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When Naomi and Ben tied the knot in the peak of the season, there was midsummer magic in the air.
With fairy lights and plenty of good old fashioned bunting setting the tone, and the couple’s own ethos going a long way to prove that creating the perfect atmosphere doesn’t have to be complicated. Get ready for some serious summer pretty.
With the help of her wedding coordinator, our laid back bride DIY’d a wedding to be proud of, styling her own big day and spending her time in the lead up collecting charity shop treasures and mismatched bottles for decoration.
The end result is a beautiful and relaxed party, crammed with colour and packed with personality. You’ll spot fun toucan patterned bridesmaids’ dresses and Dr Martens for the groom! This couple made sure they were still comfortable in their own personal style at every turn. And on top of that, the stars of the show were the gorgeous flowers, as wild and colourful comes together to create a stunning summery effect.
With photography by Bethany Lloyd Clarke
Naomi says: Ben proposed at the top of Middleham Castle! We had booked a night in Middleham for our 10 Year Anniversary and it was a beautiful, sunny day. He got down on one knee in a little turret of the castle and we celebrated with a walk to our favourite pub’s beer garden, at the Coverbridge Inn, with a pint and some pork scratchings.
We got married on Friday 9th August 2019 as we’re both teachers and it fell in the middle of our Summer Holidays.
We had the wedding at The Priests House at Barden Tower, followed by a DIY reception at Bolton Abbey Village Hall. We love the Yorkshire Dales and spend a lot of time there and when we came across the Priests House there was just no doubt in our minds – it was stunning! We liked the idea of a “posh” formal ceremony followed by something a bit more personal and relaxed, and it was the owners of the Priests House who suggested that nearby Bolton Abbey Village Hall was a good option. It was perfect for us; a blank canvas that we could pretty much do what we wanted to, cheap to hire, with helpful volunteers running it and a beautiful wooden ceiling. I had so much fun collecting bits and bobs to decorate it in our own personal way and we enjoyed our trips up there on a weekend to plan everything!
We had no set style or theme for our wedding, we just wanted it to be relaxed, fun and not too expensive! None of our decorations really matched, we borrowed colourful bunting from a friend, rented some fairy lights, filled old fashioned bottles I’d collected for years with beautiful, locally grown flowers and used a lot of random Ginger Ray party items. It was a mish-mash of themes and styles but we loved how it looked.
I am not a particularly girly or formal person and, although the wedding dress shopping experience was a fun day out, I found it all quite stressful! In the end, I found a dress maker on Etsy called SeniDey, who makes a bespoke dress for you, in your measurements. I found a beautiful, simple dress I loved and customised it easily to make sure it wasn’t backless. When it arrived, it was perfect. I wore it with a Ted Baker bridal belt and some simple, silver Clarks shoes.
My bridesmaids wore quirky summer dresses from Emily & Fin, in a green and peach toucan design. It wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea but we thought they were great!
My dad drove me to the ceremony in his own car with a lovely wedding bow attached. He had made a Spotify playlist especially for the day with songs from my childhood and gigs we had been to together. I pretty much cried all the way there! We hired a coach from Steel’s Coaches to take us and other guests from the Priests House on to the Village Hall.
Our photographer was Bethany Lloyd Clarke and she was amazing. We were on a budget so could only afford to hire her for a half day, but you wouldn’t have known as she took so many amazing photos that we’ve been struggling to choose our favourites ever since. She was exactly what we wanted – very low key and she took lots of natural, unposed photos, made us feel really relaxed and at ease, and I love how her photos represent our day so accurately. I would recommend her to anybody who wants natural, beautiful pictures but isn’t comfortable in front of the camera.
Our flowers were genuinely one of my favourite parts of the whole day. We got them from Meryl Clarke from Nodding Violets in Halifax who grows her own flowers in her cutting garden and allotment. I wanted flowers that were natural, summery and wild, and she made the most stunning bouquets I’ve ever seen for my bridesmaids and me. She also made lovely buttonholes and corsages, and also provided buckets of cut flowers for us to decorate the village hall with the day before. We put them in various vintage bottles that I’d been collecting from antique shops and charity shops over the years.
