Real Weddings

Essense of Australia for a Beautiful Wedding at Middleton Lodge – Brittany and Thomas

28th September 2021 | Alexis Forsyth

Botanical bliss perfectly sums up today’s exquisite wedding, which took place at the elegant and super romantic North Yorkshire venue, Middleton Lodge, earlier this summer.

Inspired by the understated, natural backdrop to this gorgeous wedding venue – Brittany and Thomas went all-out when it came to their florals and décor, teaming their creative styling touches – potted plants, garlands, vases and tea lights galore – with a plush green and neutral-toned palette. The bride even snuck in a few literary references to her favourite book, The Great Gatsby.

What really stands out though is the sheer amount of thought that went into so many different elements of their special day. Whether it was their family-made cake and cake stand, old photographs of cherished moments, lyrics and music personal to the couple, or their donation to a charity close to their hearts – there’s lots to learn here on how to make your wedding truly yours.

With images by UNVEILED Network Member Christopher Thomas Photography

Proposal

Brittany says: We got engaged on 13th April 2018 in Rome. We went to the Colosseum in the morning where Thomas was very stressed at the unexpected metal detectors as he had a ring in his pocket. We followed it with lunch at the most perfect Italian deli. We took a sweaty walk up to a viewpoint where Thomas spoke some beautiful words and took to one knee and asked me to marry him. We celebrated with wine and cocktails in various bars on the way back down the hill.

Setting

Our original wedding date was 3rd July. We picked this date as our anniversary was the 5th July. We wanted to wake up on the 5th July as a married couple ready for our next adventure, so we booked our honeymoon to leave on the 5th July. Our new date sadly had no romantic rationale behind it, we just chose a date that was available at our venue… bloomin’ Covid.

We got married at Middleton Lodge Main House. It was the last place on our visit list and as soon as we arrived, we fell in love and knew that’s where we had to marry. It tied everything we ever imagined up into one place. It’s lovely to know it’s somewhere we can return and stay to remember those happy memories.

Theme

We didn’t set out with a theme when we began planning the wedding. However, when we found Middleton, we realised that nature was one of the venue’s greatest assets. So, we decided to emphasise that and went down the botanical route. Then I managed to sneak in nods to The Great Gatsby – one of my first true loves. Its words helped shape big life decisions for me and so it was only right it featured on our big day.

We didn’t have a specific colour scheme. We started with the green tweed suits for the men. Green was a key colour at the beginning but when we went bridesmaid dress shopping, we decided to not be tied to a specific colour so opted to go for colours that toned well together. We then kept decorations and flowers very neutral. We didn’t want a heavy colour – we wanted to highlight where we were and the venue, given how beautiful it was.

Dress

I went for a strapless champagne-colored wedding dress. I tried on many dresses and lost hope on finding the one! Then, the incredible women at Dreamcatcher Bridal Boutique in Kirkham suggested this dress. As soon as I put it on, we all knew it was the one. It had beautiful floral details, a mink-coloured belt and a glittery skirt – something we didn’t notice till one of the final fittings as the sun came through a window!

I felt like a fairy in a woodland, it felt utterly romantic and the right kind of beautiful. The dress was Essense of Australia. I also wore a veil with flower details on, and it matched my dress beautifully. I never wanted to take it off, and even sat for my meal with it on.

My shoes were Rachel Simpson and the jewellery – a diamond necklace and diamond bracelet from Carrie Elizabeth – was gifted by the groom on the morning of the wedding.

Groomsmen

Thomas and the groomsmen wore sage herringbone tweed suits from Moss Bros. The ties and pocket squares were from Ted Baker. It took a long time to find the perfect tie and this one brought all the colours of the wedding together perfectly. His shoes were Tan Loake Brogues. I gave him two pairs of cufflinks on the morning of the wedding as I wanted him to choose. One were knots, to symbolise tying the knot. The other pair were bumble bees as an early nickname he had for me was Sweet Bee. He chose the bees!

Bridesmaids

I took the bridesmaids to Dreamcatcher Bridal Boutique in Kirkham and gave them free reign to choose a dress they felt comfortable in. It was testing at times, but on the day they all looked beautiful. It was a mix of Sorella Vita and Watters gowns. Our flower girl, Poppy, wore a dress I found on Etsy. Safe to say, she stole the show.

Beauty

We had our hair and makeup done by Your Bridal Team. I would highly recommend Caroline and Evangeline, they made us all feel comfortable and everyone looked so beautiful.

