Here at Brides Up North we love to see a wedding that truly expresses the personalities of the bride and groom – just like today’s real wedding between Arron and Nicola.
The bride, clearly a very talented artist, crafted some unbelievable creations to delight the guests on the day. Take the beautiful table plan, for instance, which depicts their venue, Monk Fryston Hall, under a velvety, star-studded sky, complete with the welcoming glow of a Christmas tree at the front door and two cats enjoying the view. And then there’s the card box – exquisite portraits of Nicola and Arron are encircled by a whimsical floral pattern, adding a unique edge to an often mundane object.
Nicola also handmade a huge number of delicate paper flowers – it’s hard to tell they’re not real – and the utterly gorgeous crown she wears to adorn her sparkly dress is beautiful. Of course, she made that herself too.
She did, however, have a little help with some of the details. The bird cake toppers and the flower-embroidered cape she wears over her dress were sourced from some talented independent suppliers – unusual and quite enchanting, they add to the overall personal feel of the day.
With the wedding taking place just three days after Christmas Day, Nicola and Arron were blessed with a seasonal scattering of snow to complete their festive celebrations. Time to hear more from the beautiful bride…
With images by Victoria Baker Weddings.
nicola says: Arron proposed on 28th December 2016. We’d just come home from visiting family for Christmas and had a few little gifts left under our tree to exchange with each other. Arron had put the ring on the Christmas tree and proposed there!
We got married exactly a year after Arron proposed, on 28th December 2017. We absolutely love Christmas time and it’s also my birthday on Christmas Day, so it really is a time of celebration for us. It was just perfect having everyone we love all together at a time that is so magical.
Our venue, Monk Fryston Hall in North Yorkshire, is a gorgeous old building, with lots of character, beautiful grounds and surrounded by nature – and it’s local to many of our guests. The grounds were just what we wanted for our photographs: very natural with plenty of trees, plants and ducks! The building has an intimate feel, with lovely patterned wallpaper, wooden floors and cosy fireplaces – perfect for a winter wedding. We would definitely recommend the venue to other couples.
We knew the venue would be decorated for Christmas, so we wanted to embrace this. We didn’t want to make things overly festive, but chose colours of sage green and berry red for our theme. I am an artist, so I love to make things myself; all the invitations, flowers, table decorations and wedding favours were made by Arron and me. All the wedding invitations, menus, table plan, stickers and thank you cards that I designed were printed by printed.com and the quality is always lovely.
We love wildlife and nature, so incorporated moss and pieces of wood in the glassware lanterns we made. All the candleholders had wreaths around them that I crocheted wool around and then attached artificial flowers to. As most of our wedding was handmade, we didn’t use many external suppliers.
It sounds awful to say so, but my dress wasn’t my priority for the wedding. I didn’t want to spend a lot on it, as I wouldn’t be comfortable and able to enjoy myself in something that cost a fortune. I just happened to look at the Phase Eight sale and saw my dress! It was the first one I tried on and I loved it. A light skirt with a beautifully embellished top, it was very festive and shiny. I adored my Rachel Simpson sage green shoes (so comfy, I walked through woodland for our photos without a problem!). I really didn’t want any fur shawls for the bridal party, even fake ones – fur looks better on the animals it originated from! I found someone on Etsy who hand-embroiders stunning silk piano shawls. They look vintage and are incredible. I love patterns and wanted to have some colour and florals in my outfit, so I had my floral embroidered silk shawl and a flower crown I made from artificial flowers.
Arron’s suit was by a designer we found on ASOS and it was beautiful. So soft, with lovely shades of brown and flecks of red. His shirt was from Paul Smith – a floral patterned one incorporating our red and green colours – and he wore it with a Liberty patterned tie, vintage polka dot Reiss pocket square and some silver leaf cufflinks. I love how Arron embraces my passion for pattern and carries it off so well. He looked perfect.
The bridesmaids all wore different dresses – two were berry red and sage green, while the other three were complementary patterns. They also had some big checked scarves to wear as wraps outside. Each of my bridesmaids made their own hair pieces from artificial flowers to go with my crown; it was amazing to see what they all made.
