Inspiration

For those of you currently planning a winter wedding, this sumptuous occasion will most definitely get you excited. Sarah is a designer, one of the duo behind the gorgeous Hope & Ivy (whose dresses the whole RMW team were swooning over) and so naturally her big day is just beautiful. The gorgeous bridesmaids dresses were designed by Sarah and you can shop a similar style here :) A Yorkshire couple living in London, Sarah and Alex were determined to get married in the Dales and show their London friends the beauty of the surroundings. They even had their blessing at the family church. All of the magic has been captured by Carla Blain in her dreamy, dark and dramatic style. Let's take a look shall we?

The Bride

Sarah The Bride: I feel very lucky that for a living I get to design dresses pretty much every day I am also like most designers I know and I’m never truly happy with any one design, we are a very self critical breed! So when I began my wedding journey I took the decision to rule out designing and making my own dress as I knew I would be constantly changing my mind daily. However I am super fortunate that my best friend and Bridesmaid Julia Kellam conveniently owns the most stunning bridal boutique - Frances Day Bridal, Southwell in the Midlands. I had the full Frances Day Bridal treatment along with my Mum and Bridesmaids. It was so special to find something so perfect in her collection, the Enzoani dress was infact the last one I tried on as a bit of wild card. As I said - never content, Jules helped me create two looks. Classic for the day we added a gorgeous and cosy beaded pearl cover up and a pearl incrusted belt and then for the evening I wanted to add a bit of lux. I had something very specific in mind so Julia introduced me to the incredibly talented designer Miss Clemmie who custom made my gold leaf crown and belt. Serious perfection! I cried when they arrived in the post, truly gorgeous pieces which I will treasure for a life time. It was a lovely moment on the morning of the wedding when my dad presented me with a small gold bracelet which he had picked out for me (possibly with a little help from my mum) it was beautiful and just perfect.

The Groom

Alex and I are known to fall out about fashion at times (he owns some seriously questionable shirts which he’s hanging on to - I swear from the 90’s). But miraculously we were both on the same page when it came to his suit. We went for a country gent look - well when in the dales! We selected a checked wool fabric and had a three piece suit custom made. He styled it back with a paisley silk tie and pocket square and tan coloured buckle shoes and belt. He definitely pulled it off and looked super dapper.

The Venue

Alex and I travel back up to the Yorkshire dales at any opportunity we get. Most of my family and friends still live there and we just love it. We couldn’t entertain having the reception anywhere else especially with the lure of the rural rolling hills and quant stone walls as back drop. Yorebridge House is an award winning boutique hotel a short distance from the village where I grew up in. Once a victorian schoolhouse (where actually my great uncle attended) has bags of charm and character at every turn. Yorebridge allowed us to have the perfect amount of luxury and intimacy with an added touch of christmas class as we took over the whole house for the weekend. As we had lots of guests we opted for a marquee which became a great extension of the house. I put my creativity to the test and finally got a chance to bring all those pinterest mood boards to life. Along with our super team lead by my dad we transformed what was a big open bare space into a cosy winter wonderland filled with lots of greenery hanging from the ceiling, antique brass chandeliers, candles sticks galore and lots of twinkling lights. All of which we managed to beg borrow and steal from local stores and friends and family. Always a bonus when you know pretty much everyone in a 10 mile radius, and that’s actually what made the whole run up for me, everyone just pitched in and they were more than happy to do so. It was utterly heart warming and quite overwhelming. The hotel bedrooms were to die for, each designed differently inspired by all corners of the globe. We stayed in Mougins on our wedding night which had a pretty French theme, with antique chandeliers, roll top bath and a gorgeous Narnia wardrobe we wanted to bring back to London with us. Post wedding we stayed in a Moroccan themed room, the main feature was a stunning intricately hand carved headboard. Alex and I reflected on the weekend with a glass of fizz in our own private hot tub - a perfect end to what was the most wonderfully perfect weekend.  

The Flowers

You could say I’m kind of obsessed with flowers! Every print I design for my brand ends up somehow being covered in pretty flower motifs, I love to draw and paint them and as cheesy as it sounds flora and fauna has become a big part of me. We always joke in the studio that if you cut me in half I would haemorrhage flowers upon flowers. When it came to finding someone to take on the unenviable task of arranging the flowers I knew I wanted to find someone with a real flare. Harriet Coates who lives locally and is a fellow dales girl was fantastic to work with and definitely delivered. Her knowledge was immeasurable and she managed to educate and offer advice on what was and wasn’t available being a December wedding. We decided upon a loose natural bouquet made up of various grasses, berried eucalyptus, eryngium - which is thistle like and a managerie of blush and deep velvety red roses all bound with a velvet ribbon. My something old was an antique gold broach I had fastened to the ribbon on my bouquet which was my great grandmother’s, It even had a lock of hair in it! My bridesmaids and flower girls had smaller versions of my bouquet and Alex and the groomsmen had eryngium, white wax flower and dried lavender button holes all bound with the same vevet ribbon. I used the same flowers from my bouquet throughout the rest of the wedding displays from the pedestals in the church which were kindly arranged by my creative cousin Niall to the centre pieces on the tables in the reception which were an eclectic mix of cut glass decanters and antique brass vases. We also used lots and lots of holly which we stripped from my parents and my grandparents gardens, it worked perfectly in the church woven through candles with the accents of red from the berries. Super festive and wintery!

