Log fires, rural décor, fire pits and fairy lights…just a few of the endearing features from today’s wedding venue – the captivating Cross House Lodge at The Star Inn in Harome. It certainly comes as no surprise to hear bride Zoe confessing that she and her hubby-to-be Dave fell in love with the space straightaway. It’s sublime!
Deciding not to get too carried away with wedding planning, Zoe admits that her focus was firmly planted on her choice of photographer (who, as it happens, was a childhood friend) and the floral arrangements. Other lovely touches to look out for include a scrumptious fruitcake, fabulous floral bridesmaid dresses (complete with pockets!) and a sentimental charity donation in place of traditional favours.
And with Dave originally popping the question at an Elbow gig to what Zoe described as her perfect first dance song… we’re all curious to see, did her dream come true in the end? Read on for all the details!
With images by Hayley Baxter Photography
Zoe says: We got engaged on 24th June 2017, at an Elbow gig in Dalby Forest. About a year earlier we were discussing, with my brother and sister-in-law, what song we would all want as our first dance. I said One Day Like This by Elbow. Dave had remembered and waited for the song to come on. He asked if I would still have that as my first dance song and I said yes…he then said “Let’s do it then, will you marry me?”. We celebrated with red wine for me and Pringles for Dave, who was on antibiotics, so couldn’t drink!
We got married on 20th October. Originally, we wanted a Christmas wedding but changed our minds when we saw the venue. We decided that the colours would be really lovely in autumn, so we chose a date just before half term, as I am a teacher. As you can see from the pictures, this turned out to be a great decision as the weather came out even better than we could have hoped!
We got married at the Cross House Lodge at The Star Inn, Harome. This was the first venue we visited, and we fell in love with it straight away. We both knew that we wanted an intimate wedding with a really relaxed feel where all of our family could stay over. The atmosphere inside for the ceremony, drinks reception and evening meal was really cosy and welcoming with the log fires and rural décor, and the outside area was quirky, with fire pits and fairy lights, meaning it would work whatever the weather on the day. We knew the food would be amazing and as all our closest friends and family love their food, we thought it was the perfect venue.
I didn’t have a specific theme in mind for the wedding, it all just came together gradually. I suppose I was inspired by the style of the venue and the time of year. Once I had chosen the bridesmaid dresses, I used these as a starting point for the flowers. The venue didn’t need much styling, so the flowers were enough.
I chose my dress from the first shop I visited with my bridesmaids and my mum. I only went to get an idea of what I liked and ended up ringing my dad, who came to meet us and bought the dress.
I thought I would choose something more boho or vintage but my bridesmaid, Danielle, suggested I try one on that was much more elegant and simplistic and I loved it. I found a lot of the dresses were very heavy and I knew I wanted to be comfortable! The dress was a Bianco Evento from Amelia’s Bridal Boutique in Clitheroe (with 75 per cent off – I never wanted to spend a lot). I also bought a rose gold belt to go with it and my mum persuaded me to go with a veil.
I used Natalie from Be Beau Be Beautiful for my makeup, it was really natural but it lasted all day and I was really pleased with it.
My hair was styled by Katie from Veil of York, who helped me decide on a style because I had no idea what I wanted at first. Again, I was pleased with how natural it felt.
Both ladies did all the bridesmaids too, they were both so friendly and helpful, it made getting ready feel really relaxed and stress free.
It was the same for Dave choosing his suit, we just nipped to Marks & Spencer and thought we would look at a few suits while we were there, just to get an idea. We were thinking of navy at the time but came across the most helpful shop assistant ever, Anthony, who specialised in suits. He stepped in and told Dave he knew just the suit that would look great on him. So, we came out with a grey (textured) three-piece suit, a pair of shoes and a camel-coloured tie.
The groomsmen’s suits were from Marks & Spencer too.
All the bridesmaids’ dresses were also from M&S. Finding bridesmaids dresses to suit everyone was the hardest part but everyone agreed on the floral dresses and loved that they had pockets!
