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vintage elegance. justin alexander for a picture-perfect wedding at denton hall, north yorkshire – lucie & harry

15th August 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

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A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (89)

After the most romantic of proposals in Venice, it seems only fitting that today’s couple, Lucie and Harry, ended up tying the knot at another glamorous location – Denton Hall, overlooking the Yorkshire moors.

Going for a Downton Abbey vibe, with a hint of 1920s Gatsby glamour – their big day is best described as the epitome of elegance and class, with the bride wearing a fabulous champagne gown and a lively jazz band leading the procession of guests from the church along to Denton Hall. We can just imagine what a delightful surprise this would have been!

It was by no means a traditional wedding though – not only did they have ‘groomsmaids’, they also opted for a second confetti shot while cutting their cake! There is so much more to talk about though and we couldn’t possibly spoil it for you, so let’s hand the blog over to Lucie to share all the wonderful highlights, in her own words!

p.s We’ll be back at Denton Hall on Sunday 4th November 2018 for another gorgeous Brides Up North Luxury Wedding Show. Pop that date in your diaries!

With images by Barnaby Aldrick.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (71)

lucie says: We got engaged in October 2016, in Venice, at the Cipriani Hotel. I’d always wanted to take the speedboat to the hotel and have a snoop around! Harry surprised me by taking me there for what I thought was a cocktail, which then turned into a surprise dinner, followed by a proposal on a moonlit bench in the beautiful, and aptly named, Casanova Gardens. I couldn’t stop crying, and the elaborate surprise continued when it turned out we were actually staying there in a beautiful suite overlooking the iconic swimming pool. My whole family were all waiting in Harry’s Bar on Venice mainland all evening to hear whether he’d popped the question. They got the boat over for breakfast the next day – it was just amazing, and I was unpicking the elaborate web of lies they’d all told me, for weeks afterwards!

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (65)

We got married on the 5th May 2018. We though that spring would be a lovely time of year to get married and we didn’t want to wait a whole two years until summer 2018.

We got married at St Helen’s Church in Denton, Ilkley, and then celebrated afterwards at Denton Hall. We looked at lots of venues, all over the country, and knew we wanted a classic, formal but fun wedding. We wanted a beautiful historic building with bedrooms so that our friends could party and stay over, plus no early curfew! Denton was an instant hit, it had all of the above plus a very delightful and experienced team who we knew would plan and deliver a seamless wedding day. There are also several different rooms, so we were able to have the party in one and created a quieter lounge for people who wanted to sit down, plus the bar and library for those who wanted to drink and chat. The spiral staircase has a huge chandelier and is the perfect spot for photo taking and cake cutting.

The views from Denton Hall are hard to beat, and we really looked forward to people seeing the beautiful moors if they hadn’t been to Yorkshire before. We were extremely lucky that the weather was amazing all weekend, so it looked even more glorious! I grew up nearby, and it was so special to tie the knot somewhere we both love and have shared many happy memories.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (54)

We wanted a Downton Abbey vibe, with some 20s Gatsby glamour! We’re lucky that we have similar and fairly classic tastes, so the style wasn’t really a hard decision for us.

We chose a navy, gold and eucalyptus colour scheme. The skirt of my dress was a champagne colour, so there were hints of gold here and there in the accessories and decorations, but overall we mostly used florals and their subtle colour tones to decorate. We both love navy, especially for men’s suits, so that was a no-brainer when it came to kitting-out the groom and his ushers. My bridesmaids wore a lovely shade of green to tie in with the florals, which also looked good next to the champagne of my dress and the men’s navy suits.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (68)

I love dressing up, so trying dresses on was really fun! My dress came from Harrogate Wedding Lounge. I knew I wanted sleeves in my dress for added elegance and don’t think I would have changed my mind on that. The original dress didn’t have them, so the very talented dressmaker worked wonders using extra lace ordered from the designer, Justin Alexander.

It was really lovely and quite unusual to have a combination of ivory and champagne colours in one dress. I loved the simplicity of the sheath style and the way the skirt fell, and also the covered buttons all the way down the train. I had a single tier veil, as I didn’t want anything bulky that would detract from the simple lines of the skirt. The veil had some little Swarovski crystals on it for a hint of shimmer in the sunlight – I loved it so much I ended up putting it back on at some late hour on the dance floor!

My outfit felt super elegant and I also added an ostrich feather stole for an added hint of 20s glamour in the evening light! Turns out I didn’t need it for warmth, but I wore it later on anyway.

