Monday just got a whole lot brighter thanks to the beautiful DIY wedding of Maddy and Mike. Choosing to marry in the bride’s hometown of Hebden Bridge, they selected the charming Wainsgate Chapel and Hall for their celebrations – a location close to bride Maddy’s heart for so many reasons. The venue was something of a blank canvas, which the couple completely transformed with a blaze of colour, flowers and festoon lighting. Truly magical.
The newlyweds surprised and treated their guests to so many special touches throughout the day, we hardly know where to begin. We’re talking two bands (and an unexpected performance Love Actually-style following the ceremony), afternoon tea instead of a traditional wedding breakfast, Mr Whippy ice cream and even a glitter bar!
Other highlights we just have to mention include the homemade jam as favours, the fabulous cake baked by the mother-of-the-bride and the appearance of the happy couple’s dog Kassy, who acted as ring bearer. There’s so much more to tell though, so let’s pass the blog over to Maddy to spill all the details!
With images by Mark Hillyer Photography.
maddy says: We met on Tinder and quickly fell in love after meeting in person. I moved in with Mike after six months and we were already talking about marriage. Soon after, I accidently found a list of proposal ideas on his phone, (I wasn’t snooping, promise!) so we went ring shopping together in Ilkley – one of our favourite towns and also where we had our third date. Mike took me back the next week to collect the ring and suggested we go for a walk up the Cow and Calf first. Right on top of the boulders overlooking the valley he pointed out a rock carving which said “Marry me?” and I turned to see him on one knee with the ring in his hand. He’d been up earlier in the week with his hammer and chisel and to collect the ring. It’s lovely that the carving will last for years to come.
We got married on 23rd June 2018 (though we had a small legal ceremony at Leeds Town Hall the week before with just our immediate family). I always knew I wanted a summer wedding, and with my job (I’m a junior doctor) dates in June and July were easier to plan for, as in August you rotate to a new placement. It was also important to have a date that wouldn’t clash with my brother’s exams and when we’d have plenty of time at the venue for setting up.
I always wanted to get married in my hometown of Hebden Bridge. I lived there my whole childhood and it would have felt wrong to go anywhere else. Wainsgate Chapel and Sunday school hall is a short distance from my mum’s house and holds some special memories for me and my family – my primary school Harvest and Christingle services were held there, and my dad’s ashes are buried in the graveyard – so in a way he was there, too.
The building is very old and in need of some TLC in places, but it adds to its charm. There are also lots of beautiful features – from the woodwork and marble in the chapel to the stained-glass window and high ceiling in the Sunday school hall. It also allowed us a lot of flexibility with the Chapel, hall and outside space all being a blank canvas.
Wainsgate is completely different to other wedding venues. If you can see past some of its shabbiness to see the beauty, and don’t mind a lot of hard work, it’s a wonderful place to get married.
We didn’t have a theme. I knew having one would have made me feel a little restricted when planning. I knew I wanted it bright and colourful, with flowers and lights, a real party vibe where people could relax and really enjoy themselves. Our priorities when planning were the photographer, flowers, food and music.
We had all of the colour! I don’t have a favourite colour, so this was pretty easily decided!
I was a little greedy when it came to my big day attire, and ended up with two wedding dresses. I managed it by buying both in sales – so I spent less than the average cost of one dress on two! My first dress was by Nicola Anne Bridal. I found it in a boutique closing down sale. I took my friend just expecting to try a few things on for ideas. The fabric of this gown was what first stood out, a beautiful damask silk, striking a perfect balance between simple satin and detailed lace. The shape of the dress also flattered me, with the vintage style bateau neckline and nipped in waist. The low back added a hint of glamour.
My second dress was also found in a boutique closing down sale. I knew I wanted a shorter dress for the dancing and this hit the spot. The dotted tulle and lace applique of this Loulou Bridal dress was fun and the way it spun was perfect for twirling around the dancefloor!
I wore the first dress with a simple fingertip veil I bought at the same shop.
My shoes were from a boutique I found while travelling in Australia – as soon as I saw them I knew I had to find space in my suitcase!
I wore new jewellery from my mother-in-law, old jewellery from my great grandmother and a borrowed blue garter from a friend who got married the year before. My bridesmaid Emily bought me a silver sixpence which stayed in my shoe all day. I also carried a Harry Potter charm on my bouquet – a reference to my favourite book and my incredible Harry Potter themed hen do!
Mike and his best people all wore matching suits from ASOS. We bought them in the Black Friday sales for a bargain price. We also got them matching ties and pocket squares – though Mike had a bow tie – something he particularly wanted – and a nice touch to make him stand out.
I had four bridesmaids. They all wore matching emerald green dresses from Coast. I let them choose their own shoes so they could show off a bit of their personality and not feel too similar. Green had always been my preferred choice for the bridesmaids but when it came to shopping, there were surprisingly few options in that colour. I was starting to think about changing my mind, when I stumbled on these dresses online. I quickly bought them as they were in a sale – and thankfully they suited all four of them!
On the wedding morning we were truly pampered by Jodi from Hair Bar – based in Hebden Bridge. Jodi was super friendly from the start, and at each trial my hair just got better and better! She also cut my hair before the big day and we got on so well she’s now my regular hairdresser. She was joined by Caris Parr who did our makeup. Caris was really flexible, letting me change my mind on numerous occasions, but we eventually settled on a sparkly gold eye with big lashes and a classic red lip. As Jodi and Caris work together on a regular basis I was able to have my trials with both of them at the same time, and on the wedding morning they were super fun and chilled – getting on with everyone. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.
