Real Weddings

Outdoor Elegance. Charlie Brear for a relaxed springtime wedding at Broughton Hall – Lia & James

02nd March 2019 | Rachel Hirst

There’s no doubt that planning a wedding can be a stressful task, but with the right mindset and an A-team collective of suppliers, the pressure can be eased as today’s featured bride Lia came to find.

Following a traditional church ceremony, Lia and beau James then bypassed the wedding ‘rule book’ when it came to their reception, opting for a relaxed celebration at Broughton Hall in Yorkshire that made the most of the venue’s stunning grounds whilst also delivering the laid-back vibes that this couple craved.

And so, there was no seating plan (a headache most couples would happily dodge), natural details and décor, an informal barbecue wedding breakfast and plenty of socialising in the gardens while the little guests among the party could roam and play freely too.

To tell us how it all came together and praise suppliers that contributed to this beautiful springtime soiree, bride Lia is taking over the blog…

With images by Hayley Baxter Photography.


Lia says

: We got engaged on 29th April 2013, while at home. I had just got out of the shower and James got down on one knee. I thought he was just messing about and being weird, it took me a while to realise what was happening! It was all very spontaneous.


We set the date for 27th May 2018. It was a bank holiday weekend and we thought the weather would be better than waiting until August. I’m a teacher so we needed a date that was in the school holidays too.

We had our ceremony at St Saviours Church in Harden, which is the church just down the road from where we live. The reception was at Utopia at Broughton Hall, Skipton.

We wanted a church wedding so that we had the sense of occasion and so that we felt ‘married’. We chose Utopia as we wanted an informal and relaxed wedding reception and fell in love with the beautiful grounds and surroundings. We didn’t have a traditional wedding breakfast, instead we opted for canapés and a barbecue where we could all mingle and relax more.


There wasn’t a set them as such, if anything it was probably ‘botanical’ purely because the reception venue was a glass building inside a walled garden.

We wanted a relaxed reception as we already have two children and wanted them to be able to play in the garden whilst we socialised with our nearest and dearest. The relaxed feel also suited our personalities down to a tee!

The colour scheme was white, navy and lavender. I’ve always loved white and navy, the lavender was included with the invites and stemmed from the garden setting of the reception.


My dress was from Lovebird Bridal Boutique in Ilkley, it was called Carenne by Charlie Brear. I fell in love with how simple yet elegant it was, and it was perfect for the church and the relaxed wedding reception after.


My hair was styled by Chelsie Baker and my makeup was taken care of by Georgina Raseta, both of whom I would recommend.


James wore a navy blue suit with a lilac tie, coupled with a green tweed waistcoat, all from Moss Bros. It was a really good experience and the customer service was exceptional, we were in and out in no time

The groomsmen had matching navy suits with a navy waistcoat also from Moss Bros.


The bridesmaids wore navy blue multiway dresses from Debenhams.


We travelled in a Jaguar F-pace, which my brother arranged.


Hayley Baxter captured our day – we couldn’t recommend her more! She’s so easy to talk to and caught all the key moments without being in the way or over bearing. She caught lovely moments that we didn’t even realise were happening at the time. Several of our guests also commented on how professional she was, in particular, by not demanding that they moved/stood in certain positions. She was amazing at catching the natural moments of the day which is exactly what we wanted.


I had a rustic, herb-based bouquet with white lisianthus. The bridesmaids and flower girls had small versions of my bouquet. They were provided by Fleuriste at Woodbank Nurseries in the village of Harden, who were amazing.

We had hanging garlands of greenery provided by the florist for the reception. L27 Weddings styled the venue for us with pots of herbs and candles. Lou was a god send and took so much stress away for us setting up on the morning. We can’t thank or recommend her enough!

As we didn’t have a formal sit-down meal, we didn’t do favours. Instead we had blankets for our guests to use during the day and take as keepsakes as well as the potted herbs off the tables.


We had a semi-naked chocolate chip cake. My favourite cake is chocolate and James’s aunty made it for us as a wedding present.


Good Food Story (GFS) provided the majority of the food and drink for the day. The service was faultless, and the food was delicious, everything that they did was spot on! We had canapes of mini caprese salad, honey mustard glazed chipolatas and crayfish shooters. The barbecue options were Cajun chicken, rump steak and lamb koftas with artisan bread and salad. They even provided little picnic boxes for the children too! For reception drinks we had prosecco, Peroni and elderflower presse.

For dessert we had an ice-cream cart provided by Holdens ice-cream (based in Edgworth, Bolton, which is close to where I grew up) with a selection of chocolate, caramel and Holdens original ice-cream flavours.


We had acoustic guitarists Cornell Daley and Sam Sherlock to provide atmosphere/ambiance during the reception – it was indescribable walking i to the venue with the sun shining and their music playing whilst greeting our guests with reception drinks!

Later on we had a DJ that James knew for first dance and evening entertainment.

We also had a few garden games for the children to play with on the lawn during the day.

Thanks to

Louise from L27 Weddings was amazing at thinking of little finishing touches and pulling/putting the wedding all together, we would highly recommend her as she thought of things that we would otherwise have missed as well as took a lot of the stress out of planning such a big day.

We would recommend our choice of venue too, it was so tranquil and picturesque. It was the perfect setting for our wedding. It didn’t feel commercialised or like a mass wedding venue, which is what we loved about it.

Best bit

All of it! We didn’t stop smiling from start to finish! That said I think James enjoyed it more once he had gotten his wedding speech out of the way.


We had a long weekend in Rome without the kids. It was amazing having some time together just the two of us, being able to explore such a magnificent city! The main things we visited were the Colosseum and the Vatican, whilst also consuming vast amounts of wine, meat and cheese, oh and also ice-cream.


My top tip to other Brides Up North would be – plan the day that you want and not what other people think you should have. We had such a lovely day having a relaxed wedding reception and the added bonus was that we didn’t need to do a stressful seating plan!

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