Following a picture-perfect proposal in the Canadian Rockies – it seems only fitting that bride and groom Nicola and Scott would choose a spectacular backdrop for their big day, and the wonderful Broughton Hall – a country estate in Yorkshire – ticked all the boxes.
The theme was a real labour of love for the Nicola, featuring whisky, antlers and copper – a unique combination if ever we saw one! And this worked beautifully with the rustic setting and, of course, the fabulous tipis where they hosted their reception.
She made lots of the decorative elements too – from the flowers and seating plan to outdoors games and even the cake! It was a lot of work, so it comes as no surprise to hear that Nicola’s top tip for you brides-to-be is to enlist some help! Feeling inspired to take on your own DIY approach? Let’s pass the blog over to Nicola to hear all about it.
With images by JPR Shah Photography
Nicola says: We got engaged on the 28th May 2016 while on holiday in Canada. It’s a bit of a long story, as it very nearly didn’t happen! When we set off from Manchester to Vancouver, we parked the car in the airport car park, waiting ages for a bus to take us to the terminal. We were just about to to check in when Scott realised he’d forgotten his camera bag in the car – which unbeknown to me contained the engagement ring! By this time, we were running a little late and heading through security when Scott was pulled to one side to get his camera bag searched. I didn’t see any of this, but he was frantically pointing at his wedding ring finger so that the security man wouldn’t pull out the box in front of me. We finally got through security, and I still had no idea!
There’s a reason we went to the Rockies. Unfortunately, Scott’s dad passed away a coupe of years previously. He’d spoken to us about being stationed in the Rockies and how amazing it was. We promised him we’d go visit one day. Scott thought this would be the most amazing place to ask one of the most important questions, so it meant a lot to both of us.
He wanted us to have our own special place over there, so he did lots of Googling and found an amazing beach off Vancouver Island. This was a week into our trip that we planned to go there, so for a week he had to hide the ring, tucking it into rolled up socks!
We made it to Tofino and spent the day on a whale tour, it was amazing and we were on a high. When we got back to the hotel Scott said they have amazing sunsets over here, let’s go find a beach. Not knowing where we were going, we set off down the coast and came to what I thought was a lovely beach. We got out of the car and wandered down to the sea. Scott was like, nope this isn’t the place I want to watch the sun set, so he dragged me back in the car and we went further down to the coast until he found the ‘correct beach’.
We were by the sea and taking lots of pictures. He turned to me and asked me to take some more pictures. Next thing, he’s shouting my name and down on one knee. Scott hates being the centre of attention, I could see a couple of dog walkers heading our way, so I shouted oh no and started to pull him up. He wouldn’t get up until I said yes. We then went back to where we were staying and watched the end of the sunset on the bay, basking in excitement.
We got married on 15th September 2018. We had our ceremony at All Saints Church in Broughton and our reception at Eden at Broughton Hall.
We loved Broughton Hall. Our style is very much countryside and we really wanted somewhere where we could make the wedding our own but still keep it traditional. I really wanted to get married in a church and All Saints is beautiful and Rev Alex Ladds was just amazing! Diane, the church warden, is so lovely and helpful too.
Eden is a big country house which rustic charm. This meant we could have our nearest and dearest staying with us a day before the wedding and have a little get together. We also hired out all the cottages and house on the estate for our friends so that they could all come down to Eden the night before and get to know one another. Scott then stayed at a local country pub called the Tempest Arms.
We hosted our reception inside rented tipis, so that we could have the freedom to decorate them how we liked and pick the sashes we wanted. We sourced everything ourselves, even down to the finer details.
I’m a lover of whisky and was brought up with it, so to speak. My dad’s a bit of a whisky collector and me and my sister were dragged around endless distilleries when we were younger. My dad’s even got Scott collecting a few bottles! So, we knew we wanted whisky to feature in our big day – we used empty whisky bottles with fairy lights for our table names. We collected these from our friends at the distillers and from our friend at the Wright Wine Company in Skipton. Katie, who works there, was amazing and helped us get bottles and canisters that matched, so that we could use them as vases for the flowers.
We also had lots of pheasant feathers, and used them in the flowers, corsages and decoration.
I’m also obsessed with deer and stags, I love them, so it felt right to use an antler as our wedding logo and to have a few sets around the tents.
I didn’t want the theme too gentleman’s club, so I added a bit of copper to give it an up-to-date edge. It worked really well and I loved the styling of our wedding. It was a real labour of love.
I chose a lace off-the-shoulder dress with a full skirt in a soft peachy pink colour. The bodice was a bit daring and see through, but it wasn’t very noticeable.
