Real Weddings

Hayley Paige for a spring wedding at Rudding Park – Hannah & Stuart

27th November 2019 | Sarah Symonds

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Today’s happy couple chose the magic of beautiful Harrogate for their big day. Pairing a pretty and delicate neutral colour scheme against the backdrop of pale blue skies, and a pale blue ombre wedding cake to match!

Featuring the perfect combination of heady luxury courtesy of Rudding Park, a pale Spring palette and styling including eucalyptus, roses and hydrangeas. ‘Simple and classy with no glitter’ was the order of the day. With it being Easter, you’ll spot A LOT of Mini Eggs here and there, and, in fact, chocolate eggs galore during the Easter Egg Hunt! The fun doesn’t stop with the hunt though, and sometimes the best things are the unplanned twists, as you’ll see in the snaps of high jinks on a hijacked golf buggy!

We all know that planning a wedding can be a big task, especially if you’re not totally sure on your overall vision for the big day. Hannah tells us that, in her opinion, hiring the right people and trusting in their creativity and expertise means that you can take a bit of back seat and be pleasantly surprised on the big day. If you don’t mind relinquishing some of the control over the finer details that is! If that’s not enough inspo for you, we’ve also got a 180 on the idea of a Church ceremony and deets on the dream dress shopping with, in Hannah’s own words, getting ‘the feels’ for the right dress. Truly all the juicy details!

With photography by Jenny Maden

Proposal

Hannah says: Stuart booked a weekend away at Oakdown Treehouse in Wiltshire as a surprise for my 29th birthday. What I didn’t realise is that we actually went on the anniversary of the weekend that we met (bonfire night). My birthday is in October but being a teacher can make things like that difficult to fit around work, so I thought nothing of it. We drove down on Friday night and arrived in darkness, then awoke to the most amazing views across the countryside, had our homemade breakfast hamper delivered by the wonderful owner, Kate, and toddled off for a lovely day in Bath. Unbeknown to me, Stuart walked around all day with the ring in his pocket, but he didn’t propose until we returned to our treehouse that night. He called me out to the balcony as there was an amazing full moon and the fireworks in a neighbouring village had started, so we were stood watching them. The next thing I know, he’s down on one knee! To say I was surprised would be an understatement!

Setting

We tied the knot on the 20th of April 2019. I’d really wanted an Autumn wedding but dates get booked up so quick!

We were married at Rudding Park in Harrogate. We’d originally thought about a barn wedding, with the whole rustic romantic vibe. It was my dad that mentioned Rudding to us. It took me completely by surprise, both the fact that my Dad had suggested it and the venue itself! My Dad’s a pretty cool customer but, once the wedding planning fever took hold, he was at the helm, with his spreadsheet and planning journal!

I’d never in a million years imagined I’d be able to have a wedding like those pictured at Rudding Park, so for it to become a reality was such a dream! We also originally said we didn’t want a particularly religious element to our wedding as, despite me being an R.E. teacher, neither of us are religious. However, upon meeting the gorgeous Jenny, our photographer, and her showing us pictures of the chapel, we were bowled over. Not to mention when we met David, the reverend, who is one of the most patient and funniest men I’ve met (husband aside, of course!). We then felt that it wouldn’t be a wedding without! I think once we started to discuss vows and what the deeper meaning of marriage really means it was a completely necessary part of our day. We wanted everything in one place so we were actually legally married at our local council the day before and had a blessing on the day in the chapel at Rudding Park. It was perfect.

We actually stayed at Rudding for my parents anniversary just after we got engaged and, knowing we were getting married there, they left a copy of UNVEILED magazine in our room! There was some such beautiful inspo in there and I kept the specific copy for my memory box.

Theme

We didn’t have a theme as such. People seem to think that brides are so sure on their vision when they are planning a wedding. I’d thought about it, yes, but the venue was such a curveball I honestly had no idea. We just wanted simple and classy and I feel that’s exactly what we got… with some added humour!

Colour-wise, we went for neutrals and pale blue as they reflect us and the image we wanted to create for the day. With it being Easter weekend, it was also fitting with the time of year.