We hired the Village Hall for three days, so we were able to spend the day before the wedding decorating the hall with our friends, which was really fun and made for a lovely, memorable day. We had an amazing special sign made by LizSmith Illustration, which we used on our wedding stationery, showing Ben and me cheers-ing with our dog Bella. We also had a photobooth provided by Viva La Booth which guests loved, and hired fairy lights from Emily Slingsby.
On the day, our Wedding Coordinator and all round amazing person Sian, from Sian Chaplin Events, made all the final touches to our reception room, organised all suppliers and was there to greet everyone as they arrived. She was amazing and I would recommend that anybody thinking of doing their own DIY wedding to get in touch with her. She made it so much easier and more enjoyable!
Our favours were scratch cards, which is a bit of a family tradition of ours for special dinners.
A friend’s lovely mum made us a three tiered traditional fruit cake for us to hand out after the wedding. We also had a three tiered pie ‘cake’ from local butcher, H Weatherhead as part of our evening buffet and the lovely Jenny Greenwood provided delicious cakes and puddings with her amazing Tea Caddy.
We used Bar Events UK to provide reception drinks, toasting drinks and the evening bar, and they were fantastic. They were so friendly, helpful and let us tailor our drinks menu to match our tastes so we could choose our own beer and cocktails to serve. They also provided an attractive bar frontage to make the side room at the village hall a bit less ‘working men’s club’.
For food we had a pizza and salad buffet provided by Dukes Pizza which was really fantastic and excellent value for money. We chose our own pizza toppings and our guests could help themselves to as much delicious pizza as they wanted. We had so many compliments on the amazing pizzas, and I loved how relaxed the pizza buffet reception was.
For dessert, a buffet was provided on the back of a VW caddy by Jenny Greenwood at the Tea Caddy. We chose five different yummy puddings for guests to help themselves to, and she gave us a little box of our own to eat later on which was a lovely, thoughtful touch!
Ceremony music was provided by Richard Trethewey. We chose the fantastic Price of My Pig ceilidh band to do two ceilidh sets for our wedding party. I loved how they got everyone up and dancing and it was a lovely moment to have our “first dance” while everyone danced around us! Following the ceilidh, they played our own playlist through their PA system so we had music and dancing up until midnight. I really recommend them as a fantastic, fun and non-traditional band and they made sure everyone was having an amazing time!
I would definitely recommend both of our venues to another couple, as we managed to get the best of two worlds; we had our formal, impressive, beautiful ceremony in a stunning old chapel and then had our relaxed reception in a lovely village hall which gave us the blank canvas to make it exactly how we wanted it. Having the opportunity to do whatever we wanted made the day really personal and special, and we had the best time organising it!
The part we were least excited about was the ceremony as we are both quite awkward and don’t really like the attention being on us. The formalness of a ceremony was quite daunting for us but this turned out to be our favourite part! Walking down the aisle was a really memorable moment and our ceremony, from start to finish, felt really special. Our good friend, Richard, played a mandolin as I came down the aisle and then, while we were signing the register, played a mini concert of some of our favourite songs on his fiddle, including the theme tune from The Detectorists by Johnny Flynn, which we both love.
We went to Dubrovnik on a ‘mini moon’ a week later, which was really beautiful. We are hoping to go on a bigger trip next summer, but haven’t decided where yet!
My advice would be not to worry about the weather! We chose the Yorkshire Dales in August and, from experience, it always rains. I spent the week before our wedding obsessing about the weather. The forecast changed constantly and the day before the wedding, thunderstorms and flash flooding were forecast for the big day. I was so stressed about it! On the day of the wedding there was rain, there was sun, there was even a bit of thunder and it genuinely didn’t matter in the slightest!