Real Weddings

this game called love. willowby for a diy wedding at new craven hall, leeds – emily & fraser

04th June 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

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A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (43)

We’re back from our hiatus ready and raring for more real wedding pretty than ever before. On the back of our bi-annual rest, recharge and reassess, there’s a proper update coming soon on some verrrrry exciting plans for this little corner of the internets, but for now, let’s just give the people what they came for, eh? Straight into the #wedspo it is then…

After a year-long engagement, today’s couple Emily and Fraser tied the knot at the chapel in Leeds General Infirmary. Not your conventional choice although one that held lots of sentimental value for the pair, as it’s not only where they both work but it’s also where they originally met.

For their celebrations afterwards, New Craven Hall – an industrial events space in the heart of Leeds – provided the beautiful backdrop and all the versatility the bride and groom could need to craft their special day. And when we say craft we mean quite literally – as they either made their decorations from scratch or borrowed from family or friends – everything from hula-hoops with flowers and fairy lights to glass baubles with candles and bunting.

Adding a playful element to their day – Emily and Fraser plumped for a board games theme. Think a Battleships table plan and place name cards featuring Scrabble pieces and you’ll get the idea! This is just one of the many highlights though, so we think we’ll pass the blog over to Emily now to tell us all the details!

With images by Stevie Jay Photography.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (13)

emily says: We got engaged on 24th February 2017. We had gone away for the weekend and just about made it to Pitlochry in Scotland, driving through some really bad snow from Leeds. On our first day, we got up, had breakfast in the hotel and planned a walk through the countryside. The walk took us past a waterfall called Black Spout. As I turned around from looking at the waterfall, Fraser was down on one knee and asked me to marry him! After lots of tears of happiness and saying ‘yes’ we then continued the walk and stopped off at a local microbrewery for a drink.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (15)

We tied the knot on 24th March 2018. We wanted to get married within about 12 months of our engagement, so this was just over! We got married at St Luke’s Chapel at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) Hospital. We both work as radiographers and met at the LGI, and felt it was a special place to both of us. We had to apply to the Archbishop of Westminster to get a Special Licence. The old hospital entrance and the chapel are 250 years old and have lots of beautiful characteristics.

Our reception was held at New Craven Hall. We chose this venue because we wanted somewhere we could have freedom to do what we wanted. We wanted to make our own decorations and centrepieces as my mum and me are both very crafty. Inside, it’s an industrial style venue with fairy lights, beams and copper features, with lots of decorating to do. We wanted a good choice of food and beer too, and the venue allowed us to have our favourite cans of craft beer for our welcome drinks. We had access to the venue to set everything up ourselves, but the New Craven Hall team were on hand if we ever needed anything.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (21)

We love playing board games together, so our theme for the day centred on board games. For example, we had Articulate save the date cards and Monopoly invites, as well as a Battleships table plan where the guests had a coordinate and had to find what battleship (table) they were on; Jenga coasters; place name cards featuring Scrabble pieces; and a Guess Who game with the guests as the faces. Our guestbook was made from jigsaw pieces too and we also had a dart board.

Our colour scheme was pale teal and light duck egg blue. We weren’t adamant on any particular colour scheme prior to organising our wedding. I found some bridesmaid dresses of this colour which we liked, and we just went from there. We used this colour for the ties of the male wedding party, as well as the bunting and ribbon on the order of service.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (20)

I wanted a simple, fitted dress with a slight fishtail, nothing too big or sparkly. When trying on dresses, I soon realised I liked shoestring straps and loved dresses with no back or a very detailed lace/sequinned back. I purchased my dress from Ava Rose Hamilton near my hometown in Colne and it was designed by Willowby. I just loved the lace back and the simple look at the front. I wanted some sparkle so added a belt. I loved the long cathedral veil, which I got for a bargain from Preloved and it was held in with my bridesmaid’s hair clip from her wedding day – my something borrowed.

Fraser bought his suit from Slaters as did the best man, groomsman and our dads. They were all in navy, standard fitted suits. Fraser’s suit had a slight textured look to it compared to the others. He wore a tie that complemented the bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen’s ties, and also bought his shoes and socks from Jeffery West, as his wedding treat.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (1)

The bridesmaids wore dresses from Marks & Spencer. M&S have a lovely choice of bridesmaid dresses at a reasonable price. I loved the spring colour and the shoestring straps, which matched my dress.

