Real Weddings

Essence of Australia for a laid back summer wedding at The Devonshire Arms – Hannah & Matt

25th February 2020 | Sarah Symonds

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Beautiful bride, Hannah, and her groom, Matt, combined quintessential country house style and a touch of relaxed boho for their big day at the idyllic Devonshire Arms. Summer brides, this one’s for you!

We’ve got all the bright July florals and English-country-garden pretty that you’ve been dreaming of.

This is Yorkshire wedding perfection. Set within the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s Bolton Abbey Estate, The Devonshire Arms is nestled in acres of the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park, and they’re also one of our very lovely, top-notch sponsors!

For Hannah and Matt, a soggy dog walk lead to stumbling across their dream wedding venue. It just goes to show that you never really know when the magic is going to happen!

And this dream day wouldn’t be complete without Oscar the labrador then playing a big part as ring bearer too. Getting your pets involved can be the icing on the cake, especially when they’re looking as exceptionally handsome as Oscar does in his matching floral collar.

With photography by Avenue White Photography

Proposal

Hannah says: Matt had suspected I might be a little ‘picky’ when it came to the ring because I’m a huge lover of antiques. In the end, we went on a day out to Ilkley in Yorkshire for my birthday and, after a lovely Italian meal in the sun, we stumbled across a beautiful antique and bespoke jewellery shop and found THE ring.

Following this, and still feeling rather giddy, we decided to drop into our favourite pub, The Fountaine Inn in Linton, on the way home. We sat on the green, soaking up the rays and watching our dog, Oscar, play in the river. As Matt and I were chatting away, he ended up getting down on one knee right there and officially proposing! It was a perfect day for us. Very low key and fuss free!

Setting

Our wedding date was the 20th of July 2019. We just let the venue’s availability guide us as to when we got married as we weren’t sentimental about dates.

We first found The Devonshire Arms on a very cold November day back in 2016. We had been out dog-walking with friends for a few hours and were slightly dishevelled, cold and in need of a pit stop!

We walked in and fell in love; the beautiful reception area with the huge open roaring fire, the concierge team dressed smartly in tweed, fine art hung from the walls and an immaculate but very welcoming lady on reception. At this point we thought ‘there is no way they will let a soaking wet dog and four unkempt walkers in here’! We were so wrong; they welcomed us in with open arms, the dog was offered towels and water and we warmed up with a bottle of red wine.

We are lucky enough to be able to go quite regularly and we genuinely feel like we are going ‘home’. We love being there and the wonderful staff so there really wasn’t another option as to where we got married. It had to be there!

Theme

We didn’t have a specific theme or style we just knew we wanted a laid-back day which was full of fun and then more of a party once the ceremony was over. As we got married in summer we wanted lots of bright colours in our flowers but with a hint of ‘English country garden’.

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Dress

I went to Ava Rose Hamilton in Colne for my wedding dress. I had read hundreds of rave reviews and decided that it sounded perfect – hundreds of dresses and a huge variety of designers under one roof. It’s like walking into a girly paradise when you open the shop door!

I had dreams of a boho style dress but at Ava Rose you are encouraged to pick out a selection of dresses you are drawn to, which is quite difficult when you’re surrounded by such beautiful gowns! The dress I finally chose turned out to be the first one I’d tried on. This happened to be a very traditional, princessy Essence of Australia gown. This was so far from what I had envisaged but I just knew it was ‘the one’ when I tried it on. I even cried! My mum and I had the most perfect day and we will certainly remember it forever!

Groomsmen

Matt and the groomsmen wore the most stunning blue tweed suits which were by the Vintage Suit Company. They really added to the country feel of the wedding and really suited the venue. They all looked gorgeous, especially Mr King! Although I am terribly biased of course.

Bridesmaids

My two bridesmaids, Ella and Laura, wore the most spectacular navy sequined gowns by Sorella Vita. We loved them as we could have the same fabric but in different styles that complimented the girls differently. Ella is tall and blonde whereas Laura is petite with dark hair so it was important that the dresses suit them both. Lilly our flower girl wore a navy dress which we bought from the John Lewis bridal section. She looked totally adorable and matched the girls really well.

Beauty

Our hair was done by the lovely and very talented Terri Gregory of Yorkshire Wedding Hair and makeup by the equally lovely and talented Becca Phillip of Beauty With Becca.

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Photographer

As a (very) amateur landscape photographer it was important to me that the photographer we chose understood the importance of capturing not only us and the day, but also the beautiful surroundings and area that The Devonshire Arms sits in.

After some research we found Jonny of Avenue White Photography. Jonny is an exceptionally talented photographer, and his calm and welcoming personality really put us at ease both before and on the big day. This really shows in our photos as we just look happy, natural and comfortable, not posed or awkward!

We explained that we were keen to have some photos that would really show off the beautiful Yorkshire countryside nearby and Jonny went above and beyond to accommodate us. We absolutely love our wedding photos and will treasure them forever.

