The details in today’s real wedding between Angela and Gerry are brilliant, with everything planned meticulously before the day, yet managing to culminate in an informal, relaxed gathering with great non-traditional tweaks, such as the one round table to seat all 50 of their guests for the wedding breakfast.
Tweed is the order of the day, with a show-stopping bespoke wedding gown complete with ruffles and layers for the bride, and a dapper suit for the groom – a great look for a Yorkshire countryside wedding. Angela accessorised her tweed attire with abundant, highly scented and vibrant blooms in the form of a beautifully wild and undone bouquet that we just adore!
As huge gin fans Gerry went to great lengths to incorporate this shared love into his and Angela’s big day, emailing the top 40 gin companies in the UK to ask if they could supply him with empty gin bottles so he could make weeding decorations out of them. What an enterprising idea! Without Angela’s knowledge, Gerry worked on them in the couple’s workshop revealing the results at the venue, with the beautified light-filled bottles spread across surfaces of the drawing room and bar area. The hotel was so impressed with his efforts they’ve even asked if Gerry would make some for them to keep!
With images by A Little Picture Photography.
angela says: We got engaged at Rockliffe Hall Hotel on 8th June 2017, a beautiful 18th century hotel set in 375 acres of grounds. It was a complete surprise to me. I had been unwell and required an operation and, just before returning to work, Gerry said he had booked a surprise overnight break away. On arrival, we were told we had been upgraded; the room was absolutely gorgeous and the whole hotel and spa facilities were amazing. Gerry had booked us into the restaurant for a meal. I suspected nothing and thought it was just because I had had an operation and had been given the all clear. He asked if I liked the table we were sitting at and if I thought it was the best table in the restaurant. It certainly was and had beautiful views but I didn’t twig! Gerry got down on one knee and proposed, producing a ring. I burst into tears and didn’t speak or respond for a very long time. Gerry eventually asked me if I could respond as his knee was hurting and other people in the restaurant were starting to look! Little did I know that the hotel was aware of his plans, which was why they upgraded us. They also came over to the table with some champagne. I was in tears, however, which they saw and panicked that perhaps I’d said no and tried to discreetly walk away. However, Gerry told them I was crying with happiness and that I’d said yes!
Gerry had my ring designed and had gone to four designers before settling on a designer in York called WERK by TCJ Designs based in Stonegate. The ring was beautiful and unusual, which I loved. At the same time, they also designed my wedding ring so the two would work beautifully together. My wedding day was the first time I had seen it – again, it was stunning!
We got married on 24th August 2018. As Gerry’s daughter and daughter-in-law work in schools, we needed it to be in school holidays to make it easy for them.
We married at Crathorne Hall Hotel, near Yarm in North Yorkshire. It’s a beautiful hotel built in 1906 and has captivating views of the Leven Valley on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. The hotel is relaxed and informal with a beautiful interior. The staff were very courteous and friendly when we when to see the venue and throughout all of the preparations and wedding day itself. Our hotel co-ordinator was Beth Fisher and she was great throughout the year leading up to the wedding. The hotel feels like a country house, has beautiful grounds with woodland walks and feels like you are stepping back into another era. We had family members travelling from as far away as Canada and the hotel arranged for us to have private dining for us all in their Yorkshire Room the night before the wedding. We would certainly recommend the venue. All of the staff were extremely professional prior to and during the day. They assisted with everything and the day was perfect.
In terms of a theme, the main aim of the day was for the wedding to be very relaxed and informal with no pomp and pageantry. We wanted a country theme to be in keeping with the hotel and didn’t have a particular colour scheme. The colours were fairly neutral, with the chair covers having burlap sashes, and we had hessian bunting as well as shabby chic vintage homemade bunting to decorate the rooms.
My dress was a bespoke Yorkshire tweed wedding dress made by James Steward in Wetherby. I initially saw the dress on the front of the July 2017 edition of Yorkshire Living and fell in love with it as it was so unique and beautiful and fitted in well with the country theme of our wedding. I discussed my thoughts with James, who came up with a fabulous design.
Gerry wore a three-piece suit made from the same Yorkshire Tweed as my dress. It was purchased from Clarksons of York and he wore it with a gold pheasant tie and white shirt. Gerry’s groomsman was his son Sean and he wore his own suit.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were made and designed by Blonde and Wise in Gomersal, who provide a bespoke bridesmaids service allowing each bridesmaid to choose their own colour, style and length. Amy Scott provided professional advice on fabrics to fit with the theme of the wedding. They were able to source a fabric to beautifully complement my dress and Gerry’s suit. Nicky wore their rose gold satin Wendy dress with additional ruffle, while Lou wore their rose gold satin Drew dress.
My makeup was applied by Simi who owns Bellissimi Beauty, an award-winning makeup artistry studio in the heart of Yarm. I visited Simi a couple of times to try out ideas. She was great at understanding what I wanted and it looked perfect on the day, compete with a little glitter!
