Pull up a church pew and get comfy as we delve into the details of Ella and Matthews big winter wedding day at the beautiful and historic Mitton Hall in Lancashire.
Why settle for one fabulous gown when you can have two? And if you’re having two dresses, you’ll need two cakes too, right?! Or at least that’s what Ella and Matthew decided! Ella looks simply stunning in both of the gowns she chose, firstly a more traditional white Pronovias wedding dress with delicate lace and embellishment and then, when things got a bit soggy during the photo sesh, she changed into her second gown, a showstopping Ian Stuart gold silk number. We do love a costume change!
Lots of greenery and festive foliage is only right when the wedding is so close to Christmas. The limited palette of white and a rich emerald green keeps things classy and classic, while a bit of gold brings the sparkle needed for a celebration in deepest, darkest winter. And, if all of that isn’t enough for you, there are 100 donuts involved… read on to find out more!
With photography by Kieran Bellis Photography
Ella says: We got engaged in August 2018. Matthew had booked a meal for us on the bank holiday Sunday at a pub called The Spread Eagle Inn, Sawley. It was somewhere he’d driven past before and wanted to go. The night before this meal, we had been at a friend’s wedding and I was too hungover to go out for tea so I asked him to rearrange it for the Monday evening. I had no idea what he had planned! We arrived at the restaurant and Matthew suggested that before we go in, we go for a little walk around the village, along the river and to the stone bridge. Alarm bells should have been ringing but I was more concerned I wasn’t dressed for going for a walk! We walked along the river and then over this lovely stone arched bridge, where we stood looking at the river and the view. Then it started to rain so I started to step away to go back to the pub before my hair got wet. Matthew told me to wait a moment and when I turned around he was down on one knee on the bridge, in the rain, with my dream ring in a box! It was so sweet and romantic. Matthew says to this day that I never actually said yes, I just squealed!
We were married on the 14th of December 2019. I always knew I wanted a Christmas wedding, the run up to Christmas always feels so exciting and romantic, I wanted to capture everyone’s festive good spirits in our day. This date worked perfectly as it was close enough to Christmas to feel magical but far enough away to not feel rushed before Christmas day.
It was quite important to us to get married in a church and somewhere local to home. Our family has history with the local village church and it is beautiful so it made perfect sense.
When we were looking for a venue we wanted somewhere old and grand, but also with a uniqueness to it – it needed to have the wow factor! When we walked into the reception room at Mitton Hall I was instantly bowled over by the glass orangery style backdrop which overlooked the gardens, and let so much light in. The main hall also has such an old, cosy feel and, in winter, boasts a 22ft christmas tree by the fire. Mitton Hall ticked so many boxes for us.
We didn’t have a theme for the wedding as such, but because we wanted to get married near Christmas, it did lend itself to a festive feel. The overall style was winter glitz and glamour. I used lots of candles, dark green foliage, warm white lights, and touches of gold and glitter where possible to create an overall warm, magical and wintery style.
The overall wedding colour scheme was gold, emerald green and cream. My engagement ring is an emerald within a diamond cluster, it’s one of my favourite colours and it suited the time of year so well. I was picking lots of green foliage for the decor and floristry, and the colour tied through from beginning to end. I chose gold and cream because the two colours really compliment green and make it pop. The cream kept the colour palette more natural whereas the gold allowed me to add some glitter and opulence throughout the decor. I loved my colour scheme and felt it was subtle but effective.
I wore two dresses, and it was the best decision I made of the whole wedding planning process because my first one got drenched by the wintery weather whilst we were coming out of church and then having photos taken!
My first dress was from design house Pronovias. It was floor length with a long train which was two layers of white lace from top to bottom, with a blush pink layer underneath which gave such a soft warmness to the whole dress. It was long sleeved with sheer material which just showed the lace flowers and cuffs, it buttoned all down the back. Each lace flower had a cluster of tiny pearls or shimmer of beads to make it sparkle as I moved. It was exactly the type of dress I knew I wanted, traditional for the church ceremony but not boring. After seeing a pronovias dress in a magazine when I was younger, I always said I wanted one of their designs.
My second dress was an Ian Stuart silk gown in champagne gold, which was laced and embroidered from top to bottom, with a metallic lace top layer which made the whole dress shimmer. This dress also had a small train where the lace extended longer than the under layers, creating a colour fade at the bottom of the train. It had a sweet heart off the shoulder neckline with detail straps. I got changed into this dress inbetween the wedding breakfast and evening guests arriving, it was so much easier to dance in and walk about as it wasnt heavy from soaking up snow and hail!
Matthew wore a Marc Darcy suit from Bridgewater Menswear in Colne. It was a blue-grey tweed with a lovely light orange and tan check running through it. He wore it with a traditional green tweed waistcoat and matching pocket square. His tie was the same blue tweed as the suit jacket and pants. He wore Ted Baker cufflinks which were a small blue globe, and a personalised handmade tie pin made from a whisky barrel which was my gift to him in the morning. The suit was finished off with some italian tan leather brogue shoes.
