Julia & Jonathan
Julia says; We got engaged New Years Eve 2015- Jonathan and I always go away for New Year, to bring the new year in together. Two years ago, Jonathan booked for us to go to Mottram Hall in Chester for two nights. We had a meal with cocktails and watched some fireworks, and brought in New Year together, as we had done for the previous 3 years of being together. However this year was to be different… when we got to the room, Jonathan unexpectedly got down on one knee and proposed! Little did I know, he’d been planning the proposal and even had the ring made with me in mind, which he had been carrying around every day since the October to ensure I did not find it! It was a complete surprise but perfect in every way.
We got married 30th December 2017. I love Winter and the feel of Christmas, it’s such a wonderful family time, which is important to us. I always knew I wanted something different to a Summer wedding and would want to get married that time of year. We aimed to get wed between Christmas and New Year and chose a date that suited the Church and venue.
We visited many venues around Leeds and North Yorkshire, as well as attending some Wedding Fayres. We decided we wanted a Church wedding and have always loved All Hallows Church which is local to my family home in Bardsey, a small village in North Leeds. The Church is very personal and steeped in history, the original part of the building being built in 800, which stands proud in the Village.
Once we booked the Church, everything fell into place. We visited Wood Hall Hotel and Spa in Wetherby in December 2016 on the off-chance as we were passing by. The Hotel so beautiful, set high on a hill that over-looks the surrounding villages, and knew instantly this was our venue. They had the date we had booked the Church and knew it was meant to be!
Knowing we wanted to get married in Winter, especially around Christmas time lends itself to rich, deep, beautiful colours. We decided to have Burgundy as the colour running as a theme throughout our wedding, with a few enhancing colours for different aspects. Such as our bridesmaid dresses were burgundy with navy shawls, as were the main colour of flowers in the bouquet and poesy’s, which were broken up with peach and lots of greenery! The men’s suits were navy and ties were burgundy as well as the flowers used for centre pieces and favours.
To be honest I had no idea where to start when looking for a dress! I’m not the kind of person who had dreamt of their wedding day all their life so found it quite overwhelming!! Like everyone, I did my research and searched for many dresses on Pinterest and bridal magazines which gave me some idea of where to start. However when it came to visiting bridal shops I was in complete awe of the beauty of many dresses I felt back to square one! As you can imagine, I found it very difficult to decide on a dress, however in the end I visited Confetti and Lace in Leeds, where they were really supportive of my dilemma. I was able to try on as many dresses as I wanted and in the end I purchased a beautiful Mori Lee A-line dress – I wanted a dress with twist on the classic sweetheart neckline and this dress provided that with sheer straps and lots of sparkle! To go with this I purchased a faux fur shrug to add to the winter feel and treated myself to some amazingly beautiful shoes which I knew I would wear time and time again after my wedding, to remind me of my special day.
Jonathan and his usher/groomsmen wore mid-blue fitted suits from Brook Taverner. These were teamed with light grey waistcoats and burgundy ties which were of similar colour to the bridesmaid dresses. The men wore burgundy ranunculus flowers in their button holes.
I had 3 bridesmaids, all of different heights and sizes (my maid of honour was heavily pregnant by my wedding date!) so knew they all needed different dresses to suit their individual styles. I had seen Dessy dresses
in various magazines and after viewing their extensive collection online we found a small shop in Bradford which stocked them for the girls to try and order. I purchased their navy shawls whilst on holiday in Sorrento earlier in the year which worked perfectly with the dresses.
The groomsmen wore the same suits from Brooke Taverner as the groom wore. Brooke Taverner were so unbelievably helpful – they sent sample sizes for the men to try on and a few different styles for them to decide. These were teamed with tan shoes.
My father and I travelled to the church in my father’s classic Bentley, trimmed with the wedding colours. Bridesmaids and mother of the Bride travelled in a Range Rover Sport, trimmed in wedding colours and driven by my brother.
Jonathan and I travelled to the venue together in my fathers classic Bentley.
Our photographer was Bethany Clarke from Harrogate. I knew Beth from many years ago and have followed her on social media so was fully aware of not only how wonderful her images are but how much her photography style suited us.
Beth worked alone on the day – she was unassuming, flexible and suited our style. I would highly recommend Beth for anyone who isn’t keen on the idea of having pictures taken(!) and those couples who want to spend more time with their guests on the day as opposed to posing for photographs – she got on with the job and blended well with wedding guests.
I carried a bouquet of burgundy ranunculus which were broken up with peach roses and lots of eucalyptus leaves. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of the bouquet with a higher ratio of peach to burgundy, and the mother’s of the bride and groom wore posies of burgundy ranunculus and green eucalyptus leaves. These were provided by Kate Mell in Boston Spa.