Transport

We stayed at Middleton the night before, so we didn’t need any transport. We wanted to wake up at Middleton ready to enjoy the day. We thought it would be nice to have a little rehearsal dinner with our family and key bridal party the night before. I then stayed with my Maid of Honour in a suite in the Dairy, as did the groom with his Best Man and Usher.

Photographer

Christopher Thomas was our photographer on the day. I would 100% recommend him, he instantly makes you feel at ease and relaxed. He helps you enjoy the day and when he took us off to do photos, he ended up creating some of our favourite moments, giving me my Gatsby moment, which he designed and executed beautifully without prompting.

When we received our sneak peek photos we were overwhelmed with how beautiful they were. He had given us the most beautiful images that summed up our day perfectly. They captured the beauty, love, joy, and pure happiness of our wedding. We couldn’t have imagined having a more perfect reminder of our day. Christopher creates magic.

Videographer

We get to relive the day through the images, but as words are so important it’s nice to hear those moments as well. It’s nice to know one day we can show our children our wedding day or share the videos with people who couldn’t be there.

We chose Sam Moss of Moss Wedding Films. He complimented Christopher perfectly. The videos are beautiful and breath-taking, and we would highly recommend him.

Styling

Askham Bryan provided our flowers for us. When I had a planning meeting with Sue she asked my opinion on peonies, and my heart did a flutter, as it was always my dream to have peonies in my bouquet. As the bridesmaids’ dresses were different colours, I wanted to go for neutral coloured flowers to compliment everyone. So we went for white flowers with plenty of greenery, including garden roses, peonies, succulents, and eucalyptus. They were so beautiful and we were totally overwhelmed by the incredible job they had done. It meant a lot to us as students made our arrangements, so they got to learn whilst they created them. It was great knowing our flowers provided a greater service than just making our day beautiful.

For our wedding reception I chose all our decorations and planned the tables. We picked vases and took them to Askham Bryan to fill them in the same style as the bouquets. I collect copies of The Great Gatsby from different countries I visit and collect copies with different covers. We decided to pick four different covers for the four different tables. For the top table, we had the Italian copy that we bought the day after we got engaged, and each table was picked with just as much care and sentiment.

Each table was made up with vases of flowers, tea light holders, artificial garlands, candles, and potted plants. I wanted to keep the wooden table exposed as it sat as the best base for our natural botanical theme. We had a special arrangement for the top table along with different tea light holders to make it stand out.

For the guest book table I selected a collection of prints, song lyrics, quotes, greeting cards and put them in different gold frames, this was coupled with a picture from our engagement and when we bought our first house. Central to this was a velvet hoop reading ‘Remember when all this seemed impossible’ which seemed fitting to the timing and occasion. This came from Oh Squirrel as did some of the prints, the others came from Etsy. We had another table displaying pictures with each of our guests.

Our table plan was a wooden frame, with table lists I created myself and printed out. It was finished with pages from The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, specifically talking about cake. It sat on an easel that belonged to the grandfather of the groom, who sadly could no longer be with us, so it felt like he was part of the day. Eloise, sister of the groom and bridesmaid, filled the back with plants and greenery to incorporate it perfectly into the rest of the decorations.

Setting up was a family and friends’ effort the day before and it wouldn’t have been what it was without them.

Favours

We gave each guest a packet of wildflowers, along with a donation to Dementia, in memory of the father of the groom who sadly passed away last year.

Cake

My mum, Milos Kitchen, made our wedding cake along with a range of cookies, brownies and other goodies. We opted for a buffet style cake table of treats as we thought our guests would enjoy a range of options to pick at throughout the night. The bottom tier of the cake was raspberry and white chocolate with Italian white chocolate buttercream. The top tier was lemon and limoncello with lemon and limoncello buttercream.

The cookies ranged from white chocolate and macadamia nuts to salted caramel. Meanwhile, the brownies consisted of cherry bakewell blondies, blueberry cheesecake, salted caramel, and Bailey’s. It’s safe to say these went down very well, with guests taking them home. They were utterly divine and it meant so much that my mum made them.

Dining

Canapes were a highlight for us both and one of our favourites was goat’s cheese and beetroot macaroon. We wanted everyone to have the same starter so we went for Heritage tomato salad, basil, balsamic and mozzarella. We thought this would be refreshing and light for a summer wedding.

