Real Weddings

Willowby by Watters for a Colourful Wedding at The Broughton Estate – Gemma & David

07th June 2020 | Julia Braime

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Cleverly combining summery and autumnal influences, David and Gemma’s gorgeous September wedding perfectly showcases how to marry two seasons into one cohesive look.

Fresh, bright fuchsia pops, jewel purple accents and earthy rust tones make for the ideal ‘turn of season’ palette, which is evident in the stunning blooms, contemporary décor and stationery, as well as the groomsmen’s ties and gorgeous bridesmaid gowns.

The couple’s dream big day backdrop came in the form of Broughton Hall Estate’s Utopia venue and surrounding gardens, which ticked boxes for bright, intimate and modern. But, it wasn’t all about aesthetics, as David and Gemma’s big day was largely built around them as a couple, to portray their likes and passions, with nods to their hobbies, personalities and favourite TV shows thoughtfully weaved into the feel good celebrations.

With images by Neil Jackson Photographic


Gemma says: We got engaged on 2nd April 2018. David was intending to propose in Italy a month later, but couldn’t wait, and proposed one morning whilst having coffee in bed. David hadn’t bought a ring at that point, but a pendant with the ‘birthstone’ of our relationship – the Sapphire – as a token of proposal.

David wanted us to choose the ring together as he thought it would be more romantic and fun. He said it didn’t feel it right to dictate to me what I should wear on my finger for the rest of my life… without consultation!


Our wedding took place on 22nd September 2019. That weekend was our 7th anniversary as a couple, and it was about 18 months out from the proposal – a nice long period in which to luxuriate in being fiancées, plan and importantly…save!

We had both the ceremony and reception at Utopia, Broughton Hall Estate, in the Yorkshire Dales. The walled gardens are stunning, and the building is flooded with light, even on overcast days.

When we went to see the venue, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and we fell in love with the space. We weren’t going to have a huge number of guests, so the space would be intimate, with enough room for our guests to really enjoy themselves.

Also, peacocks and squirrels roamed around on our first visit. It was tranquil, private, and modern. Just perfect.


The theme was ‘us’; the things we like and enjoy. We couldn’t imagine building our wedding day around anyone else’s ideas. It could have ended up being a bit of mishmash, but everything we added worked – we just trusted our own taste. Stripped back, simple, personal, fun and colourful, whilst trying not to play on any trends or set themes that might date in a few years’ time.

Our wedding was on the cusp between summer and autumn, so we wanted autumnal colours that weren’t too earthy. We kept things mostly simple with bright pops of vibrant hues – purple, rust, orange.

Our colour scheme was partly inspired by the amazing work our graphic designer (and sister!) GS Lowry Design, who pulled together for our invites – it really cemented the look and feel we wanted to go for, and we used that as our jumping off point.

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My dress was Willowby by Watters, from Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden. It was the first dress I put on, and I knew immediately (as did my bridesmaids), that it was the one. It was un-fussy and felt elegant and timeless, and importantly, was something I felt like I could move in! Perfect for dancing the night away.

My shoes were glittery Kate Spade Keds, which were a cute and comfy dream. I wore jewellery from Carrie Elizabeth and a hairpiece from Tilly Thomas Lux.


David wore a suit and tie which he bought from TM Lewin. Easy peasy. The groomsmen wore suits from Next.


Two of the bridesmaids, Rachel and Lil , wore dresses by Rewritten from The Aisle in Ilkley. My third bridesmaid lives in the States, so she sorted herself out – we sent the colour swatch over and she amazingly found something which complemented them perfectly.

Our flower girl, Arwen, wore a tutu from Six Stories on Etsy, with a simple onesie and cardigan from Gap and Next. She had glittery rose gold Converse to complement the bride’s shoes.


Rebecca Anderton took care of this. She was such a lovely, fun and calming presence on the wedding morning, and understood the soft and natural look I wanted perfectly.


