Real Weddings

A travel themed wedding at The Coniston Hotel – Lauren & Dominic

18th July 2019 | Alexis Forsyth

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Lauren and Dominic’s big day at Coniston Hotel Country Estate back in May is a real beaut of a wedding, combining a personalised travel theme with an alluring ocean blue and blush pink colour palette for something truly spring-like and classic.

Wearing a fabulously pretty tea length gown, Lauren shows us all how to pull off a vintage look to a tee, paired beautifully with a veil and peep toe blush heels. The outdoors photography is another highlight, showcasing the venue’s stunning Yorkshire setting, not forgetting nearby Coniston Lake – the deal clincher for the couple when choosing their dream venue!

As for the styling and finer details – dainty menta roses, sea holly and gypsophila, miniature shot bottles for favours and a scrumptious red velvet, Victoria sponge and chocolate three-tiered cake are just a few ideas you might want to covet for your own wedding day plans.

With images by Lloyd Clarke Photography

Proposal

Lauren says: We got engaged on 1st May 2017, in Las Vegas. Dominic wanted a blowout party to celebrate entering his 30s and figured that I would be least suspecting if he did it during a party meant for him. He also didn’t want a very public proposal so thought it would be nice to celebrate (hopefully) afterwards with close friends.

I met Dominic during our first year of university in 2005 so I had to wait a while for the proposal! Dom proposed in our hotel room in Las Vegas, which was a massive surprise! Some people thought it should have made a big public display of affection in front of the Bellagio fountains, but he knows me so well – I hate being centre of attention so a romantic, private proposal was perfect for me. It was so lovely having our friends on the trip with us – we went to Mandalay Bay Hotel for sunset drinks overlooking the strip. We managed to squeeze in Facetiming our very excited parents between the partying and a visit to the Grand Canyon. Then it was home to start all the wedding planning!

Setting

We tied the knot on 4th May 2019. No Star Wars reference! We wanted a May wedding since it typically seems to rain less and it could be sunny without being too hot. We also wanted a Bank Holiday weekend so that we could be assured guests coming from further afield would not have to rush back on the Sunday. Plus, it would give them more time to recover from almost certain hangovers.

We chose Coniston Hotel Country Estate as it seemed to offer the perfect Yorkshire setting, which was something we both really wanted. The rolling hills and picturesque lake that the hotel overlooks were the deal clinchers and we were already thinking of the fantastic photos we could get (weather permitting, of course!).

Theme

We had discussed potential themes on a number of occasions and both naturally gravitated towards the ‘travel’ concept, where we could create a bit of a narrative about places we had been together and also tie this in with a native cocktail that could form part of the wedding favours.

We were really unsure of what colour scheme to go for! We started with the bridesmaids’ dresses – we visited The Bridal Boutique in Baildon and loved these lacy A-line dresses in an ocean blue, which suited all my bridesmaids. From there, we used the ocean blue to add hints of colour – from the groomsmen’s ties to the sea holly in my bouquet. We also used blush pinks across the wedding to tie in with the blush of my dress.

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Dress

I bought my dress from Wed2B in Leeds. After trying on a few longer dresses, I fell in love with this tea length, vintage style dress from the Bellami range. The blush colour made it even more special and unique. After buying the dress, I went to The Wardrobe in Otley for alternations where Nicola made sure the dress fitted me perfectly. I paired the dress with lovely beautiful peep toe blush heels from Rachel Simpson.

Groomsmen

Dominic wore the same suit he had picked for the groomsmen, from Brook Taverner. He vamped it up a bit by choosing a slick white shirt from Charles Tyrwhitt and shoes from Moss Bros.

We purchased suits for the groomsmen as we thought this would be a nice gesture for their hard work and also a good memento from the occasion. The best man had actually just started up his own company and was really appreciative of a complimentary wardrobe upgrade. Although they weren’t too bold by any stretch of the imagination, we were able to dress them up with shoes, belts and pocket squares to make them stand out a bit more and look really smart on the day.

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Photographer

Bethany Clarke of Lloyd Clarke Photography captured our day. Bethany was very clear about her style from the start and made sure that this was in line with what we wanted and our expectations. She was able to make two rather awkward posers feel relaxed enough to capture the best photos on the day and struck a great balance between creating an informal setting and ensuring that we got the pictures that we wanted.

Her unobtrusive style meant we got some great ‘fly-on-the-wall’ type shots that really captured the true emotions of the day. Furthermore, she was really flexible and efficient in getting the photos without disrupting our day and leaving us feeling that we were being dragged away from our party. She was really lovely to work with and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her for any future event!

