Wow, wow, TRIPLE wow – we are finishing the week off in spectacular style with a wedding that puts a huge smile on our faces, not only because it’s flippin’ gorgeous but also because the beautiful bride is a good industry friend of ours – the lovely Brooke, Weddings and Event Manager, at stunning venue Denton Hall, Ilkley, where we will be returning to on Sunday 4th November to host our Luxury Wedding Show with Brooke and the team.
Working in the world of weddings, Brooke was super clued-up when it came to picking the right setting and suppliers for her and beau Simon’s big day, which was a sensational rustic affair centred around a punchy pink colour palette and the most fabulous florals. From the perfect pastel blooms on Brookes a-maz-ing patterned gown (with pockets!!) to the incredible flower arrangements, arch and bouquet – we adore it all.
And the highlights don’t stop there – for this wedding was both pretty and personal, with Brooke and Simon adding some special touches in the form of DIY décor and sentimental polaroid pics – plus extra effort was put into the elements that mattered to them most with fine feasting and incredible entertainment playing a big part in the celebrations.
And just when you think it can’t get anymore perfect, they go and ask guests for donations to a local dogs’ home instead of gifts. Out and out sweethearts!
So, in true Brooke spirit (excuse the pun) pour yourself an extra-large ‘Friday feeling’ gin and tonic while feasting your eyes on this beauty…
With images by Avenue White Photography.
brooke says: We got engaged in July 2016, while we were visiting friends at one of our favourite places – Guernsey. After a stroll on the beach, Simon gave me a hug and said he had been to see my parents earlier that week, I asked why, he then said because I want to know if you will marry me. And with this pulled out a beautiful wooden box which contained a diamond from Iain Henderson Designs. After saying yes and crying for about ten minutes, Simon explained that we could both then go together to see Iain and have the diamond created into a ring which we would design.
After returning home we started the process of getting our ring designed, the next big thing to think about was where and when. We didn’t really have a set date in mind, as the wanted to find the right venue first, but May always held a special place in our hearts as we met on the May bank holiday weekend many moons ago.
The venue was important to us and working in the wedding industry I know we are so spoiled up North for having some stunning venues right on our doorstep. We decided on East Riddlesden Hall. We often walked our dog around the river walk they have and always thought the barn looked beautiful set for weddings. It encapsulated everything we wanted – local enough for friends and family, a blank canvas, flexibility with food and drink, and a beautiful backdrop for photos.
We didn’t have a special theme or colour in mind for our day, we just wanted colour – and lots of it. We did end up going for colours that were a similar palette to those of my dress – lots of pastel colours with pink, purple, green and blue. Also, plenty of glittery bits because it’s not a party without something shiny.
I first saw my dress whilst perusing Instagram – it was actually a Brides Up North post! I knew I had to find this dress and try it on. The designer was Charlotte Balbier so I did some internet research and The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique in Pickering came up as a Charlotte Balbier stockist. I gave the lovely Diana a call and she arranged a time for me and mum to go to the boutique and see the dress. The design is called Untamed Love and features a beautiful coloured silk overlay with huge train. Once I had tried it on I knew the dress was meant for me, this was cemented even more when I realised it had pockets!
Simon had always said from the word go that he wanted to buy his suit rather than hire to ensure that it fit really well. To reflect the relaxed feel of the venue, he decided on a waistcoat and trousers combo. On a visit to Skipton one day we walked past Jenson Samuel on the high street and they had some lovely stuff in the window. Simon went in and spoke to the guys in the store who were amazing.
We bought all the groomsmen’s suits from Jenson Samuel in Skipton too, they were all Mark Darcey trousers and waistcoats. We also bought the shirts from Jenson Samuel. We wanted to buy rather than hire so the guys all had a thank you from the day, plus they could get them altered to fit perfectly.
The next thing was bridesmaids, we must have looked at every dress in Leeds, but I couldn’t find anything I was 100% satisfied with. I then had a look on ASOS and found the perfect colour dresses. For our flower girl, we wanted her to also fit into the relaxed vibe so went for a non-traditional dress and opted for an adorable Ted Baker Girls dress from Debenhams.
On the day of the wedding, we had our makeup done by the amazing Annabel Bailey. I had met her through work a couple of years previously and was won over by her personality and talented work. For my hair, I went to my local hairdresser Maddi who works at La Belle in Haworth.
In terms of transport, my mum found the perfect option for us. She went to one of the wedding fairs at East Riddlesden Hall and saw a super cute white London taxi from Brooklyn Prestige Wedding Cars. The white cab came to my parents’ house to collect us. The bridesmaids meanwhile travelled in a white BMW from the same company.
Working in the industry I know so many amazing photographers so this was a real tough decision during the planning for us. We went with Avenue White who are based in Harrogate. We actually met them (Jonny & Brigitta) through some mutual friends before we got engaged and hit it off with them straight away. They put us at ease during the pre-wedding shoot and the photos were amazing. A few weeks before the big day, Jonny had a bad accident and broke his leg in numerous places so was unable to shoot with Brigitta, but they sourced an amazing second shooter to replace him in Natasha Cadman. Together Brig and Natasha captured our day so beautifully. I would definitely recommend them to anyone searching for their photographer.
Two of our lovely friends filmed our wedding for us which was amazing (they work in the film industry so are a dab hand at it). This helped us with our budget but I would encourage anyone to allocate some of their wedding budget to a videographer as you really will treasure the video forever.
When it came to flowers, I had a very vague idea about what I wanted but knew exactly who I wanted to provide them – Sarah and the team at Leafy Couture were my one and only choice. I knew with their expertise they would create something absolutely show stopping filled with beautiful colour. Me and the bridesmaids carried beautiful handtied bouquets, full of colour with an untamed feel. The flowers included peonies, anemones, delphiniums, camomile, achemilla mollis, sweet peas, scabious, herbs, and succulents. The stems were all bound with ribbon in a variety of colours which were trailing.
