After a wonderful eight years together, I recently married the man of my dreams at the majestic country house of Wynyard Hall in the North East of England. As the owner of a wedding planning advice and inspiration blog (and an all-round wedding geek!), there was extra pressure on me to craft the perfect wedding day. I really hope that the below feature will provide an illuminating snapshot of the event that resulted from my daydreaming and hard work, and that my brides and grooms feel inspired by our big day!
Keep an eye out for details such as my bespoke bridal gown, my delicate forehead band, the Harry Potter star-shaped table confetti, the bridal party bouquets, our lovely five-tiered cake and the best man’s ‘BM’ badge!
My husband and I met at Reading university where I was studying for a degree in Archaeology, and Adam in Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics. During the first term we both attended a Christmas mascaraed ball at Adam’s JCR with our separate friendship groups. We met early on in the evening, chatted, dance, and I guess the rest is history! We spent the next three years studying hard and playing hard before we graduated and were pushed out into the ‘real world’ for the first time. Five and a half years later we have our own successful business and have just hosted the most beautiful and magical wedding of all time!
As I mentioned above, our wedding took place at Wynyard Hall in Tees Valley. As I’m sure you can see from the photos, Wynyard Hall is eye-wateringly beautiful and one of the premier wedding venues in the North East. I knew that our wedding was destined to be held there before I’d even stepped inside. There’s just something so magical and so enchanting about this grand stately home, but at the same time it feels very relaxed and very cosy.
With regards to planning the wedding I did almost all of the research, mood board creation, planning and crafting myself. However I did receive some very kind assistance from my family who were keen to add their own flavours to the event. My mum created and decorated our amazing five-tiered wedding cake, crafted two beautifully delicate ring pillows using from lace offcuts from my dress, and helped me to send out all of the invitations. My step-mother kept myself, my maid of honour and the flower girls warms by knitting the gorgeous capes you will see on some of the photos. Thank goodness we had those for the outside shots!
One of my favourite aspects of planning the wedding has got to be designing my bridal gown with Becky Mills from The Little Bridal Company. I knew that I’d never be able to find a dress ‘off the peg’ as I had a very clear image of what I wanted in my head and I just couldn’t find anything remotely similar in the boutiques. I’m also a very petite bride and in my opinion dresses which have been taken in just don’t look the same, and often end up costing a fortune in seamstress fees. If you’re a petite bride I urge you to look into having a bespoke dress made as it could end up being more budget-friendly, as well as fitting you perfectly!
The morning of the wedding dawned chilly but fair. The weak December sun shone on and off for most of the day. After waking up next to my very excited maid of honour, I really surprised myself at how relaxed I felt as I visited the hair salon at the Hall! There was a real party atmosphere at the salon as lots of our family members were being primped and polished at the same time before dispersing to our own rooms for makeup application, to get dressed and perhaps to have a cheeky glass of fizz!
The bridal suite was the location of a great deal of giggling and rushing around ahead of the ceremony as my flower girls and page boys were in and out, chasing our photographer and having a bite to eat before getting dressed. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Being surrounded by the kids, my wonderful maid of honour, our families and suppliers was incredible and each of them had their own part to play in making the event extra special.
The ceremony was perfect in every way; emotional, magical, memorable and humorous. Our flower girls and page boys performed their roles flawlessly, adding an extra dimension of fun and frivolity to the whole event. Having the children at our wedding made it something special and really amazing, and I wholeheartedly advocate including young ones in your celebration! I just couldn’t imagine getting married without having them there.
The Mirror Room looked simply breath-taking; luxurious, imposing and intimate at the same time. Sheer perfection. I knew as soon as I walked down the aisle with my dad that Wynyard Hall had been the right choice for us.
I decided to keep our vows as short as possible as I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to speak for any length of time. I’m always teary at weddings! Thankfully I managed to get my words out (although rather quietly!) and our Registrar, Anita, added a beautiful verse at the close of the ceremony which really was the icing on the cake.
Following our ceremony we hosted a drinks reception while our photographer took a few group shots for the family mantle pieces. We did this in order to keep our guests entertained while we slipped away to take care of the more traditional aspects of wedding photography. I strongly suggest that all brides and grooms reading this do the same, and always make sure that there’s canapés available to keep your guests going ahead of the wedding breakfast. A drinks reception also provides the opportunity for guests to catch up with each other in a relaxed environment before everyone sits down at their tables for the wedding breakfast.
Following on from the most affectionate receiving line in history, we entered the Ballroom to a raucous round of applause and my breath was taken away by the beauty of the room. I had imagined how it would look for so long, but there’s no way of preparing yourself for how your dreams will look in reality. The high ceilings, chandelier, floral arrangements, decorations and the Christmas tree combined to give the impression of a magical and elegant space perfect for celebrating such a special occasion. I gave myself a pat on the back for designing and crafting such a charming setup as I took my seat, and I’d like to extend a big thank you to Kathryn and Linda from Forget Me Not, and the Wynyard Hall staff for setting everything up so perfectly.
The wedding breakfast was a wonderful affair incorporating an award wedding menu, plenty of wine and heartfelt speeches from the father of the bride, the father of the groom, the groom and the best man! They all performed brilliantly and more than a couple of happy tears were shed by the guests and by myself. The atmosphere was so romantic and so festive, I just didn’t want it to end!
The final section of the day was the evening celebration where we could all let our hair down in the opulent surroundings of the Conservatory. Our DJ played a variety of tunes and the dance floor was busy throughout the night. We also used the Ballroom so that guests could escape the noise for a while and sit next to the two large fireplaces. The Ballroom also held the photo-booth stand, the wishing tree table, the dessert table and the presents table which had all been designed by yours truly and looked gorgeous!
Finally, I’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of the Wynyard Hall staff, especially Victoria and Magi for making our day so amazing, and also to our suppliers for adding their own speciality to the celebration. Everything was absolutely perfect and the level of talent on show was exceptional. Thank you to all for the attention to detail and the passion you all demonstrated on the lead up to the wedding and on the day itself. Northern brides and grooms really are so lucky to have you on their doorstep.
// Contributors //
Venue: Wynyard Hall
Photography: Ian Weldon
Bridal gown: The Little Bridal Company
Flowers: Forget Me Not
Venue decoration: Designed & purchased by myself, set out by the team at Wynyard Hall
Wedding cake: Our gorgeous cake was expertly made by my mum, Lynn Woodward
Menswear hire: Slaters
Maid of honour dress: Ghost
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Monsoon
Wedding crèche: Perfectly Practical Parties
Photo-booth stand: Ian Weldon
Dessert table: All desserts were made by myself and my mum
Wishing tree table: Tree supplied by Forget Me Not, the rest of the setup was designed by yours truly