For the meat main, we went for rump of lamb, charred Hispi cabbage, turnip, black garlic, lamb crumpet. Lamb is the groom’s favourite and we are both big garlic fans! For the vegetarian option we chose roast Hispi cabbage, squash, potato gnocchi, toasted seeds and maple dressing.

For pudding, again we opted for the same one for everyone – bakewell tart, white chocolate ice cream and raspberries, which was a huge crowd pleaser.

The food was incredible, we are still getting compliments about it, which is so good to hear as we both love food!

For the wine we went for house wine on the tables, then as a treat for our top table guests we chose Roundstone Bay, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand and Los Harlodos, Malbec, Argentina. Wine nights are a thing in our family so it was important for us to pick good wine for the top table.

Entertainment

We chose a guitarist, David Aryn, for the guests’ arrival, ceremony and drinks reception. He was brilliant and I would highly recommend him. We requested a couple of songs that weren’t on his song list which he learnt and performed brilliantly. The groom’s favourite band is The Offspring, so we requested one of their songs as part of our wedding set list in addition to our aisle song. Not only did he perform the song we requested, but he did it as we appeared for confetti, which was one of our wedding highlights and a moment we will never forget.

We then had a DJ, Phil Reed, for our night do. He gave us the opportunity to select a list of songs we wanted before the day, which ensured we got some of our favourites.

Special touches

Scent was something we wanted to prioritise for the wedding, as we knew we would always remember the way our day smelt so it was key to get it right. We had to buy a lot of candles and settled on Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin. As soon as we walked into the tent, that’s all you could smell. It was perfect. A scent we will always associate with our wedding day and every time we smell it we are transported back.

We had a frame featuring four photos, each from our parents’ weddings, and it was nice to remember those moments on our day. We also had a box of flip flops so people could enjoy dancing without painful feet. We put out games and had a basket of blankets for when the summer sun went away.

We also had three readings at our wedding, delivered by my step-mum, stepdad, and our usher. We wanted all our family to feel as important on the day as they meant to us.

For our original invitations we used Rosewood Co. Megan was brilliant. She made us beautiful invitations, then when our wedding was cancelled, she designed a free digital print for us to send to our guests to announce our new date.

My step-dad owns a woodworking business, Milo’s Woodstore, and he surprised us by designing and making our cake stand. The lid comes off so we can also use it as a memory box.

Thanks to

We’d 100% recommend our venue, as without question it was flawless. There isn’t a single thing I would change. The venue was perfect and it gave us our dream wedding – one which seemed like it would only exist on Pinterest! Tilly, our wedding coordinator, went above and beyond at every stage of the process, and I couldn’t speak any higher of her, she is exceptional at her job.

Best bit

Picking one moment is too hard so we will go with our top three! Firstly, our confetti moment, as we came out of the door David started to play The Offspring, it was perfect because it wasn’t traditional, it was just us and in that moment it felt like the perfect day; our day.

Secondly, after our first dance, the DJ started to play I Wanna Dance with Somebody and every single person got on the dancefloor and started to dance. It was pure magic and the perfect moment after 16 months of lockdown as people were free and happy.

Lastly, marrying my best friend. After delaying the wedding for a year, it reminds you what matters most, and I am just glad I am finally Mrs Perry.

Oh, and the speeches were rather incredible too!

Honeymoon

We booked Bali, leaving two days after we married but sadly Covid prevented this from happening. So, we did a mini-moon in the UK and stayed at Rudding Park Spa for a couple of nights, where we had treatments and wonderful food, especially Horto.

Then we moved on to Manchester for a couple of nights where we had afternoon tea at Cloud 23, and lots of food and cocktails.

Then we headed home for a night at Roots in York, and a trip to Yorkshire Heart Vineyard. It was a wonderful week; we are still working out what to do about Bali.

Advice

Remember it’s your wedding, no one else’s. You can spend time perfecting every little detail but make sure you sit down as a couple and decide which details matter to you both and put your time into getting those bits right. Take time on the day together to take it all in because you will be marrying the love of your life and that’s all that matters.

Brides Up North was a huge help, especially at the beginning of the planning process. It’s Find A Supplier directory is the perfect place to go for ideas and options. Looking at Real Weddings is such a big inspiration too, as it’s much nicer to see real brides and grooms than models and staged moments. It helped us prioritise which parts of the wedding we wanted to spend more time on getting right.

We also attended one of their wedding shows, which I would really recommend as it is much better to see and meet suppliers in real life, and viewing their work and products helps to bring the day together in your head.

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