Real Weddings

ain’t no mountain high enough. martina liana for a stylish wedding at the normans – dani & andy

12th November 2018 | Alexis Forsyth

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A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (72)

Monday isn’t so bad when we’re treating you to a sumptuous wedding at standout Yorkshire venue The Normans, set within revamped and reimagined farm buildings dating back to the 18th century.

Tying the knot last summer, Dani and Andy chose their 13th anniversary as their wedding date – an unlucky number for some, but certainly not for this bride and groom! We just love the vision they had for the wedding – showcasing all their favourite things and celebrating the memories the couple had already shared together.

With so many personal touches throughout their day – think an oh so romantic stroll in a cornfield, a skiing themed photobooth and garden games for the guests, plus an ice cream stall in the courtyard – it’s pretty much impossible not to feel inspired! Let’s hand the blog over to bride, Dani for all the memserising details…

With images by Mark Hillyer.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (55)

dani says: We got engaged on top of a mountain whilst working on our ski season. Andy had carried the ring around in his backpack for nearly a month waiting for the ‘perfect’ moment. The moment he chose was us having a cheese and ham baguette at the top of a black ski run. It was completely unexpected – afterwards we celebrated and took photos, but we still had to ski down. My legs were like jelly and my goggles had steamed up from crying so we had to stop half way down the piste in a café, we only had enough money on us for an Orangina and a strawberry tart to share. We popped open the champagne and celebrated in style later that night though!

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (47)

Our wedding date was the 1st July 2017, which was our 13th anniversary. We had originally thought about an autumn wedding but as soon as we picked our venue – The Normans in Bilbrough, Yorkshire – we knew we had to have a summer wedding. We realised our anniversary fell on a Saturday and wanted the 1st July, luckily for us a few hours after we had looked around the venue the date we wanted became available.

We found it really difficult finding a venue, as we wanted to get married in Yorkshire (where we both grew up) and wanted a venue we could make our own. We looked at loads of venues and they just didn’t seem right.

Andy found The Normans online but it hadn’t opened yet. The website only had a couple of photos featured, but as pug lovers we pretty much knew that the venue would be perfect for us as soon as we saw a picture of their resident pug Betty! We booked to see it on their first open weekend and fell in love with it on the spot. We loved that the ceremony barn felt authentic and special, despite it not being a religious setting.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (29)

We didn’t have a theme; it was just full of our favourite things. As we had been together for 13 years before our wedding, we wanted it to be a celebration of the memories we had already created together.

We wanted to make sure we could spend at least part of the day with our pug Douglas. He stayed with Andy in the morning and wore a navy harness and bowtie for the main event. He only stayed a couple of hours (he gets incredibly tired) but we captured some lovely photos with him and he certainly helped us celebrate the day.

Much of our wedding colour scheme was neutral but I also wanted splashes of rich berry colours in the flowers.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (18)

My outfit consisted of separates by Martina Liana, which I purchased at Ava Rose Hamilton. I wanted something that was very simple and elegant and had originally thought I would choose a Grecian style dress but as soon as I saw the layers of tulle in the skirt I chose – I fell in love with it. The skirt didn’t need any detailing because the fabric was so beautiful. In the shop I was worried the skirt was too full, but on the wedding day I loved swishing the skirt around the dancefloor!

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (6)

Andy wore a suit from Reiss that he had tailored to fit. We went shopping for the day in Leeds with Andy’s parents and he tried on so many suits. He tried on the dark navy three-piece suit in Reiss and the sales assistant pinned it for him. As soon as he came out of the changing room I started crying, because I knew straight away it was the suit he would wear on our wedding day.

Finding a tie was not as easy, he didn’t want a silk tie and we hunted high and low for the right one but couldn’t find it. In the end he found some online from OTAA, an Australian company. Andy and the groomsmen wore the same tie and we even got our pug Douglas a matching bowtie.

The groomsmen wore suits from Next and ties that matched Andy’s.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (11)

The bridesmaids wore blush pink dresses from ASOS. We booked a weekend to go shopping but I had also bought dresses for them to try on at home beforehand. The girls looked so stunning in the dresses from ASOS that we chose those instead and then went for lunch and wine and watched Beauty & The Beast at the cinema!

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (25)

We did our own makeup – I wanted to make sure I looked and felt like myself on our wedding day, and so I went to the Benefit counter and had a makeover and chose lovely new makeup, which I saved for the big day.

Hannah from the Beauty Bar in York did mine, the bridesmaids and my mum’s hair. She was so friendly and professional chatting away to us on the morning of the wedding that she put us completely at ease.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (14)

Our photographer was Mark Hillyer. It took us so long to find a photographer we liked and it was really important that we had photos we would treasure forever. In the end, we chose Mark because his images looked like pieces of art, we loved his landscape style portraits. He also sold it to us when he didn’t blink an eye when we told him we wanted our pug, Douglas to attend the wedding and would need photographs with him on our big day.

