Real Weddings

Lillian West for a pretty wedding at Askham Hall – Sally & Max

12th October 2020 | Sarah Symonds

Today’s featured real couple have done a bit of a ‘lockdown pivot’ with their pretty wedding plans and had a brilliant, sunny but safe celebratory day, even with the current rules in place.

The dreaded Covid-19 restrictions have wreaked havoc with this year’s plans, big or small, but for those of you who’ve had to postpone your weddings, scale plans down or are still deciding what to do, we’ve got some inspo for you from Sally and Max, who opted to just get on with tying the knot, despite Corona’s best attempts to derail their plans.

Having already moved the July wedding they’d planned to December, our couple weren’t convinced that their day would be able to go ahead at the end of the year either so they decided to do deed last month and, we must say, it’s come together beautifully and with utterly perfect late summer weather to boot!

We’ve got a pretty mint green palette, traditional church wedding vibes and a sense of intimacy only a lockdown mirco wedding can offer. Not to mention personal touches galore, some surprises courtesy of the Mother of The Bride and feat. the couple’s own dalmatian, Winston.

Bring on more 2020 weddings!

With photography by Bridgette Ibbotson Photography


Sally says: We got engaged on 28th December 2019, by the coast in Whitby. Max proposed whilst we were on a walk, overlooking the sea, with our dog Winston by our side. It was lovely.


We got married on Thursday 17th September 2020. We were originally getting married on 16th July 2020, but thanks to Covid we moved it to 17th December 2020. However, when that started to look unlikely, instead of moving it back yet again, we decided to bring it forward and have a smaller wedding with family and close friends. We chose this date as we really wanted to just get married. It was very ‘us’ and the weather was beautiful from dawn until dusk.

We were married in All Saints Church, Bolton, near Appleby-In-Westmorland as this is where I grew up. We were very fortunate to have Bishop James Bell conduct the service, who was actually brought up here, attended the same school as my father and his brothers and has retired back in Bolton village. It was a very personal and entertaining service.

The reception was at Askham Hall. We chose Askham Hall as it is a stunning venue. We wanted to give our guests a lovely experience as Max is from Suffolk and his friends and family would be travelling a long way. Both venues were perfect.


We had a pale mint green theme but were very easy going with everything else. The bridesmaids were all in mint green dresses, the napkins, glassware and even our wedding car was a duck egg blue/green colour. The car was actually a surprise and matched perfectly.

My mum, together with family friend Yvonne Marples, had a lot of input for the décor, and it was very special to us. Mum suggested ideas to Yvonne who took everything on board and coordinated the theme brilliantly, adding so many special touches. Yvonne’s favourite phrase was “Do not worry, I have it all in hand, it’s going to be fantastic!” She was right.


I wore a Lillian West dress purchased from ‘I Do’ Bridal in Cockermouth, Cumbria.

I loved the style of the dress, a lace/net bodice and sleeves, and silk skirt with a trailing hemline.


Max wore a navy blue Hugo Boss suit. As the wedding was only small, the groomsmen wore their own choice of suit and were not matching with the groom but they actually went together very well.


My bridesmaids all wore dresses from Monsoon. The flower girls wore an ivory dress with a duck egg green ribbon, and pink peony flower, with ivory shoes. The bridesmaids all wore mint green full length dresses.


Makeup was done by Leonie Ruddick and Bekah, and hair was by Rachel and Chloe of Chloe’s Hair & Beauty Langwathby.


The car was hired from Lakeside Travel Services. I travelled in a beautiful vintage Jaguar. It was extremely smart, spotless and very comfortable. It was actually a last minute replacement as the original car had broken down. Mum only booked it at 10am on the morning of the wedding! But it couldn’t have been more perfect. I had no idea we were getting a special wedding car at all!


Bridgette Ibbotson was our photographer. Would we recommend her? Absolutely! I couldn’t recommend her more highly. Bridgette’s photographs are absolutely stunning. She captured every moment, and I didn’t even notice she was taking pictures half the time. They are all so natural, and she is so talented.

I actually feel like I’ve made a really good friend throughout the whole process. She was so friendly from the first time we met and was so prompt at responding to me when I first enquired.

