Real Weddings

Jesus Peiro for an Elegant Barn Wedding at The Oakwood at Ryther – Sophie & Ralph

10th August 2021 | Sarah Symonds

We’re back again at our beautiful new wedding show venue, The Oakwood at Ryther, for today’s real wedding, as happy couple Sophie and Ralph are the first to tie the knot at this newly (and perfectly) renovated barn wedding venue in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside…

Luxury wedding barn venue, The Oakwood at Ryther, was once a family farm but has been lovingly transformed into a gorgeous, new and exclusive destination, complete with two stunning barns to choose from and luxury accommodation for your guests. Sophie and Ralph fell in love with it at first viewing and couldn’t imagine a better place to spend their biggest of days.

We love the styling of this one, and when the bride’s an interior designer, that really isn’t surprising! Sophie is a big fan of colour and had all of her bridesmaids and table arrangements in completely different but complementary hues, keeping details such as the flowers more neutral. We love it! We also especially love all the deeply personal touches, unique to the couple. After all these are the elements that make it your special day.

Over to you, Sophie!

With photography by UNVEILED Network Member Heather Butterworth Photography


Sophie says: Ralph had taken me to a gorgeous cottage in Penistone. We’d been there a few years prior so I knew we were in for an amazing stay. It was February, we had just returned from trudging through an unexpected snow storm and, with a cup of hot Yorkshire tea brewing, Ralph casually said he needed to grab something from the car. On his return, he thrust a crumpled paper bag at me with a pink piggy bank and a postcard on which he had written wonderful words, about how we have a great life together with our gorgeous dog, Winnie, and that he loves me, and asked if I would marry him. I had to re-read the card in disbelief!

I hadn’t realised but Ralph told me there was something inside the piggy bank, my engagement ring! His romantic gesture was ruined by my hot flush and I needed to sit down. I said yes and Ralph squatted (refusing to get on one knee) and put the ring on my finger.

One thing to note is that I sadly lost my dad in December 2018 but Ralph wanted him to be a part of that moment, so he made sure he asked me on Pancake Day, which is an event I used to spend with my dad every year. Mum was always leading a guide unit on Tuesday nights so it was our time together. This thoughtfulness floored me.


Our wedding date was June 26th 2021. We wanted a day with long daylight hours, June is both our birthday month and so already special to us.

We had everything at The Oakwood at Ryther. We viewed the venue before the first lockdown hit, for which we are so grateful. When we walked into the ceremony hall at the venue, the stunning oak beams took our breath away and I knew in my gut it had to be there. We also loved that we could have guests stay on site, do the whole wedding day in one place and the architectural style suited us down to the ground. It was the first venue we visited so we felt the need to see a few more, but we saw only two others and stopped the search there. When you know, you know.


We had no real theme, mostly black and white decor as we had different coloured fabric for the tables, ceremony and a backdrop to our photobooth. Each colour represented a significance in our lives. We used Yorkshire slang for the invitations, save the dates and wedding stationery, which I designed myself. We also had banners with large Yorkshire phrases on. The venue is so beautifully renovated, we didn’t want to go overboard and hide the beauty of it.

I’m an interior designer, there was no hope of me picking one colour. Colours are my life! We had nine different colours, one for each table, and the bridesmaids were in a variety of dresses which were different colours to each other too. Flowers were mainly white with greenery – eucalyptus and rosemary and ferns. My mum’s sweetpeas, in blues and purples, also featured.


I had a dress from UNVEILED Network Member Off-The-Peg Bridal and the designer was Jesus Peiro. I wanted something simple yet striking – the dress even had a pocket! A life-long family friend added gorgeous detail to the back of the dress, as I bought off the peg and it needed a lot of altering to get it down to my size and she added some flair which I love! It really was one of a kind.


Ralph bought a suit from Marc Darcy, a gorgeous blue tweed with cream and mustard details; so handsome!

The groomsman all wore their own suits, all three piece and blue. They all have matching ties from Next with sunflower details on and matching pocket squares from Slaters. They all had matching mustard yellow socks as well, which brought some extra sunshine to proceedings.


My girls wore different dresses; My Maid of Honour, Bex, my big sister, wore an embellished dusty blue gown by the designer Adrianna Papell, my best friend, Amy, wore an embellished full length midnight blue dress from ASOS and my cousin, Sami, wore an embellished grey gown from Coast. My flower girl and niece, Lettie, wore a sequined dress from Monsoon Kids and another niece,Hazel, got her suit from Etsy.


My lovely hairdresser Becky at Capelli did our hair with gypsophila sprigs and our make up was by the lovely Joanne Abbishaw.


No transport was required. We stayed on-site the night before. My Uncle Stan drove me in my late dad’s classic car, a Triumph Stag, away from the venue and back again so my mum and I could have time together before the day started.


Heather Butterworth and her lovely husband James captured the day perfectly. We met years ago and I haven’t seen her in a long time. It turns out Heather is immensely talented, I had never dreamed our photos would be as good as they are. Knowing what I do now about how Heather works, how amazingly talented she is and the experience we had with her and James, both before and during the wedding, I would choose them to do our wedding again in a heartbeat.

