Real Weddings

Randy Fenoli For A Sunny October Wedding at Wharfedale Grange – Katie & Joe

17th February 2020 | Katie Byrne

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Shades of pink, lashings of foliage and a nod to their shared Jewish heritage made Katie and Joe’s wedding truly spectacular.

October is a funny month, isn’t it? Straddling the cusp between the tail-end of summer and the very start of autumn, the chances of it being warm and balmy are as high as the odds of it being wet and chilly. For today’s bride, Katie, the thought of saying ‘I do’ in October appealed simply because it wouldn’t come with the weather-related pressures of a summer wedding (rain or no rain? Blue skies or clouds?). The gamble paid off and she, husband Joe and their assembled guests were actually able to enjoy the sunshine at their late-October wedding.

Tying the knot at the wow-worthy Wharfedale Grange, this couple were guided not so much by a theme or colour scheme as they were by what felt right. That relaxed approach paid off, and Katie and Joe’s wedding was filled with pops of pale pink, flourishes of greenery and the odd sprinkling of sparkle – for the latter, we’re primarily talking about those gold-sprayed brownies, of which more later.

With photography by Chris Milner.

Proposal

Katie says: We got engaged in September 2017 in Dinard, France – Joe surprised me with a trip for the night and only told me we were going on the morning we were leaving!

He had booked a room overlooking the sea in a beautiful chateaux and proposed in front of the view. I said ‘yes’ immediately!

Setting

We got married on October 20th 2018. I didn’t want to risk being disappointed with the weather so decided not to go for a summer date! The day itself turned out to be beautiful and we had drinks and canapés outside with everyone wearing sunglasses. The date also happens to be my best friend and Maid of Honour’s birthday, which was lovely. She jokes that I threw her a really over-the-top birthday party!

Our venue was Wharfedale Grange in Harewood, Yorkshire. We only looked at the one venue – and it was a building site when we first visited as it didn’t open until May 2018! We believed in the vision that the owner, Claire, had for the site and it just felt well-suited to us. We wanted something a bit different and quirky and the exposed wood, glass and metal aesthetic fitted with our personal style.

We had both the ceremony and the reception at Wharfedale Grange and I’d definitely recommend it. The attention to detail is incredible and the team ensure you have the smoothest running and most relaxed wedding day possible. It’s also absolutely beautiful!

We had a civil ceremony and also a Jewish ceremony later in the evening. This was very important to us – despite not being religious, we are very proud of our heritage.

Theme

The venue itself already had a theme that fitted with us and our style so we worked with that. I didn’t want too much formality – no penguin suits for us! I wanted really natural and less ‘put together’ flowers and decorations.

With seven bridesmaids, it was important to find a colour for their dresses that worked well for everyone. I found the groomsmen’s suits online and loved the colour of them and luckily it all went together nicely, mixed with creams and lots of green in the flowers we had. It just sort of happened and worked rather than being planned out!

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Dress

The only thing I knew I didn’t want in a wedding dress was for it to be sleeveless or flowery… and I ended up with a dress that was both! I went to a place called Serenity Brides down in Colchester, Essex, where my family lives. The dress is by Randy Fenoli (from Say Yes to the Dress USA). My sister picked it and I tried it on to humour her because it was way over budget and I didn’t think I liked it.

When I tried it on, however, I realised it was the one! I felt amazing in it and I just couldn’t imagine wearing anything else. I went to another shop after but all I could think about was that dress, so I knew it was the one for me.

Groomswear

For Joe and the groomsmen, I found some vintage suits online from a shop in Bedford called The Vintage Suit Hire Company. They were a beautiful blue colour and were in wool and tweed. I wanted something a bit more unique for the men, something beyond your standard wedding suit. The boys looked amazing in them and got so many compliments on the day.

Their shirts were from Charles Tyrwitt and had their initials monogrammed on them, which they all loved.

Bridesmaids

I bought the bridesmaids’ dresses online from a company called For Her and For Him. They were all custom-made and we had a mix of three different designs.

Beauty

Our hair was done by Rachel Miller, who was absolutely fab! My make-up was done by my sister – she isn’t a professional but is amazing at make-up and has even made-up models at the Birmingham Clothes Show. It was great having her do it because I could be completely honest if I didn’t like something and do loads of trials beforehand for free!

