Just Rock It.


Just rock it – excellent advice from Bride Jess to all our lovely RMW readers this morning. Jess definitely did, she looks gorgeous in her tea-length gown, choosing to leave traditional gowns because they weren’t for her. Everyone at this wedding just looks so happy and relaxed, which I think reflects the fact that Jess didn’t stress over the planning. Although sipping champagne in the spectacular Winter Gardens may also have contributed to the smiles! The Winter Gardens makes for a gorgeous wedding venue, so open, inviting and elegant with light streaming through the windows. You can almost see ghosts of couples past swirling around the Victorian dance floor.

Just a quick warning before we begin – I’m afraid this wedding will definitely make you want to go and get pick and mix.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

A Blank Canvas

Jess The Bride: The venue we chose was the Winter Gardens in Ilkley. We decided to get married fairly quickly as neither of us like to hang around talking about things for years! We looked at 3 venues and the second we saw Winter Gardens we knew it was perfect. It’s such a beautiful, stylish place and best of all, it was a blank canvas and you can do with it whatever you please.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

Cool And Calm

Our make-up was done by Francesca-Del-Bono who did my sisters wedding make-up 10 years ago! She was so cool and calm that there was never another option for us. I asked Francesca for a natural look and that’s exactly what I got. It stayed on all day and looks fabulous on the photos. I would recommend her without a shadow of a doubt – she’s very talented!

winter gardens wedding ilkley

A Tea-Length Dress

I went to one wedding dress shop (Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden) and within half an hour had picked my dress. I tried 2 traditional dresses on and it didn’t feel right. I’d always imagined I’d wear a tea-length dress and when I saw the Ian Stuart Jetset that I ended up buying, I just loved it.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

It came with a bolero jacket but I decided to soften the style by wearing a Monsoon angora shrug a la Kate Middleton! I only had my first fitting 3 days before the wedding as we planned it all in 4 months, but luckily, after a few quick adjustments, it was spot on!

winter gardens wedding ilkley

Let The Shoes Do The Talking

I decided not to wear any jewelry as my dress had a beautiful corsage that I’d had fitted to the waist so I didn’t want to take away from that. I had a veil that I forgot I had until about 10 minutes before leaving the house so I quickly attached it and dashed. I think it looked quite funky! I also chose the most fabulous Nine West shoes to go with my outfit and they sort of stole the show!

winter gardens wedding ilkley

Dusty Pink

We decided not to have a colour scheme but one ended up emerging as we planned things. My sister and best friends were bridesmaids and as my best friend lived in London we picked the dresses without her and she only had one fitting! The dress (just about) fit on the day! All of the bridesmaid and flower girl dresses (I had two flower girls, my 2 nieces) were Dessy from Emma Hartley Bridal in Barrowford. I bought my bridesmaids a shawl from Monsoon the week before the wedding and I bought the flower girls cardis from Next and cute pink Converse to wear with their outfits.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

My husband was left to chose the mens outfits and typically chose the most expensive he could find! He and his brother (who was his best man) plus his four ushers wore suits from Reiss with a pink tie and handkerchief that I dashed to buy the week before as he hadn’t had time to sort it! I bought my husband some beautiful peony cufflinks from Not On The Highstreet as a gift.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

Photo Bunting

There wasn’t a particular theme we went for, the whole day was just about being chilled and having fun (with a little bit of style thrown in!). I wanted guests to feel relaxed so we hired in quite a few sofas that were scattered around. To make guests feel included we made photo bunting including everyone at the wedding and pictures of them on their wedding days. It was a great talking point.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

As the Kings Hall next door to the Winter Gardens is a theatre we had some movie posters made by Sara at Assembly Marketing with our faces on which gave people a bit of a giggle! A vintage style theme ended up emerging.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

War Of The Roses

Emma from Emma’s in Baildon, who is a very good friend of mine, did our wedding flowers. She has such style and elegance and knew exactly what we wanted. We had hand tied bouquets for our flowers with lots of pink roses; upper secret, la belle, sweet dolmiti, avalanche sorbet and peonies. All of our direct family had buttonholes – Andy’s family with white roses for Yorkshire and mine with red roses for Lancashire!