I got my dress from Ava Rose Hamilton – Bernie and Niamh were amazing and really put me at ease. I didn’t originally pick out my dress, but Bernie knew I’d like this one once I got it on. I would recommend Ava Rose Hamilton to everyone, they really make you feel special.
After doing a bit of Pinterest searching, Scott found a suit he loved. So, we went in search of something similar and Mark Darcy suits were perfect. We bought his waistcoat and the bow ties from Jenson Samuel, the page boy suits from Firths Boutique, and hired (but then bought) the ushers’ suits from Jason Samuel. Scott bought his suit from Jenson Samuel too.
I bought my sister and my oldest niece’s dresses from TK Maxx from a fluke find while on their website. I loved their dresses, just perfect. I then found my littlest niece’s dress at a Next outlet, which was a perfect match.
One of my best friends did my hair: Hair By Gina Lad. She knows how I like it and she did an amazing job. She also did my sister’s and both nieces, and they all looked beautiful.
Gina recommend her friend from school who does make up, Make Up By Daniella Marie and she worked wonders and made us all look stunning.
We used Ford Mustang Wedding. We really wanted a quirky car, but my dad wanted something classical. We decided to ignore my dad and go with what we wanted! Everything about our wedding wasn’t the norm so we didn’t want to get a normal car either. Me and Scott travelled around America a few years ago and we hired a muscle car to go to the Grand Canyon, so we thought a muscle car would be so us for our wedding. Plus, we’re both petrol heads and loved roaring around the countryside, and it turns out – my dad did too.
JPR Shah Photography captured our day. We’d recommend him a million times over. He and his wife were amazing. We felt so at ease and they are so lovely. Our pictures are amazing, and we have had so many lovely comments about them. We knew we wanted pictures that were a little moodier and not the lovey-dovey ones everyone has. We wanted images that were artistic but still with a relaxed feel.
I made all the flower arrangements myself, including my bouquet, those of my three bridesmaids’, and the corsages for Scott, the five ushers, my dad and Scott’s step dad, plus the page boys. They consisted of a mixture of different blooms – I went for a countryside look with a hint of Scottish. I also did the flowers for all the tables and the entrance to tipi, as well as all the flowers and planted tubs at the church.
As favours, I handmade tweed hanging hearts for all the female guests and then we did little whisky bottles for the males.
We took care of our own ‘cake’ by piling up layers of cheeses and pork pie, decorating it with grapes and figs.
We used Ribble Valley Group for our wedding breakfast and the hog roast in the evening. We supplied our own wine, which we bought from Aldi, along with champagne. Bar Events – who we rented the tipis from – did the bar for us.
We used DJ Ed Marshall – he was great and knew exactly what to play to get our guests up and dancing. He also did us a rock hour between 10pm to 11pm.
We used Limelight Hire for our photobooth. We wanted something small but in keeping with everything else and they had a gold vintage style mirror. Our guests loved it and we have some really funny pictures.
We made all our own wedding stationery, plus hundreds of metres of tweed bunting and tweed table runners for all the tables. We had little lovebird origami instructions on each table setting and made our own colouring books for the kids and made and hand wrote matching table settings. We also made our own seating plan using an old vintage frame and images of the whisky bottles on the tables and the name of the distilleries.
I also made outdoor games from recycled wood and little black and copper signs. We had quotes around the tipis with funny little messages too.
At night-time, we dotted whisky bottles with glow sticks around the field to make it look magical.
On the cake table, we had a vintage suitcase for cards and we printed Polaroids of us through the years and hung them above. We also made our own confetti, drying rose petals in the oven for hours. It smelt amazing and was eco-friendly too.
We would recommend Broughton Hall to other brides and grooms; they gave us the flexibility to do what we wanted.
Seeing Scott’s face when I arrived at the altar was a highlight. He wouldn’t dare look at me in case he cried, and I was shaking so badly I couldn’t even stand still.
I also loved it when we were having our pictures taken and we were leant up against a tree watching our guests having an amazing time. Seeing all our friends getting to know each and then at the end of the night all hugging and swaying to Coldplay Yellow was another special moment.
We went to Dubai for a week and then went onto the Philippines for a week. We had the best time!
I had a lot to do, even on the day. From making sure we took everything out of the church, to making sure tables and chairs were moved from the dancefloor and tiering-up our wedding cake in my dress in the kitchen. It was worth it but very hard work, so my top tip for other Brides Up North would be: get as much help as you can. If I had to do it again, I think I’d get some help from a wedding planner.
Also, be aware, the morning when you get ready goes so quickly – I felt I didn’t get a chance to take that part in enough.
Finally, during the planning we went to a couple of the Brides Up North wedding fairs, which were helpful for ideas.