Hearts and flowers is the overarching theme for today’s beautiful barn wedding, and we couldn’t imagine a more romantic combination! After exchanging vows at the magnificent Ripon Cathedral, Emma and Martin celebrated with loved ones at the stunning Thief Hall – an exclusive countryside venue in North Yorkshire. In keeping with the rustic theme, the venue was chock full of bunting, garden jugs, jars, pretty fairy lighting, a wooden pallet and pegged pictures aplenty.
Mixing things up a little (would we expect anything else?!) the couple opted for an afternoon tea instead of a traditional wedding breakfast, and in the evening, served up artisan pizzas from a street-food-style van named Hettie, no less.
Keen to find out more? Us too. We think it’s time we pass the blog over to Emma to reveal all the fabulous details…
With images by Brides Up North Sponsor, Lloyd Clarke Photography.
emma says: We got engaged on my birthday two years ago. I was feeling a bit down as it was my last Friday off before going back to teaching full-time again. We were just about to leave the house to go out for tea with our two children but when I walked into the living room I found Martin down on one knee with our children watching. It was perfect as they were involved too. I had the biggest grin on my face for days!
As I’m a teacher, we needed to choose a wedding date during the school holidays so that we could have time before to prepare and some time after the wedding to go away for a few days. We chose Saturday 7th April as it was the middle weekend of the Easter holidays and we love spring.
We got married in Ripon Cathedral which is the most stunning building. We were lucky enough to have our children christened there and wanted to get married there too. After the ceremony we had our reception at Thief Hall, near Northallerton, which is just gorgeous. We wanted a barn venue where we could have a more relaxed reception and plenty of outdoor space for the kids to run around. It ticked all the boxes for us!
Our theme was quite rustic with us having a barn venue. After lots of pins on Pinterest, our theme evolved into ‘hearts and flowers’ with lots of bunting and hessian decorations. I really wanted to decorate the hall ourselves, so it was definitely a labour of love.
In terms of a colour scheme – Martin really wanted a navy suit with tan brogues and after lots of searching on the internet we also decided to have navy for the bridesmaids too.
I chose a fit and flare Stella York gown with an illusion back from Abigail’s Bridal Boutique in Leeds. After a couple of unsuccessful appointments, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted and what suited me. Margaret at Abigail’s was absolutely brilliant, and I tried on lots of different styles. As soon as I tried my dress on, I could picture myself walking down the aisle and knew it was the one! I chose to wear a lace edged Cathedral length veil and shoes by Miss KG.
Martin chose a navy suit from Next with a silver tie and the rest of the groomsmen wore the same suit but with a navy tie. He wore tan brogues from River Island.
The bridesmaids wore the April dress from Chi Chi London in navy and they chose their own shoes in nude. Our daughter, who was flower girl, wore a gorgeous dress from Carlton Couture in Ripon. The groomsmen wore navy suits from Next with tan brogues from River Island. Our son, who was page boy, wore a navy suit and tan brogues, all from Next.
One of my bridesmaids is a beautician and she did our makeup. Vicky of Maddison Taylor Hair styled our hair. I couldn’t decide what to do with my hair as I always have it down in a straight bob. Vicky gave me a really bouncy blow dry and I felt like me.
As our transport, we travelled in a Range Rover Sport, hired from the Yorkshire Chauffeur Company. Our driver, Chris, was just lovely and kept me dry in the pouring rain!
Our photographer was Matthew, part of Lloyd Clarke Photography. He was fantastic as we all felt totally at ease – even me – as I’m not great in front of the camera! Matthew blended in with all of the wedding guests and captured some fantastic natural shots.
Kathryn from Absolute Media was our videographer. She was so lovely and didn’t make us feel uncomfortable, as she was very discreet when filming. We are over the moon with our highlights video as it has captured many moments we missed on the day.
My flowers were sweet avalanche and vendela roses, freesia, astrantia, gypsophila and eucalyptus provided by Sheila Danby Flowers. The bridesmaids carried balls of gypsophila.
Sheila also provided gypsophila and astrantia for the jugs on the tables and created a top table arrangement, which matched my bouquet.
