Real Weddings

Fine florals for an elegant wedding at Grays Court, York – Joanna & Jesper

14th June 2019 | Alexis Forsyth

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Today’s small, intimate wedding is pure perfection and proof that having just your nearest and dearest is all that really matters when it comes to tying the knot.

After much deliberation over a wedding location – with the groom’s homeland of Denmark making the shortlist, the couple eventually chose York. Grays Court to be precise; an uber stylish boutique hotel in the heart of the city. The venue lent itself perfectly to the dinner party vibe the couple were seeking, with around 35 guests in total.

There were no official bridesmaids or groomsmen, instead guests were given the opportunity to contribute in their own special way; from readings to curating a playlist to baking the cake! A few Danish wedding traditions also featured, including cutting off the ends of the groom’s socks – definitely a new one here on Brides Up North. Want to know more? Here’s Joanna with all the details…

With images by Amy Jordison

Proposal

Joanna says: We got engaged in the same pub in London where we went on one of our first dates. Jesper actually only decided to propose on the day, when he realised we would be passing the pub that evening – he managed to sneak off and buy a ring whilst I was in the changing rooms of a shop, and then got me to the pub without me suspecting a thing.

Setting

After getting engaged, it took us a while to figure out what kind of wedding we wanted and whether the wedding should be in the UK, Denmark (where Jesper is from) or somewhere else entirely.

By the time we had finally decided on York (where I am from), we didn’t want to wait much longer. We picked the first available date with the possibility of good weather and that all of our friends and family could make – 23rd March.

Having friends and family spread across two countries makes it a challenge to see everyone regularly and means that we never get them all together. We decided to invite around 35 people in the hope that we would actually get to spend some time with each (we didn’t – not enough anyway!).

Grays Court was perfect for this number – we liked that we could all sit around one long table, which helped to create the ‘dinner party’ feel we were aiming for. Obviously, it helps that the building and gardens are stunning too!

We had Grays Court to ourselves from Saturday morning through to Sunday afternoon. Having the ceremony, reception and accommodation in the same place also made things much easier for our guests and meant they could just relax for the weekend.

Theme

There wasn’t a particular theme for the day – we just chose things we liked and hoped it all came together!

We didn’t have ‘official’ bridesmaids and groomsmen, but lots of our friends and family had roles on the day – from baking the cake, to reading during the ceremony, to making sure the day stayed on track!

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Dress

I couldn’t imagine myself wearing a traditional wedding dress and trying on a couple in one of the big stores just confirmed that (special shout out to the shop assistant who asked if I was there to try on bridesmaid dresses!).

I came across Seni Dey online and really liked their simple, modern style. They customised one of their designs for me and could not have done more to make sure I was happy with the style and the fit – I would definitely recommend!

Groomsmen

Jesper chose a Paul Smith suit (pretty much the first he tried on) with everything else from Reiss.

Beauty

My very talented (and very patient) sister-in-law did my hair, makeup and nails and bought the hair accessory as a wedding gift to me. We had tried a few different hairstyles beforehand, but nothing felt quite right. On the day, the first thing she tried was perfect!

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Photography

Our photographs were taken by Amy Jordison. We loved her relaxed, natural style and, from the first phone call with her, knew that she understood the feel of our wedding.

On the day, Amy was great – she made us feel totally at ease in front of the camera, didn’t spend hours on posed shots and managed to capture everyone without being intrusive. Not only is she a great photographer, but she is also a lovely person to have around – and several of our guests said so too! We are so happy with her photos and feel that they really capture the feel of the day.

Styling

As Grays Court is already very characterful, we didn’t feel like it needed a lot of extra decoration. However, I did want plenty of flowers!

We had a cup of tea with Wendy at Fenwick Flowers and looked at some pictures together. After that, we just left it in her hands! On the day, we were absolutely blown away by what she created for us – the spring flowers and foliage smelt incredible and complemented the venue and our style perfectly.

Cake

Our cake was made by a friend – Fran Who Bakes – as a wedding gift to us, and looked and tasted absolutely amazing. We gave her free reign to decide on flavours and she did not disappoint! The bottom tier was lime, coconut and passion fruit, the middle tier hazelnut, salted caramel and dark chocolate, and the top tier pistachio, rose and raspberry.

We also had a Danish wedding cake (kransekage) that I made with my mum the day before.

We cut the cakes during the Champagne reception and, although there was enough cake for about 100 people, there was barely a slice left over!

Dining

The food at Grays Court was fantastic and the restaurant was one of the reasons we chose the venue. We had a tasting with the chef a month or so before, and he then built a menu around our feedback. We chose Danish-inspired canapés, followed by a Yorkshire-inspired meal.

The breakfast at Grays Court was also great – I was too nervous to eat on the morning of the wedding, but more than made up for that the day after!

During the ceremony and drinks reception, we had a string trio, Grazia Strings, who played a mix of classical and pop covers. They were amazing, and made the whole thing feel a bit more special.

My two best friends made playlists for dinner and afterwards, including songs from throughout our friendship.

We knew that dinner would be quite drawn-out (we ended up having five speeches, a song and a game to incorporate!) so decided not to have a dance floor. Our first dance was actually at the very end of the night, right before everyone left.

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Special touches

We tried to include some Danish wedding traditions in the day too, including a song written by Jesper’s mum that the whole table sang along to (much more tunefully and enthusiastically than anticipated!) and Jesper’s friends cutting off the ends of his socks. It is said to be the bride’s first job as a wife to sew them back together, but Jesper is still waiting…

Best bit

Someone told me that the best thing about your wedding is having all of your favourite people in one place – that really was true!

Honeymoon

We went to Bali. Before planning a wedding, I’d always thought that honeymoon destinations sounded kind of boring, but you really do need somewhere afterwards to relax and unwind!

Advice

My top tip to other Brides Up North is to remember that the only thing that really matters is that you end up married – everything else is extra.

During the planning, we used the Brides Up North blog for inspiration and for venue suggestions too.

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