Matt and Joward, the groomsmen, had nice black cars, so they spent the morning heroically buffing them up and attaching ribbons to taxi us to the ceremony.

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Neil Jackson Photographic captured our day. We would absolutely recommend Neil – from the off he put us at ease and understood what we wanted to achieve. We wanted the absolute minimum of posed or stages photos, and instead someone who could capture the small moments of the day, the little moments of joy – and he did so completely unobtrusively. The day itself was rather changeable weather wise, and Neil adjusted to this brilliantly, and took full advantage of the shifts in colour and light.


Our flowers were provided for by Bluebells and Daisies who did a great job for us! We asked for relaxed flowers which broadly fit within our colour palette, with little pops of bold colour.

Bluebells and Daisies also decorated our hoop, which was the backdrop for our ceremony, and then moved behind the top table for the wedding breakfast.

We had flowers in American whiskey bottles on the tables, with colourful taper candles along the top table.


We wanted our favours to double up as decorations, so we had mini potted succulents (the kids got Lego), which brought a nice bit of colour to our tables at the same time. We bought these from Add Vintage.


We had a Futurama cake! It was the first thing we decided on. It was designed and made by the fabulous Little Cherry Cake Co, and the detail was incredible. It was a three-tiered sponge cake of various flavours and it tasted as great as it looked!


The event was catered for and run by the amazing Good Food Story. Their menus and choice were enormous and delicious, but we wanted something fun and informal, so we plumped for the Gourmet Barbeque menu. We wanted our guests to share their food and get their hands and faces dirty! Everyone got ribs, a chicken breast, burger and prawns with amazing sharing sides and salad, after canapes of arancini (good god), hummus and patatas bravas. We had numerous compliments from guests about the food being the best wedding food they’d eaten. Nailed it.


David spent 18 months curating a playlist for our big day! We wanted music to reflect us as people, our relationship, and our friends and family. It made the whole day and evening so personal and meant we could curate the vibe and tone of the entire day; and now we can relive it whenever we want.

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I’m passionate about photography, so we built our bar room around that theme. We had photos of our family weddings, stretching back to great grandparents, surrounded by old cameras we picked up from thrift stores and online. It added a touch of nostalgia to the day and honoured where we came from.

We also had few nods to TV shows we love incorporated into the day. An Arrested Development embroidery hoop encouraging people to sign our guest book, a “Treat Yo’ Self” peg board with our pick & mix bar, and a Mad Men quote to stand next to family photos and our mailbox for cards. Our table names were all eateries from our favourite shows, and name cards had a food related quote from the show to tie them together.

We also put out temporary tattoos, which were insanely popular! Everyone was covered in them by the time we sat down to eat!


We would recommend every single one of our suppliers, we couldn’t have been happier. In addition to those already mentioned, our amazing photo booth was provided by Viva La Booth, Add Vintage supplied the lawn games, the festoon lighting and backdrop hoop were provided by Typical Type, and Club Class UK supplied the PA and dancefloor lighting rig.

Following our wedding, we would absolutely recommend our choice of venue to other couples too. The stunning space speaks for itself, but more than that, the event was expertly run by Good Food Story who always felt just as keen as we were on this being our day; at no point did they tells us ‘it’s done this way or that’ like the other venues we visited did. It was up to us, and that flexibility and understanding was what was most important. We can’t recommend or thank Steve and Alex enough; they were superstars from first to last.


Getting married! We kept the ceremony simple and got married on the covered deck at the front of the venue, surrounded by our nearest and dearest. It was beautiful and any nerves just melted away as soon as we saw each other. It’s what the whole day was about and one of the things we remember most clearly.


We went to Paradise Cove in Mauritius. It truly lived up to its name. It was the most relaxing, amazing week of our lives.


Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or should not do. Not suppliers, family, or friends…it’s your day. Do it your way.

During the planning, we found the real wedding features on Brides Up North helpful, and we looked at the online directory for suppliers too.

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