The Wedding Party

After feeling pretty guilty about not designing my own dress I thought I would never forgive myself if I didn’t design my bridesmaid dresses, and I’m so glad I did! My four best friends looked absolutely gorgeous (if I do say so myself) I honestly could not stop looking at them through out the day, when I probably should have been staring into Alex’s eyes I found myself glancing over at each of them thinking dam my girls look divine! After months of the inevitable mind changing finally I opted for a pale icy grey floor sweeping style with a super sexy open back. The silhouette just worked perfectly on each of them and the leafy design which encrusted the bodice and sleeves added a touch of winter glamour. It was no mean feat though I can tell you...four different personalities, four different body shapes and four intricately embroidered and beaded gowns to deliver to four locations across the UK. It was completely worth it though and definitely one of my favourite parts of planning the wedding. The flower girls wore matching pale grey tulle dresses that had embroidery detail around the neckline. I picked these up from Monsoon, they even had one for my 10 month old niece, it was tiny and she looked like a perfect little doll. I also found little velvet berry ballet pumps and gorgeous overcoats to match; deep red with navy velvet buttons and trimmed faux fur around the neck, Eva and Harriet looked like little Victorian Twins. The groomsmen and page boys Arthur and Isaac had 3 piece suits made from the same cloth as Alex’s suit. They all had different waistcoats and ties to though, I particularly loved the berry dickie bow ties the little boys wore, they were seriously cute.

The Ceremony

Alex and I formally married in Ukraine so this meant we had the opportunity of having two celebrations which was amazing. We decided to have a traditional church blessing in St Margaret’s Church, Hawes - where my mother and father married and where me and my two brothers were christened. My father and I proceeded down the aisle arm in arm to the highland cathedral which I love and which randomly Alex now has as his ring tone! Reverend Dave (honestly the coolest vicar you will ever meet) gave us an emotional and heart warming blessing accompanied by readings from some of our friends and family. We asked that they each choose their own readings whether it be from the bible or a poem. I would definitely recommend handing over the reigns a little, it was very personal and heart warming listening to each of them. We exited the church to Coldplay’s Viva La Vida played by a very talented organist who was up for a challenge, it was my little surprise to Alex. It sounded magnificent and it's rather amusing watching the video back and catching the moment when various guests clock on to the tune. All our guests gathered either side of the long pathway leading away from the church, and welcomed us with handfuls of confetti. So much fun! At the end the gates were bound tightly with twine and string - a dales tradition! Children wait at the other side while it's the best mans job to throw them money on to the street cobbles. This made me very nostalgic as I had been the one scrambling on the floor man to the floor countless times in hope of being lucky enough to nab a pound! Quite a gathering of locals had gathered to watch us another reason why I love my home town, everyone gates at the end. I'm not sure whether it’s just a Yorkshire Dales tradition as many of our London guests were a little perplexed!

The Food

Our 120 guests nibbled on canapés and drank fizz by the large roaring fire in the house before being seated in the marquee. We dined on roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. It was winter and we were in Yorkshire so it only seemed right! The beef was simply melt in your mouth. After laying off carbs for the month run up to the day I devoured every morcel on my plate within seconds. It was a rustic sticky toffee pudding for dessert which went down well on a very cold day. Yorebridge House seriously know how to do food and the breakfast the next day was to die for. My sister in law made our gorgeous wedding cake, it was super yummy with layers of carrot cake, chocolate and lemon and poppy seed. I wish we had saved a little bit of each to have with a cup of tea the next day as it all disappeared very swiftly. Alex and I aren’t fans of the traditional fruit cake.

The Photography

Alex and I decided on Carla Blain for our photographer she was amazing and her style was perfect for what we wanted. Her images have a raw unassuming quality about them. Carla managed to capture the most intimate moments without us even being aware of her presence and I’m so grateful of that. There’s one image which I adore; a tender clutch with me and my god son in the entrance of the church, it was timed so perfectly and it really melts my heart. When we received the photos back there are just so many like this. Tear jerking moments caught between mother, father, grandmother, friends and of course Alex. She even caught him with a tear in his eye at the altar - he tells me it was just dust! Alex and I rarely take many photos together and if we do it usually consists of one of us pulling a silly face so finally we have something worthy of putting in a frame and hanging up on the wall. I swear our little flat is going to look more like a shrine of our wedding and Carla’s work by the time we’ve finished. The absolute best decision we made was to hire Carla, brides she will not disappoint!

Written by Fern Godfrey

Bride: Enzoani | Boutique: Frances Day Bridal | Hair Accessories: Miss Clemmie | Venue: Yorebridge House | Bridesmaids: Hope & Ivy
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