Sunshine and showers were the order of the day for Sophie and Nathan’s August wedding – firmly proving that no matter what time of year you book your ‘I do’ moment for, there truly is no predicting the weather.
And as they found, bad weather isn’t necessarily a problem; rather, those ominous grey rainclouds actually offered a stunning backdrop for some of the couple’s portraits.
Boasting fun twists (think garden games, pinatas and Colin and Connie the Caterpillar wedding cakes) this was a wedding that was brimming over with thoughtful details. The bride’s mum, for example, handmade memory-inspired bunting that Sophie saw for the very first time as she walked down the aisle. Similarly, the table plan comprised photos of the guests to act as ice-breakers and encourage their loved ones to get chatting to each other.
All of this took place within the breathtaking East Riddlesden Hall, a 17th century property in Keighley. Having heard glowing reviews of the venue, the couple arranged a visit and were so smitten that they booked it for their big day within an hour of arriving. How’s that for love at first sight?
Keep reading to see all the photos from their picture-perfect day, including Sophie’s Pronovias gown, the exquisite venue styling and, of course, those thunderous clouds…
With photography by Hayley Baxter
Sophie says: We got engaged in Endcliffe Park in Sheffield in April 2017. We first met at university in Sheffield and spent many lazy summer afternoons at Endcliffe, so it’s a special place that holds many memories for us.
Looking back, there were a few clues that Nathan was about to propose – it was our six-year anniversary that day but I think I’d stopped myself from getting my hopes up and I didn’t let myself think it might happen!
As we were walking through the woods, Nathan said, “I asked your Dad a question the other day…” My heart stopped for a moment and I wondered if he may be about to propose but I then thought, “What if it’s a DIY question or something!?” So I turned away and tried my very best to act casual. When I turned round, Nathan was down on one knee and within seconds, we were both very emotional and elated!
We got married on August 9th 2019. I’m a primary school teacher and so was keen to get married in the summer holidays. We decided to get married on a Friday as our venue was closed to the public on that day – also, everybody loves a Friday off work and a long weekend!
We got married at East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley. My sister’s friend had got married there a few years before and I remembered hearing about the romantic setting and the beautiful barn, so I was keen to view it when we started researching venues. We attended a wedding fayre there and booked our date within an hour of arriving. It was the only venue we viewed and we fell in love with it straight away!
We had over two years from booking the venue to the wedding so gradually booked different elements of the day. Once we had booked the venue, we then made a ‘wish list’ of what we wanted, which included a band during the day, photographer, videographer, garden games and, of course, good food.
We would absolutely recommend our venue to other couples. The grounds are beautiful and there’s more to them than you think when you explore them. The barn is gorgeous, surprisingly spacious and really quite breathtaking once decorated. The staff cannot do enough for you from the moment you book your wedding – we were able to meet them a few times before the wedding and I’m sure they would have been happy to meet us more should we have needed it. They gave us lots of advice and recommended many suppliers for every aspect of our day.
From the moment we started discussing our wedding, our main aim was for it to feel relaxed with lots of personal touches. East Riddlesden has a very rustic feel so it lent itself nicely to the celebration we wanted.
With the majority of things to do with the wedding, I was pretty decisive but the colour scheme changed quite a lot! I was quite keen to avoid having a main colour as I didn’t want things to look too ‘matchy’ – it didn’t fit with the relaxed mood we wanted. In the end, we went for lots of neutrals but brought pops of colour through the bridesmaid dresses and the VW van. It all came together in the end!
My first port of call for a dress was Dotty Bridal in Holmfirth; I have been there with friends before and knew it was full of beautiful dresses. It also has the most welcoming and down to earth staff you could imagine! I trusted them completely and they made the whole process really enjoyable.
Before going shopping for my dress, I had imagined I would go for a boho style and was adamant that I wouldn’t have a strapless or sleeveless dress. However, I soon realised that boho styles weren’t for me. As soon as I tried on ‘Eladia’ by Pronovias, I fell in love! It is a mermaid-style dress with a deep V-neckline. It felt quite daring for me but also fun and romantic.
My shoes were ‘Charlotte’ by Rachel Simpson. I don’t wear heels often but they were so comfortable – and beautiful! – and I can’t wait for an excuse to wear them again.
I kept jewellery minimal, wearing earrings that had been given to me by close friends for my 18th birthday as well as a beautiful ring that my mum bought me as a wedding gift.
My veil was a very special part of my day as it actually belonged to one of my best friends! We were discussing veils one day and I was so touched when she said I could wear hers. It was such a lovely gesture and made it feel extra special.
