The Priory Cottages
Jen & Rhys
The Priory Cottages Wedding Photographer – I was really thrilled when Jen asked me to photograph her wedding as I has photographers one of her sisters weddings previously. Having three sisters already married Jen knew what she was doing and the day was very relaxed and full of excitement. This was the first time I has photographed at the stunning Priory Cottages and I love everything about it ! – The Priory Cottages Wedding Photographer, Wetherby Wedding Photography
Rhys and Jenny say;
We got engaged in November 2015 on my 30th birthday. A few months earlier, Rhys had drunkenly let slip that he thought proposing in New York would be super romantic, so when my 30th birthday present was a trip to New York later in the year, I thought he would propose then and totally wasn’t expecting it on my birthday. He took me to the Dorchester for afternoon tea as a birthday treat, then when we got back home he put on my favourite music, lit a load of candles, got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. It was perfect, and far more “me” than a public proposal.
We got married on 8 July 2017. By the time we got round to making any plans, availability at our wedding venue was limited – we loved the venue and were happy to get married in July so went for it!
We got married in the village church in Whixley in North Yorkshire, where I grew up. My three sisters all got married at the same church, and it was so lovely to get married in such a beautiful building so near to home. We chose Priory Cottages as our reception venue. From the first visit we were blown away at how beautiful the venue is and how great the staff are. We were made to feel incredibly welcome and Serena and her team were just fantastic from start to finish. The wedding party could really make the place our own, with exclusive hire from the Friday to Sunday, and that the wedding party was able to stay in the beautiful cottages.
Colour themes – we went for a mixture of white, greens, blush pink and gold. I love gold, so there were always going to be gold touches! I knew I wanted lots of foliage, then found my bridesmaids dresses in a sage green quite early on, which tied in nicely with the greenery. Then we added some blush pinks in to soften the greenery up and add a bit of colour.
I chose the Pronovias “Ankara” dress, from Mirror Mirror in Angel, which is a fitted dress in silk crepe with lace applique and beading, and a sweetheart neckline with full train. Initially I thought I wanted something in all-over lace and long sleeves, but after trying a few dresses on I realised that a more fitted, strapless dress suited my figure more and the lace applique was so beautiful and different to anything I’d seen before. The huge train really sold it – I felt like a princess when I put it on, I absolutely loved it! The ladies at Mirror Mirror were brilliant, really patient, friendly and knowledgeable.
I wore gold shoes from LK Bennett that I found on sale at the McArthurGlen outlet in York, which were an absolute bargain.
Rhys hired navy blue tails, with a buff waistcoat from Harrogate Suit Hire in Panel. The team there was fantastic, and very accommodating (particularly as we had people travelling from all over the country on different dates for fittings). He wore a Tom Ford tie and an antique gold tie pin that his parents bought him as a wedding present.
Our three adult bridesmaids wore mix and match corded lace dresses from J-Crew in sage green. Our flower girls wore ivory lace and tulle dresses from John Lewis. The groomsmen and page boys wore the same navy tails as Rhys from Harrogate Suit Hire, with grey waistcoats.
We hired a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud from Keith Snowden wedding cars, it was an absolutely beautiful car and KS wedding cars were great.
We asked Bethany Clarke to photograph our wedding – we booked her as soon as we’d confirmed our venue! Beth shot my sister Ruth’s wedding and did such a brilliant job we wouldn’t have dreamed of asking anyone else. We both love Beth’s reportage style, and having seen her in action at my sister’s wedding knew that she would be great to work with. Beth was super organised, very professional but also warm and put everyone at ease. She really listened to what we wanted, and seemed to be everywhere without ever getting in the way or being obtrusive. We would thoroughly recommend Beth, and are thrilled with our stunning wedding photos. – The Priory Cottages Wedding Photographer, Wetherby Wedding Photography
Our family friend, and award winning florist, Carys Harrison did all of the wedding flowers, with help from my Mum and Mother in Law. My bouquet was a mixture of white and blush roses, white peonies, white lisianthus, lysimachia and lots of eucalyptus. Elsewhere, Carys used mixed foliage, roses, hydrangeas, peonies, lisianthus, sweetpeas, delphiniums, gladioli, poppy heads, allium and succulents in whites, greens and some blush pinks. We also used willow from my sister in law’s garden. Carys created a floral arrangement to sit on top of a beautiful stone archway at the Priory, which is perfect for posed photos, and decorated a wooden frame with a floral arrangement which we used as a photo booth/ backdrop – the results were incredible, she did an amazing job.
In terms of decorations, we bought pedestal glass bowls from Dunelm to use as table centres and candlesticks from Home Bargains. For the top table decoration, we used a beautiful white and gold vase that belonged to my Nana and Grandad, and Carys made a sweeping floral arrangement. The shape of the vase went really well with the oval top table (something Serena at the Priory suggested as a half way between a traditional top table and round table, and which I would never have thought of – it worked really well). The table numbers were from the Rifle Paper Company, in gold frames from Tiger.
