Real Weddings

Hayley Paige for a Black Tie Wedding at East Riddlesden Hall – Hannah & Tom

16th July 2020 | Sarah Symonds

Today’s real wedding has us heading over to the heritage venue of East Riddlesden Hall in West Yorkshire, supporting The National Trust’s work for the wedding of Hannah and Tom.

Black tie alert! This is not a drill! We do love groomsmen in black tie – after all, it’s not often you get the excuse to tux up in day-to-day life, amirite? Tom and his band of merry men look very dashing, whilst our bride, Hannah, simply glows in her stunning Hayley Paige Chandon gown.

Amongst all the pretty florals, glamour and tradition, we’ve also found a couple of little four-legged friends! Keep your eyes peeled for Pepe and Molly, the family Chihuahuas, as they make the most of their humans choosing a dog-friendly venue!

With photography by The Light Painters


Hannah says: The first part of the story is that I unknowingly signed for the engagement ring when it was delivered to our house! Realising what it was just in time, he said he thought it was a part for the shower he had ordered. That sounded so boring that luckily I didn’t open it!

We had been out for a walk earlier in the day with my mum and when we left, just as we were pulling out of the drive of my parents house, Tom stopped and said he had left his sunglasses. I offered to jump out and get them but he refused and said he would go, he came back to the car a few minutes later and I didnt think anything of it. We spent the evening at home, listening to music and chatting. Then Tom told me to go and put something nice on. I thought it was a bit weird as it was getting pretty late, but went and put on a red dress I knew he liked. When I came back downstairs, I heard music coming from the back of the house. I followed the music and the patio doors were open out into the garden, with the garden fairy lights on. It was also throwing it down with rain! I looked out and Tom was standing in the middle of the garden. He called for me to come out, which I did, and he got down on one knee and proposed. It was very spontaneous and he hadn’t planned it, he just said it felt like the right moment. I loved it and obviously said YES! Only later did I find out that when he went back into my parents house, he was actually asking my dad if he could marry me! Sneaky!


We married on Friday 26th July 2019. Our venue is open to the public, being part of the National Trust, but the house and formal gardens are closed on Friday so there were less likely to be other people around and we would get the place to ourselves. We knew we wanted a summer wedding and to have as much of it outdoors as we could, so the date worked well for us.

East Riddlesden Hall was the venue for both the ceremony and reception. We wanted a venue where we could do both as we didn’t want our guests to have to think about travelling between two venues on the day. It needed to be somewhere that wasn’t too far away from where we and our families live, that also had a rustic barn, and great outdoor spaces. Riddlesden really ticked all the boxes for us, and the stunning original barn filled with fairy lights created the perfect atmosphere for the ceremony. It was really romantic and a number of guests said it was the most beautiful wedding venue they had ever been to.

The mix of formal gardens and lake provided ample photo opportunities. We opted to hold the reception drinks and canapes in the formal gardens, which were full of flowers and provided the location for our more formal photographs. I also loved the fact that by choosing this venue we were supporting the National Trust to keep up the great work that they do.


My inspiration was a big italian family meal. We wanted it to be casual, with good food, greenery and fingers crossed, good weather!

We wanted the ceremony to follow traditional guidelines but be modern enough to not feel scripted. We also wanted the rest of the day to be free flowing and didn’t want a pre-prescribed wedding that you often get through some venues. We wanted it to be unique and a wedding everyone would remember.

Colours included pale dusky blues and greens. We wanted a simple neutral aesthetic. Blue is my favourite colour so that had to be incorporated somewhere!


My dress was the Hayley Paige Chandon gown. It was so beautiful and everything I could have asked for. So many people told me I wouldn’t end up with the dress I had in my head, but I did! That shape of dress has always been my dream, however the subtle sparkle tulle was the icing on the cake, and I really did feel like Cinderella!

I bought the dress from Chloe Jane Bridalwear in Howden. The shop is gorgeous, I honestly could have bought them all! Overall it was an amazing bridal experience, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for something extra special for their wedding day.


Tom knew he wanted to wear a tuxedo with a bow tie and, in the end, decided on one from French Connection. He chose a classic fitted white shirt from the Topman Premium collection, and a black bow tie. Overall, I think he pulled it all off pretty well!

The groomsmen wore the same French Connection tuxedo as Tom, with a pale blue bow tie and pocket square, in contrast to his black one.


My bridesmaids all wore pale blue Coast multiway dresses. I really loved the colour and they looked as though they would be comfortable and light enough to wear all day long. I also liked the option for my bridesmaids to be able to personalise the dresses by wearing them in whichever way they felt most comfortable. Luckily they all approved of my choice and looked beautiful in them.


The bridal party’s hair and makeup was done by local companies, The Beauty Cottage and Vivid Hair Design, that I use all the time. I did get quotes from a number of specialist bridal hair and make up artists but decided to go with people I know and trust.


We hired luxury mini buses from AL Chauffer Solutions. Our venue was about an hour away from where we were all getting ready, which meant that vintage cars weren’t really an option for us and we decided that it wasn’t an important factor for us to arrive in a fancy car. Most importantly we wanted to be able to travel as a group, with the groom and groomsmen together, and myself with the bridesmaids. The company we chose were local, reasonably priced and able to accommodate our requirements.