Our photographer was Mark Hillyer. We’d done quite a lot of research and spoken to a few people but as soon as we found Mark something felt right. The package he offered included an engagement shoot (which allowed my normally camera-shy husband to get used to having his photo taken) and on the big day he arrived super early and stayed nearly until the end to capture some amazing party shots. On top of this, his photos are beautiful, with a really natural feel to them, gorgeous light and un-posed, and he’s a top guy – also making the day run smoothly and chatting away with our guests as he worked.
My beautiful bouquet was made by The Willow Garden in Hebden Bridge. When I first met Helen and her team, they just got it. A big statement bouquet with bright seasonal flowers, plenty of foliage and a natural feel to it. They certainly delivered! We added a selection of flowing ribbons to it – so even more colour! They also made our bridesmaids’ bouquets, buttonholes for the guys and the larger flower displays. Everyone commented on how gorgeous the flowers were. I loved my bouquet so much, I dried it out and now have it displayed in our home.
We decorated the receptions ourselves. We placed a mass wholesale flower order online and filled literally hundreds of jam jars, small vases and Orangina bottles! There were spread along our four long tables, which were set with white tablecloths, mismatched crockery and bright napkins.
We hung festoon lights from the ceiling and tons of mismatched hanging decorations – a mixture of eBay, Ikea and Gumtree purchases. All the lighting, furniture, glassware and cutlery had to be hired, as Wainsgate really is a blank canvas.
It was a huge task the day before, turning the empty room into our vision, but we had many helpers so the work was easily divided. It was stressful but so exciting seeing it come together and the finished product was definitely worth the hard work.
For our favours, each of our guests was given a little pot of homemade jam. Our close friend Karen bought all the Kilner jars and roped in her friends to fill them.
My amazing mum made the cake. Three tiers of traditional fruitcake – we knew it wouldn’t all get eaten and we knew fruitcake would keep – covered in the brightest icing and ribbons and a simple cake topper.
One of our favourite things to eat is afternoon tea – while we didn’t manage finger sandwiches and scones, we did serve tea and cake. We ordered a selection from Asa Nicholson (based in Denholme) and we were helped with loads of homemade bakes from my mother-in-law and her talented friends.
Having tea and cake made for a much more relaxed atmosphere than a sit down three-course wedding breakfast. People felt like they could move around the room and chat to old and new friends. As well as tea and coffee, we provided fizz for the toasts.
Later in the evening, Duke’s Pizza brought their pizza van to serve us. Slice after slice of freshly made pizza went down a treat – who doesn’t love pizza? This was followed by Mr Whippy ice cream from Royd Ices – it was like a grown-up kids party! Our bar was from the Yorkshire Bartender – lovely cocktails were flowing from after the ceremony right into the evening.
As entertainment, we had two bands. The first – Loud Noises Brass – Mike found while they were busking in Leeds. We then saw them play in a bar and when everyone got up dancing we knew we wanted them! They surprised our guests at the end of the ceremony with our walking out song I Believe in a Thing Called Love by the Darkness – think of the moment in Love Actually at the end of the wedding – just like that! They then carried on playing throughout the drinks reception, creating a really good atmosphere while we had formal photos taken.
The second band was my dad’s old band, Rakish Paddy. I couldn’t have asked anyone else to play as they’re old friends. They play Irish folk music and also do ceilidhs. A ceilidh is perfect for a wedding as everyone can join in, and even if you don’t know what you’re doing you have a great time. Looking back through the photos, we can see people dancing with people they’d met that day, but clearly having an amazing time.
Jodi – who did our hair also provided a glitter bar in the evening. Everyone loved it and it created a real party atmosphere.
As a special touch, our ceremony was conducted by Catherine Holtom. I’ve known her for over 20 years and she helped us so much in creating a service that was relaxed and personal. We were able to tell our story, with a tribute to my dad, write our own vows, and choose our own music and readings.
My little brother is a music student and he sang and played the piano twice – the first as a solo singing Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis and the second leading all our guests with God Only Knows by the Beach Boys.
We also had our dog Kassy as the ring bearer. She did such a good job and everyone fell in love with her – she loved all the attention and strokes during the drinks reception. She didn’t stay for the party though, as loud music isn’t her thing.
Our stationery was designed and made by our friend Alyssa of Fernbank Studio – we gave her quite a broad brief and she took it and ran with it. Everything matched beautifully, from save the dates and invites, to the orders of service and table plan.
Our matching wedding rings were made by Stephen of Simcha Gallery in the Corn Exchange, Leeds. His attention to detail through the process of designing and making our rings was incredible, and we were so happy with the finished product.
Looking back at our day, there are too many highlights to choose just one as the best – they include the rendition of God Only Knows – having all our friends and family singing in one big chorus, seeing our guests’ faces as Loud Noises surprised them from the gallery, Mike’s tear jerking and hilarious speech, and when the confetti cannons fired during our first dance!
Following the wedding, we had five nights away in Cinque Terre, Italy, indulging in pizza, wine and gelato, and wandering the cobbled streets. A perfect wind down after a hectic few months.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be: prioritise. If you have a little list of things you want to be super special, then you can direct more time and money into these, rather than the things you care less about.
I also loved reading the real weddings section on Brides Up North in the early stages of my wedding planning. Seeing what was actually achievable meant I didn’t limit my ideas and vision for our day, and we ended up with it being even more amazing than we thought it could be!