I had earrings made for the bridesmaids by Laura Rhodes, of Lovebird Bridal in Ilkley. She is very talented and also made my hair vine and shoe clips, as well as some hairpins on gold wire with pearls and beads for the bridesmaids.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (6)

Harry had a suit, waistcoat and shirt all made at Norton & Townsend tailors. The suit was dark navy Italian wool, with a grey flannel waistcoat and a white shirt. His shoes were black Oxfords from Church’s and I had bought him some silver cufflinks last Christmas. Both of our fathers had suits made in the same cloth, but with navy waistcoats.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (26)

Our rings were made by Iain Henderson Designs in Bingley. We hadn’t ever really been set on having rings made, but it was such a great experience.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (39)

I had two bridesmaids and a maid of honour. Harry’s two sisters were also ‘groomsmaids’ – it was a quirky decision asking them to start in the church with Harry rather than walking up the aisle after me, but we wanted to spread out the roles and it was lovely for Harry having his sisters by his side in church. They all wore Claudia dresses by Ghost, with the exception of my sister who was maid of honour and wore a long-sleeved Ghost dress called Tory. The long satin Ghost dresses mirrored my own dress really well in terms of cut and fabric.

We chose a eucalyptus green for the bridesmaids, which toned with the ivory and champagne colours of my dress and looked very spring-like. The groomsmaids dresses were navy to match the ushers’ suits, and the green contrasted well with the navy, too.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (38)

Our hairdresser was Nicola Rayner from Joseph Ferraro hair salon in Harrogate. She did my hair along with all five bridesmaids and groomsmaids – and did a fantastic job.

We had two make-up artists Sam Collins and Gemma Edwards. They were both so lovely to have around on the morning and made us all feel our best.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (42)

For the ushers, we were very lucky to find classic men’s suits for hire from Moss Bross in a dark navy, with matching waistcoats. They were a close colour match to Harry’s suit and they all looked very dapper.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (44)

My mum is very creative and had sewn gift bags for all of the bridesmaids, groomsmaids and ushers with their initials on. Inside the bags were all sorts of goodies to get us prepped and rescue us from any hangovers! She had also bought us all silk dressing gowns and slippers to wear whilst getting ready.

One of my favourite parts of the morning was walking from the bridal suite up to the church with the bridal party and my parents, in the beautiful sunshine. It was a really special few minutes and we couldn’t quite believe we were finally on our way.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (47)

Our photographer was Barnaby Aldrick, who brought a lovely second shooter with him called Kristian. They were both a real pleasure to have around on the day and they did a brilliant job without being at all intrusive. Barnaby was so enthusiastic and engaging and met with us a couple of months before for a practice shoot in the pouring rain on Ilkley Moor – so we knew he would take characterful and happy shots whatever the weather on our wedding day.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (50)

I adore flowers! They were therefore a really big part of our day. They looked amazing and walking up to the church early on the wedding morning to see the florists at work was a really special moment.

We used Leafy Couture for our flowers. Sarah and her team were great to work with, and very patient of me tweaking and changing the plans. We chose to concentrate on the dining room, so it would have a real wow factor when the guests walked in. We went with glass-fluted vases on each table – see-through, high up and full of beautiful flowers, so that nobody’s view was obstructed. We then dotted candlesticks and glass tea lights underneath the vases. We also had a runner of flowers all the way along the top table, interspersed with glass candlesticks and cream and blush candles – I remember not being able to stop staring at all the flowers throughout dinner! Lindsay from Ambience Venue Styling provided the white linen chair covers we had in the dining room, to match the table cloths.

We had a very grand, huge urn in the main reception room, and the florists also wound greenery all the way down the bannister of the spiral staircase. I had given some dress fabric samples to the team beforehand, so that they could see our dress colours when making the bridal party bouquets and wrist corsages for the groomsmaids.

We kept the church flowers to two candelabras, two pew ends, and storm lanterns down the aisle, with some candles and rose petals in the church entrance. My mum is also excellent at flowers so she did extra arrangements for the church windowsills and decorated the palmary with extra flowers. She also made a beautiful wreath for the bridal suite door.

I love big, blousy and soft blooms. We had O’Hara and Bombastic roses, ranunculus, peonies, green viburnum, lilac, eucalyptus, phlox, sweet peas and foxgloves in soft white and blush tones. Sarah also added some Lily of the Valley to my bouquet as a lovely seasonal touch and put lots of white orchids into the urn and candelabras for added drama.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (55)

My mum was my main decorative partner-in-crime. She collected glass candlesticks, vases, votives and lanterns for about 18 months in the run-up! We wanted everything to be delicate and elegant; I had visions of our silk dresses glimmering in all the candlelight. The flowers and candelabras were the main decorations in the dining room, and I found a calligrapher on Etsy who did our place cards and table names in gold writing with a navy wash. She also did the table names for us, which fairly typically we named after our favourite holiday destinations.

We had two large gold gilt frames gifted from a friend’s wedding and used them to display an order of the day and the table plans, which the calligrapher had written in gold and navy.