Stacey Borg Makeup Artistry, based in Leeds, did my hair and makeup. She made our morning so relaxed and fun, and the makeup and hair was perfect and natural.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (4)

On the wedding day, Fraser got a taxi from the hotel in the city centre where he stayed the night before. I stayed at our house, in north Leeds. I organised some chauffeured taxis from Privilege Executive Cars who took us to the chapel. I was in one car with my dad and the rest of the bridal party were in a people carrier.

We didn’t choose a fancy wedding car as we had organised a 1940s vintage bus for everyone to be transported between the chapel and the venue and we wanted to be on it with the wedding party, on the back seat! The bus was hired from Classic Vehicles of Yesteryear. After the ceremony it took half the guests to the venue for drinks and canapes, while the main wedding party had more photos. It then came back for us.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (5)

Our photographer was Stevie Jay. Her style is informal and relaxed. She got some beautiful photos of us together in the chapel, the hospital and on Millennium Square. The photos of us, our guests and the day itself are natural poses and moments. Half the time, I didn’t even know Stevie was taking photos, and she captured some really special shots.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (7)

The bridal party’s flowers were blush pink, cream and green. I had some bright blue flowers in my bouquet to match my bright blue shoes! The florist was Daisy Chain, Leeds, and he was really enthusiastic with great ideas. He suggested thistles for Fraser as he has Scottish heritage, along with berries and succulents. From this, my mum made felt succulents that we incorporated into the venue decorations.

We made the majority of the decorations ourselves or borrowed them from friends’ weddings. I wrapped hula-hoops with fake greenery, flowers and fairy lights; these were hung with ribbons from the beams and walls. We filled borrowed glass baubles with candles and succulents and hung them with jute from pipes. The venue was also decorated with bunting made by my mum. The centrepieces consisted of lots of gin bottles collected from our friends. They were filled with fairy lights and flowers bought from Leeds indoors market. The tables had a lot of candles in tea-light holders, again borrowed from our friends. Lights and candles were key to decorating the venue.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (11)

For our favours, we gave out Monopoly scratch cards. We wanted something that wasn’t just left on the table at the end of the night. There were a few £5 winners, but nothing big!

We had a cake of cheese from The Courtyard Dairy, Settle. This was then served as part of the ploughman’s at our evening reception. We also had a wedding bake off where we asked friends and family to bake cakes, which we then had as dessert after our meal. There was plenty left over for our evening guests and the red velvet went down the best!

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (14)

Our food was made and served by The Hog & Apple Food Co, York. Like our wedding, we wanted something with an informal feel. We had antipasti serving platter boards which were placed in the middle of our tables. The main was barbecue beef brisket, chicken or halloumi skewers served with a delicious selection of sides and salads, again all on the table for guests to self serve. The food was great and there was plenty of it, and the canapés were amazing too! We had our own little board so we didn’t miss out.

We had Salty Kiss and Gamma Ray as our welcome drinks. We paid for Kirkstall Brewery’s Three Swords behind the bar and had plenty of wine on the tables.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (18)

In terms of music, we made our own playlist running through the day. Then in the evening we had a DJ from Hi-life Entertainment, Leeds. We chose them as they were at a friend’s wedding where the dance floor was never empty. We have a diverse taste in music and they were great at accommodating this. We chose 25 must-play songs including ZZ Top, Legs and R Kelly, Ignition and the dance floor was never empty!

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (19)

A special touch of the day was obtaining permission to get married at the LGI and having the hospital Chaplin, Ikuko, marry us.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (27)

If you want a venue that is relaxed and not too formal, I would recommend New Craven Hall. You can put your own stamp on the decorations, decide how your day runs, and choose your own food and drink. Nothing is a ‘no’ and they will help you out in any way they can.

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (42)

Walking down the aisle and getting married in an unusual venue with such beauty, history and meaning was my personal highlight to the day!

A DIY Wedding at New Craven Hall (c) Stevie Jay Photography (33)

The following Monday after the wedding, we went back to Scotland, near to where we got engaged, for a minimoon. We spent a few days in a glass tree house, with a hot tub, drinking craft beer and gin looking over the Cairngorms. We have just booked to go to Vietnam for our honeymoon in October.

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be: do exactly what you both want and keep it personal.

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