We used The Light Painters. I found Hannah and Dave through instagram and loved their relaxed style. We had an engagement shoot with them, which I would highly recommend as we got to know them better and they us, making us all feel more comfortable on the day. We also got some great photos from this, giving us a taste of what was to come.

All of our guests said how lovely they were and that they just blended in, which was ideal for getting the relaxed, natural style of photos we were hoping for. We absolutely loved the photos and created photobooks for our parents and grandparents as christmas presents, which went down a treat!


The bouquets for myself and the bridesmaids were created by Sophie’s Flowers & Events. Sophie really understood my vision of simple muted greenery and executed it beautifully. I had some pale blue blooms in the bridal bouquet to differentiate between the bridesmaids, who had white fluffy flowers in theirs.

Sophie’s Flowers also provided the foliage for the reception venue. Sophie applied foliage to the fairy lights and chairs in the Barn at East Riddlesden Hall, and also provided a mixture of eucalyptus and olive branches so that I could create the table centres and a feature behind where Tom and I would take our vows. She was really flexible and reasonably priced in comparison to some quotes I received. I would highly recommend her to anyone.

I looked at the real wedding section of the Brides Up North site for inspiration. Mainly to see how others had set up our wedding venue. I found it really useful to see it in context and get an idea of things that would work for us.

We used Marvellous Glow for the light up letters inside the venue and the lighting around the lake, which gave it extra impact at night, creating a beautiful atmosphere.


I created wildflower seed envelopes using a personalised stamp and blue wildflower seeds, incorporating the phrase “let love grow”. I thought this was a nice message to pass on to our guests and hoped the seeds would be planted in their gardens, and the flowers would remind them of the day.


My mum made our wedding cake. She was really nervous as she’s not a professional baker but makes delicious cakes. It didn’t help that the day before the wedding the weather was about 30 degrees, not ideal cake making weather! Toms favourite is a chocolate fudge cake, which is one of her specialities so it had to be that, and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all the guests. She was so relieved!


We chose Fizz & Fire as our caterers as they did the relaxed style dining we were looking for. We opted for their tapas style menu because that’s the kind of food we both love and we thought would be suitable for all of our guests. Each table was presented with multiple options for each course to help themselves to, so guests could pick and choose what they wanted to try.

We opted for the corkage option as we wanted to be able to provide prosecco on the tables as well as wine, which worked out quite a bit cheaper to buy ourselves. The venue made the process really easy and were very flexible, accommodating our requirements and the requirements of our guests.


We just created our own playlists on Spotify. We knew the kind of music we wanted and felt that this was an area where we could save some money and still create a party atmosphere in the evening. We didn’t have any issues with everyone getting up and dancing so i think it was the right decision for us.

A&C Photography provided our photobooth, which was loved by the guests. Everyone got a copy of their photo and a book was made for us, where people could write messages alongside their photo. It’s a great fun memento of the day.

Special touches

We brought our dog! Another great perk to our venue is that they allow dogs. Pepe the Chihuahua and my mum’s Chihuahua, Molly, were invited to the wedding which was really fun. Pepe is a massive part of our life so there was no way he could be left out of our big day. They loved being able to roam freely around the grounds for the day and I think the guests enjoyed their company too!

Thanks to

East Riddlesden were amazing throughout the whole process. They talked us through each stage of organising, making sure everything was in place at the right times so we knew we were in good hands. They were really relaxed and created the perfect atmosphere for the kind of day we wanted.

AL Chauffeur Solutions were great and, as we paid by the hour and our hotel was only a 20 minute drive away, they offered to do a shuttle service to nearby hotels where our guests were staying at no extra cost. That was really great, especially for our grandparents meaning they didn’t have to wait around for taxis.

A further shout out to our photographers, The Light Painters, who were amazing from start to finish. We couldn’t have asked for more and they have created some amazing memories of the day that we will cherish forever!

The master of ceremonies, also deserves a mention. He was great in helping guide us throughout the day ensuring everyone knew where to be and letting the guests know what was happening next, as well as just being a lovely guy!

Best bit

This is a difficult one, I would have to say that just having all of our friends and family with us was my favourite part. My brother flew in from New Zealand especially for the wedding so that was really special.


We went to Oia in Santorini for 10 days for our honeymoon and it was perfect. We stayed in a small boutique hotel a short walk from the centre of Oia, in a room with a hot tub on the balcony. The hotel was really serene with only a few other guests and we often had the main pool to ourselves. Breakfast was served on our balcony each morning, with everything you could ask for and a view of the ocean. We had a few days sightseeing, hiring a quad bike to explore the island, which was great fun, and a sunset cruise, something we will never forget.

We moved house a month before the wedding (crazy I know) so ten whole days of relaxation in such a beautiful location was very welcome.


My tip for another bride would be don’t stress about the small things. On the day you won’t even notice it, you will be too busy having fun with your family and friends. Make sure you have some moments to just be together and don’t forget to take a second to take it all in!

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