Nathan wanted a suit that he would be comfortable in and that would suit the barn-style wedding – but that he would also feel smart enough to get married in. We went to Slaters and soon found the one!
Nathan, the best man and the ushers all wore suits that were brown with a touch of blue, with a check pattern. They wore them with a white shirt, rusty brown tie and brown shoes from Next.
My three bridesmaids wore the same stunning satin and lace midi dress, which was from Oasis. Their gowns complemented the lace on my wedding dress beautifully and were perfect for our relaxed, summer celebration. It was really important to me that they all felt comfortable and they assured me that they did!
I booked Chrys Chapman for my hair and make-up after meeting her at a wedding fayre at East Riddlesden Hall. She explained that she always ensures her brides look and feel like the best version of themselves – and she really did make me feel that way!
I don’t wear heavy make-up and wanted a natural look so Chrys was the perfect choice for me; she put me at ease when I had my trial and I trusted her completely. It was a pleasure to have her there on the morning of the wedding – she managed to make me feel like I was having my make-up done by a friend but also gave us enough space to share the special moments together.
When I was a teenager, I always said that I would own a VW van one day and explore the world in it… 15 years later, I don’t own one but I did have one on my wedding day!
We booked ‘Dylan’ from Liberty Campers to travel from Hollins Hall Hotel to East Riddlesden. One of my favourite moments from the day was sneakily watching Nathan and the groomsmen set off for the venue from my hotel room window. Another is driving through the Yorkshire countryside with my dad on the way to the venue: the dark skies had cleared and my dad and I took in the beautiful views whilst enjoying my final moments as a ‘Miss.’
We booked Hayley Baxter as our photographer on the same day that we booked the venue! She photographed my sister’s wedding a few years before ours and we knew we wanted her straight away. She is an incredible talent and such a lovely person. Her natural, relaxed style was perfect for us and she captured moments that we will treasure forever.
We would definitely recommend having a pre-wedding shoot. Hayley gave us lots of tips and put us at ease straight away, meaning we could enjoy our couple shots on the wedding day and didn’t give posing a second thought.
Hayley takes risks with her photos and they really do pay off! I trusted her completely – even when she asked us to ditch the umbrella when having some shots in the pouring rain!
Nathan and I are both quite sentimental people so having a videographer to film our day was important to us. We came across Ginger Alice when searching through Google and fell in love with her videos straight away.
Her films are in the style of a documentary and she films in a non-intrusive way. We were totally blown away when we watched our video – we can’t actually believe it’s us! We are forever grateful that she captured such special moments for us and couldn’t recommend her enough.
My bouquet had grey foliage, blush pink and champagne coloured roses, with scabiosa pods and other seasonal flowers. My flower crown was made up of rosemary with a medley of flowers at the back. I absolutely loved wearing it and have since dried it out and framed it for my hallway!
The bridesmaids held smaller versions of my bouquet, with slightly more foliage. The buttonholes and corsages were a medley of majolica spray rose, scabiosa pods and eucalyptus.
The team at Stems Design was a pleasure to deal with leading up to the wedding and they definitely didn’t disappoint on the big day.
When we started planning the wedding, we were keen to decorate the barn ourselves but then I met Rachel Chippendale from Simply Vintage. She had decorated East Riddlesden many times before and knows it like the back of her hand – literally down to every last beam! She completely understood the look I wanted and was more than happy to incorporate my ideas.
The look we went for was ‘country garden’ with blush, creams and lots of foliage. The barn was filled with crates, lanterns, tealights, herbs and ferns. East Riddlesden has a gorgeous wall of fairy lights and also fairy lights draped around the beams that run the length of the barn. These were also dressed with ruscus, ivy and asparagus fern foliage. The windows had lanterns, candles, succulents and some gorgeous foliage chandeliers.
We also had festoon lights on the lake and a beautiful hanging ladder from Typical Type. Many guests commented on how lovely they were!
Although I know I would have enjoyed collecting and creating this décor myself, I would 100% recommend paying somebody to take care of styling. It would have cost us more money to fill the barn in the same way and there is no where we could have done it to the same standard! Rachel took all the stress away and everybody commented on how amazing the barn looked.
The personal touches we chose for decoration included a signpost made by my stepdad that displayed locations of where we’re both from and where we met, milk churns planted by my mum, family photographs and a personalised table plan with Polaroid-style photos of our guests.
As I was about to walk down the aisle, I noticed some beautiful bunting hanging at the back of the barn. As I got closer, I realised it was handmade by my mum! Each flag was intricately sewn and represented a special memory. It’s absolutely beautiful and a really special keepsake from the day.
