We’re starting this glorious four day week by whisking you away to the wonderfully pretty backdrop of Yorkshire Wedding Barn for Leah and Josh’s big day. Boasting an all-out romantic, wintery twist – their wedding incorporated a key date of significance to the couple – the number 17.
Going for a timeless theme and a heavenly blue palette, this wedding is chock full of special touches from the couple, which was always going to make it ultra personal and memorable for their guests. And with a vintage double decker bus, games table, hot chocolate station, gingerbread men for favours and a cheese table all thrown into the mix, what’s not to like?
Our personal highlight though has got to be the newlywed’s furry friend Hank, sporting a fabulous dickie bow tie for the occasion and boasting his very own doggy biscuit bar.
So, sit back as we find out more about the couple’s very special day…
With images by Michael Wilkinson Photography
Leah says: We got engaged on holiday in Portugal on 17th July 2017. We were away on holiday with Josh’s family. Josh and I have been together since we were 15, and at 26, I had been waiting a while for him to pull his finger out! I never expected Josh to propose whilst we were away with his family, but I ruined my own surprise because I overheard him asking for my parents’ blessing the day before we went away on holiday!
Josh and I had spent the evening out together on the second night of our holiday, having a meal and cocktails and a walk around the harbor but Josh waited until we were walking up the path to the villa to finally get down on one knee. I still cried even though I’d known it was coming!
We got married on 17th November 2018. We weren’t always set on one particular date, but this date came to us for a number of reasons. Firstly, I had always liked the idea of a winter wedding, but Josh didn’t want December in case it snowed and prevented people from making it. Secondly, the venue had limited availability when we were looking to book. And 17 has always been a good number for us; we got together on 17th December 2006 and engaged on 17th July 2017.
We got married at St Michael of All Angels Church in Barningham as this was the church where my parents got married and I was christened.
Our reception was held at the Yorkshire Wedding Barn, Gilling West. We viewed a number of venues but always found something not to like about them.
We liked that the Yorkshire Wedding Barn was local and that it was a blank canvas for us to style our own wedding around. The fact that we could have the venue for the whole weekend and have our family and friends stay with us just made it even nicer.
I’m not sure if I ever communicated this with Josh but I had a 1920’s sparkle theme in mind when I chose things for the wedding. I wanted everything to be timeless so that when we look back on our photos, they don’t seem dated, but I also enjoy a bit of sparkle.
We went for a light blue colour palette. Blue is my favourite colour and I had originally envisioned a dusky blue sort of colour but when I found my bridesmaid dresses I fell in love and this guided the colour scheme from then onwards.
My dress was designed by Kenneth Winston and I bought it from Victoria Robson Bridal in Northallerton. I always had an image of the dress I wanted in my mind; I knew it would have cap sleeves and plenty of sparkle but actually finding the dress, and within my price range, was difficult.
I was originally unbelievably excited to go wedding dress shopping and didn’t want to find my dress straight away because I wanted lots of shopping trips! However, after various shops and one in particular not-so-great experience I was ready to give up the search for a while, but I had booked an appointment at Victoria Robson Bridal, so I went along to her White Sale Weekend in November 2017. From meeting Victoria, I straight away wanted to buy my dress from her as she was just so happy, friendly and made the wedding dress shopping exactly what it should be!
When Victoria produced my dress (on sale!) I knew I was going to love it, but she encouraged me to try on other dresses before that one so that when I tried it on, I was certain. The dress was originally two sizes too big for me as it was a sample dress, but I had it taken in – and a belt added for some extra sparkle and it was perfect.
Josh wore a three-piece suit from Bakers Tailoring in Middlesbrough. Josh and his best men chose the suit together without any input from me, so I was surprised when he told me he liked the 1920’s style Peaky Blinders suits – he was on board with the wedding theme without evening knowing it!
The groomsmen’s suits were also from Bakers Tailoring in Middlesbrough, in total we needed 13 suits, so they got lots of business from our wedding! Josh and his three best men wore dark coloured waistcoats while our dads and the ushers wore a matching waistcoat to the suit.
My bridesmaids wore Adrianna Papell dresses. I had seen similar dresses on Pinterest and knew that I loved them, but that they were expensive and I had no luck finding any similar dresses cheaper in the UK. In the end, I decided that they were worth the expense, so I ordered them from the USA and I have no regrets – the girls, including my sister – who was two days away from her due date – looked amazing.
My flower girls were our nieces and their dresses were from Zalando – a website I came across by chance while searching for light blue dresses – and I had the belts (from eBay) sown on for more sparkle!
Our hair was done by sisters Trudy and Leanne, who co-own Annabelle’s Hair Salon in Barnard Castle. They did an amazing job.
Our makeup was done by Becky Fell from Serene Spa in Barnard Castle. Becky was brilliant in the run up to the wedding, purchasing the exact makeup I needed and none of our makeup shifted all day – despite a lot of enthusiastic dancing!
Both myself and Josh have big families and just for our immediate families to travel we would have needed transport for about 21 people, so we discussed getting a bus. When we had the idea of getting a vintage double decker bus from Wensleydale Omnibus, I thought it would be a really fun way to transport everyone together!