The groomsmen wore Marc Darcy suits from Bridgewater Menswear too. They were also a soft tweed blend material. The groomsmen wore matching waistcoats to the suit with tan ties while Matthew wore the contrasting tan tweed waistcoat to stand out.
My sister Freya, who is just a couple of years younger than me, and was my Maid of Honour, wore an emerald green floor length gown with a train, and lace bodice with sweetheart neckline, from an American boutique.
My youngest sister, Annie, and our cousin Jessica, who is the same age as Annie, both wore champagne gold midi length dresses with sequin bodice and off the shoulder style, from ASOS.
As we were married in December we complemented the dresses with fox white faux fur shawls to keep everyone a little warmer.
The very talented Jodie Bloomer of Hair & Makeup by Jodie Bloomer did my hair and makeup, and the rest of the bridal party’s hair. We also had Becca from Beauty With Becca to do the rest of the bridal party’s makeup. The girls were amazing and work so well together. Getting ready was so much fun and we had a lovely time.
My grandad, who unfortunately passed away not long before the wedding, and my dad had matching Land Rover Discovery 4s in the same colour and with personalised number plates. We decorated them with a classic cream ribbon and used my grandad’s car for me on the way to church, then for Matthew and I on the way to reception. My dad’s car took my bridesmaids and Mum. It was really special to me to have personal transport, that meant something to us and I felt like we involved my Grandad as much as possible. Also, if it did snow, we had the cars for it!
Our photographer was Kieran Bellis. We chose Kieran because I was looking for a really specific style of photography, I wanted light, bright photos with lots of colour! I found Kieran online after lots of browsing and instantly loved his photos. He had fabulous reviews so I messaged him to book there and then!
We loved Kieran, what a genuinely lovely person! He was so laid back and relaxed on the day, just fit right in with everything that was going on and took so many beautiful photos for us! Thank you, Kieran.
We used Harrison Fletcher of Fletcher Films. Our wedding video is just stunning, it’s like watching a film premiere! Harrison had videoed a friend’s wedding and I loved it, booked him off the back of that and we weren’t disappointed. What also turned out to be great was Harrison and Keiran really got on on the day so it all felt super relaxed & friendly.
All of my flowers were done by Charlotte and the team from The Flower Shop Clitheroe who did a fantastic job. The flowers and foliage were my main decor throughout the wedding day so it was important they looked amazing!
I carried a hand-tied, wild, imperfect bouquet which included lysimachia, astilbe, senecio, kochia, ranunculus, brunia, garden roses, bronze asparagus, pine cones, blush roses, mansfield park and foliage tied with ivory and lace with pearl pins. It was so heavy but absolutely stunning.
Freya, my Maid of Honour, had a slightly smaller version than me, and Annie and Jessica had mini versions. The buttonholes and corsages were a mini mix of the above.
Mitton Hall has a glass atrium roof which we had filled with cascading foliage and fairy lights. We also had a 6ft flower hoop. This was covered in foliage and fairy lights but fuller in a semi crescent shape. We first used the hoop for our table plan, which was so different and I loved it! Then the lovely staff at Mitton Hall took the table cards out of it during the room turnaround and it became a photo backdrop for the evening reception.
We had foliage and candles in birch holders and lanterns in the porch entrance to Mitton Hall. Our top table was all candles with foliage interspaced and trailing off the front of the table. For the other tables we had a mixture of tall candelabras with foliage and flowers to match the church flowers, and then some tables had a low level display of foliage and staggered height roman candles.
All of the flowers at Mitton Hall were done by The Flower Shop but we used Creative Cover Hire for the chair covers, letterbox, and fairy light curtain for evening reception.
We also had a glitter booth at the evening reception. It was something I put together, using a large ornate gold mirror I found at a local antique shop, then using traditional weighing scales with the brass weights, I filled the pots with gold and emerald green glitter. The glitter booth was a huge hit!
I found the Brides Up North blog whilst wedding planning and found the inspiration features helpful to take visual ideas for showing my suppliers some of the ideas I liked and what would work together.
Our favours were also the name places on the tables. We had everybody’s names hand made out of gold wire, and sent over from Canada. They were absolutely beautiful and a lovely keepsake for all of our guests. We ordered them from Etsy.
We had two cakes! As our wedding was festive we had a traditional iced fruit cake, with a tier of round cheddar and round wensleydale on top, decorated with flowers, grapes and fruit. Maybe it’s a yorkshire thing but Christmas cake absolutely has to go with cheese! A lovely family friend made the Christmas cake for us, months before and the cheese was from Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton.
We then had the main cake which was a semi naked cake, the base tier was Victoria Sponge, then chocolate in the middle, and red velvet on top. The cake was finished with butter cream and cream cheese in a ‘naked cake’ style, then topped with a floral arrangement and a small waterfall of flowers between the middle tiers. A very nice friend of a friend who works for a famous tea room and bakery kindly made this cake for me. A company called Personal Ice Cakes made us a donut wal with 100 donuts on itl.