winter gardens wedding ilkley

Each table in the venue (including all the small tables for coffee) had jam jars filled with a selection of lovely quirky vintage style flowers along with lots of tea lights scattered everywhere. Our centre table had a large martini glass arrangement which was fabulous! Emma also styles venues as part of her wedding business and she did an incredible job bringing the whole concept together on the morning of the wedding. The church provided the flowers in the church. We asked for wooden love hearts on the end of the pews and they created 3 arrangements matching the flowers Emma had used throughout the venue.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

Calm And Collected

The ceremony was quite traditional as was required by the vicar. We decided not to have a reading but had 3 hymns, my favorite of which being Jerusalem. I was very nervous about the church but it ended up being the part I enjoyed the most. I felt really quite calm during the service and just enjoyed being there and started looking forward to the party! When we were standing at the altar my dad got his phone out to turn it onto silent – only I noticed but it made me laugh!

winter gardens wedding ilkley

We drove from my parents house to the church then reception in a Bentley (myself and my dad) and in a VW campervan called Dylan (the bridesmaids and my mum) which were a lovely touch! The drivers were so nice and kept us all very calm.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

A Gorgeous Atmosphere

During the reception drinks upon arrival we had a guitarist (Jack) playing. Then during coffee and cake the guitarist was joined by his partner Gemma and they did 2 sets for us. The duo are called Jack and Gills Daughter and they were so lovely and chilled and created a gorgeous atmosphere.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

During the evening we had a band called Northern Xposure playing who are fabulous! We’d seen them at a few other events and knew we had to have them. A DJ then followed into the wee hours!

We didn’t want to have a first dance as we knew it would be totally awkward. Instead we just got up to dance for the first song that the band played (Black-eyed-peas – tonight’s gonna be a good night), which turned into our first dance! The best entertainment we had for the evening was the photo booth from Booth Revolution. We had it from 8:30-11:30 and it was hilarious! It also gave people something to take away with them which was great. Well worth every penny!

winter gardens wedding ilkley

A Talented Usher

The food was catered for by the venue and it was lovely. We had a roasted veg and mozzarella stack for starters, with feathered blade of beef bourguignon for main and cheese and biscuits for after’s. Cake and coffee was then served upstairs. In the evening we had nice sandwiches and home cut chips. One of our ushers is a pastry chef at a Michelin star restaurant and he made macaroons for all the guests as name places. They were amazing and people are still talking about them now! Lee is hoping to expand into wedding macaroons and can be contacted on 07974364301.

Let Them Eat Cake

Our wedding cake was made by one of my best friends Lynn from The Wee Bakery. Lynn has built TWB up from just making a few cakes for people to now having her own shop and bake-house. She is incredibly talented and just knows the vibe and style you’re after. And, when you have a consultation with her you get to eat cake! We had 4 tiers – fruit, lemon, vanilla and chocolate – and everyone was equally delicious.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

Home Made Stationery

All the paper goods were designed and made by myself! Along with the odd helper, I made all the save the dates from a pre-wedding shoot photo we’d had taken with the fabulous Jess Petrie (who was also our wedding photographer – do not use anybody but this lady if you’re getting married! – She’s amazing!). We had simple brown craft card invites with the details printed on as invites. It was simple but stylish.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

I bought large wooden photo frames and created a table plan to fit. Other DIY details we had were an introduction of the bridal party which we handed out with the hand made order of service in church. It gave people something to read and was quite funny so people enjoyed it.

We made bags of confetti, which our nephews handed out while we were signing the register. We placed baskets of lovely products in the toilets at the venue so people could freshen up during the day and evening. During the meal we had a paper quiz about me and my husband and gave out champagne to the winner.

Nothing Changes

Don’t let planning a wedding take over your life. It is just one day, a fabulous day, but just one and it’s over before you know it. So, chill out and enjoy it and make sure you carry on with your normal life in the meantime!

Ignore people who tell you everything changes after you’re married. We’ve been together for 12 years and I didn’t want anything to change, but was repeatedly told it would. Guess what – it hasn’t, and why would it! Try to circulate at the wedding as you do feel like you spoke to nobody when you wake up the morning after! Enjoy being with your family on the morning of your wedding – it was one of the funniest and nicest mornings of my life.

winter gardens wedding ilkley

Your Most Expensive Outfit Ever

If, like me, you’re not keen on being the centre of attention, try your best to embrace it. You’re going to be looked at by everyone and actually, you’re probably going to look the best you’ll ever look and be wearing the most expensive outfit you’ve every worn and feel amazing – so just rock it! Don’t forget the reason you’re getting married. It’s all about love so wear your heart on your sleeve and smile! We had so many cards after the wedding saying how happy we looked all day and how happy that made people feel. So, if in doubt, smile, laugh and enjoy!