Our photographer was Hayley Baxter and having her there was one of my favourite things about the day. I have grown up with Hayley, as our parents are best friends. We spent a lot of time together as children on camping holidays and sleepovers. This isn’t the only reason I asked her to be our wedding photographer though, I genuinely think her work is amazing. I hate having my photograph taken, yet she made it really good fun. Hayley makes you feel really relaxed and captures so many of the little personal moments of the day, without you even noticing she is there!
She made a point not to take us away from the celebrations for too long but still managed to get us pictured next to a huge farm house, walking across fields in heels, and captured the most amazing sunsets. Everyone has commented on how brilliant our wedding photographs are and I am so grateful for the way they capture the atmosphere and story of our day. I would 100 per cent recommend Hayley, she is super professional and genuinely loves what she does.
My flowers were supplied by Queens Flowers in Harome. Kymm’s studio is just around the corner from the venue but I mainly went to her because of her contemporary style. I showed Kymm a few pictures and the fabric from the bridesmaid dresses and told her “something suitable for an art teacher”. She just totally ‘got’ me and I trusted her completely. I absolutely loved my flowers on the day. My main focus was for the beams in the ceremony and reception room and then just understated bouquets.
Kymm arrived the night before to dress the beams and deliver the flowers for the tables and bouquets.
My bouquet was a mix of David Austin Juliet roses, eryngium, September daisies, clary sage and eucalyptus.
We bought everyone Alzheimer’s Society ‘forget me not pins’ for favours. This was in memory of my grandma and Dave’s granddad and it meant that we could make a donation to the charity. It was lovely to see everyone wearing the badges for the rest of the day.
Neither of us have a sweet tooth, and I had no interest in spending a lot of money on a cake, so Dave’s mum kindly made us a fruit cake and I asked my mum to decorate it. I think she was a bit horrified when I asked her to just add some messy, textured icing and leave it at that. We then just added a cake topper and some flowers for a rustic effect.
We could pretty much choose whatever we wanted for the food, the venue was brilliant. We were able to choose three starters, mains and desserts and then our guests could pick what they wanted from there. For mains we went for a choice between monkfish, saddled deer and roast sirloin. (They offered an extra vegetarian option too). We tried to pick something for everyone.
For canapés, we went with ‘chef’s choice’ so these were a surprise for us on the day too.
We hired a band called the Tone Junkies from Liverpool, who had played at our friend’s wedding. Dave and his friends had also seen the band play in pubs across Leeds several times. We knew that they were really good but also really friendly and down to earth, and their choice of music would suit everyone. My dad loved them!
They played an acoustic set to accompany the drinks reception in the afternoon and then did two full sets in the evening. The band even agreed to DJ for us in between sets for the full night. We were really pleased with the music and the dance floor was full all night.
They learnt A Life That’s Good for our first dance song (didn’t have Elbow in the end!) and it was even better than I had hoped, I loved their version of it.
I would absolutely recommend the venue. All of our guests commented on what a great venue it was. It felt so cosy and relaxed. There are so many quirky little touches, including the chickens who just roam around outside.
Lyndsey, the wedding co-ordinator, was brilliant – nothing was too much trouble and I got on with her really well. I never felt like they were just trying to make as much money out of us as possible. I felt that Lyndsey was really committed to giving us the best experience as possible on the day.
I can’t actually pick a specific point. I really enjoyed getting ready with all my bridesmaids, having some time to walk away with Dave and Hayley to have some photographs taken and having my dad there to walk me down the aisle felt really special. Then I loved getting back to the room at the end of the night, just me and Dave and reflecting on the day.
Instead of paying for a really expensive holiday destination, we bought a VW campervan. I have wanted one since I was a teenager, so we bought a transporter and drove down to Cornwall. I have to admit that it was pretty cold at the end of October, but we bought a heater and hot water bottle and it felt really cosy, snuggling up together every evening to keep warm.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be: don’t get carried away spending too much. There are a lot of Facebook groups and Pinterest boards with the ‘perfect wedding’, but you don’t need to spend lots of money on everything. I prioritised a photographer and the flowers and then kept the rest of it simple. It was also less stressful because I didn’t have to worry about lots of little details that can creep up on you. For us, the main focus was our nearest and dearest… and good food!