Our favourite photographs are the ones Mark took when we walked to a nearby cornfield; he captured some fantastic images whilst we spent a few moments with each other celebrating. Within the wedding package we also got a pre-wedding shoot, which really helped us to feel at ease with Mark.

A number of our guests commented on how lovely Mark was on our wedding day, he fitted in with the guests with ease but also managed to shrink into the background and capture some intimate special moments too.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (39)

When Andy and I first met I had a Saturday job in a flower shop so flowers were very important to me. My favourite flower shop is Northern Flower from Manchester, where we live, so I was over the moon when they agreed to do my flowers for our wedding day.

I gave the florist a very defined specification; I knew the colours, the flowers and how I wanted it to look. They completely understood my ideas and I was so surprised when I saw them because they were even better that I imagined. The bouquets were full of dark green foliage, hydrangeas, peonies, roses and dahlias and lisianthus, I also had matching flowers in my hair.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (43)

Our venue was so beautiful that it needed minimal decoration. I bought ten large milk churns online and the florist filled them with green foliage and white flowers for us – the churns were one of my favourite things on the day.

We also bought some small churn vases for our table centrepieces and again the florist made some beautiful arrangements to fill them.

Andy loves cooking so we decided to give his favourite herb plants, rosemary, mint and thyme, wrapped in hessian for our favours.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (44)

We chose a cake from Alice at White Rose Bakes in York. Choosing the wedding cake was one of our favourite appointments, Alice welcomed us with a mug of Yorkshire tea and a number of cupcakes to taste and worked patiently with us to make sure we got the cake we wanted. We chose a three-tier cake that was elderflower and lemon flavour with white chocolate frosting, decorated with berries.

We really enjoy eating good, simple food and have a firm belief that good food brings people together. We love going out to eat with family and friends so wanted to capture this on our big day. Our main caterer was Annika’s Apron. Annika provided pork belly, king prawn and fishcake canapés. The main was a Beer Butt BBQ chicken sharing platter with sweet potato fries and to die for Rajas (which our friends have not stopped talking about since) served with salad. For dessert we hired Scoop ‘n’ Sandwich who brought in their ice cream stall into the courtyard and did homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches with a choice of flavours, toppings, sprinkles and sauces.

In the evening, Annika pitched up a burger bar and cooked gourmet beef and bacon burgers and vegetarian ‘mumbai massive’ spicy potato burgers. This certainly gave the guests (and us) enough energy to dance the night away on the dancefloor!

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (50)

We hired an acoustic band called Colour Blue to entertain the guests during the drinks reception. They played in the courtyard after the ceremony and created a wonderful atmosphere. For the evening, we hired a DJ and sax package from Jonny Ross. When we saw the video of this it reminded us so much of the times we have spent dancing on the tables après ski at La Folie Douce that we knew we had to choose it.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (57)

We also set up a skiing photo booth on the evening. Getting our guests to pose in front of a big backdrop, wrapped up in hats, scarves and goggles. We also put some garden games in the courtyard, and there are some very funny photos of our friends getting competitive with each other playing Jenga.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (67)

Following our wedding, we would definitely recommend The Normans to other couples. The venue is stunning but it’s also a blank canvas, which means you can create the wedding you want. It has so many lovely spaces that can be utilised by guests irrespective of the weather, and the ceremony room felt so personal and authentic that it helped make the ceremony feel really special.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (75)

Our favourite part of the day was dancing away in the evening, before our first dance we (and some of our braver guests) had a shot of Chartreuse, which helped with the nerves. Then we literally spent the next four hours dancing together on the danc floor. All of our guests joined us at one point or another but we also enjoyed the moment together.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (90)

For our honeymoon, we flew to Vancouver and then toured around British Columbia and Alberta. We stayed in a mix of accommodation from log cabins that we had to hike 5km to reach, to luxury hotels in the heart of Vancouver. We chose Canada because we both love walking, being outdoors and seeing nature. For three weeks we hiked, went white water rafting, zip lining, bear watching and mountain biking, and went out to some amazing restaurants and drank lots of cocktails too.

A Twinkly Wedding at The Normans (c) Mark Hillyer (98)

Our top tip for other Brides Up North would be to make sure the wedding is personal, it’s so easy to see things online that look like great ideas, but you have to think about using those ideas and making them personal to you. We would also recommend that the bride and groom take time to spend with each other, the day goes by so quickly but it’s important to remember to celebrate the moment with each other too.

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