Styling

Sophie of Walter and Blossom was recommended to us and was an absolutely massive help to two novices. From the first meeting, she was extremely patient and understanding whilst talking us through the various options in a relaxed and informal setting. Where we needed guidance and some expertise, she was able to steer us in the right direction and this gave us the first visualisation of how our wedding would eventually look. The follow up proposals were exactly what we were after so the decision to go with Sophie was a no-brainer. She completely removed the whole stress in organising what is such a focal point of any wedding.

On the day itself she was truly fantastic – lending her hand at helping dress both the ceremony room and the banqueting suite so that we could just relax and enjoy the build-up. Dominic was very thankful that she stayed on beyond the call of duty, as they had a last-minute buttonhole catastrophe (owing to too much hugging) that Sophie kindly resolved quickly and without fuss. Her organisation, vision and execution were flawless and made our day that even more special. We can’t stop telling our friends and family to use Sophie for any future event!

We had menta roses, sea holly and gypsophila. We tried to do as much of the decorations ourselves with massive help from Sophie and stepmother, Sue Alexander. They went above and behind in decorating the ceremony room and bannister suite for the meal.

Creative Events, who are one of Coniston’s chosen suppliers, also supplied the chair covers and fairy light backdrops which made the room come to life. We liked them because they had flexible approaches to mixing and matching what we liked and what we had seen looked good on open days.

Favours

To link in with our travel theme – we had miniature shot bottles each containing a cocktail/spirit from one of the countries we had visited, which our tables were also based on – including Ouzo for Halkidiki, Jaegermeister for Frankfurt and Limoncello for Venice.

Cake

We had a three-tiered cake – red velvet, Victoria sponge and chocolate – with a simple white icing and ribbon to match the bridesmaids. It was made by a family friend and we were over the moon with the finished cake. Our parents ended up taking it home and were enjoying it for weeks afterwards although we never got another look in!

Dining

Coniston were able to offer us a pre-menu tasting that was good to get an idea of what we could expect and see how things would fit together. We tried to cater for as many people as we could, so we tried not to be too bold with our choices, but we also had to please ourselves since it was our day.

For starters, we had salmon and haddock fishcakes followed by duck with fondant potatoes and fresh vegetables (we thought it would be a bit more original than a roast chicken dinner). For dessert we had lemon cheesecake, which was a light finish after two rather big courses.

Entertainment

Coniston did provide a night DJ in with the package, but we also wanted our own band. I had been searching for wedding bands and mainly went off online recommendations, YouTube videos and playlists. Agent Smith were really good and completely made the wedding – effectively getting everyone up to dance at one point or another. They were more than happy to learn our first dance song even though it wasn’t something they had done before. They played everything we requested and more.

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Special touches

I have a couple of friends who had performed in a band whilst we were all at university together and they kindly offered to play a few pieces of interlude music after the ceremony and whilst everyone was mingling. This was a really nice touch and made it a bit more personal.

Also, we had requested that Coniston put on a local beer from Goose Eye Brewery called Chinook that a lot of us are big fans of and that went down very well!

Thanks to

For a very true Yorkshire wedding, I would definitely recommend Coniston Hotel. It truly is a beautiful setting.

Best bit

Dominic says when he first saw me and my father walk down the aisle. We were both beaming, and it made him very proud and happy that we were finally able to make it official and celebrate with so many close friends and family around us.

Additionally, we thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone mingling and getting on so well despite being from so many different backgrounds. It was just such a nice day and all the planning that had gone into the previous two years really paid off!

Honeymoon

This was something that we discussed at length. Top of the list originally would have been Australia and New Zealand or something typically ‘honeymoon-esque’ such as the Maldives. The time of year that we had chosen for the wedding meant that everything in the Southern Hemisphere was kind of off limits and ideally, we wanted to go on honeymoon straight away afterwards.

Doing lots of research into potential destinations led us to choosing Canada as a perfect location of everything we were looking for. Both of us had never been and it seemed the perfect place to explore as a newly married couple. We had some friends out in Vancouver so we could be shown around as well as doing our own exploring by hiring a car and driving into the Rockies. Sadly, we didn’t see any bears though!

Having planned a rather active trip to see as much of Canada in two weeks as we could, we offset this by also booking one week in Cancun, Mexico where we really could relax and recharge the batteries after a busy few months. I found convenient flights that were really reasonable and meant we could have an absolutely amazing honeymoon. Just a shame we both had to burn up all our holiday allowance in one go so we can’t go exploring again for a while!

Advice

My top tip for other Brides Up North is – be selfish and do what you want to do. Everyone else will be honoured to be there as your guests and happy to work with whatever makes you happy. Also, speeches before food meant that it was a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere. Try and enjoy every minute as much as you can because it’s true that it will be over very quickly.

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