Mine and my bridesmaids’ hair was styled by a friend of ours, Natalie Simpson, who lives at Barmby Moor near York. Natalie created three styles that all managed to tie in together with braids. They were all very informal and relaxed and Natalie finished them off by putting in fresh flowers that matched the bouquets and smelt amazing.
Our photographer was Alice who owns A Little Picture Photography. She was recommended by my friend’s son. We wanted very informal photos that told a story of the day and were taken in an unobtrusive and relaxed way. She offered natural, reportage-style photos which were exactly what we wanted. We looked carefully at her portfolio and spoke with Alice several times. Alice was also very accommodating for the few formal shots we wanted for close relatives. She was professional throughout and received lots of positive comments from our guests on the day. The photos we have seen so far have been amazing.
Our flowers were designed by Natalie from Sweet William Floral Design in Eaglescliffe. I asked for the flowers to contain as many bright colours as possible and to be as fragranced as possible. I wanted the bouquets to look wild and very informal, almost messy with a mixture of country flowers and, importantly, beautiful smells. They were tied with hessian and twine.
All of the flowers we placed in the venue were based on the theme of my bouquet flowers and Natalie produced the bridesmaid bouquets, corsages, buttonholes, the table arrangement for the fireplace and jars of flowers for the wedding breakfast table. They were a mixture of foliage, including rosemary, green bell and asparagus fern. The scented flowers were flowering mint, stock, freesia, Miss Piggy rose, clematis, veronica and helicrysum.
As favours, we gave each guest a love box tied up with twine to fit in with the natural theme and filled them with Lily O’Brien’s ‘The Desserts Collection’ chocolates.
Instead of a traditional cake, we decided to have a cheese cake. The West Country Cheese Co supplied us with a wedding cheese cake taster box initially, with five cheeses we thought we may like. We were in heaven and decided on Cornish Yarg for the base, Manchego for the second tier, Elmhirst for the third, Tunworth Camembert for the fourth, and Dorstone for the fifth. We also had a heart of personalised Godminster Vintage Cheddar. We presented it on a wooden block and decorated it with pot mice, sprigs of rosemary bound with twine and raffia tied around some of the cheeses.
Our wedding breakfast took place in the drawing room, which is a beautiful room with high ceilings and a feature fireplace and original artwork. There were French doors leading to the lawn and terrace area. We wanted to have a live band in the evening and, as both the rooms adjoin, we could have the band and dance floor with seating in the Edwardian Room, with further seating and a quieter area in the drawing room – perfect.
Food-wise, for the starter we had smoked salmon, fennel and radish salad with lemon puree; for the main we chose roast beef and Yorkshire puddings; and for dessert we had red fruit Eton Mess.
For entertainment, we had a live band called Snatch The Band, a three-piece from near Scarborough. They take all the songs you know and love and feed them through a Punk Rock blender to come screaming out the other side. We had seen them a few times previously at events and thought they would be perfect for our wedding – and they didn’t disappoint. Everyone loved them and danced all night.
We had a few special touches incorporated into our day. As we felt it important to have an informal wedding, we didn’t feel a formal ‘top table’ was what we wanted so we had one round oval table that could seat all 50 of our guests. It worked fantastically, and we have some lovely photos to show for it. We received so many positive comments about the large table. As Gerry and I are great lovers of gin, Gerry secretly made some amazing, sparkling decorations out of gin bottles.
Gerry had planned to have his son Sean and daughter Suzy as his best men but, three days prior to the wedding, Suzy had an emergency caesarean and gave birth to a small but beautiful daughter called Ellie-May. They were in hospital until after the wedding. Sean arranged for Suzy to be involved as much as possible during the day and so he videoed the ceremony and during all of the speeches we face-timed Suzy and Simon so that they heard and saw all of the speeches as they happened. It was fabulous to have her involved as much as possible.
We had always wanted to try and do a choreographed first dance. We hadn’t danced together before and knew it would have to be fairly simple and that the teacher would need to have the patience of a saint! We contacted Ema Devlin who owns EMerged Fitness & Dance Company in Pocklington to see if she could help. However, after one session, in an unrelated incident I partially ruptured my Achilles’ and so we thought our dancing career was on hold and that our first dance would be a shuffle. However, just prior to the wedding, we squeezed in three lessons, keeping things very simple for my foot along with wearing trainers! However, we nailed it, despite also forgetting the weight and amount of material we had to contend with in my dress! Snatch The Band recommended a suitable first dance song and so we gave this to Ema who devised something for us and we practised to this.
In terms of choosing a favourite part of the day, I loved every part of it! Gerry’s favourite part was the fact that I was 20 minutes late for the ceremony and we had chosen At Last by Etta James as our song for me to walk down the aisle to. When the music started playing, all of our friends and relatives burst out laughing as it fitted the situation well!
For our honeymoon, we went to Porto Cervo in Sardinia and loved it. The weather was beautiful and we had elevated views over the marina where we could observe all of the super yachts coming and going.
Our top tip for other Brides Up North is to relax and enjoy yourselves as it’s over in a flash.