Planning their Middleton Lodge wedding was an international affair for Hannah and Michael.
With the pair residing in Australia but keen to plan their dream wedding back home in England, they were reliant on help from family and a team of brilliant suppliers to help them organise their dream ‘I do’ moment.
And what a dream it was! A history-rich church set the scene for the ceremony whilst the couple’s venue – the Fig House at the five-star Middleton Lodge, which offered a private venue space and a beautiful two-acre walled garden – provided all they needed for their perfect reception.
Factor in a sophisticated colour palette, a menu to drool for and a mix of gorgeous personal details and you’ll get just a hint of exactly how beautiful their day was.
Keep reading to get all the details of Hannah and Michael’s celebration – and to find out how, exactly, they managed to plan their W-day from the other side of the world!
With images by Charlotte White Photography
Hannah says: We got engaged in Dubai in December 2017 during our stopover on the trip home to the UK for Christmas. Michael carried the ring all round Dubai waiting for the right time to propose – he had it at the waterparks and even on our 4×4 tour of the sand dunes!
However, he felt the time was right when it was just the two of us in our hotel room. He chose a stunning diamond ring… needless to say, it was an amazing start to the trip.
We got married on May 19 2019. We wanted a spring wedding in the hope we might get nice weather. It was also out of season for flight prices so our Australian friends and family had a chance to come over.
On the day of our wedding, we got a reminder on Facebook that we put the ‘sold’ sticker on our house in Australia on a previous 19th May. We hadn’t even realised!
Our ceremony was held at Easby Abbey in Richmond – a beautiful old abbey, with beautiful grounds and a small church on-site. This was a suggestion from our vicar who is a family friend and had previously worked in the local area. It was a stunning location: it has so much history and everyone we dealt with at the church was so lovely and keen to ensure everything ran smoothly.
Our ceremony at Easby Abbey was a blessing rather than an official marriage ceremony. Legally, we weren’t allowed to get married in the UK because of the bands of marriage but we didn’t want to make this a big deal on the day.
The reception was at The Fig House, Middleton Lodge. Michael loves his garden so he requested a English garden feel for our wedding. I found Middleton Lodge through Brides Up North and knew it would be perfect.
We never actually saw any venues – I sent my parents to check out Middleton Lodge and they were blown away when they first visited. The Fig House wasn’t finished when I initially booked but I had faith it was going to be beautiful!
The week before the wedding, we went to meet our wedding coordinator, Rhiannon, and instantly fell in love with the venue. We could not have picked better and knew it would be perfect.
Middleton Lodge played a big part in making our day unforgettable: everything about the estate is absolutely stunning and at such a high standard. The staff go above-and-beyond to ensure your day runs as planned. Rhiannon was brilliant to deal with, very efficient and always one step ahead, and the venue was everything I expected and more. The gardens and the accommodation are so well designed, with a real sense of luxury. I don’t have a bad word to say about the venue and would highly recommend it – in face, we can’t wait to go back on our next visit to the UK.
We really wanted to combine nods to both Australia and England, in a luxe, sophisticated way. We had the beautiful English country garden setting at the Fig House and combined that with our favourite Australian sparkling wine, Bird in Hand, and eucalyptus table garlands.
We had a simple colour palette of navy and white, with a hint of soft blush. The flowers were white and blush, with lots of greenery. I loved the simplicity of navy and white as a base; I think it’s a sophisticated palette and really makes the eucalyptus pop when paired with metallics.
I choose a lace overlay wedding dress from Ellis Bridals. It was ivory and had a lace bodice, fluted tulle and a stunning low back.
It was from a small boutique in my hometown, Poynton, called Timeless Bride. It was the first shop I went in and the last of a few dresses I tried on. As soon as I tried it on, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face – when you know, you know! It was a flattering shape, comfortable to wear and lightweight, with beautiful details.
I had two bridesmaids and they both wore navy dresses from ASOS. Our flower girl wore a lace dress from Next and a flower crown; our page boy wore chinos and a white shirt, as well as a tiny bowtie with beagles on it!
Jen from Wildflower Hair Company did our hair and make-up. We’ve known her for a long time; she’s originally from Poynton and she has been my sister’s hairdresser for many years (and my dad’s, too!).
Jen was amazing: we had our one and only trial the week before the wedding, the day after I flew in from Australia. We had discussed a loose updo style and she totally nailed it. I let my bridesmaids choose the style they would feel comfortable in and they both chose a half-up-half-down style with soft waves.
As we were a small wedding party, Jen was also able to do our makeup on the day. I wanted a natural look that would translate from day to night, with soft smokey eyes.
Jen is great: she listens to what you want, offers suggestions and makes you feel really comfortable with how you feel. On the morning of the wedding she was brilliant to have around – a great personality, always very professional and happy to help with all the finer details as we got ready.