Leafy also provided the wedding arch for the civil ceremony – a beautiful silver birch arch which was covered in tropical leaves, pistache and floral details. The arch was just stunning, we were both over the moon with how beautiful it was and it added a fantastic backdrop for the ceremony and for the cake as the staff at East Riddlesden moved it behind the cake table after the ceremony. The table centres were gin bottles filled with greenery and flowers, these were used in the ceremony and then distributed on to the tables.
When it came to wedding cake, both Simon and I love cheese so we opted for a cheese wedding cake from Courtyard Dairy (we went for the Opal cake) and then also an elegant single tier salted caramel cake from Poppy Pickering. As we failed to share with our parents what we were doing for a cake and tried to keep it a surprise my mum went out and also got two cakes for us thinking that we didn’t have one! So, we ended up with a table full of cake and cheese but it looked fab having all the different selections!
For the wedding food, East Riddlesden Hall has a selection of different caterers you can choose from, The Hog & Apple peaked our interest the most and from the first discussion I had with Ged there, I knew this was who I wanted. Hog & Apple’s approach to catering is just awe inspiring. They are so creative and offer so many mouth-watering concoctions it is unbelievable. The food was such a huge part of our day and Ged listened to our wishes and desires and created such a memorable feast, we had so many of our friends and family tell us that it was simply some of the best food they had ever tasted.
Rather than the traditional three-course sit down, we opted for a smorgasboard of delicious canapes (ten per person!) to flow throughout the drinks reception – including black pudding macarons, mini steak pies with a mini stein of beer and Thai lettuce cups. The main dinner we opted for the meat sharing boards consisting of lamp rump, brisket and buttermilk fried chicken and sumptuous sides. For dessert, we did his and hers – Simon chose the dessert for the guys (Eaton Mess) and I chose for the girls (a dreamy chocolate and panna cotta delight). For evening food, we had bao buns filled with katsu chicken curry and a huge cheese board.
For drinks, we went with the corkage option. The drinks reception we had a ‘Jazz Up Your Gin’ bar with over a dozen different botanicals and a wide selection of different tonics for guests to create their own perfect concoction. For the gin, we visited the Edinburgh Gin Distillery and created our own gin with one of their experts. It was a fabulous experience – the best part is they keep your recipe on file, so you can have a bottle created whenever you want.
The champers had to be my favourite, Tattinger and for wines we went French with a Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. Simon and I did have our own special bottle of wine that we brought back from a trip to Nappa Valley a couple of years ago from Inglenook.
The second most important part of our day was entertainment. Simon came across an incredible duo called The Washboard Resonators – after going to watch them one Sunday we were both sold. They have a real vintage vibe and play, as the name states, washboards and resonator guitars, with a mixture of music from the 1920s to Americana.
For the evening we went with an amazing duo from Liverpool – The Deltatones. We love a good jam to 80s and 90s pop and these guys fit the bill perfectly.
To keep the children (and adults!) occupied, we also had Emily at Add Vintage to provide a range of games.
As a special touch to our day, we (or should I say I) spent countless hours crafting and DIY-ing away. My pride and joy was the four-metre long ribbon curtain and Mr & Mrs hoop I made for behind the top table. We also printed polaroid photos from La La Lab of wedding photos of all our friends and relatives who were married and invited to the wedding and had them displayed next to the card box.
Every single supplier we interacted with and used blew our expectations out of the park. Ambience for the chair lace hoods, Wedding Venue Lighting for up lighting and “Carr” letters, Add Vintage for the beautiful additions, Raspberry Toast for the unique stationery, Avenue White for our gorgeous photos, The Washboard Resonators for the music, Deltatones for getting the party started, Hog & Apple for feeding everyone so well, Belvedere Prestige for the wedding cars, Leafy for sensational florals, and The Little Pearl for my perfect Charlotte Balbier dress.
We’d also totally recommend our choice of venue to other couples. East Riddlesden Hall is such a great venue for the bride who is looking for something a little bit different and has a lot of creative ideas. The rustic blank canvas really does mean you can put your own stamp on your day.
I loved every single moment of our day! Seeing Simon’s face when we made eye contact was just priceless. One part I really loved though was when it was just me and my dad, seconds before the staff opened the curtain and we walked down the aisle, he gave me a look that just said ‘I am so proud of you’ – I will remember that forever.
Rather than asking for gifts, we asked our friends and family to donate to a charity close to our hearts – Jerry Green Dogs. Simon and I both volunteer with Jerry Greens and have adopted two beautiful doggos from them. We sadly lost our first dog Ella in September in a traffic accident. It was in her memory we did this and raised just shy of £3,000 for the dogs’ home.
Simon arranged for a local doggy day care centre to bring Juno down to the Hall on our wedding day to have photos with us during the drinks reception and it was the icing on the cake to have her there for the pictures. She wasn’t a huge fan of the confetti but got lots of cuddles from everyone which she was happy with.
We haven’t gone on our honeymoon just yet. My job means it’s tricky to take holidays during the busy wedding season, but we have booked and will be going in December for four weeks back to Australia as we used to live there.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to have your day, your way. Don’t feel pressured by others to have a day that might not be quite right for you. Make it yours and own it.
One thing we did find super useful was chucking everyone’s name in to a hat and making our table plan this way! We put couples’ names on one bit of paper and family groups on another. It turned out really great and took us about five minutes to allocate the table.
I’d also advise brides to read Brides Up North during their planning – it’s an amazing source of inspiration and their wedding fairs are always full of fabulous suppliers that can really help inspire you too.