Sarah and Richard’s aim for their wedding day decor was rustic but magical and I think it’s fair to say that they absolutely nailed it. The whole thing is just completely enchanting, the fairy lights, candles, fire pit and divine seasonal blooms from List recommended florist Lucy MacNicoll will have you hankering after the colder months (and dare I say it…Christmas!) As will Sarah’s stylish lace two-piece gown and faux fur wrap, teamed with a dark nail varnish – Winter wedding fashion perfection!!
Lots more of our recommended suppliers were involved in creating this gorgeous Wintery wonderland wedding – PapaKata, epic tent suppliers, worked to-the-wire to set up the teepee due to heavy snow and gale force winds putting a delay to proceedings and the images from List recommended photographers York Place Studios capture the essence of the day perfectly. And do you know what? Although the snow *may* have caused some stress a few days before the wedding, the atmosphere it created is stunning and just added to the magic of the surroundings…
So, I think you should grab a thick blanket and a hot chocolate, and just pour through these photographs, then enjoy Sarah’s beautifully written report.
Sarah The Bride: I set out searching for the big ‘poofy’ princess gown so tried on a few strapless ball gowns in this style, which I loved but I just didn’t feel like ‘me’. The Bridal Atelier in Melbourne was only the second boutique I visited and I didn’t really have any idea what I wanted.
When I put on The Chante gown I didn’t have that instant ‘wow’ moment because it was missing something. Not wanting to let go of the ‘princess’ gown we decided to put a skirt on over the top of the dress and as soon as I did I got my ‘wow’. Katharine Polk, Houghton’s creative director is quoted as saying: “I am creating a bridal collection for the woman who wants to get married in something simple, sexy and timeless.” And as soon as I read this on her website I knew it summed up how I felt in that dress.
I decided to wear the skirt over the top for the ceremony and then whip it off to party on in the evening. I loved that I got to feel like a princess for the traditional part but could be a bit more ‘me’ in the evening.
I had major dramas with the alterations – the overskirt was shortened way too much and the top of the dress didn’t fit properly but with only 1 week to go until we were flying home to the UK I put the dress in the bag and just tried not to panic.
2 weeks before the wedding Mum took me to see the amazing Marie at The Wedding Rooms in Formby, near to my parent’s house. She saw the panic in my eyes and instantly went to work making adjustments and fixing everything that was wrong. I picked the dress up from her 3 days later and everything was perfect. I was so incredibly grateful to her for saving the day, despite the fact that she doesn’t normally do alterations on other people’s dresses!
Rich proposed on holiday in Bali last year with his grandmother’s engagement ring. Whilst I loved the sentimentality of the ring it wasn’t what I’d imagined my forever ring would look like. I tried on about 20 different styles and still went back to the very first one I ever saw which I’d fallen in love with – the customized New York ring from Renato’s Jewellers with a simple gold band and beautiful clear diamond set in 4 claws. We bought the engagement ring and both our wedding bands at the same time so we knew everything would work together.
All of the rest of the jewellery that I wore on the day was borrowed from my mum – my dad gave the gold locket around my neck to her when they first started dating – he’d put a photo of them in each half and it’s over 40 years old. My sister and I both wore blue sapphire rings, which had belonged to my Aunty Sheila, who passed away when I was 18. I also had my mum’s garter, which she’d hand made for her own wedding.
We always talked about hiring a huge house in the country that we could stay in for with all of our families – living so far away makes us really appreciate spending time with family and we couldn’t think of anything more special than all being together in the lead up to our big day so we set about trying to find a venue in North Yorkshire/The Lake District for a summer wedding.
As we were searching for availability less than a year away we found it incredibly difficult to find anywhere that was free and that fitted our requirements. Both sets of parents were absolutely amazing – visiting venue after venue for us, taking photos and reporting back on how they thought we could make it all work. We just couldn’t find the right place and realised that we needed to consider alternative dates.
As we were already heading back to the UK for Christmas we settled on a weekend in mid-Jan and sent my parents to see Eden, somewhere we’d seen online and fallen in love with but with no availability from March through to October 2015 we’d discounted it.
We Skyped mum and dad whilst they were there and I knew instantly from their faces that they thought it was ‘the one’ so we booked it that week and set about organizing the whole thing in about 4 months. Having not seen it prior to arriving back in the UK just 4 weeks before the big day there were some nerves that it wouldn’t live up to our expectations but driving into the estate, even in the pouring rain and howling wind, we were completely in love.
For the ceremony we wanted to keep things traditional and found and amazing church with a lovely vicar just a short drive from the Broughton Hall Estate.
We decided on teepee marquees for the evening reception even though everyone said we were mad. It hadn’t snowed in Skipton in years so we planed around rain, hail and shine rather than snow. About a week prior to the wedding the weather forecast showed a snowflake – we couldn’t believe our eyes. We arrived at Eden after a long drive just as the snow started to fall. Chelsea, my bridesmaid who had travelled over from Australia had never seen snow before and the first step she put out of the door in excitement she slipped and landed flat on her back with snowflakes falling in her face… and so began the wedding week!
The following day we woke up to a thick blanket of snow and we had calls from both Papakata and the toilet supplier to say that they were going to struggle to get to site to start set up due to blocked roads. We also had gale force winds to contend with which left Papakata and the caterers no choice but to batten down the hatches and delay the final set up to the day before the wedding. Those guys worked from 9am to 9pm for 2 days straight and we never doubted that they’d get it all done. Because of the rushing around we didn’t actually get to see the marquee in all its glory until we walked in on the night of the wedding – it was magical.