James was operating a video drone on the day and filming. Their approach to capturing the day is very much focussed around candid shots, which we much prefer to posed ones. The moments they have captured are priceless and we felt so at ease. Together they are an excellent team, gorgeous people and so good to have around on the day. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


We had Yorkshire white roses to represent the Yorkshire in us. My bouquet featured a white rose and some smaller white roses to remember my dad by. It also featured peonies in a light blush to add colour and lots of gorgeous foliage. I didn’t want colourful but architectural in shape and style. I am no expert so I was thrilled when Sarah, my florist, was happy to design the details around my request for Yorkshire white roses. Her company name is Liliana Floral Design, and I cannot recommend her enough. She’s very accommodating and went to extra effort to source a sunflower out of season for my husband’s button hole to remember his late mum by.

My bridal party had simple gypsophila bouquets and my flower girl had a smaller posy with a gypsophila flower crown. The boys had matching buttonholes made from small white roses and foliage.

Sarah also provided us with beautiful foliage for the tables, made up of ferns, eucalyptus and ruscus. My lovely mum cut flowers from her garden; sweet peas, white roses and cosmos.

​​I got some of my decor inspo from the Brides Up North Instagram account.


We got all the adults scratch cards and the kids had a mixed bag of sweets. The most anyone won was about £2 though. Unless they’re not telling us something..!


My lovely mum made our cakes. We had carrot, Madeira, Victoria sponge and a fruit cake. She also made a gluten free red velvet and some chocolate cupcakes. All were decorated with Italian meringue buttercream and some dried purple and white stocks.


Our catering was provided by the incredible Asparagus Green Outside. Anthony and James live locally to us, another bonus, and have looked after us brilliantly from start to finish. We had antipasti sharing board for starters, on beautiful slate boards. The mains were a choice of chilled Thai style prawn noodle salad, butternut squash (my fave) and feta risotto and lasagne (Ralph’s fave). They brought them out in small bowls so our guests could have one of each or mix and match if they fancied more of another meal. Dessert, because we couldn’t make up our minds, was a choice of Eton mess or apple crumble with custard.

The evening food was served from their gorgeous horse trailer and we had a choice of chip, bacon or sausage butties. Anthony was also our master of ceremonies and did the most incredible job. A lot of the running of the day was a success thanks to Asparagus Green, who are much more than just great food. They are good friends too now! We’d highly recommend them.


We had the fantastic Something For The Weekend by Jonny Ross Music for our evening band, who also provided us with DJ sets. We loved them; they have an excellent repertoire which has some great 90s dance classics in, which is totally my vibe and some golden oldies and Motown to please the crowd. Their energy was infectious, and the lead singer Josh has an excellent way of engaging with the guests, even the little ones. They were all really professional and hugely supportive as we had to make some adjustments with the current restrictions in place. There was no problem in housing them outside so our guests could dance. I would highly recommend them to anyone.

Special touches

As mentioned, I had my uncle drive me to the ceremony in my dad’s Triumph Stag, which he built himself when I was little, and Ralph had a sunflower as part of his buttonhole, which was his mum’s favourite flower.

We asked our guests to draw a picture of themselves as part of their RSVP and we used their ‘entries’ as their individual place names. As a memento, we are going to have them printed on to a tea towel, a bit like we used to do in primary school with our class sketches.

Thanks to

I would like to mention our amazing celebrant who officiated our ceremony beautifully. Helen Lesak, the Elegant Celebrant, first spoke to us when we found we couldn’t get a registrar on the day we had booked the venue. It was a blessing in disguise, as she put me at ease instantly and talked to us about how we could make the ceremony personal to us and the opportunities were endless. As we mentioned, not all of our parents could be there, and we were able to remember them in our ceremony, tell our story of meeting and share some lovely anecdotes which we wouldn’t have been able to do in the same way if we hadn’t had her. Helen pitched the ceremony perfectly, she had the right balance of sentiment and humour and every guest enjoyed it. She was a huge support to us in more ways than I am able to articulate, at what was a very emotional time. We felt in very safe hands and I am eternally grateful to her. Having her made our day so much more special.

It sounds cliche but all of our suppliers went above and beyond. Heather Butterworth, photographer, was so accommodating. She met us at the venue ahead of the wedding to scout it out with us and made us feel so comfortable about avoiding posed shots and having more candid ones. She fell pregnant before the wedding and kept going like a trooper without an issue. Just amazing!

Asparagus Green really listened to us and took care of us through the day, the band were so good in ensuring we’d have a great time even though inside dance floors weren’t allowed and my hairdresser, Becky, went above and beyond. She is also heavily pregnant and was even on her knees at one point to make sure our hair was perfect. She stayed until I was ready to walk down the aisle to make sure my veil was perfect.

The venue is stunning, very much our style. Ian and Janine, the owners at Oakwood at Ryther, have spent time concentrating on the finishing details of the design and it shows. They should be so proud. Everything was better than we could have hoped for.

Aside from the venue itself, the team were so supportive and communicated with us so well. We feel very privileged to have experienced and watched the venue develop over the last year, and can’t believe we were lucky enough to be the first couple to experience it in its full glory!

Best bit

It’s hard to pinpoint one moment. My sister, Bex, made sure Ralph and I went and had some time together on our own just before the first dance. We chatted for a few minutes away from everyone and digested the day a little easier than we might have had we not taken that moment. Just afterwards we rallied the troops to watch our first dance, we felt recharged and able to be present in the moment.


We spent a few days in the Scottish Borders to relax and reflect before going back to work.


Our advice would be to have a few minutes to yourselves – no photographer, no guests – just to chat and reflect, before the day ends.

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