The view from within Sandburn Hall is stunning. I can only imagine how incredible it must have been sat in front of the extensive window during the wedding breakfast and then looking out onto the stars during the evening reception. Plus Griffon Forrest and the nearby woodlands have resulted in some breathtaking portraits by Neil Jackson Photography.
The locations aren’t the only wow factor, bride Becky wears a gorgeous fitted Stewart Parvin gown with a tulle skirt overlay, ensuring she is dressed perfectly for the day and night celebrations.
Becky the Bride: Sam and I both have big families so our wedding was never going to be a small event! But despite that, we wanted the day to feel simple and laid-back, centred around our family and friends coming together.
Finding a venue in Yorkshire that suited our style was surprisingly difficult and we spent hours searching. We visited a handful of venues, from manor houses to marquees, but as soon as we saw Sandburn Hall – the wooden beams, the light streaming in through the huge window and the simplicity of the big open space – we knew it was the one.
We also had the added bonus of having Griffon Forest, a beautiful hideaway of lodges, just around the corner, which meant we could stay in the forest for the entire weekend with our family and friends.
We were both agreed on a humanist ceremony from the very beginning, having been to a few before. For us, the personal element and the sentiment that came across about the commitment we were making, seemed perfect.
We came across Ewan Main, a humanist celebrant in York and couldn’t have wished for anyone else to marry us. Ewan took so much time to get to know us, as a couple and as individuals, and built a script that captured everything we wanted to say.
It was really easy to get caught up in the ‘event’ planning so our meetings with Ewan were really nice, welcome reminders of what the day was all about when all we could see were table plans.
Our chief bridesmaids Rachel and Beth gave readings – one of which was a poem written by my Mum – and one of my oldest friends Adam sang as we walked down the aisle, with my sister’s partner Mark playing the acoustic guitar. It was incredibly special and made the ceremony even more personal. It still gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!
I love the styling element of events and fortunately for us, we have lots of creative family and friends so and the fact that Sandburn Hall was a real blank canvas was perfect.
Sam is a designer so he created all of our wedding stationery, which complimented the simplistic style of the day and ran through everything from our save the dates to our order of the day and the place settings.
The majority of the decor was done by myself and my very talented sister Beth, who runs a wedding styling store, Two Stories (which was extremely handy!). The venue didn’t need to much adding to it so we stuck with lots of white and greenery, which looked stunning against the wood.
We sourced and put together everything from easels and vases to garlands, photo ladders, whiskey favours, ribbon backdrops, signs, frames and candles. We even hand cut our own confetti and roped my Dad into making signs for the driveway!
I loved the cracked gold vases, which we gifted out, and the customised signs and wooden bunting.
One of my favourite finds was also the white drapes which hung from the beams. I spotted them in pictures from a previous wedding and, through our venue, contacted the bride to find out where she’d bought them from. It turned out she still had them in storage and kindly offered them to us, so they were lovingly recycled.
The final touch was the fairy lights by Wedding Venue Lighting. We had hundreds wrapped around each beam, which made the venue look even more magical in the evening.
I knew the style of dress I was looking for but it wasn’t until I started trying different shapes on, that I realised what I thought would suit me, really didn’t!
After a few disappointing trips I finally visited Limelight Occasions (the most beautiful boutique with an incredible runway) and found a Stewart Parvin dress, which I fell in love with straight away. I also really liked the idea of a separate skirt and Limelight had one which paired perfectly. The dress was such a simple column style so the skirt added a modern twist and transformed it during the day.
Sam wore a navy Reiss suit, tailored to fit, with a pale grey pocket square and bow tie from a great online store called OTAA. The bow tie made Sam stand out from his groomsmen nicely.
We really liked the grey and navy contrast, which worked well with bridesmaid dresses and the neutral theme throughout. The suit was completed with Paul Smith brogues.
Our groomsmen all wore matching ties and pocket squares from the same company as Sam’s. We bought their suits from Moss Bros as the colour was a perfect match with Sam’s and it worked well for measurements and collection as they all live in different places.
We had six bridesmaids so finding a shape and style to suit all wasn’t easy, but the dresses from Monsoon looked amazing on every one of them and the multiway straps meant they have the option of wearing it slightly different ways. We loved the soft green shade against the navy suits and the greenery of the bouquets.
As well as venue styling, my sister also made personalised wedding hangers for each of us, including mini ones for the flower girls, which our dresses hung from in the morning.
Sophie at Sophie’s Flowers & Events created all of our bouquets and buttonhole pins, which were just stunning and all tied into the neutral style of the day. My bridal bouquet was packed full of the most beautiful white flowers which contrasted perfectly with the bridesmaid bouquets, which were wilder and full of lush greenery. Even the buttonholes were exquisite, with a thorn in for the guys and white flowers for the mums. Sophie even managed to source my favourite peonies just as they were going out of season.
And to make it even more special my Mum had prepared a lucky sixpence to tie onto my bouquet in the morning, which looked stunning.
Our family and friends love to dance so a big band was high on our list of priorities when it came to planning. We did lots of research and came across Jukebox, a young, fun and talented seven piece band, complete with the trumpets I was hoping for! We worked with the manager on our playlist beforehand and they also learnt the song for our first dance, which was a really nice touch. They sounded absolutely incredible on the night and the dancefloor was full the entire time, which is always a good sign!
Sam’s Mum, Laura made our incredible wedding cake. It was a naked cake, with three tiers of white chocolate and raspberry, Limoncello and strawberry cream. She even made a gingerbread bride and groom, complete with a veil and bow tie, to top it off!
Another family friend kindly made 100 stunning cupcakes, which we served with our welcome drinks and canapes. And our bridesmaid Rosie and friend Tom put together a Pimp your Prosecco table in the garden, filled with berries and liquors, which people loved.
Our photographer Neil Jackson was amazing. He was recommended by a friend (always a good sign) and we loved his style straight away. Without being staged or overly-engineered, each shot perfectly captured the people, emotions and atmosphere of each moment, in the most natural way. Neil made it really easy on the day too and had the expert ability to organise people without us, or any of our guests, even noticing.
Our final photographs arrived in the most beautiful wooden box filled with greenery and acorns, which was a really special touch. It was definitely one of the best decisions we made.
We didn’t want to capture the day too formally as we knew we’d have lots of amazing pictures but wanted to film the important bits (the ceremony and the speeches). A professional videographer was always a ‘nice to have’ so instead we hired a video camera and tasked Sam’s groomsmen Dan and Ad with the job. And we were so glad we did because the footage is so natural and they had so much fun with it, especially as the night went on!
Our wedding day was made so special because of the time, effort and input our friends and family put in. I was really conscious not to give out too many ‘jobs’ but quickly realised that everyone wanted to play a part, which was really lovely and overwhelming.
My advice? Don’t get too hung up on the detail. It is important to some extent, but we spent so many late nights painstakingly deliberating over the order of the playlist and the position of a lantern, which of course, neither of us even noticed on the day.
A few weeks before the wedding, a friend also told me that ‘something will go wrong, and it will be okay’ and she was so right! Unfortunately for us it was the wedding breakfast. Granted, it is was a pretty big thing to go wrong and wasn’t pleasant in the moment, but even so it really didn’t ruin our day at all. We were simply too happy!