Real Weddings

Anita Massarella for an autumnal wedding at The Hepworth Wakefield – Gwyn & Steve

23rd July 2019 | Sarah Symonds

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It might be the middle of summer but, for fans of the seasonal wedding, we have the most perfect autumn wedding for you today. Prepare yourself for the cosy styling of Gwyn and Steve.

This creative team got hands on with making their own jewellery for the big day, and opted to marry in The Hepworth Wakefield to celebrate a love of art, as well as their love for each other. If that wasn’t enough, to ensure a totally unique day, they’ve incorporated little personal touches for the styling of the venue, and talented Gwyn handmade most of the decorations herself!

This contemporary wedding has bags of autumnal charm and all the beautiful reds, oranges and golds of a September walk in the woods, with pops of a brighter green to really bring the styling to life. To keep it local, guests were treated to an amazing sharing banquet of delicious Yorkshire produce and signature cocktails for the occasion. So allow yourself to be swept up in the romance of the season and let today’s story warm your heart.

With images by Matt Sim Photography

Proposal

Gwyn says: Steve bought the ring before he went on a trek in the Pyrenees and proposed when he got home. He met me at work for lunch and proposed during my lunch break at the Fettle café, Leeds! The café was empty to begin with but soon filled up with customers. He didn’t go down on bended knee as it was a little too busy. I only went to choose a slice of cake and when I came back, there was a box with a ring in it on the table! I was a little confused, trying to figure out how he managed to go ring shopping in the Pyrenees! He then asked if I would marry him and after a short pause, as I was slightly taken aback, I said yes!

Steve then accompanied me to see Jennie Gill in Sheffield, who made me a ring in white gold with yellow and grey diamonds. Jennie also made my wedding band in 18 carat white gold to match. I took Steve to meet jewellery designer and maker Mark Veevers in Sheffield for his wedding rings – he had two made, one in titanium and silver, and one with a ring of gold added.

Setting

We got married on 15th September 2018 at The Hepworth Wakefield. We chose this venue as we both love the spaces there. There’s lots of light and it’s almost cathedral-like in size. I’m from an arts background and I love the work of Barbara Hepworth so it was great to be surrounded by so much fabulous art.

We chose the date as it was a convenient date for our daughters and didn’t clash with their summer vacations, plus my daughter had been studying in Australia and was back for the summer. We only had a very small window of opportunity.

Theme

We had a Yorkshire theme! Steve is a Dewsbury boy and I’ve lived in Leeds for most of my life. There were Yorkshire white roses included in the flowers and buttonholes, and locally sourced food was served.

We chose to use a lot of autumnal colours to reflect the time of year, and we felt that color scheme would suit the venue.

We both enjoy cycling so had a cycling theme for the tables, based on climbs in the Tour de Yorkshire, such as Côte de Buttertubs. I made the table centrepieces which featured the jersey colours from the Grand cycling tours (Tour de Yorkshire, France, the Giro and Vuelta).

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Dress

I had originally thought I’d like a dress that wasn’t too ‘weddingy’, but I really wasn’t sure. I was on a budget, but had always dreamed of trying on a dress by Anita Massarella. I’d admired her beautiful gowns in the window for many years. I arranged to try on some sample dresses which they had on sale. I’d tried on a few when my daughter, Carrie, spotted one in a style I had been looking for. It was a little long (I’m 5ft 2”) but otherwise fitted perfectly. It was ivory silk with sequins and a train; simple elegance. I wanted to be able to dance in it, but as it turned out the train hooked up at the back so it was perfect for dancing.

It took a couple of further fittings to adjust the length and the sleeves but then it was perfect. Anita and her team were so helpful and supportive.

Groomsmen

Steve was looking for a navy suit with orange window pane check but was really struggling to find the right one. He then went to Bateman Ogden, in Bradford, to look at their suit cloth and found a burnt orange with navy window pane check. This cloth was used to make a made to measure three-piece suit from Carl Stuart tailors in Ossett. He teamed it with an orange tie and the colours matched the autumnal flowers perfectly.

Mark, our groomsman, wore the suit he had made for his own wedding which was a mid grey colour. He also wore the same orange tie as Steve.

Bridesmaids

My two daughters, Alice and Carrie, were my bridesmaids, and Steve’s niece, Amie, was our flower girl. My oldest best friend Kim was my ‘best lady’. I didn’t choose their outfits, they picked their own. I just asked that they were grey or silvery. I wanted them to be able to wear their dresses again. Alice’s dress was from Topshop, Carrie’s from an online shop and Kim’s from a Vintage boutique. My flower girl Aimee wanted a more traditional dress which we got from Marks & Spencer.