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Dress

My dress story I think pretty much sums up our whole wedding planning experience! Everyone told me how undemanding I was throughout the whole process, which I’ll take as a compliment! We purchased my dress from the gorgeous Emily and Chloe at Chloe Jane Bridal in Howden. I honestly cannot thank these ladies enough. With me obviously having no experience at all in the wedding planning scene, they just took me under their wing and found me the perfect dress based on their expertise. Again, I knew I wanted something relatively simple – I’m not a glitzy, sequin type of person. I’d seen a Hayley Paige gown in the window previously but when I tried it, it just wasn’t for me. When Emily suggested the dress I ended up with, I disregarded it at first – I was adamant I did not want a strapless dress! However I tried it on and got the feels! Then, when I stepped out of the fitting room, my mum burst into tears so I knew it was ‘the one’. It was the Londyn gown.

Groomsmen

Stuart wore a three piece suit from Marc Darcy. It was his one and only job – find a suit, try it and buy it. I’d say he did a pretty good job. The groomsmen had the same suit as Stuart.

Bridesmaids

This was by far the hardest decision of all! I was so mindful that I didn’t want my bridesmaids to spend the day in something they’d hate or feel uncomfortable in. We spent months and months trawling the internet and buying dresses, only for them to arrive and be the wrong colour, shape, fit etc. I think I finally got my dresses about a month before the wedding. from Chi Chi. They were the perfect colour and a beautiful fit on all my girls.

Beauty

Makeup was done by the hilarious and beautiful Bridal by Lucy. She had done the makeup for my friend’s wedding and she looked amazing, so I knew I was in good hands. I was quite adamant that I wanted trusted people to be involved in my wedding so she was a must, plus when we met we did nothing but howl laughing all the way through my trial so I knew she was perfect. Our hair was done by the lovely ladies at Joanne Mahoney in Howden. They all travelled to Rudding and got us ready in the Bridal Suite.

Travel

We booked the Bridal Suite for the weekend so we wouldn’t need to think about transport. Another thing I was adamant about was that I wanted my day to be chilled, I’m quite a highly strung person with my job, so I really wanted to just enjoy our day with all our loved ones around us without stressing about timings, traffic etc.

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Photographer

We had Jenny Maden as our photographer. Would we recommend her? Absolutely HELL YEAH! I found Jenny through Instagram. I loved the sound of her and the style of her pictures so I popped across to her website. After reading her About Me section I knew she was the woman for us! We arranged to meet on Christmas Eve! Which shows what a true legend she is! And the rest is history.

Having Jenny around was just like having another of my girls with me, she’s hilarious, obviously knows what she’s doing, and just went with our laid back attitude. I didn’t want lots of posey photos on the day as I just wanted to enjoy our wedding and that’s exactly what we did, I think she captured our vibe perfectly. She was also prepared to risk her life when the bridesmaids came to hijack the golf buggy she’d commandeered to take us to the lake for some romantic pics! We got them in the end, after much hilarity!

Videographer

I have no regrets about our wedding but if I was to change one thing this would be it. We didn’t have a videographer. We’re not posey and the thought of watching us in a video made me cringe but now I do kind of wish we’d had one.

Styling

Again, I was so bowled over with the whole planning process that I was clueless and I was more than happy for suppliers to make suggestions. We had Amy from Ambience Wedding Styling doing the styling for our day and she recommended Katherine at Fleur Adamo. One of my bridesmaids had shown me a gorgeous bouquet that her friend had at her wedding which was just me completely. Lots of soft muted tones of white pink and blue and lots of greenery, mainly eucalyptus, a few soft toned roses and hydrangeas in the middle.

I’d like to add that Amy styled our day with very little input from us – I think “simple and classy with no glitter” were my instructions! She seemed to have a talent for just ‘knowing’ what we meant, which was fabulous. We had white roses and eucalyptus on the tables and, as I wanted a really romantic vibe, we had a lot of candles and fairy lights! I was really conscious about my own bouquet and worried about it just being cast aside, so Amy suggested the idea of creating space for it, along with my bridesmaid flowers, at our top table. This was a fab idea as my bouquet was gorgeous and got to feature throughout the day.

All our suppliers with regard to decoration, flowers and lighting were done through Amy and Ambience who I cannot recommend enough. She was so flexible, reliable, good humoured (which was so important to us as Stuart is the eternal joker!) and made some fantastic suggestions.

Favours

I really wanted to acknowledge the time of year as we were married on Easter Saturday, so we had personalised jars of mini eggs which doubled as place name settings. LOTS of mini eggs were eaten in the process! Gemma Richards from GLMCreative created our tags, we covered the jars with some blue gingham material tied with string. Gemma created the name tags which fitted perfectly with our theme as she’d done the rest of our stationary.