In the main reception room, we had a huge urn full of beautiful flowers on a card table in the middle, with a guest book. We used a large silver punch bowl for collecting cards and also had two baskets of flip-flops and slippers for later on in the evening. The calligrapher did signs for these, which we put in some frames and dotted around the place. We also clustered candles and fairy lights in the fireplaces and put flower arrangements on the mantelpieces in each of the reception rooms.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (58)

Having grown up nearby, I had been admiring Poppy Pickering Cakes for years and so definitely knew we’d ask Dominique to do ours. It was the first thing we booked after the venue, because her availability becomes so limited. We settled on some grey and white marbelling, blush pink, white and a hint of gold foil. We also really wanted oodles of flowers on the front as she is just amazing at sugar work. The flavours were chocolate praline crunch, white chocolate and raspberry, and orange, Satsuma and gin.

The food at Denton Hall is catered by Box Tree Events. We love the Box Tree restaurant in Ilkley and have so many happy memories there that it was very special to have them doing our big day. Our menu was: crab cannelloni with coriander, ginger and cucumber ribbons; fillet steak with fondant potato, baby vegetables and bordelaise sauce; lemon tarte au citron with yoghurt sorbet and raspberries. The red and white wines were chosen by the sommelier to match the food. The white was a French colombard and the red was an Italian primitive.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (74)

In terms of entertainment, we had a jazz band playing for the drinks reception – we kept them a secret and they greeted us all outside the church after the ceremony and then led the procession down to Denton Hall! The music was so upbeat that it really added to the happy atmosphere, especially as people weren’t expecting it. My 90-year-old grandma was seen dancing outside church, and the band members were all dressed up in stripy blazers and bow ties. Having those few minutes to walk down behind the band with my new husband was really wonderful.

We chose a band on a bit of a whim – they were called Dr Funtimes and thankfully they did a brilliant job. Everybody loved them, and they had tons of energy! They stayed to DJ after their set until 1am. We also had a photo booth from the Yorkshire Booth Brothers, and the results have provided many a giggle.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (92)

As a special touch, we lined all the guests up on the spiral staircase and did a second confetti shot as we were cutting the cake, which was a bit of fun! We then went straight into the reception room for our first dance, which we’d choreographed the beginning of, and we have some great shots of people’s faces in the background as Harry picked me up and whirled me around.

We also did a receiving line before dinner. My parents wanted to make sure they got to meet everyone, which we thought was a pretty fair request. It was great to have a moment with each guest.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (86)

We had the best day of our lives and the Denton Hall and Box Tree teams now feel like friends. We wouldn’t have changed anything and can’t express enough how well looked after we were in the run up and on the day itself. The venue is fantastic because it provides so much beauty and so many options inside, so even if the weather is bad you are guaranteed to have a wonderful day. It is a brilliant combination of tradition and flexibility; you can really make the day your own and the team cannot do enough for you.

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (76)

A few things really stood out for us. The church is only small, so when packed with 100 people the atmosphere was completely unforgettable. We felt so loved and supported, and it was a very personal and intimate service, with a congregation who really went for it on the hymns!

Both the walks up to the church to get married, and down to Denton Hall after the ceremony were highlights for us. The walk really provided us with that time to look at each other and reflect on how we’d just got married.

The wedding breakfast was amazing. The cheer we received when we walked into the dining room went on and on, and the speeches were brilliant. I hadn’t wanted to eat a whole fillet steak at dinner, so the amazing team put a steak baguette in the bridal suite and we ate it at 2am once we were ready to drop from all the dancing and excitement of the day!

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (94)

We went to Thailand for our honeymoon and had an amazing time. We left for the airport after a hog roast on the day after the wedding, and it was so special to have so much to talk about and reflect on. We chose Asia for its ability to provide a great combination of relaxation and cultural activity, plus they really know how to provide luxury!

A Vintage Wedding at Denton Hall (c) Barnaby Aldrick Photography (98)

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, choose a venue that suits you as a couple. I would say that picking and choosing the bits that actually matter to you is really important, and also helps you to prioritise and budget. At the end of the day, the most important part is the vows and making sure you’re in an environment that feels right to celebrate with your nearest and dearest. The rest of it is detail, and no number of flowers or hours spent agonising over stationery colours will matter as much to you both on the day itself.

During the planning, we went to several Brides Up North wedding fairs at Denton, which were a very handy way to catch up with all our suppliers and generally think about where we wanted to display things on our day. I also visited the Brides Up North website, which is really great. I didn’t really do overwhelming amounts of research, but for me looking at real weddings was the best way to get inspiration or think of extra details. I think there’s a lovely friendly vibe to the blog too, and it’s a great way to track down tried and tested suppliers.

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