Beauty

Chrys Chapman did my hair and makeup for the day, and my daughters’ hair. We had a trial day beforehand which was great.

Transport

We had a vintage double decker bus for the groom and guests and the bridal party travelled in an old converted VW camper van. The ladies had a great time talking all things VW and stopped for bubbly on the way.

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Photographer

Our photographer was Matt Sim. We first contacted Matt after seeing his work on Instagram and thought his use of light and richness of colour in the venues was very good, and made for some great pictures. He’s very good at capturing moments.

We’ve recommended Matt to Steve’s daughter, who is getting married in November 2019, and he will be covering their wedding now too!

Videographer

We didn’t have a videographer in the end and if I could do anything differently it would probably be hiring a videographer. I would have loved to have had the speeches recorded properly and they would’ve been able to capture some of the other moments that I may have missed.

Styling

Flowers were provided by Leafy Couture, who I’d found on Instagram. With the autumnal colour scheme we wanted oranges and deep reds with pops of bright green, and we decided to include dahlias and crocosmia as these are two of our favourite flowers at that time of year.

We asked for some fabulous wow factor bouquets and a couple of statement pieces for the venue. We wanted to keep the tables simply decorated as we were having sharing platters and lamb carved at the table. Sarah at Leafy Couture provided some beautiful flowers, arranged in jars and bottles, which worked a treat.

With the help of my daughters and Steve’s, as well as friends, we made lots of white paper pompoms to hang from the ceiling.

I also decorated jam jars with music sheet of songs we both loved, these were used as table decorations for the evening reception. Lighting was supplied by The Hepworth Wakefield.

Cake

We had two cakes; one a traditional fruit cake with white icing, which I baked and iced myself. I also made the paper and copper flower decorations for the top of the cake. I used old maps of Yorkshire and places we love to walk as well as pages from Birdsong, one of our favourite books.

Steve’s daughters then made a sponge cake and iced this in the autumnal colours and made bride and groom figurines in colours to match the bridal gown and groom’s suit.

Favours

I spent many months growing baby succulents and sedum plants. We bought small individual tin buckets to put these in. Each was then decorated with a hand-cut copper heart with an imprinted pattern and names stamped into them so that the little plants could act as place settings. These seemed to take forever, but with Steve’s help on the sawing/piercing we made it, and they did look fabulous. Many guests still have their little plant all these months later.

In addition, the groomsman was given a pair of silver cufflinks, which I made, and I bought an original screenprint by Yorkshire based artist Julia Ogden, for my best lady Kim.

Dining

As we were having a sit-down meal we felt that we would like guests to interact more so the starter was a sharing platter of meats and cheeses on the table, followed by a leg of lamb that was carved by one of the guests on each table. Pudding was a rhubarb millefeuille. This was my favourite course!

All food was sourced locally from Yorkshire and cooked by Chris Hale, the chef at The Hepworth Wakefield. The wines were a recommendation from the sommelier with the catering company.

Entertainment

We asked our friends’ son, Tom Shann, to play his guitar and sing some favourite tunes as guests arrived in the Gallery.

We also had a live band called Mad About Tomorrow for the reception. We chose them after listening to a selection of their work on YouTube. They play a good mix of music. We knew we wanted a live band as we both enjoy music and live music is as good as it gets.

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Special touches

We liaised with the manager of the bar ahead of the wedding to provide some signature cocktails on the day.

As well as all of the handmade decorations, we also made our own photo booth area and provided our guests with Polaroid cameras and a dressing up box for photos.

Thanks to

We would love to recommend our choice of venue to other couples. It was a lovely place to get married and perfect for us.

Best bit

Steve says his favourite part was the first time he saw me in my wedding dress.

I had many! From sharing the morning and the ride to the venue with my best ladies, to turning the corner and seeing Steve resplendent in his suit and with a big smile on his face. The food, the laughter, the speeches and some great dancing – especially the dance we’d been practising for months with George and Liz in Doncaster!

Honeymoon

We did a tour of California for our honeymoon. Starting with a mini break in San Francisco then onto Monterrey. We then took Highway 1 along the coast to Santa Barbara, and onto LA. We then went inland to Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.

Advice

My top tip for other Brides Up North would be, when you’re looking for your engagement and wedding rings rather than visit the high street, try to source a local designer/maker. For similar or lower price you will have a unique piece of jewellery made to your design. We both enjoyed this aspect of the planning and are very pleased with the results.

Also try to remember that it is your day so try not to worry about whether people will enjoy it or not. They will be pleased to have an invite and they will help you make it a day to remember.

Finally, don’t worry if things don’t go to plan, you’ll probably be the only one who notices! Everyone is there to have a good time and help you enjoy your day.

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