Real Weddings

Maggie Sottero for a countryside wedding at Yorkshire Wedding Barn, Richmond – Joanna & Steven

01st May 2019 | Alexis Forsyth

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Natural florals take centre stage in today’s rather splendid wedding at the beautiful Yorkshire Wedding Barn, proof that when it comes to your wedding day theme – sometimes simplicity is best!

Tying the knot last October, Joanna and Steven knew straight away that this was the one and only venue for them. And when you see their picture-perfect backdrop and stunning outdoors photos – including a sunset to die for – we think you’ll fall head over heels for this venue too!

Keen to keep things informal and ensuring all their guests had a good time – the couple’s big day showcases some wonderful touches we’re pretty keen to borrow and steal, namely the gorgeously plush foliage and greenery, abundance of twinkling lights and a surprise performance from a pop, funk and hip hop meets brass band.

With images by M&G Photographic


Joanna says: We got engaged at Runswick Bay in September 2017. We’d been a few times when we first got together and had some lovely times there, so it is a really special place for us. We went for a walk one night and Steven got down on one knee while we were walking along the top of the cliffs. It was very low key but perfect for us!


We got married on 24th October 2018. We knew we didn’t want to wait too long after getting engaged so went for around the year mark to give us time to get organised! We picked a date in half term to allow our teacher friends to come as our wedding was mid-week.

Our ceremony and reception were both at the Yorkshire Wedding Barn in Gilling West, Richmond. We had booked a few viewings at local venues but cancelled them all after we’d visited here, as we knew straight away it was the one. We wanted something that felt rural as Steven is a farmer and we both love the countryside, and also something not too far from home and with accommodation on site. The Wedding Barn ticked all of the boxes, the venue is so beautiful and the view is unbelievable.


We didn’t want too much of a theme but generally we wanted things to seem relaxed and informal. It was important to us that flowers were the main decoration with not much of anything else.

Steven has a business selling firewood so he built us some signs and boards for the calligrapher to write on, which all looked fab. We really just wanted everyone to be relaxed and have a good time.

I’m generally not a fan of things that match too much and really didn’t want an obvious colour scheme for the wedding. Our bridesmaids wore different shades of pink, but I consciously didn’t have anything else pink throughout the wedding. Our flowers were white with lots of foliage and there was a lot of greenery around the venue too, to keep it looking fresh and natural.

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I got my dress from Poppy Bridal in Darlington and the designer was Maggie Sottero. I had a really clear picture in my mind of what I wanted, and everyone told me I would choose something completely different, but my dress was exactly what I had always wanted. I’ve always loved lace dresses and I knew immediately that this was the one as soon as I tried it on.


Steven wore a blue tweed suit by Marc Darcy, with shoes by Loakes Shoemakers.

Steven’s best man wore the same suit as him, but without the waistcoat. We didn’t buy suits for the groomsmen as we’re not really fans of things being too matchy.


My bridesmaids all chose their own dresses within the colour scheme and price range that I gave them. I was a bit apprehensive as we hadn’t actually seen the dresses all together until the day of the wedding, but I was so happy with how it turned out. All of my bridesmaids are different shapes and I really wanted them to be comfortable on the day, so it was important to me that they were able to pick something that was right for them. They all looked so beautiful!


I am lucky enough to be friends with a fabulous hairdresser (Chris Summerly from James Fulton Hair) who offered to do all of our hair as our wedding present. He did an amazing job (despite being slightly hungover!) and it was lovely to have him with us on our wedding morning.

We decided to do our own makeup as it was really important to me that I looked and felt like myself and I’m so pleased I did as it was such a special part of the day when we were all getting ready together and helping each other.

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We had a package of two photographers and a videographer from M and G Photographic. We both wanted a relaxed style of photography where the day was captured as it naturally happened without many posed photos. The photographer was probably the most difficult thing to find and we scoured the internet trying to find the right style for us, but we couldn’t have been happier with our choice. We genuinely didn’t notice the photographers around throughout the day and the photos were exactly what we were hoping for.


Our videographer was part of the package with M and G and again we wanted something with a natural style. We’re so happy with the outcome and we can’t stop watching the video!


We got the bouquets and decorations from the Flower Box in Guisborough. Our bouquets were white flowers with lots of greenery and I really wanted bouquets that looked freshly picked and tied together rather than symmetrical or perfectly round. I was so pleased with the outcome and how natural they looked.

I wanted flowers to be our main decoration and had a really clear idea of how I wanted them to look. I was really worried that our florist wouldn’t get my ideas but Chris and Adam at the Flower Box in Guisborough were absolutely fantastic and knew exactly what I wanted straight away. We wanted as much greenery and natural looking foliage around the venue as possible and they suggested using hops along the wooden beams and staircases which really made the room.


We are very lucky that Steven’s mum is a brilliant baker and offered to make our cake. She was very accommodating, taking on board my specific requests and we were so happy with the outcome. The whole cake was lemon and elderflower, and everyone said how lovely it was.


Our caterer was Ray Wade who does most of the weddings at the venue. We had lots of canapés during the drinks reception so went straight to the main meal at the wedding breakfast and people had a choice of chicken or lamb. Our evening food was pizza.


Steven is a musician, so entertainment was really important to us. Steven’s band The Regulators played on the evening (with a replacement for Steven of course) and as the bulk of their work is weddings we knew they were guaranteed to get people up dancing. We had their eight-piece lineup with extra brass and dual lead singers.

For the drinks reception we wanted something a bit different that would be a complete surprise. We went with Back Chat Brass after seeing them at the Great Yorkshire Show and for us they were the highlight of the whole day. Nobody knew they were booked, and they started up as we walked back down the aisle. They play songs that everyone knows and get everybody involved so this really got the afternoon off to a fun start.

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Thanks to

The day ran so smoothly and we were really reassured that the wedding coordinator at the venue was on hand throughout the day if we needed anything. The venue was perfect, from the cottages on site to the special room to get ready in, the whole three days were an amazing experience and we genuinely would not have done anything differently.

Best bit

We both really enjoyed the drinks reception as it was lovely to spend some time chatting to all of our friends and family and taking in the fact we had just got married. The evening party was pretty good as well!


We went to St Lucia for a week a few days after we got married. Steven doesn’t get much time off being a farmer, so it was perfect to get to spend nearly a full two weeks together with the wedding and honeymoon. We literally just relaxed for the full week with a couple of days of sightseeing – including a dolphin watching boat trip where we didn’t even see a fish!


My top for other Brides Up North would be – don’t let the wedding planning process, or especially the day itself, get stressful. We had a clear idea of what we wanted, and I was very organised and planned everything well, but our main priority was always to make sure that everyone was relaxed and had a good time.

The small things really don’t matter on the day but if you plan everything well, then the focus can always be on having a good time. If anything goes wrong just let it go because it really is the best day of your life and you need to enjoy every minute!

I loved looking at the real wedding features on Brides Up North while I was planning for inspiration. I enjoyed the whole process of planning and probably did get a bit obsessed with looking at pictures, but it really does help to use ideas from other real weddings.

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