We collected vintage glass bottles and dotted these around with flowers in, and turned a glass and brass lantern from Zara into a card holder. We collected mismatched gold photo frames to display photos of our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings, and sprayed an old frame gold for our table plan. Rhys designed our table plan and orders of service, in a similar style to the menus and invites.
Outside we decorated the courtyard with lanterns in a mixture of coppers and golds.
My mum made confetti cones out of the financial times (I work in the City and the blush pink colour of the paper went with our colour scheme) and filled them with dried flower confetti we bought online.
We decided not to give out favours, but instead made donations to Macmillan, Air Ambulance Wales and the Red Cross relief fund to help people affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.
We had a three tier white iced fruit cake that my godparents bought us as a wedding present. The cake was made by Nicky Broadhurst who is based in Breaston, in Derbyshire and was delicious!
We worked with Taste Cuisine, one of the Priory’s preferred suppliers, to create a bespoke wedding menu. We had a load of canapes during the drinks reception instead of a starter, then roast sirloin of beef with a Beaujolais jus, dauphinoise potatoes and Yorkshire puddings for our main course, then a trio of deserts (Yorkshire rhubarb parfait, chocolate brownie and earl grey and lemon panna cotta). In the evening we had a cheese board with a selection of pork pies, which were a massive hit, particularly one of the pies that had mushy peas inside the crust.
We went for a half corkage drinks package with Taste Cuisines, so provided our own wine, prosecco and craft beer during the day. We bought our wine via Majestic in Harrogate, and went for a Château Guiot 2016 Costières de Nîmes, a Mâcon-Villages Blanc ‘Les Pierres Blanches’ 2015 Cave de Lugny and La Gioiosa Spumante Italian sparkling wine. The beer was supplied by Bragdy Nant Brewery in Llanrwst, North Wales, which Rhys’ dad part owns. Both Taste Cuisine and Majestic were absolutely brilliant. Throughout the planning stages, and on the wedding day, the Taste team worked so hard to make the day go smoothly and the food was delicious.
A family friend of Rhys’, Dafydd Huw, played the harp during our drinks reception. For the evening, we booked Under The Covers, who we’d seen the previous summer at my cousin’s wedding. They were fantastic, and a pleasure to work with throughout the planning process. We were able to select some of our favourite songs, and put a playlist together that their DJ played in between the band’s sets (all included in the cost of the band). The dance floor was never empty, we’d thoroughly recommend them!
As Rhys and his family are from North Wales (and Welsh is their first language) we wanted to include some Welsh elements in the wedding. We had “Calon Lân” as one of our hymns, and asked all our non-Welsh speaking guests to have a go at learning the first verse and chorus ahead of the wedding. Rhys sister and her husband sang “As The Deer” in Welsh and English during the signing of the register and, as well as a few other Welsh bits and bobs, some of the speeches were in Welsh and English.
What other suppliers did you use and would you recommend them? Why?
Hair – Westrow Wetherby: from the first enquiry, the ladies at the salon were so friendly and welcoming. Sally came to my family home on the morning of the wedding to do our hair, and was just brilliant. She had really put me at ease at my hair trial, and on the morning of the wedding was so warm, friendly and professional, and we all loved our wedding hair.
Makeup – Ariana Rose: I found Ariana online, and she was an absolute pleasure to work with. She was very professional and warm, and put all of us at ease on the morning of the wedding. She really listened during my makeup trial, and created a natural makeup look which I absolutely loved (and it lasted all day).
Videographer – Marriage in Motion, who were absolutely fantastic and our wedding video is more beautiful than we could ever have imagined. They captured such lovely moments without ever being pushy or obtrusive.
Harrogate Nail Bar – the ladies did our nails (including a mini mani for one of our flower girls) the day before the wedding and looked after us all so well. A really lovely salon with fantastic staff, and great quality manicures.
Invites – we ordered our invites in Welsh and English from Peachy Prints UK on etsy, and were so happy with the result.
Engagement ring/wedding bands – Gee Woods sourced and reconditioned my antique trilogy engagement ring, and also made our gold wedding bands with Welsh engraving. Gee is brilliant, and very talented.
Would you recommend your venue to another couple? Why?
Without hesitation! Priory Cottages is such a special place, and the team is absolutely fantastic. Serena is effectively a wedding planner without charging for it, she’s amazing! The venue is absolutely stunning and not only are you guaranteed exclusive hire, but being able to access the venue the day before the wedding to set up takes so much pressure off and meant that we could have a relaxed evening the night before the wedding knowing everything was sorted for the next day.
What was your favourite part of the day? Why?
I loved all of it! It’s a cliché to say it was the best day of my life, but it really was. Two stand out moments have to be walking down the aisle with my dad, and seeing Rhys smiling at me, and just looking around during the drinks reception and wedding breakfast at all the people we love having fun, and knowing what a huge effort they’d all made to make our wedding so special.
What would be your top tip for another bride/groom to be?
Top tip for other brides would be to not worry about anything on the day – not everything will happen exactly as planned, but nobody will notice and at the end of the day you’ll be married, which is what it’s all about.
The Priory Cottages Wedding Photographer, Wetherby Wedding Photography