From day one of planning, we knew we wanted to do a lot of the decorations ourselves. I made bunting to match our colour scheme which we draped over the beams in Thief Hall. We cut hearts out of hessian as our centrepieces and added garden jugs filled with flowers, mini lanterns, candles and wooden heart confetti. With the help of my friends, we decorated jars and filled them with lights, which we displayed on the window ledges along with photo frames with photos of us and our two children. Using an old picture frame, Martin painted it silver and we used twine and heart pegs to create our table plan. I had trawled Facebook looking for rustic ladders which Martin sanded and painted grey. We added fairy lights and pegged photos of our family on. We bought large letters of our initials, that look the biz which we pegged behind the top table. We were really proud of our wooden pallet, which was used to display the order of the day.
We bought our invitations through Ebay from a company called Jumpfox. They were fantastic at communicating and provided a custom order of A4 signs, order or service covers and blank cards which I wrote the table plan on. We have since used them to create our thank you cards and would definitely recommend them.
When it came to favours, we really wanted to add an element of fun, especially having our children as a massive part of our day, so we decided to make jars of different sweets. We had a mixture of our favourite sweets including Percy Pigs, fizzy cola bottles and Haribo. I cut out navy floral material for the tops of the jars that matched the bunting I made to decorate the hall. We had a well-stocked sweet table which was aimed at the children, but I think the grownups enjoyed it more! For extra favours for the children, I bought little Labrador teddies as we have a Labrador. I sewed blue ribbons round them and added wooden heart nametags.
Martin’s sister Helen made our cake and it looked amazing! It was a semi-naked Victoria sponge cake decorated with the roses and gypsophila we had in our bouquets provided by Sheila.
We wanted to have a more informal meal and opted for afternoon tea. We met with Rosa from Teatime Yorkshire after seeing her at a wedding fair at Thief Hall. She made us a takeaway afternoon tea and after tasting the brownies, we were sold! We had canapés of ham and pineapple gourmet skewers, cheese and paprika twists and whisky truffles. The brownies and scones in the afternoon tea were delicious! Lots of our guests expressed how much they enjoyed it instead of a traditional three-course meal.
In the evening, Artisan Pizza cooked pizzas from their super cute van called Hettie. They tasted incredible and it was exactly what we had hoped for.
Let the Drinks Flow provided a mobile bar and also our reception drinks. We each chose a drink for the welcome drinks and ended up with Prosecco and bottles of Sol. They provided a range of gins too and my favourite cocktail, Pornstar Martini.
We hired a selfie pod through Pictureblast which went down a treat. For months, we collected props and costumes, including masks of my favourite duo, Ant and Dec!
As a special touch, when our guests arrived for drinks, my friend Caroline and her husband Tim played the violin and piano.
Following our wedding we would certainly recommend Thief Hall to other brides and grooms, particularly those looking for an amazing blank canvas to decorate themselves. Jessica, Phil and Holly were so helpful throughout the planning process and were there whenever we needed them. By the time the big day arrived, it felt like we were dealing with friends! On the day, Holly made sure everything ran like clockwork. Our families all stayed at the cottages for the whole weekend. They are extremely luxurious and well stocked with everything you could possibly need. The night before the wedding we all got together for food and drinks which was lovely.
Looking back, there were so many amazing moments throughout our day. What sticks in my head is sitting at the top table and looking at all of our friends and family and feeling overwhelmed by all the love in the room. Seeing the hall decorated and my vision coming to life was another highlight. It was just perfect! And of course, seeing Daisy in her dress and Alfie’s proud face – and obviously getting married to Martin too!
We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet as we are going to Majorca as a family in the summer which will be our first holiday abroad with the children. The day after the wedding we went on a minimoon to Northumberland and stayed at The Joiner’s Arms in Newton by the Sea. I am originally from Northumberland and just love to be by the sea so it seemed the perfect choice. It was foggy and rainy the whole time, but we still had an amazing few days away.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be – definitely get a videographer! We were unsure for a long time but so pleased we did in the end. The guest messages definitely made us chuckle! Also, take time out to be on your own, just the two of you. We had a 25-minute journey between the ceremony and reception that meant we had some time alone before greeting all of our guests.
When looking for suppliers, the online directory on Brides Up North was extremely helpful. I followed Brides up North on Instagram and took a lot of inspiration from the real weddings section too.