Firstly, we offered reception drinks to guests of prosecco and orange juice and canapes. One of the reasons we loved Mitton Hall is because they allow you to provide so many choices of meal to your guests for no extra cost or hassle. Their standard wedding package allows you to offer three starters, three mains, two desserts and three wine types to every guest. The food needs to be pre-ordered so we designed a menu with our invitations, but it allowed us to cater for every guest to ensure everyone loved their meal!
Our menu included leek and potato soup, Cornish crab and spring onion tart with fennel & pea shoot salad, vierge dressing, or potted Old Spot pork shoulder with apple and pink peppercorn compote, sourdough croutes, radish, shallot and watercress salad to start.
Mains were a choice of herb crusted rump of fell grazed lamb, with pea puree, chantenay carrots, colcannon potato and redcurrant jus, roast breast of goosnargh chicken with fricassee of peas, pancetta and seasonal greens, fondant potato, white wine chicken sauce or red lentil and spinach dahl with jasmine scented basmati rice, pakoras and mango chutney.
Dessert included sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and honeycomb ice cream or white chocolate & raspberry crème brulee served with shortbread biscuit.
During the drinks reception and throughout the wedding breakfast, we had the amazing Jo from Piano Daisy play grand piano live music. She created such a beautiful, classy ambience and just set the tone for our day perfectly.
For the evening we booked an excellent band called Vinyl Cut and also had them playing alongside our DFC Live DJ. The combination was just amazing, the dance floor was full all night. Our DJ for the night, Matt, was absolutely brilliant and made the party go on all night! The music was just what we wanted and the dance floor was full all night.
We decorated the church with some very personal decorations. Our pew ends were a combination of cream and gold ribbons with branches from a large christmas tree we cut from my mum’s garden. I also had horse shoes I’d kept from my three horses sprayed to preserve the metal and make them look new. We placed them won the pew ends with ribbons and pine cones. They are a lovely keepsake.
We had cream and gold feather confetti from Dollz Confetti in an antique wooden chest near the exit from the church, for guests to take a handful of for the confetti throw.
We were then greeted by a traditional guard of honour with wooden rakes, done by our local young famers’ club which we are members of. It’s tradition to come out of church to a rake archway to walk under, with the rakes held by past and present members of the club.
Hogarth Jewellery in Cumbria is where my engagement ring and our wedding rings came from, and also some earrings for Annie, Jessica and Freya.
We absolutely loved our venue, I couldn’t recommend it enough. From the day we first viewed the venue to our actual day the wedding coordinators were faultless and everything just worked like clockwork. The food was stunning, every guest commented on how attentive the waiting staff were, we also booked out every room in the hotel, everyone enjoyed the whole experience. Mitton Hall is just perfect.
I would say that we loved all our suppliers and they helped make our day perfect. Particular mention goes to Amy, from A Moment of Magic, who created our wedding stationery from beginning to end. We had so many compliments on the wedding invitations and guests said they set the tone for the rest of the wedding. We had lots of stationery done for the actual day too and it looked beautiful. Every single piece she makes is perfected.
My favourite part of the day, from so many special memories, was probably during the wedding breakfast. It was a chance for Matthew and me to stop, take in the whole room, all of our guests sat before us enjoying our wedding day. We got the chance to relax, chat, enjoy the hospitality and absorb the atmosphere of the room. I think I remember appreciating the importance of the day at that moment.
We had an amazing, dream honeymoon, with a week in Sri Lanka and then a week in the Maldives. In Sri Lanka we landed in Columbo and stayed about 45 minutes away in a resort called Club Hotel Dolphin, near the city of Negombo. We had our own private beach and seafood restaurants and drinks all day – it was perfect. We took a tuctuc for the day around Negombo City, Matthew treated me to a Sri Lankan sapphire necklace from one of the local jewellers. We also visited the fish market and spice garden and market on our day in the city. We also visited the golden temple and a few others, took a day trip to Pinnawala elephant sanctuary where we got to see them bathe in the river whilst we ate lunch on a balcony above. We also took a safari trip into the jungle near Kandy. The people of Sri Lanka could not be more hospitable, it is a country like no other i have been to before and it’s well worth going to.
We then flew on to our second week and arrived in the Maldives. Our island was called Cinnamon Dhonveli and was a half an hour speedboat journey away from the airport. We literally arrived in paradise. After being in the hustle and bustle of Sri Lanka for a week the Maldives felt like such a contrast! There’s no cars or traffic noise, just the sea, boats and people. People say there’s nothing to do in the Maldives, and that isn’t true! There is plenty to do, with sea excursions and activities or going to the spa, and the food is just phenomenal! We could have stayed for longer than a week with ease and I cannot wait to go back. The Maldives has captured a piece of my heart!
If I had to give advice, I would say remember to try and not worry about little things. When the day actually comes, you don’t notice the things that you think you will. It’s such a happy day and it goes so quickly, the minor details don’t seem like such a big deal on the day!
Also, if you’re in any way worried about what others or your guests will think of the day you have planned, just remember the people you have invited should only want the best for you both, therefore they are not going to look for fault.
Most importantly, enjoy it – it’s your day! Make sure you get a chance for that private moment, with a drink in your hand, and to dance the night away!