no less – provided the luxurious backdrop to the couple’s November wedding.

Jen and Leigh looked to the wintry season for inspiration, with gorgeous berry and navy tones and a touch of gold, as well as ‘wild’ floral arrangements and a hearty wedding breakfast. Other little details to look out for include gold prosecco bottles for their centrepieces and corks as place setting holders – simple yet beautiful, and an idea we think we’ll be borrowing!

DIARY DATE: We will be holding a Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Fair at The Mansion on Sunday 25th February 2018, 11am to 2pm, FREE ENTRY. Be sure to join us to see more of this fabulous venue and to meet a handpicked selection of top suppliers from the area.

With images by A Little Picture.

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jen says: We got engaged on Christmas Day 2016. We had spent a couple of years renovating our house and Leigh suggested that it might be nice to have Christmas in our own home for the first time ever. We woke up on Christmas morning and opened what I thought were silly stocking presents. At the very bottom of mine was a beautifully wrapped box and when I looked up, Leigh was on one knee asking me to marry him! It was just perfect, very private and romantic with the twinkly lights on the tree. My family came over for Christmas dinner and it was so exciting to be able to celebrate with them on such a special day.

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We got married on 11th November 2017. We had been together for 11 years at that point and once we had decided to get married, we didn’t want to hang around! We love this time of year, particularly crisp autumn days with all the beautiful colours on the trees and the gorgeous low light.

We tied the knot at The Mansion in Roundhay Park, and were able to have both our ceremony and reception there. As soon as we arrived, we knew that it would be the place for us. Roundhay Park is beautiful and has a wonderful family feel to it. The Mansion itself is a gorgeous old house, which is decorated in a contemporary style and is incredibly warm and inviting. It has two main rooms, so we were able to have our ceremony and reception in different places and it was big enough that, had the weather been poor, our guests could comfortably spend all day inside. From our first meeting, Dine (who run the venue) were incredibly friendly and professional, nothing seemed to be too much trouble.

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We didn’t have a theme as such but wanted the whole day to feel relaxed and cosy. We decorated the building with photos of our friends and family and used candles everywhere to create a romantic mood.

We had a combination of warm berry and navy tones to reflect the time of year and our centrepieces were gold to match the colours of the building’s interior.

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I wore a floor-length Essense of Australia dress from Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden, West Yorkshire. I knew that I wanted something lacy and fitted but this dress went beyond my original expectations, with beautiful beading detail and a long train. The back of the dress was particularly intricate, so I went for a sheer veil in the same length as my train. I loved my dress and wish I could wear it again!

My hair and makeup artist, Anna Stephenson was amazing. She was able to replicate the images that I had shown to her as well as make suggestions.

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Leigh wore a three-piece suit from Joshua Adams in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire. He wanted something in keeping with the time of year so went for a heavier fabric in navy with subtle velvet accents. His three groomsmen and both dads wore the same, although Leigh had a checked waistcoat rather than a plain one. The ties were a plum/berry colour to match with the bridesmaid dresses.

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I had three bridesmaids and one flower girl. My two adult bridesmaids wore floo- length lace dresses from ASOS in a plum/berry colour. My younger bridesmaid wore an ivory lace dress from John Lewis and my flower girl also wore ivory lace, from Mamas & Papas. They all chose their own shoes, which were gold and I bought pearl jewellery and hair accessories from Not on the High Street and Monsoon.

I was able to get ready with my bridesmaids and mum at the venue so didn’t require transport. Leigh, the rest of the bridal party and all of our guests travelled to the venue on a beautiful vintage bus from Yorkshire Heritage Bus Company. This got the celebrations off to a great start early on in the day!

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Our photographer was Alice from A Little Picture. She is quite new to the wedding business but is so talented and has just the style that we were looking for. We felt incredibly comfortable in her presence and love our photos, so would definitely recommend her to other couples.

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Our flowers came from Flowers at 180 in Mirfield, West Yorkshire and we absolutely loved them! I had seen an image on Pinterest of the sort of thing I wanted for my bouquet – really natural and a little bit wild looking in the colour palette that we had chosen. Cate, the florist, was able to create this look and understood what I wanted from the very start. She had suggestions for the other bouquets and button holes, which were great, and created the most fabulous display for our top table.

We had the long and low arrangement on both our ceremony table and reception top table. All the other decorations were things that we had bought or made. Our centrepieces were decorative metal trays (which we sprayed gold), full of candles. We loved the idea of using our previous celebrations to influence this one, so we also sprayed gold prosecco bottles and filled with tall candles. We then used the corks as place setting holders.

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My friend Caroline designed our invitations and we used the hand painted floral design on these to create menus and photo challenge sheets for guests, all tied up in gold ribbon. We dotted scented candles around the building and had a sweet table, painted red post box and Polaroid camera table (complete with props) for the evening.

On the dance floor we had light up love letters from Love Lights the Way, Charlotte was incredibly helpful and these really finished off the room ready for the evening.

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As we got married on Remembrance Day, we donated money to The Royal British Legion and gave each guest an envelope with a poppy seed to plant.

Our cake was a four-tier naked cake, consisting of red velvet, chocolate, Victoria sponge and lemon. It was covered in berries and we had a ‘Jen & Leigh’ topper from Not on the High Street. It was baked by a friend, Ruth Lancaster, who is incredibly talented, and it received so many compliments on the day!

We chose a warming wintery menu from the Dine selection; Yorkshire rarebit, roast beef and sticky toffee pudding and had the Dine house wines. The food and drink went down very well with our guests.

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Our evening entertainment was a DJ who came as part of the Dine package. He was great, and we were able to pre-select a number of songs that we knew our guests would like. The dancefloor was full all night!

The most important thing to us was that our wedding was fun and felt like a party. We made sure that everything we did was personal to us and our family and friends, including the ceremony, decorations, food and music. It all went down really well and we had so many comments about what a happy occasion it was!

We made sure to ignore any of the wedding ‘traditions’ that didn’t feel like ‘us’ and concentrated on the fun bits! In the ceremony, we chose readings and music that were personal and during the speeches Leigh and dad spoke about how important our guests were to us and mentioned those who couldn’t make it. My maid of honour even said a few words!

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Our venue was brilliant. All of the staff at Dine are amazing but in particular our wedding planner, Katie Glossop was fabulous. From our first meeting, she did a great job of putting us at ease. She was full of enthusiasm and always there to answer our questions. Nothing was ever too much trouble and the day ran like clockwork, whilst still feeling incredibly relaxed.

We both loved the whole day and couldn’t believe how perfect it was! The ceremony was incredibly special for both of us. The warmth in the room from our family and friends was lovely and a feeling that I don’t think either of us will ever forget. Also, dancing until we could barely walk was pretty fun too!

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For our honeymoon, we went to New Zealand for three weeks and toured around in a Wilderness campervan. It was a real adventure and it is the most beautiful country. We loved spending so much time together after the hectic few weeks leading up to the wedding!

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My top tip for other Brides Up North is, follow your gut and do what feels right for the two of you. Make sure you push to have an occasion that is personal and keep it fun. Everyone says it, but the day itself goes so fast, take some time to be together and sit back for a minute to look around. The ceremony is the best bit, so don’t forget about it in the planning madness!

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