The bus collected Josh, his family and friends from the Wedding Barn where they were staying and took them to the church before coming back to collect me and my wedding party. Then we all travelled from the church to the reception together.
Michael Wilkinson did our wedding photos. We chose Michael because he had taken my sister’s wedding photos in 2015, and did a brilliant job. We would definitely recommend him. On the day he was organised and made the photo taking process effortless – bringing in his own ideas for what would look good but listening when we requested not too many ‘lovey dovey’ pictures! Josh hates having his photo taken and Michael managed to make the process painless which was no easy feat! We received our wedding photos six weeks after the wedding and absolutely love them.
My Aunty Anne did all of the flowers for our wedding and did a fantastic job!
Our decorations were mostly DIY’ed. I bought most of the decorative items myself and my Aunty Anne provided all of the flowers and the big wreath that we had behind our chairs at the top table.
Our wedding favours were gingerbread men and women which were baked by a friend and decorated by me and my bridesmaids.
The cake was a design I had found on Pinterest which our sister-in-law Amie made for us. She’s made quite a few wedding cakes before, but this was her first time hand painting a design onto a cake, and she did an amazing job! It tasted delicious too. We froze the top tier and then defrosted it to eat when we got our wedding photos back.
Our food was catered by Robinsons of Wingate. My parents run a farm, so they provided us with the beef for the day and the team at Robinsons did the rest.
The Yorkshire Wedding Barn served our drinks. I was conscious that guests would probably be cold in winter so on arrival we served winter Pimms or beer with the canapés.
For the wedding breakfast, we had winter vegetable soup with a parmesan dumpling to start, followed by beef dinner with all the trimmings then a trio of our favourite desserts with custard to finish (sticky toffee pudding, jam roly poly and cornflake tart).
Our evening food consisted of burgers or hog roast with wedges.
Our music was by The Redwings – we chose them because they had lots of good reviews and we’d seen videos of them online, though we’d never seen them in person. They did a great job and the dancefloor was busy all night.
We had so many special touches! I went rather overboard with the Pinterest ideas.
Our dog Hank was there for the entire day, through the church service and at the reception until 6pm when he went for a well-deserved nap! He wore a Harris Tweed dickie bow tie and had the best day ever because there was 120 people there happy to throw a ball for him! When I originally suggested taking Hank, I thought Josh would say no but he agreed and after that I didn’t care if anyone else thought it was strange to have a dog at our wedding!
Following this theme we had a ‘Hank’s biscuit bar’ next to the sweet table. My cousin and I baked dog biscuits for Hank’s doggy friends who couldn’t be at the wedding – everyone seemed to love this idea!
We had a games table at the reception – I was conscious that we had quite a few kids there and that not everyone loves to dance so we put together a table with games, a giant crossword personalised to our wedding and a ‘guess who’ that I had altered to put in pictures of all of the children who were attending the wedding.
We had a tea, coffee and hot chocolate station running all day to keep people warm and a cheese table and a sweet table for after the meal. We both love our food, so it was important to us that no one was hungry during the wedding.
Something which I was really set on for the children was a kids table so that the children could all sit together and have fun. We gave all of the kids activity packs and sweets and that seemed to distract them from the boring bits like speeches! I included aprons to try and protect their party clothes from gravy spillages, but they seemed to go with the option of wearing them as capes instead of aprons!
I also painted signs to go outside the church and up the drive to the wedding barn saying things like ‘nearly there…’ and ‘we’re so excited you made it’ and my bridesmaid painted a big ‘welcome to our wedding’ sign for outside the door at the wedding barn which she was very proud of!
One of my favourite businesses from the wedding was Creative Tree Designs and Prints from Washington. I heard about Sarah from a work colleague and she designed all of my wedding stationery – from our invitations to our order of services, with menu cards and fact sheets in between. She also designed mugs for part of the parents’ gifts, in keeping with our wedding theme!
Finally, Sarah made us stickers for the wedding to stick on the back of our favours and our order of service has a section for confetti and a tissue to be attached to ‘shower the new bride and groom’ and ‘for any happy tears’ in church.
We loved the freedom that we got from the Yorkshire Wedding Barn. We were allowed to do whatever we wanted and could really make our wedding our own. The fact that they have accommodation on site meant that we could make it more of a wedding weekend than just one day.
Dancing on the night-time. I loved every part of the day, but it was exhausting which is why when I got to 8pm and realised that all of the formalities were over and that I could just dance and have fun, we did just that!
Our honeymoon is a three-week road trip across America, but we haven’t been yet. We booked the honeymoon for six months after the wedding so that we could get three weeks off work. It’s been great because it means we still have something to look forward to post wedding!
My top for other Brides Up North is, pick the things that really matter to you and forget the rest! I had lots of big ideas and plans, some of which I had to compromise on but the things I really fell in love with, like the venue and the bridesmaids’ dresses, I stretched the budget for and got rid of something I cared about less.
During the planning I liked looking at the real wedding features on the Brides Up North website. I liked browsing through people’s themes and read the ones that I thought were suited to our wedding.