I surprised Michael with an Aston Martin on the morning of the wedding. (No – I didn’t buy him one!) Our family friend Simeon organised the car and surprised Michael as he was about to leave for the church.
The night before, the girls stayed in a beautiful B&B overlooking Easby Abbey, so my bridal party and dad walked down to the church and Simeon collected me in the Aston Martin.
We organised a Routemaster vintage red bus to transfer our guests to and from Middleton Lodge from Wensleydale Omnibus.
Our photographer was Charlotte White Photography. Charlotte was able to offer a photography and video package which suited us perfectly. From first contact, she had great enthusiasm; we loved her style and she also had experience shooting at Middleton Lodge, which I felt was really important having not seen the venue myself.
We only arrived from Australia a week before the wedding so we chatted via email and FaceTime beforehand and then met Charlotte for an engagement shoot when we landed. She instantly made us feel comfortable in front of the camera, with some silly games and her bundles of energy.
Michael was keen to have a video after seeing a friend’s wedding video but we didn’t want a long feature film. What Charlotte offered was perfect. She captured the day perfectly: all the details, the laughter, our guests and all the bits we missed!
We had beautiful flowers from Kirsty from The Wilde. I found her through Instagram and she was also a recommended supplier of Middleton Lodge.
Kirsty was fabulous: she just got my vision, producing a moodboard with some beautiful inspo. She’s lovely and was very accommodating and went above and beyond to deliver the perfect flowers for our day. Our bouquets were a combination of white and blush flowers with lots of greenery, tied with gorgeous handmade silk ribbon.
I really wanted eucalyptus so as to bring the Australian element to the day. Kirsty sourced a variety of different types and made beautiful garland centrepieces for the tables. The room smelt divine! We also had rose gold lanterns around the room for added decoration and candles for a touch of romance.
Kirsty and the lovely team at Middleton Lodge kindly set up the reception room. Nothing was too hard and it was amazing to know everything was in good hands.
I’m a graphic designer so I designed all the stationery, including our invitations, order of service, favours, seating chart, place settings and so on.
We used lights from Coco Luminaire and garden games from Add Vintage. I absolutely loved the lights, they are so visually striking and look great as a dancefloor backdrop.
We had sparklers on each individual table setting, which made for a cute photo opportunity after dinner.
We had a very simple two tiered semi-naked wedding cake from Sweet Charlotte Cakes. It was a delicious lemon sponge, with eucalyptus decorations provided by Kirsty.
The menu at Middleton Lodge is incredible – it’s so fresh and there’s so much choice! Planning from Australia, we didn’t try anything before the day but we put our trust in the venue and they certainly delivered.
We had so many comments from our guests about the food! We started with canapes on the terrace: namely, crispy pork rillettes, tiger prawns and mushroom arancini. Then, we had a buffet menu with honey-glazed ham, Yorkshire beef and seafood, as well as four delicious salads.
This was followed by sticky toffee pudding for dessert. To top it off, bacon and sausage sandwiches were handed round in the evening. We shipped in our favourite Australian sparkling wine, Bird in Hand, which was a great touch, and stocked up the bar with lots of gin – and lots of rum. (My request!)
Our entertainment was a good friend who I lived with at university, Michael. He has been on the radio for as long as I’ve known him so I knew he had to be our DJ. His infectious personality, enthusiasm and an endless supply of cheesy playlists was the perfect addition to the day.
Our first dance was Hayley Reinhart’s Can’t Help Falling in Love and our second song, which got everyone on the dance floor, was my all time favourite, Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
In Australia, a lot of weddings will have someone stand up and introduce the bridal party with a funny quote and some music that reflects their personality. We decided to do this and our guests thought it was a great way to welcome the bridal party in a fun way.
The best man and another friend sent video-recorded speeches from Australia. We knew when we booked an international wedding it would be impossible for some of our loved ones to attend so it was a really nice touch they could send a message.
It’s hard to pin down a specific moment. I think having all your friends and family in one place is just really magical. So many people made such a huge effort to come from all over the world – it was so special to think they were all there for us. And the venue. I can’t stop raving about the venue!
We went to Croatia and Italy. It was an amazing trip. The food was incredible: lots of pizza, pasta and Prosecco. The water wasn’t quite as warm as we are used to in Australia but the scenery was amazing. We went to Split and Hvar in Croatia, then we flew to Venice, travelled down to Lucca and Tuscany before heading to our final stop, the Amalfi Coast.
There were so many highlights but one that stands out was when we hired an old vintage soft-top car to drive around the Tuscany countryside. Definitely a bucket list item for Michael!
My top tip for other brides is to use local suppliers. I asked the venue for their recommendations and used Instagram hashtags to locate suppliers who worked in the area and had worked with Middleton Lodge before. I loved being able to support local companies and use their knowledge and experience to guide my decisions.