Today, we’re escaping to one of our favourite venues – Rudding Park for Charlotte and Danny’s big day, which took place last April – and thankfully there were no April showers in sight, just glorious sunshine!
As one of the couple’s favourite hotels, they’d always dreamed of marrying there one day – and boy was it worth the wait!
A gorgeous navy, gold and white colour scheme complemented the venue perfectly, brought to life by a wonderful backdrop of Wisteria trees, candles and lanterns for all those romantic feels.
The couple even crafted their own hashtag for the day -#happyleeeverafter – wedding day goals if ever we saw one, perfect for curating all those social media posts! And as a special touch personal to the newlyweds, they featured quotes from their favourite songs, sayings and their all-time favourite boxset, Grey’s Anatomy, on each table. Feeling inspired? Here’s Charlotte to tell all!
With images by Photography by Kathryn
Charlotte says: We got engaged on 13th September 2016. Danny had a difficult time finding a place to propose to me. We had booked two weeks’ holiday to spend with our new rescue dog Marley, so decided to spend lots of days filled with nice meals and long walks. The day before he actually proposed, Danny had tried to on our favourite walk and view point at Otley Chevin. It had been a glorious day until we started our walk and the heavens opened. The following day we decided to take a trip to Fountains Abbey. I had made a picnic but Danny had convinced me that he wanted to pack everything up. It turned out to be a beautifully hot and sunny day. After we had walked round the abbey we found a spot in the grounds. Danny sat down and asked me asked me to unpack the picnic. Inside, buried between the food was a beautiful box containing an engagement ring. Danny to this day laughs at my reaction. Apparently my first words were, “Are you joking?”. Not quite what he expected my response to be. After the shock – I was over the moon to be asked and immediately said yes. It turned out to be the perfect proposal.
We chose 21st April 2018, for our wedding day. When considering a date, we either wanted to get married around September to recognise the time of year we were engaged, or alternatively April, which is the month in which we met. Having a wedding in the UK, I tried not to go for a date based on the weather because typically it is so unpredictable.
Even in the run up to our wedding day, the UK had been subjected to inches of snow. We had expected our day to be the same and prepared for this. When the day arrived, it was 21 degrees and glorious sunshine. Preparing for every eventuality made sure that we could have enjoyed the day whatever the weather.
We wanted to ensure that we brought together traditional and modern when planning our wedding. I was brought up Catholic and therefore it was important to me to have a church ceremony in the parish I grew up in. St Mary’s church is a beautiful church with lots of windows which we filled with candles and foliage from my mother-in-law’s garden.
We selected Rudding Park for our wedding reception. Rudding Park has always been one of our favourite hotels to visit and both of us had said we would have loved to get married there.
We had a list of key things we wanted from the wedding day. First of all, we wanted somewhere friends and family, who were travelling, could all stay. We also wanted a great food and drink selection and somewhere that felt exclusive to us. Lastly, we wanted a neutral room décor.
When we had reviewed all our choices, Rudding Park ticked every box. The opening up of the spa was an excellent addition for guests wanting to use the facilities before leaving.
We spent hours trawling websites, bridal magazines, wedding fairs and Pinterest trying to define what the theme to our wedding would be. Eventually we concluded that the overarching theme was glamorous, but we personalised this to our own taste. We also wanted to infuse personal touches to inject a little bit of fun into our day.
Our colour scheme was navy, gold and white, with hints of blush tones. The colour scheme started from Danny, as he loved the look of a navy suit. I had also found some inspiration on Pinterest for bridesmaid dresses and navy was a colour that suited each of them. It was great to complement this through the use of the gold, white and blush.
I started shopping for my bridal gown in December 2016 and tried on a ridiculous number of dresses before stumbling on ‘the one’. I had followed Ava Rose Hamilton on Facebook for a while and loved the dresses they posted. I had also known a couple of people who had found their dress from them. As soon as I walked into their Silsden boutique I fell in love. The consultant who looked after me, made me feel completely at ease and knew what would suit my body shape. She selected my dress for me which was a beautiful fishtail design by Stella York. Just before trying the dress on I had said to her that I didn’t believe that I would get that ‘feeling’ everyone talked about, however as I got the gown on, I knew it was my dress.
I wore Jenny Packham heels for the day, but had some trusty pink glittery trainers for a night of dancing.
Danny found his suit from Moss Bros in Leeds Trinity. He hadn’t wanted to wear the traditional wedding tails, therefore decided on a three-piece suit, complemented with a blush bow tie and pocket square. He partnered this with a pair of Loakes 1880 in mahogany.
The groomsmen wore three-piece navy suits also from Moss Bros, complete with blush tie and pocket square.
Bow and Blush did the bridal hair and makeup. I can’t recommend Jade and Beth enough – they completely understood the look I was trying to achieve.
Danny was fortunate enough to travel to the church in his friend’s Maclaren. We had initially been let down by the first wedding car company we had booked, fortunately after a stressful couple of days The Yorkshire Wedding Car Company came to our rescue and provided us with a beautiful vintage Beauford Tourer.
Our photographer was Photography by Kathryn. Photos were particularly important to us, to capture not only the day, but all those little bits you might miss. We found that we had an instant connection with Kathryn. She put us both at ease immediately and we could imagine her working with us on our day. Kathryn’s style of photography also suited what we had been looking for. We wanted our pictures to tell a story of the day and capture all those memories and people who were part of it. Further to this, as part of her package she offered a pre-wedding shoot to get us used to been in front of the camera – great for a couple who are not great at posing! We also got to bring along our Lab with us, which was the cherry on top of the cake.
