Who, like us, is just so ready for sweater weather! Bring on autumn! There are some gorgeous details at today’s real wedding between Jen and Craig as it’s a real celebration of the season and its rich and vibrant colours.
Jen’s flower crown packs an absolute punch and it vibes fabulously with her boho dress and loose, vivid bouquet – not to mention her shoes, now they are some seriously cool T-bars!
The guys make a strong style statement too in their varying-coloured tweed suits reflecting the key tones of autumn.
Further seasonal nods can be found in the décor; from the cute mini pumpkins on the top table to the beautiful berries and clever carved apple tealight holders. And in keeping with the rural barn setting, there are some gorgeous rustic touches too, including sweet hessian bunting and a naked three-tiered cake.
But beyond the aesthetics, we love the fact this wedding has a conscience. All the proceeds from their chosen venue go into helping young people who are experiencing mental health problems, bereavement or autism. Usually weddings are all about the couple – and why not indeed! – but Jen and Craig’s wedding manages to be both a celebration of their ten-year relationship and the future to come as well as a lasting legacy for children going through tough times. What a touching combination. Here’s Jan to tell us more…
With images by Simon Holmes Photography.
jen says: There wasn’t a real wedding proposal as such for Craig and I. We had been together ten years before we decided to tie the knot; it just seemed like the right time.
We got married on 28th October 2017 – I really wanted an autumn wedding, as it’s our favourite season and we love all the colours.
A barn wedding was definitely top of my list, as I thought it would be right for the kind of relaxed celebration we wanted. I visited a few before settling on Northorpe Hall & Barn in Mirfield. It is owned by a registered children’s charity, which supports young people with mental health issues, bereavement and autism. All the proceeds from weddings held in the barn help to provide these services; this was so important to us as our own son is autistic and we know how badly families need this support. The venue is lovely; they were really accommodating about changes to menus and helpful when it came to suppliers. What’s really nice – and without a doubt the most important thing to us – was to have a wedding that left some sort of legacy: to actually have a wedding that was all about us but also directly benefits others was more than we could have hoped for.
For our theme, we went with an autumn/Yorkshire celebration. We used autumnal colours – burgundy, orange, pink, green and blush. We both love all the colours and wanted to incorporate those into our wedding but without having a regimented colour scheme. Our venue stylist used lots of pumpkins, apples, burlap and rustic elements to tie in with our theme.
When it came to my dress, I knew exactly what kind I wanted – something with sleeves and lace that was quite understated and boho. I went to a few bridal boutiques but, being a plus-size bride, I found it difficult to find anything I liked that had a sample in my size to try. After doing lots of research, I saw a dress by Savannah Miller for Debenhams that I absolutely loved. I couldn’t believe I’d found something suitable on the high street. I wore a handmade silk flower belt with it from Etsy and some gorgeous Irregular Choice shoes.
We used a lot of tweed in the wedding: Craig wanted tweed too but loved the idea of burgundy and we found him a Caravelli three-piece suit he loved. The best man also had a tweed three-piece suit from Caravelli in navy. The other three groomsmen all wore autumn-coloured tweed waistcoats and ties with their own shirts and trousers. We sourced the waistcoats from ASOS.
My two adult bridesmaids – my sister and my best friend – could not be more different in style, tastes, colouring and body shape. There was no way I could expect them to wear the same dresses; I wanted them to be comfortable and feel like themselves. So I chose two completely contrasting dresses: one from Debenhams and one from Dorothy Perkins. Although different, they worked well together. My two nieces wore full outfits from Next.
Makeup wise, having had two trials with different artists, I realised I felt more comfortable doing my own. I hired Becky Mantell to do my bridesmaids’ makeup though, and Beth Holdsworth did all of our hair.
Our photographer was Simon Holmes. We chose him from a recommendation and, when he came to meet us at our home, we knew he was right for us. He’s so easy going and his style was really unobtrusive. He was great with our son, who finds all social situations difficult. We were so happy with the images and would definitely recommend him.
When it came to the flowers, I really wanted a flower crown, as I knew it would look great with the dress. I researched florists local to the venue and found Flowers@180 in Mirfield. I loved Kate’s style and booked a consultation. I asked for two hand-tied bouquets for the bridesmaids, my crown and buttonholes, all along the autumn theme with roses and berries. They were absolutely stunning; I loved my crown so much I had it preserved and it now hangs in the middle of my wedding gallery wall.
To style the venue we used My Pretties UK. I wanted to keep the décor rustic to suit the barn and tie in with the autumn theme. They provided all the décor and were so helpful with suggestions of other suppliers.
As favours, we gave our guests salted caramel- and chocolate-covered apples, with tags that said “appley married 28.10.17”. My Pretties UK organised these for us.
For the cake, I really wanted a naked one as I thought would work well with the theme. One of my oldest friend’s mum has a cake business called Tiffles Cakes. I went for a consultation and Janice had made us an entire cake to bring home! I opted for three different flavours: a traditional Victoria sponge, chocolate and red velvet.
Food-wise, we wanted the whole day to be very relaxed and, for us, that meant not having a traditional three-course wedding breakfast. We served canapés after the ceremony: we asked for mini Yorkshire puds filled with beef, belly pork and camembert tarts and we served these with bottles of Leeds Pale Ale and hot mulled cider, which were perfect for the chilly day.
All the catering is done on site by Northorpe’s own chefs and a proper Yorkshire afternoon tea has to be one of our favourite things, so that’s what we served to our day guests. For the evening, I wanted warm, stodgy, autumnal food – we opted for pies from Heck with mash, peas and gravy. They were a big hit. At 10pm we also served milk and cookies for everyone.
For children’s entertainment, we hired Magic Hayley to entertain the ten children during the day. I know our son in particular gets bored easily and hates waiting for things. I also knew he’d find it very difficult to sit through the speeches. Hayley was great. She did a magic show straight after the ceremony during the pictures, face painting during the speeches and balloon modelling around the table whilst they ate.
For music, in the evening three of our guests who are my friends and ex-colleagues performed as the most amazing three-piece band. They were so good – nobody could believe they weren’t a professional function band. They played all of mine and Craig’s favourite songs – mostly old rock. Our first dance song was a Stevie Nicks song – Landslide – and I danced with my dad to Jennifer Juniper, which he used to sing to me when I was a little girl. The singer of the band and my closest friend, Adam, sang me and the bridal party down the aisle to ‘our song’, which is This Year’s Love by David Gray. The second the doors opened, and I heard him singing I was completely overwhelmed with emotion; I cried through the majority of our vows.
As a special touch, I chose to do a speech. Craig isn’t a great public speaker: he’s quite quiet and shy. I actually really enjoyed it and it gave me the opportunity to thank everyone personally and to tell them a little about the charity and Northorpe and to remind them to dig deep and fill the National Autistic Society charity boxes around the venue.
There were a few favourite moments throughout the day: hearing Adam sing our song as I walked down the aisle to Craig; listening to my dad’s emotional speech; and watching my son play with the other children and enjoy the magic show.
We didn’t have a honeymoon, as we married on the last weekend of the October school holidays and I’m a teacher, so I was back at school the following Monday! We are having a romantic break coming up this October though to mark our first anniversary.
My top tip for other Brides Up North is – don’t try to please everyone because you never will. Make your own choices and try to make them together – decide what is most important to you and not what you think will be important to others. Don’t sweat the small stuff – nobody else will notice. Finally, use good suppliers – ones that fill you with confidence.