It was important to us that every guest felt like they were a part of the day. One of the ways we did that was by making a seating plan with our favourite photos of each person. Even into the evening, people were looking at it and it was a great way for people who didn’t know each other to get chatting.
There are many beautiful wedding cakes available but for us, it was a no-brainer – we had to have Colin the Caterpillar! It’s a family tradition of Nathan’s to have a ‘Colin’ on birthdays so when we heard about Marks & Spencer’s bride and groom ‘Connie’ and ‘Colin’ cakes, we had to have them. They were delicious and our guests loved them!
The food on the day was very important to us – we love food! Eat Me Drink Me provided our food and wine and it was amazing!
For welcome drinks, we served Pimms, prosecco and Moretti. The canapes were mini roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, goats’ cheese crostini, bruschetta and pancetta-wrapped sausages.
To fit with the relaxed feel we wanted, we had sharing platters for the starters and mains. For starters, we had antipasti platters and middle eastern platters. The mains had a delicious mix of slow roast BBQ beef, prawn skewers, deep-fried halloumi and chicken tikka with a variety of salads and sweet potato wedges.
For dessert, we had a trio of lemon tart, sticky toffee pudding and vanilla and strawberry cheesecake.
The evening food included mac ‘n’ cheese, miniature portions of fish -and-chips and burritos.
My only regret with the food is I didn’t eat enough of it! With the excitement of the day and the adrenaline, I found that I didn’t eat that much. I hope I’m a guest at an Eat Me Drink Me wedding soon so I can make up for it!
We had the contemporary brass band Loud Noises for our entertainment during the day. We surprised all of our guests when the band led us out of the barn for our confetti shot – it was an amazing moment and a definite highlight! They led us out playing When The Saints Go Marching In, which is one of my dad’s favourites. It was so lovely celebrating that just married’ excitement with our loved ones, dancing around and enjoying the music!
I always love listening to the song choices at weddings as it’s so personal and can end up being a bit of a soundtrack to the day. I walked down the aisle to Last Of The Ladies by The Courteeners and our first dance was to I Always Knew by The Vaccines. The latter was a great song to get the party going and also meant we didn’t have to slow dance in front of everyone!
Outside, we had a selection of garden games, which included a foosball table and hoola hoops. My step-dad made us a hole-in-one challenge and a coconut shack – both were a hit with our guests! We also had ‘splat the rat’, which was from the school that I work at and had previously been used at summer fayres.
In the evening, we used a fantastic DJ from The Hi-Life. They gave us access to an online portal beforehand where we were able to select songs and genres for the evening party. They were really flexible and had many different options, including accepting requests from guests.
It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of the day as there are so many but a moment that really sticks in both of our minds was when we went off for our couple portraits. We stopped and looked back at our guests across the pond: they were chatting and dancing to the band whilst we watched on and it felt so special. We had literally just got married and were standing watching our favourite people celebrating – it doesn’t get much better than that! We were thrilled when we realised that the photographer and videographer had both captured us in that moment.
For us, a highlight of the whole wedding process was getting our friends and family together. The hen dos, stag doss, fittings and all the other elements take so much time and effort, and we were overwhelmed by the love and generosity from those closest to us. It’s cheesy but it’s true!
A particularly special moment on the day was when Nathan’s nana and my gran signed the register for us. We are really close to them both and felt incredibly lucky that they could have such a special role on our big day.
The day after the wedding, we said an emotional goodbye to friends and family and went straight to a log cabin in North Yorkshire for two nights. It was the best way to come down from the excitement and spend a few days alone as Mr and Mrs. We slept a lot, ate a lot, opened cards and gifts and shared our experiences of the wedding! It was lovely and I would definitely recommend going away for some downtime straight after the wedding.
A week or so later, we went to Crete and stayed in a beautiful hotel where we continued to eat a lot – but this time in a slightly warmer and more glamorous location than Yorkshire! We had a day trip out to Santorini which was amazing.
Our top tip for other couples would definitely be don’t worry about the weather! I checked the forecast practically hourly during the week leading up to the wedding – it said rain, thunder, rain, thunder, rain… People were reassuring me that ultimately it wouldn’t matter what the weather was like and it’s so true. I woke up on our August wedding day to the darkest skies and very heavy rain.
By the time I was having my make-up done, the skies were clear. We had some rain in the late afternoon and evening but it really didn’t matter. If anything, we were glad for it – our photographer got some amazing shots of the moody skies!
I’d also say make sure you have time to take it all in, too. I made sure that I took a deep breath and really registered the key moments; travelling to the venue, for example, as well as signing the register and sitting down to eat the wedding breakfast. It really does go by in a flash so take the time to register what is happening.