Click here & view all images from this wedding

Bride – Ian Stuart
Groom – Reiss
Venue – The Winter Gardens
Bridesmaids – Dessy
Groomsmen – Reiss
Make-up artist – Francesca-Del-Bono
Florist – Emma’s Home and Garden
Favours – Groomsman Lee (07974364301)
Cars – Yorkshire Wedding Car Hire
Band – Northern Xposure
Cake – The Wee Bakery
Photographer – Jess Petrie

See what I mean about the Winter Gardens being such a gorgeous venue? So light, airy and elegant – I’d have felt very Strictly Come Dancing if I had been there.
The photo bunting using guests wedding photos is also ingenious and aren’t the floral centre pieces spectacular?

Lots of love,
Fern x

Author: Fern Godfrey
Fern spends most of her time dreaming about weddings and trying to convince her long-suffering boyfriend to propose. Lucky enough to live in sunny Cornwall, if you need her – you’ll find her at beach.

18 thoughts on “Just Rock It.

  1. Love the write up on this. I love the advice by Jess about not wanting to be the centre of attention but embracing it and feeling fab – this will be my mantra! also I think marshmallows would be acceptable for this mornings breakfast.

  2. Jess’s advice is fantastic, about enjoying the morning of the wedding and also just enjoying being the centre of attention. It obviously worked because she looks so amazing and happy – as does Andy. A great blog 🙂

  3. Well, any venue that has palms is pretty darn fabulous to me.

    I love the shot taken from the bottom of the aisle looking at the wedding party….Jess looks like a dolly!


  4. I get married 5 weeks today – eek.

    And this just made me cry, so many little elements are the same as ours and I hope our guests love our day as much as your guests did yours. Your dress is just gorgeous and I kind of wish Id tried on more tea length gowns, even though I do love mine!!

    Were having the saying from Winne the Pooh on the back of our order of service: If there ever comes a day when we cant be together, keep me in your heart I’ll stay there forever.

    Tears tears tears. Oh dear Im at work too!!

    Happy life together 🙂 xx

  5. I love the happiness that radiates from these images – what a fantastic wedding! That venue looks gorgeous, the flowers are stunning and that cake? Wow! I really love those shoes, too!
    Congratulations to Jess + Andy!
    ps. You’re right Fern, I’d kinda really like some pick n’ mix now!

  6. @Mel – Marshmallows are completely acceptable at any time of day.

    @Pamela – *waves* – we’ve missed you!

    @Hels Bels – 5 weeks! exciting! You will have the bestest day pet.

    @Kim – Flowers are gorgeous aren’t they? I am inspired to buy similar for the house this weekend.

    Charlotte xxx

  7. My my my. How stunning. The light is incredible and captured perfectly by Jess Petrie.

    Love the swing shot! If it was sunny I’d be on my way to the park to play!

  8. I absolutely adore the Winter Gardens. Such a beautiful venue. Can’t wait to photograph a wedding there! This all looks so pretty and relaxed and fun – a perfect feel for a wedding I’d say. Utterly lovely. And the dress is perfect. Four months to plan the perfect wedding. How marvellous! x

  9. Hi
    Love this wedding.
    We have the same suit for the groom and have been looking for a gorgeous pink tie like this groom’s- could you tell me where you got them from please?
    Shanel x 7 weeks to go!

  10. Hi Jess,
    Congratulations! We are getting married at the Winter Gardens next year and we just have two questions:

    1) Are they real tea-lights in the votives on the tables, or battery powered?
    2) Who did you use for the sofas etc.

    Katy x

  11. Hi Katy, you can’t use tealights at Winter Gardens – they were battery. The sofas were from Blacks furniture near York – they were very good. I bought the cushions to make them a little more relaxing. Enjoy! x

  12. Loved all the details. You mentioned you bought large wooden photo frames and created a table plan to fit? What does that mean exactly? What did you use the frames for? Planning my May wedding!

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