Our groomsmen and my dad wore suits of their choice, with a floral tie to bring some pattern into their outfits.
Our photographer was Victoria Baker and she was just incredible. Her photography is stunning – so natural and joyous, with beautiful colours. She managed to capture moments like the speeches without us even knowing she was there. More than this though, she was enthusiastic right from the beginning when we first met. She wrote about us on her blog, posted our photos on her social media and made us feel so incredibly special. She took such fabulous care of us on our wedding day and was a huge part of helping the day to go smoothly. She’s a real gem, as a photographer and a person.
For the flowers, we actually made the majority out of paper. I thought it was such a shame that soon after the wedding fresh flowers would die, so I wanted to make something that would last. We chose to make hellebore and anemones (which took quite a few weeks!) and then bought some eucalyptus stems, hypericum berries and eryngium thistles to tie in with the handmade flowers. I then tied up each of the bouquets with some Liberty-patterned floral ribbon.
When it came to decorating the venue, Monk Fryston Hall had some Christmas decorations up, which was nice. The flowers on the tables were more handmade ones; they were like mini versions of the bouquets. We had bought lots of lanterns and vintage glassware to put candles in, so they were all along the tables with the handmade wreaths around them. I really wanted fairy lights across the ceiling and Arron very kindly arranged this with a local lady. It looked beautiful and magical!
For the favours, I wanted the guests to have something lovely to open as they sat down for the meal. We gave them floral gift bags containing a handmade menu, bubbles to blow, handmade Mario boxes containing chocolate coins (as a reference to Arron’s love of gaming), and homemade ginger heart biscuits with every guest’s name iced on. It was a labour of love but I think they were well received.
For our cake, our friend Janet made a fabulous fruit cake. She is a master at making sugar flowers, so she not only made a yummy cake but created hellebores, anemones and succulents all out of sugar. They looked real; it was amazing. Our cake toppers were made by Emily Steele of Charming Creatures. Emily has made beautiful things for me in the past, so I knew straight away we wanted her to make some bird-themed cake toppers! She made a goldfinch for me and a bearded tit for Arron!
The meal was a bit like a mini Christmas dinner, but the main thing we wanted to have was sticky toffee pudding for dessert. We also chose to have a pizza van in the evening, as Arron and I are huge pizza lovers and eat it at any opportunity!
We created our own photo booth with lots of props (some Disney themed!). We put our guestbook next to it, along with lots of craft materials and Instax cameras. We’ve got some brilliant photographs from it and a guestbook to treasure – some of the guests really embraced the crafting element. We also had a DJ in the evening, who played a lot of the Motown and classic rock songs we chose.
In terms of other special touches, the confetti thrown after the ceremony was so lovely. We found a supplier who mixes dried and real flowers and it smelled incredible. We then had sparklers in the evening when it was dark and that was lots of fun. It sounds simple but just having balloons to bounce around on the dance floor was fun too! As a little surprise, Arron and I had secretly had a few Lindy Hop classes, so for our first dance we did a fun dance to Hallelujah I Love Her So by Ray Charles. I think it took a few people by surprise!
Looking back, it’s impossible to choose a favourite part of the day! We will cherish all our memories. It was an incredible feeling though, after the nerves of the ceremony, to go for a walk in the grounds with our photographer Victoria and have some calming time to ourselves and take photographs. It really helped us to calm down and spend a bit of time together as a newly married couple.
For our honeymoon, we got the Eurostar to Paris (after having champagne at St Pancras first). We arrived on New Year’s Eve and went to the steps of the Sacré-Cœur to bring in the New Year with some beer and (more!) pizza that we bought from a gorgeous little pizzeria. It was glorious! We then spent a week just exploring Paris, seeing the sights, visiting art galleries and eating our body weight in pastries. Afterwards we had a few days at Disneyland Paris, which was lots of fun.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is to decide on what are the most important things to you and just go with it! We decided we wanted lots of handmade elements and, even though it was really hard at times, I’m glad we stuck with it. In the end though, no matter how much planning has gone into everything, on the day just enjoy it! It all goes by in a flash, so forget all the worries and have the most fun you can. Take lots of selfies, hug all your loved ones and dance like a goon!