Cake

Where The Ribbon Ends created our gorgeous cake. Again, we felt it was one of those things that often features in a photo and is then just cast aside, so we really wanted our cake to be meaningful rather than just look like a centrepiece. Stuart had been rather reserved about most of the wedding planning so I let him loose on the cake. We had blue ombre icing to keep in with the colour theme, and mini egg decorations to tie in the favours. It wasn’t the most creative thing they’ve ever done (usually their icing work is something to be marvelled!) but it was absolutely perfect for us. We kept it simple with lemon and poppy seed sponge on one layer, raspberry on another and chocolate on the third.

Dining

It was important to us to create a day where everyone could relax and enjoy themselves, so I wanted to let our guests have a choice – no point in them being forced to eat something they don’t like! Rudding Park’s menu was beautiful and we had the most fantastic experience taste-testing it! We had the option of three different starters, mains and desserts so our guests could choose in advance. We had so many compliments about the food.

Entertainment

Entertainment was something we gave a lot of thought to. We thought about all the weddings we’d been to and enjoyed (and those we’d not enjoyed!). We went through all the ideas – clay pigeon shooting to football! In the end we decided bigger wasn’t better. Who were we going to be doing those things for? It certainly wasn’t us and afterall, it was our day. On reflection we realised the weddings we had enjoyed the most were those where we could relax, sit back and enjoy some drinks with our friends. We (or at least I!) went to just about every wedding fair that Rudding did. We used one of their recommended suppliers for our music (High Row Entertainment) as we knew they’d be reliable. We also opted for a modern take on a string quartet for the drinks reception, the wonderful Strung Together, and a band for the evening – Cassette Player. Both bands were absolutely superb, professional and yet again, with very little input from us, managed to create the perfect ambience for our day. They were easy-going which transferred through the music they played and nothing was too much trouble.

The other thing we did was an Easter egg hunt during the drinks reception. It was relatively low key; we didn’t want our guests running all over the park! It was subtle with a little sign on the bar, it generated a nice bit of excitement for our guests and was something a little more original!

We also had Booth Revolution do our photobooth. Originally we didn’t want one, we thought they were a bit ‘over done’ however how glad we were that we did! We didn’t have the traditional ‘booth’ but a screen and old school retro look camera. They were positioned between the function room and the bar so couldn’t miss them. We found the positioning of things really important! I think with people not being shut behind a curtain, it made people want to get involved. There was a queue for the booth all night and we had that many photos, we had to have two books, which we look at on a regular basis. The photo quality was fantastic and documents perfectly just how much we and our guests enjoyed the day.

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Thanks to

We loved our venue and would absolutely recommend it, over and over again. Their planning process and overall approach was flawless. There was actually a wedding the day before and after ours, yet they made us feel as if we were the only wedding they were having all year.

Amy was my right hand woman on the day and was simply fantastic, she just slotted in, told me where to stand and what to do, we decided we were enjoying our drinks reception so much she held off the wedding breakfast for us. The events team running the bar were amazing. There was nothing we had to ask for all day, they just seemed to know, some of them even got involved and had a dance with us! They even found ‘golf buggy gate’ hilarious (you’ll have to check the pictures for that one!)

Best bit

It has to be ‘golf buggy gate’! Poor Jenny, our photographer, had asked for a golf buggy to take us down to the lake as the sun was starting to set (we were blessed with the most amazing weather) however, when the buggy arrived my bride tribe piled on, with Jen wedged in the front and off we went. Completely unplanned, which made it the most hilarious event of the whole day and it produced the best pictures. If I could recommend anything to anyone it would be to just go with the flow, guests won’t know what is and isn’t intended and it just made it all the better for us!

Honeymoon

Stuart was tasked with this one and boy, did he do good! We spent the week immediately after the wedding in our favourite part of the country – the Scottish borders – holed up in a lovely little converted Bothy (from our favourite holiday cottage company Crabtree & Crabtree) with our two cocker spaniels. Lots of walks, cosy pubs and good food. We then spent a week in luxury in Rhodes, at the Amathus Elite Suites, and finished up with a stay at the Shangri La at the Shard in London.

Advice

Enjoy it! That would be my advice to another bride. Everyone said it but it was such important advice. You’re not getting married for anyone else but yourselves, so do what you want to do. If you want to sit on the top table on your own then do it! If you don’t want a first dance, don’t have one. We did everything for us, how and when we wanted. Yes, we had timings for our day but we didn’t want to be ordered around and we weren’t. It was simply fabulous and if I could do it all again I wouldn’t change a thing.

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