Transport

We got ready at the venue and spent the whole day there so there was no need for a wedding car. I actually drove myself and some of the bridesmaids in the morning!

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Photography

Our photographer was Chris Milner. I found him through an online search and was immediately blown away by how he managed to capture so much emotion in his photos. We didn’t just want all your boring ‘put together’ shots and he totally delivered on that. I would 100% recommend him.

Styling

I had a small bouquet with a mix of different flowers – I wanted it to look quite wild and natural. It featured the most beautiful dusky pink quicksand roses. I’ve told Joe I expect a bouquet of those roses every year on our anniversary now!

Leafy Couture provided our flowers for us on the day. I showed them some pictures of the general look and colours – lots of pinks, greens and creams and nothing too “put together” or perfect. I left it to them from there and they were absolutely beautiful.

Favours

We weren’t going to do any favours but then I saw an advert on Facebook for packets of sunflower seeds from the charity Mind, which is an important charity to me. It seemed like a perfect way to support the charity and also give guests something to take away.

Our seeds have grown into beautiful sunflowers in our garden and some of our friends have them as well, which is lovely.

Cake

We have a bakery near us – The Sunshine Bakery in Chapel Allerton – that makes the best brownies you have ever tasted, so we decided to have them at our wedding in the form of a brownie tower. Becky, who runs the bakery, sprayed them gold for us and decorated them with some of our extra flowers.

Catering

Joe and I are really into our food so we picked Nomad Catering, which is pretty modern and innovative. Our canapés included prawns with wasabi mayo, mini smoked salmon bagels and pumpkin falafel.

For the wedding breakfast, we had a Mediterranean sharing platter, which included flatbread and lots of dips and olives, followed by the most amazing ‘build your own’ beef burgers (and aubergine tagine for the veggies and vegans).

We used our brownie tower as dessert with Northern Bloc ice cream.

My parents have a flat in Spain so have tasted a lot of Cava and they chose one local to their place for us which we imported for the wedding. We also incorporated my favourite drink into the day – Goldwasser, a liquor from Gdansk, Northern Poland, that my great-great grandfather used to make in his distillery. My mum made a toast with the drink, in honour of our family roots.

Entertainment

My sister has been to a lot of weddings and recommended a fab Motown band who came all the way from Essex for the wedding called Jupiter Ray. They’ve since won a few awards for what they do. The lead singer also sang me down the aisle – he has the most incredible voice!

The band kept everyone dancing all night and we got so many compliments on how great they were.

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Special touches

It was important to us that our wedding was unique and incorporated what was special to us. For example, our Cavapoo, Moses, is a very important part of our life and so we wanted him to be a part of it. He walked my Maid of Honour down the aisle which was absolutely adorable!

One of my bridesmaids is an amazing singer and we asked her to sing How Long Will I love You by Ellie Goulding. Joe’s brother accompanied her on the piano – it was a really special moment. It was also important to us that our vows were real and personal. I mentioned Joe’s ‘hanger’ (the anger he gets when he is hungry), and he mentioned my love for naps.

We are both Jewish and although we didn’t opt for a traditional Jewish wedding, we had an additional evening ceremony to honour and celebrate our heritage. Lots of our guests commented that this was their favourite part of the wedding as they hadn’t experienced a Jewish ceremony before.

Best bit

The look on Joe’s face as I walked down the aisle will always stick with me. He looked so emotional, which is very rare so I will treasure it! The memory of my mum being lifted on a chair by some of our male friends during the Israeli dancing is also one of my favourite moments. Luckily, there’s great photo evidence!

Honeymoon

We had a mini-moon in Morocco straight after the wedding, which was absolutely lovely and gave us a chance to unwind and relax – you don’t realise how stressful the build-up is until you’re out the other side!

However, we always wanted to do a longer, more adventurous honeymoon so we’ve actually just come back from over three of months traveling around Asia, Australia and New Zealand. It was a truly amazing experience to share together.

Advice

Just enjoy it – take time to actually take in what is happening and appreciate the moment. You may never have everyone you love in a room together again! And if things don’t go perfectly, just go with it. It’s all part of the fun and the uniqueness of your day.

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