The venue Grays Court Hotel in York oozes elegance and charm with it’s gorgeous antique decor, picturesque country garden and surrounding cobbled streets. It truly creates the perfect setting for guests to have a whole lot of fun and share in the joy and love of this wonderful laid back, classic wedding!
Louise The Bride: We were quite clear from the outset on what we wanted our wedding day to look like – a very personal ceremony in the village where Nick and I grew up and where we first locked eyes on each other in the local pub (how romantic!), with a relaxed and informal reception surrounded by all our friends and family. I love vintage and shabby chic so that was an obvious theme and Nick was happy to go along with it!
The Brides Outfit
As soon as we got engaged I booked appointments for dress fittings (the most exciting part of all!) but knew I’d found the perfect dress the first time I tried it on at Confetti and Lace. It was a Pronovias ivory lace gown which I bought as a sample so it needed a lot of alterations but that was not too much trouble for the amazing Finishing Touches. I wanted customization and sparkle on the long train so bless them, they sewed 600 crystals on to the bottom – it matched perfectly with my veil which also had crystals sewn on – every girl loves a bit of bling after all! I loved the fact the dress had a detachable lace jacket which I had on for the ceremony and then took off at night –it created two looks and almost felt like two different dresses!
My headpiece came from Lou Lou Puchalka, a Leeds designer who custom made the piece especially for me. She matched it with the belt I bought separately from Pronovias and it all came together perfectly. My wedding shoes were Jimmy Choo and a lovely gift from my hubby to be which were purchased after we got in engaged whilst in New York – I knew he was a keeper then!
My bridesmaid’s dresses were from Coast and came in two different lengths – they looked so elegant and sophisticated (it’s not hard as they are all stunning!)
My beautiful nieces were flower girls and wore simple ivory dresses from Monsoon with lace detail at the top to match my dress.
Nick’s wore an electric blue Paul Smith fitted suit and Paul Smith shirt and my Dad, Best Men and Groomsmen wore next suits in a matching blue with custom made ties to match the colour of the Bridesmaids.
My friend recommended an amazing photographer, Natasha Cadman and when I viewed her work I knew instantly she would do the perfect job for our special day. It was important to capture our day naturally and unstaged. We met Natasha before the wedding to do a pre shoot and hit it off instantly, she knew exactly what we were looking for and I am forever grateful for all the amazing memories she captured.
My flowers were done by the village florist, Helen at Twigs. I wanted a country feel to my bouquet, matching in with the colour of the Bridesmaid’s dresses and had some of the off cuts of my dress wrapped round the bouquet to match in with the lace theme.
We chose Grays Court Hotel for our reception, a boutique hotel and historic heritage property in York’s city centre that boasts over 900 years of history. We wanted something different, with lots of character and when we stumbled across Grays Court we knew it was the one instantly. The Hotel is down a beautiful cobbled street just behind the Minster (You can actually see the Minster from the beautiful gardens at the back). It’s very quirky inside with lots of beautiful antique furniture. We loved the idea of a long table in the gallery room and 4 different reception rooms for our guests. We were sold and decided on the date of August 29th.
In the run up the wedding me, my Mum and my Bridesmaid Sarah spent most weekends and evenings surrounded by wedding arts and crafts! We wanted to create a homemade feel. We made the place cards, candle holders out of old jars wrapping with lace to match my dress, the table plan and my Sister kindly made all the invites.
My Mum and Aunt made our wedding cake, which had 3 tiers. We then had it iced by a friend and my Mum bought the stunning vintage stand and finished it with lace that went around the cake.
The day before was very hectic – me, Nick, my Mum, Nicks Mum and my Sister spent the day setting up at the venue, visiting the florist and dropping various things at the church – I slept so well that night (after having many sleepless nights before!) and woke up energized and ready for the big day. I loved the morning of the wedding, it was the most relaxed of all…apart from a little glitch first thing when the boiler decided not to produce any hot water – but we soon got over that!
I was so fortunate my fabulous friend Sayna is an amazing makeup artist and she did my makeup whilst the lovely Lauren Woodham did my hair and I relaxed with some fizz! All my family and bridesmaids, flower girls and page boys stayed at mine the night before so we all got ready together that morning, Natasha also joined us and got some fantastic shots of us all, which was very special. I thought I would be an emotional wreck on the day but after a little cry in the morning, I was fine and very excited to get to the church and see Nick looking back at me down the aisle!
Our wedding ceremony was in our local church, where Nick’s parents sing in the choir. It was very personal and we were extremely fortunate to be married by a family friend and Father of my best friend and Bridesmaid Sarah, the REV John H Walker who kindly agreed to come out of retirement just to marry us! John’s son, Jonny Walker is also an amazing and very talented musician so it was an honor to have him play to our guests before I arrived, whilst signing the register and also to our wedding march, the Beatles ‘All you need is love’. Walking down the aisle to see Nick and all my family and close friends was just incredible! It was a beautiful ceremony, Sarah and Nick’s cousins Jessie read two beautiful readings and John did the most incredible job and everything ran to a tee.
After the ceremony Nick and I and all our guests were transported on a red vintage bus from Yorkshire Heritage Bus, enjoying mini bottles of Prosecco and beer en route – Nick’s idea!
When we arrived at the hotel the sun was shining and we entered to Connor Mansfield Music playing the saxophone with Nigel Beetles on keyboard whilst everyone enjoyed canapés and Pimms in the garden overlooking the City Walls and York Minster.
Before we knew it we were called in for the wedding breakfast, a traditional hog roast (Nicks Favorite!) from the Hog and Apple with all the trimming followed by amazing cakes from Sugar Therapy served on vintage crockery I had sourched from the wonderful Add Vintage. The speeches were very heartfelt and there was not a dry eye in the house when my Dad made his and lots of laughter from the cheeky speech Nick did – the Best Men did a fab job too!
More time passed quickly and our evening guests arrived and we were entertained by the incredible Rebel Sounds.
There was plenty of food on offer from the fish and chip van Dodsons Fresh Catch and we had a sweet stall provided by Sweet Temptations. We danced the night away and no girls with sore feet had to worry as my Mum provided flip flips which went down a treat and everyone had lots of fun with the homemade fancy dress box we put together!
We had a perfect day, filled with love and laughter and didn’t want it to end! My advice for brides to be is, you can’t please everyone so go with what is important to you and although everyone says it, embrace every moment as I couldn’t believe how quickly 2am arrived and I wanted to go back and do it all again!
Photography by Natasha Cadman Photography
- Dress Designer Pronovias
- Bridal Boutique Confetti and Lace
- Seamtress Finishing Touches
- Headpiece Lou Lou Puchalka
- Bridal Shoes Jimmy Choo
- Bridesmaids Coast
- Flower Girls Dresses Monsoon
- Grooms Suit & Shirt Paul Smith
- Groomsmen Suits Next
- Venue Grays Court Hotel
- Florist Twigs
- Hog Roast Hog and Apple
- Cakes Sugar Therapy
- Sweet Stall Sweet Temptations
- Fish & Chip Van Dodsons Fresh Catch
- Crockery Add Vintage
- Entertainment Rebel Sounds
- London Red Bus Yorkshire Heritage Bus