Kate provided a beautiful large decoration to hang on the lych gate at the Church, made up of flowers similar to those in my bouquet. As the Church was decorated for Christmas with arrays of candles, fairy lights, lanterns and a nativity from the local primary school there was no need for us to provide anything else.
We provided a lot of the decorations for the reception ourselves – Jonathans mother made the table plan and cake, we provided the table numbers, sweet table, photo book and favours and hired Ambiance Venue Styling from Harrogate who provided the centre pieces. The centre pieces consisted of large rose gold lanterns sat on log slices, filled with pillar candles, which were surrounded by tea lights and small vases with burgundy flowers. The top table had a similar large rose gold lantern sat on log slices however this was bursting full of a variety of flowers which reflected our colour scheme.
As wedding favours we bought all of our guests a champagne glass for the toast that they could take home as a momentum, which we hand painted the base of in a burgundy paint and personalised by writing our guests names on. In addition, we bought macaroons for each guest which we put into small boxes and wrapped a simple strip of lace around.
Jonathans mother made our cake. She is a gifted baker and knew we wanted her to make our cake after years of sampling her food! We had a traditional two tiered cake – a victoria sponge for Jonathan and a chocolate cake for me. These were iced in white with a burgundy ribbon and decorated with small flowers made of sugar paste and a small array of fresh flowers on the top. In addition to this, she made enough cupcakes, decorated in a similar style, for each of our guests which we laid out in the evening with the food for people to help themselves to.
We kept our entertainment simple but effective – we found a band from Leeds, awarded by Brides Up North, and when speaking to friends realised we had heard them play at friends wedding! The band ‘Vibetown’ absolutely blew us away on the night – we couldn’t recommend them enough! Between sets they provided a DJ which was equally as lively. Since our wedding, friends have booked our band for birthday celebrations – a real credit to how fantastic they were!
For us, our wedding day was a celebration of our love with our family and friends. We wanted our guests to enjoy our day as much as we did – to this end we ensured there were drinks flowing on arrival which consisted of winter inspired mulled wine and winter pimms. In addition to this, into the evening we put on a free bar for our evening guests to enjoy as well as our day guests.
In addition to this, Jonathans mother made a table plan which consisted of a large wooden crate filled with a variety of plants. From this on wire stems, table plans were listed. As a special touch we provided a sweetie bar as both Jonathan and I have a sweet tooth, and a polaroid camera for our guest book which was a massive hit with guests!
Wood Hall Hotel were approachable, supportive, attentive and efficient, both in the run-up to the day and on the day. For a business they made the experience feel very personal and added special touches such as a free dining experience to try the menu choices and a teddy which had our names and wedding date stitched on as a lovely keep-sake.
We found the venue intimate enough for our wedding to feel personal but large enough to cater for guests and food on a large scale which ensured each and every meal was as good as the last. No problem was ever too big and no detail was too small, even those last minute changes.
Best bit of the day?….Getting married! As every bride (and groom!) knows, so much time and effort goes into agonising over the small details to make the day perfect – for us it was spending night after night hand painting glasses/ making favour boxes/ stressing over the wrong delivery of macaroons the day before the wedding(!!)/ painting table numbers/ making table plans etc etc… but ultimately all that mattered on the day was getting wed! For us the Church was absolutely perfect, seeing one another across the aisle was and will always be our most treasured memory and made our day so special – the wonderful celebration after was simply a bonus.
Top tip for another bride/groom to be…..
Don’t loose sight of why you’re having a wedding! The small details seem important before-hand but ultimately all that matters is you two enjoying your day! The rest is a bonus. Be selfish, plan your day the way you want and don’t worry so much about your guests enjoyment – they will simply love your wedding because it a celebration for you both, not because you spent 3 weeks eating endless jam for the glass jars and making bunting! Pinterest is wonderful for ideas and inspiration but in many cases images are unrealistic.
Also… when buying a Wedding dress, don’t feel pressured to purchase if you’re not sure or 100% happy. Not every girl knows what style/ dress they want and don’t feel bad for feeling this way! Every good shop should let you try on your dress, go away and then return to try on again to ensure you’re happy. For me, this was the most stressful part of the whole experience and worried about my dress for months before the wedding.
And Also…… if you plan to get married around the time of year where a public or bank holiday will fall before hand, have a back-up plan in place if things go wrong! For us, our delivery of macaroons wasn’t correct and had to rush-order another lot which M&S kindly replaced free of charge. In addition to this, when I opened my veil a few days before the wedding and found a large hole in it, I wrongly assumed the shop I bought it from would be open to exchange it between Christmas and New Year! Needless to say, after a few panicked emails and phone calls all ended well.