Everything was dictated by the teepee marquees – rustic but magical was what we wanted – candles, fairy lights and seasonal flowers on the tables. Being winter we were restricted to what Lucy from Lucy MacNicoll Flowers could get but, my goodness, everything she did was out of this world and exactly what I’d imagined it would be.
The tiny pinecones in the groomsmen’s buttonholes and the rustic, leafy greens in the bouquets and table centerpieces were incredible and my mum has replanted the succulent from my bouquet, which is still going strong!
I asked Lucy for recommendations for hair and make up in the area, as I knew she was regularly involved in photo-shoots and therefore would have some good contact. She put me onto Cat Oldham for make up and Lauren Woodham for hair and once again, after only emailing them both I booked them in as they just seemed to ‘get’ what I was after. I had a trial with them both about 10 days before the wedding and walked out of Lauren’s salon feeling amazing. On the day they were both amazing, arriving early in case they had problems in the snow and just putting everyone at ease from the first moment. I was so grateful to have found a group of girls who were a) so talented and b) so easy to work with.
Mum works in a charity shop so she had everyone there putting jam jars aside for us at home for the whole 4 months so we could use them for tea lights around the teepee – we ended up with about 400 jars!! They had also put aside some beautiful vintage gold picture frames for us, which I filled with greeting cards from Parrott Design Studio in the USA – her letterpress cards looked amazing in the frames and were one of my favourite pieces of décor.
The wedding favours were vanilla scented candles that we made the week before. I’d ordered all the wax and jars online but underestimated how much wax we would need so we had to order a top up supply that was delivered to Eden the day we arrived. Chelsea (bridesmaid) was a godsend and set to work making sure they were all ready to go including all the labels, lids etc while I was having a minor freak-out at how late it was to still be pouring candles a few days before the day!!
Invites, favour labels, seating planner and all the rest of the stationery was all designed by Rich and was all matching, right through to the thank you cards.
Wedding Party Fashion
My sister and Chelsea, my bestie from Australia, couldn’t be more different so I wanted them to choose their own dresses, shoes etc. Chels found a simple navy blue drape dress from a high street store here in Australia and my sister bought a stunning full-length dress in the UK. They chose their own style for hair, nails and make up. I thought they both looked stunning and I loved that they were comfortable with everything.
We asked a few key people if they could be part of the day – my lifelong best friend Nina did a beautiful job of the reading in the church and Rich’s oldest and best friend Andy was not only one of his groomsmen but also did a reading too.
We had 2 special moments in the church – one was when the organist didn’t realize we had 5 verses in the first hymn and therefore the organ stopped after the 4th verse but the singing carried on. The vicar started shouting ‘Jean, there’s another verse, JEAN, there’s another verse!!’ Rich and I couldn’t stop laughing and it was just the icebreaker that we needed to ease the tension.
The next moment was when Rich’s brother got covered in the holy water as the vicar splashes them in the blessing – you can see them both burst out laughing on the video!
The canapés at the house straight after the ceremony were all done by Rich’s mum the morning of the wedding. She was up from 4am and then went to the boy’s cottage and cooked them a full English!
We met with Alex and Steve from GFS Caterers the day after landing in the UK from Oz. Jetlagged and cold we settled in for a meeting over pots of tea and coffee.
We can’t say enough good things about these guys – they just blew us away from that first moment right through to the very last moment of the night. Our brief was to create share plates that everyone could pass around the table to get conversation going – we had a few tables of people who hadn’t met and therefore the sharing thing was a great icebreaker.
We also wanted traditional British food – ploughman’s boards with fresh bread & locally made pickles; pie, mash, veggies and gravy followed by tea, coffee and tiered cake stands with mini crumble, chocolate torte and sticky toffee puddings. Our only complaint was that the starter and main was so delicious that we didn’t have room for dessert!!
The cake was made by Rich’s Mum’s friend and was a beautifully simple 3 tiered traditional fondant covered chocolate and vanilla cake, dressed with rustic leaves and succulents by Lucy.
I’m not sure how to explain how or why we choose Dom and Liam from York Place Studios – we actually booked them in before we even had a firm date or venue. There was just something about the way they captured lots of little moments and you can actually feel the spirit of the weddings they photograph coming out of the screen.
Apart from 1 skype catch up about 2 weeks prior we hadn’t ever actually spoken to or met them – all communication was done via email. When they turned up on the day it felt like old friends had arrived – they managed to put me at ease instantly. My dad summed them both up perfectly – they managed to always be around but at no point were they intrusive or in the way.
They stayed with us from 9am through til 1am and it was touch and go as to whether they’d make it home due to another flurry of snow. Their dedication went to the max when Dom asked me at one point if there were any spare mattresses they could sleep on if they couldn’t get home!
As with GFS these guys were just out of this world and we can’t thank or recommend them enough.
Suzie at Pearl Productions and I worked and lived together in London so it was never in question that we’d use them for our wedding.
It meant the world to me to have her by my side throughout the day – from catching up whilst I was getting ready to dancing the night away on the dance floor everything they captured was just raw emotion and because they were friends already we again felt completely relaxed which we feel comes across in the end product.
They’ve done us seriously proud.
I asked my uncle if he would do the honour of driving dad and me too and rich and I from the church. He hired a huge Land Rover Discovery, which was the perfect snow proof vehicle and he popped open a little bottle of champagne for us when we came out of the church. He even donned a chauffeur’s hat for the occasion!
The challenge of planning a wedding overseas can be incredibly overwhelming. We decided to just trust our instincts with everything and it majorly paid off. Not one part of the day was disappointing or ‘not quite what we hoped’. That’s entirely down to the commitment of everyone who contributed to the day and the fact that we trusted our decisions.
Our mantra was ‘whatever happens, as long as we’re all together and having a big, fun party, everything will be perfect’. And it was.