Styling

All our flowers were provided and designed by the exceptionally talented and equally lovely Margaret from the Gilded Lily, in Chorley. She made buttonholes, corsages, bouquets, table centres and even a huge arch to go at the end of the aisle.

I was extremely laid back about the flowers and just put my trust in Margaret, which was the very best thing to do. The flowers were truly spectacular and really added a wow factor in the room – especially the beautiful arch!

Our lovely dog, Oscar, was our ring bearer with a very special collar to hold the rings. Margaret matched our wedding flowers with some artificial ones to make it. He looked beautiful and was such a good boy!

We used a fantastic company called Viva La Booth, who provide a proper DSLR camera mounted inside a beautiful hand built, wooden casing. It was a roaring success, and everyone loved dressing up! There was a lovely gentleman on hand to help, and guests got their own picture to take away. The other one went in a guestbook, which was a hilarious read once the slightly tipsy scrawls had been deciphered!

Favours

We gave out little boxes of chocolates which had been handmade by the artisan chocolatier Rivington Chocolates, who are local to us in Lancashire and added a touch of our home county to our Yorkshire wedding!

Cake

We are huge fans of Betty’s so it only seemed right that Betty’s in Ilkley did our cake. We went for the fondant fancy tiered cake with a big fruit cake on the top. Our lovely florist topped the cake with matching flowers.

Dining

Our menu was very traditional and hearty, exceptionally presented and truly delicious. We were conscious that, as the wedding ceremony started at midday, it was going to be a long (and very merry!) day and we wanted our guests to have full and happy bellies.

Our canapes were game sausage rolls with prune ketchup, lamb koftas and king prawn skewers. The starter was ham hock terrine with pickled beetroot, apple and truffle. Main was slow cooked ox cheek in red wine and our pudding was a chocolate ganache with salted caramel and praline ice cream – because you simply must have chocolate on your wedding day!

In the evening, we went for the BBQ option which was absolutely fantastic. The sun was shining, the food was delicious and the view over the cricket pitch to the hills beyond was spectacular. A lot of our guests told us it was the best food they’d had at a wedding which is testament to the chefs!

Entertainment

Matt and I are renowned for planning parties and partying. Our motto is ‘We’re here for a good time not a long time’! It was therefore important to us that our day was a real celebration and that our guests enjoyed it just as much as us.

We were really lucky to come across John Norcott on our quest to find someone who would help us turn our wedding into a party. John is a real entertainer and knows how to work a crowd! He sang all through our wedding breakfast and really put his own spin on it! One of our favourite quotes from the day was from Hannah, the event manager, who said ’We’ve never had a wedding that has done a conger in between the starters and the mains before!’

John also sang and DJ’d for us in the evening and by this point he felt like one of the guests. I don’t think there was ever a moment where the dancefloor emptied!

When we go back to The Devonshire for lunch or a break, the staff comment on how much they loved our wedding and how lovely, lively and happy everyone was!

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Thanks to

The Devonshire Arms, without hesitation! Matt and I are busy business owners and decided in a stroke of madness to move to a new house and get married in the same year, so I couldn’t have been one of those super organised brides. The team at The Devonshire, especially Jess, who was our main coordinator, understood this and left me to it when I needed it and pushed me in the right direction when I needed that too!

Every single part of the day had been organised to perfection and every little detail had been thought of. With every phone call, email and meeting we had, I just knew we were in safe hands. The team on the day, led by Hannah, were all absolutely amazing! All our guests commented on how wonderful and welcoming the staff were throughout the hotel.

From the moment we first walked into The Devonshire Arms years ago, covered in mud, to the day we walked down the aisle and now our annual Christmas breaks, every visit is special. We think of it as our second home and the wonderful staff there are fast becoming our second family!

Best bit

The highlight has to be the moment we saw each other as I walked down the aisle, when all the nerves and anticipation just faded! I clutched onto my wonderful dad for dear life, knees trembling under my dress. Dad said he had never seen me so nervous! When we got to the registrar she asked him to give me away, he passed my hand to Matt’s. That was my favourite moment and the start of forever!

Honeymoon

We are yet to go on honeymoon, as our flights were unfortunately booked with Thomas Cook, so we go to Mexico this May!

We were lucky enough to book the beautiful Bluebell Cottage in Grassington for the week after the wedding for a mini-moon. The day after the wedding family and friends met with us on the green outside The Fountaine Inn, where we got engaged, to enjoy prosecco and Betty’s fondant fancies. We then went on to the cottage after and were settled in by some of our close friends, who stayed with us for some drinks. We then spent the week eating fine Yorkshire fare and enjoying many a tipple. We were lucky enough to experience a heatwave and even swam in the River Wharfe that week!

Advice

My top tip for another bride would be to relax, enjoy the planning process and don’t sweat the small stuff! Wherever you decide to get married, go to their wedding fair and use their suggested suppliers. It’s far easier and takes away the stress!

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