We debated heavily as to whether we should get a videographer, as it can seem like an additional expense. This turned out to be one of the best things we did. I can’t speak highly enough of the work by Barney at Shortman Productions. He captured some gorgeous moments including my elderly grandma dancing away to the music we had provided. They captured so many special moments plus a lot of the fun and laughter had on the day. Barney also sent this to us in personalised wooden box complete with popcorn for us to sit and watch when we received this.
I carried a gorgeous bunch of flowers created by the very talented Sarah at Leafy Couture. I knew I wanted a bunch of flowers that looked full of volume. I had peonies, roses, ranunculus and anemones. It simply smelt divine.
The beautiful bridesmaids held gorgeous white hydrangea that looked lovely and full. The flower girls had little flower crowns made with small roses and a little gyp.
In terms of decoration, due to not staying at Rudding Park the night before the wedding, we knew we needed some style help. Hana from Ambience Venue Styling Harrogate was a complete angel in helping dress the venue.
We wanted to do a modern twist to the typical flower table centre pieces. Therefore we decided on Wisteria trees, surrounded by beautiful candles on blush table runners. On those tables without trees we used large gold vases, filled with large faux flowers and surrounded by gold. Each table had a number but also a quote important to us – songs, sayings and quotes from our all-time favourite boxset Grey’s Anatomy! For those who know, you will always be my person played very heavily in our day.
One of the things we loved about Rudding Park was the elegant staircase. We decided to dress this with some simple hurricane lanterns filled with candles and some simple chiffon.
In addition to this, we had a table to remember those important people who had helped shaped our lives so that they too could be remembered as part of our day.
Finally, we decided we wanted a hashtag for our wedding. We put little reminders for our guests to use the hashtag #happyleeeverafter – it was great to see all the photos our friends had uploaded the day after.
Also, for the reception, we had a white dance floor, starlight cloth and fairy lights around the pillar provided by The Events Company.
In terms of favours, we decided that food would always be popular. We decided on macaroons created by Joanna Rose Cakes. She made us strawberry and Champagne, along with raspberry and white chocolate. Each person had an individual box complete with a thank you tag.
After the venue, the cake was the next thing we booked. We had been recommended Heidi at The Bakery Barn by a family member. We were keen to move away from the traditional fruitcake. Heidi provided us with a range of gorgeous flavours including amaretto, salted caramel and red velvet. However, we decided on two tiers of carrot cake, lemon cake and Madeira cake. It was beautiful. We didn’t have much left at the end of the day.
We had a lot of friends and family who preferred savoury options too. So, we decided to have a three-tier cheese cake which we ordered from Costco and proved popular.
We were really keen to give our guests a selection of food and they could choose from leek and potato soup with potato crisp; ham hock and quail egg tart with English mustard or crab cakes with mango and coriander citrus salad for starters. Then for our mains, we had roast beef with white onion puree, pancetta and thyme gratin; roast hake fillet with pancetta, potato and spring onion or roast chicken breast with charred corn, confit chateaux potatoes. To finish we served a choice of Toblerone chocolate sponge with white chocolate ice cream; strawberry cheesecake with white chocolate ice cream or vanilla crème brulee.
The canapes prior to the dinner included smoked Applewood cheddar and bacon straws, beef and Yorkshire pudding, and fish and chips.
We had a prosecco reception and also Italian Pinot Grigio and a Chilean Merlot with the meal.
While the canapes were served, we were fortunate to secure Louis Coupe through a mutual friend, who sang a list of our favourite songs. In a nod to my Irish roots, we enlisted a ceilidh band to get everyone up and dancing to a hit list of songs. This was followed by a DJ set by Graham Foster from Audio Events.
We provided each of our bridesmaids with a personal box which included a piece of jewellery for the day, a candle, mini prosecco and some chocolate. The groomsmen each got a personalised hip flask which they used on the day.
Danny’s grandma also made us a personalised letterbox for people to add their gifts and cards. I also ordered some dried flowers for confetti from Dollz Confetti. It turned up beautifully presented and created a great confetti shot. Danny’s grandma also made handmade confetti cups for people to use on the day.
Each person staying in the hotel also received a thank you card for sharing their day with us. We were so grateful to have everyone with us we wanted to thank them in any way possible.
We used Booth Revolution for our photobooth. They allowed us to choose our own personalised background and we received a book with a copy of everyone’s photo booth pictures. It was a lovely reminder of the day.
When the formalities had been done and we had seen everyone, we could spend the rest of the evening relaxing, laughing and dancing with each other and our friends and family to a playlist of songs they had selected. We felt so happy.
This year has been a busy one for us with eight weddings straight after ours. This meant that we went on a little minimoon to Venice for a couple of days after our wedding. It was a beautiful escape getting lost in the meandering streets and finding bars to celebrate with an Aperol Spritz or two. I think we were doing around 25,000 steps a day and Venice is the perfect romantic city to get lost in.
For our main honeymoon we knew that we both had wanted to go travelling when leaving university but never had the opportunity. So we decided on a three-week trip exploring Thailand and Vietnam. It was pretty full on, catching ten flights in 21 days. It was magical and unlike anything we had ever visited before. We explored Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Phu Quoc, to the beautiful limestone islands of Ha Long Bay and the modern Ho Chi Minh. We then flew back to Thailand, spending time in Phuket, Ko Lanta, Phi Phi and Bangkok. It was laidback, relaxed and quirky, with beautiful beaches and landscapes.
Wedding planning is stressful and consuming. We found that sometimes we became consumed by getting things right that we didn’t spend the time enjoying the process of planning the wedding. So my top tip for other Brides Up North would be, don’t forget to enjoy and have fun!
We used Brides up North all throughout the planning process. As visual people we loved trawling through the photos of real life weddings and adapting ideas for our own wedding.