I have had so many comments on the beautiful photographs. I’m blown away by how lovely they all are. Bridgette followed Max and I to visit my Granda, as he had recently been very ill and couldn’t make the wedding, but she captured every single moment. It was so special, and I’ll remember it forever. My bridesmaids, sister and her fiancé all joined too, and we got some wonderful pictures.


We didn’t have a videographer, as our wedding was only small and shorter than normal. However, Bridgette did take a short video whilst we were visiting my Granda (I didn’t know about it so it was a lovely surprise). It is so special and definitely a tearjerker!


Appleby Flower Basket provided the wedding party flowers, including my beautiful bouquet of white garden roses, brodea, scabious,dill, white nigella, fountain grass and gypsophila. It was so light and easy to carry throughout the day. The bridesmaids carried gypsophila and the flower girls had rustic hoops with similar flower embellishment. Buttonholes of gypsophila and eucalyptus were provided for the entire wedding party.

Appleby Flower Basket also made beautiful arrangements using some of our family artefacts – milk churns, tea urns, old baskets etc – and also provided simple flowers to decorate the dining tables at The New Crown Inn Bolton, who catered magnificently for relatives and friends who had come to watch the wedding.

Yvonne Marples sourced all the flowers for the church and Askham Hall, using acres of gypsophila and mainly white flowers with only an odd touch of colour and ivy, eucalyptus and moss to complement. Lots and lots of candles, candelabras and lanterns. The result was simply stunning!


Askham Hall provided our party favours which were a raspberry macaroons and they were yummy. Yvonne commissioned handmade chocolate boxes with coins monogrammed with our initials (from Kennedy’s Chocolates, Orton) for each table.


Yvonne made it – it was beautiful and so tasty! It was a three tiered naked cake of Victoria sponge, lemon sponge and chocolate sponge. It was topped by bride and groom dalmatian figures as we own a dalmatian, Winston. It was mounted on a log slice and decorated at the base with flowers.


We had various wines available and provided by Askham Hall. They included a particularly lovely Champagne. Askham Hall supplies a lot of local drinks in their bar. It is lovely, especially the Lakeside Malt whisky.


We didn’t have any entertainment due to Covid-19 restrictions. To be honest, we didn’t require it as the night flowed perfectly and we had a late dinner, chatted and cut the cake. My husband, Max, used his phone to play music on Askham Hall’s music system which was a perfect soundtrack for our wonderful day.

Special touches

My mum added some secret special touches. She sourced some huge light up ‘LOVE’ signs, lighted trees on cable drum tables from Eden Event Hire for the reception in the barn at Askham. It all served to transform the large Askham wedding barn into an intimate and magical dining room.

She also used some family trophies won with our horses as candle holders to decorate the tables. There was a beautiful backdrop of glowing lights behind the top table. Mum made sure everyone had the same gypsophila buttonholes and the car was also a huge surprise. I had no idea about any car let alone the last minute arrangements!

Family and friends who couldn’t attend the actual ceremony came to watch the wedding from the churchyard and village, and it was so heartwarming to see everyone. The New Crown Inn, across the road from the church, provided socially distanced dining after the formal wedding party had left for Askham Hall.

Thanks to

Askham Hall were so accommodating with our date moves, and always put my mind at ease. They were so kind and friendly, our wedding coordinator, Jenny, was so obliging and answered all my questions so promptly. The food was delicious and it was such a stunning venue. The rooms were also beautiful, with stunning views.

Best bit

Honestly, the whole day! I don’t think I stopped smiling and laughing all day, and Max too! Although, walking arm in arm with my dad into the Church was very special. Then walking out the Church once Max and I were married was lovely too. It was so nice to see our family and friends greet us at church and in the village.

Also, our visit to see my Granda was such a special part of the day that I will cherish forever.

And then walking into the wedding barn at Askham Hall for the first time! We were blown away by the beautiful décor and transformation of the room.


We haven’t been on our honeymoon yet. We are hoping to maybe go somewhere next year. We have a weekend away by the seaside in Norfolk planned for October, which we are calling our ‘little honeymoon’.


My top tip for another couple would be to enjoy every moment. It all falls into place on the day, it really does.

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