Helen and Rich chose a venue with a difference for their Yorkshire wedding: the Waterton Park Hotel sits on its own island within a nature reserve, near Wakefield. Helen’s Ian Stuart wedding dress is fabulous – she found it in a local bridal store for half price – and looks a dream in softly sparkling gold with French lace and pearls…
This wedding was sent in by Nicky Chadwick Photography. Nicky’s a friend of English Wedding blog, a regular contributor on my facebook page and a lovely lady whose comments always make me smile. Helen was kind enough to write a great wedding report – she’d worked hard to make their wedding day very personal, making her own bouquet and having it preserved as a very special memory of the wedding.
I’ll leave you to enjoy Helen’s own story, with photos by Nicky Chadwick.
Helen and Rich’s Waterton Hotel wedding
My dress was meant to be. I had a budget of £1,000 but fell in love with a vintage inspired Ian Stuart dress which was nearly double what I could afford. However fate stepped in and a beautiful boutique shop called Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden North Yorkshire had the exact dress in my size that had never been worn but was second hand, meaning I could get it within budget. It was a stunning soft gold colour covered in French lace and pearls with beautiful off-the-shoulder sleeves made from lace flowers. I really wanted something a bit different from the usual cream strapless dresses that so many brides wear and this ticked every box for me!
I wore a pearl necklace which belonged to Rich’s late grandmother and the colour matched perfectly with the colour of the pearls on my dress. This was my something borrowed and meant a lot to me that she could be part of our day even though she was no longer here. I also wore a diamond ring on my right hand that belonged to my great grandmother which was my something old. My other jewellery was simple drop pearl earrings and a pearl bracelet that were from Debenhams. I had a vintage style veil which went just past my hips in the same colour as my dress edged with droplet crystals. I also had a side hairband with a similar design to the details on my dress that sat in my curls. My shoes were another bargain but didn’t look it. They were Kurt Geiger from House of Fraser but heavily discounted in the sale! I had wanted a pair like this for a long time and got them in gold so that I could wear them again afterwards.
We were both keen on brown for the suits but found that most shops all had the same Prince Edward style that we really weren’t keen on. However we found one shop that had a sand colour lounge suit which sounds very odd but really summed up what we were looking for. The colour was so unusual but stood out from everything else we had seen. Rich is also a Mod at heart and as it was silk mohair it appealed to his ‘sharp’ taste in clothes (his words not mine). His brown brogues from Churches were the crowning glory as far as he was concerned as they were a pair he had wanted to get for years. And his bit of extravagance for the day. He also wore gold cufflinks that belonged to his grandfather, something that was important to both of us.
I’m sure every bride feels the same but the day really was amazing and the most wonderful day I’ve ever had. Our ceremony and reception were all at Waterton Park Hotel in Wakefield – a stunning stately home built on an island surrounded by a nature reserve. I stayed at the hotel the night before with a group of my friends and family and so started the day with a full English breakfast in the restaurant. This was shortly followed by hair and make up for me, my mum and the bridesmaids. I found a company who specialise in vintage makeup and hair styles who did an amazing job with everyone and added a touch of vintage glamour to the day. I didn’t want a themed vintage wedding but loved the glamour and elegance of the style. The ceremony took place at 3 and so gave us plenty of time to relax and enjoy everything.
For the ceremony we had a string quartet playing The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals to walk down the aisle to – one of my favourite pieces of music. I asked my mum to give me away as we are extremely close and it seemed right that she did this. The ceremony wasn’t too long with the vows and a few readings but then on to the photos and some drinks. We were lucky with the weather and able to make the most of the grounds for our photographs. Getting the right photographer was important, as neither of us were keen on having our pictures taken. We wanted to keep the day relaxed and informal and found that this came across in all of our pictures.
I wanted to make things as personal as possible and so tried to do as much as I could myself. The day before, my mother in law and I made my bouquet, my 3 bridesmaids’ and buttonholes/corsages for our wedding party. We also made a wrist corsage for me to wear in the evening as the flowers were really important to me and it meant I could still have them with me without having to hold my bouquet. I spent a lot of time researching the flowers to use. I wanted a simple rose, hand-tied bouquet but really wanted brown to fit in with the colour scheme. I found a beautiful vintage rose called Amnesia which was actually a shade of purple but with a brown hue through it. We put this together with soft cream roses and brown skeleton leaves for the bridesmaids which picked out the colour details I was after. We had great fun doing it and made it that little bit more special knowing that we accomplished something like that.
I also decided to have my bouquet preserved. I recently got this back as it’s quite a long process and am so pleased with how they look. I didn’t want pressed flowers as they can often look quite old fashioned but the company I used freeze-dries them and then re-builds the bouquet in an air-tight, 3-D frame. I wasn’t sure how it would look but couldn’t have been happier with it. It is a very different but special keepsake.
Having the day filmed ended up giving us a long lasting memory. As with the photographs we weren’t keen on this at first but the cameraman was very discreet and we didn’t realise how much was actually captured. He also set up a room where our guests could go and record messages for us which we didn’t know about at the time. Watching these after the big day has been hilarious and also very touching.
After this we went on to have a sit down meal and speeches. We stuck to tradition here with my dad starting proceedings, then Rich and best man (his brother). We also had the whole day filmed and am so glad we did as watching back over the speeches is brilliant, obviously I’m biased but they were the best speeches I’ve heard!
Following the more formal part of the day we had a BBQ in the evening, which was in a room with its own terrace on the bank of the lake. We cut the cake, (made for us by a friend of the family), and had our first dance. For this we chose Here, There and Everywhere by the Beatles. Music is another thing which is important to us and we spent a long time trying to find something that was special to both of us.
The Revolver album is one of our favourites and also requested that after our first dance the DJ played the next song on the album which is Yellow Submarine. A bit unusual but got everyone up and dancing. The dancing went on late into the night and ended up with most of the men wearing ties around their heads reminiscent of school discos! I think we eventually got to bed about half 2, both shattered but having loved every minute of it. We then went off to Italy for a few weeks going to Sardinia, Venice and Lake Garda. An amazing start to married life.
In between the meal and evening do we managed to get ten minutes to ourselves where we swapped presents for each other. Without me knowing it, Rich had put together an album for me with one song for each year that we had been together summing up something that happened in each year. For the last song he re-recorded Baby I Love You by The Ronettes, re-writing the words to fit us. Every time I hear this it brings the day flooding back to me and was a moment that really stood out for me.
Wedding day advice
Sit down in your dress when trying it on at fittings – something I learnt from one of my friends whose dress was fastened so tightly she struggled to sit down in it!
Get a list of the pictures wanted and give it to the photographer and a couple of close guests who can round everyone up. This made our photographs run smoothly and meant we didn’t miss anyone out.
Make it personal to you both. We had nothing revolutionary for our day but spent a lot of time thinking about what was important to us. Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in things and forget what the day is really about.
Recommended wedding suppliers
Nicky Chadwick, photographer
Ava Rose Hamilton dress shop, Silsden
Cushty Chairs (chair covers)
Mulhern Media (videographer)
Broughtons Bridals, Shadwell (suits)
LeKeux Events (hair and makeup)
Flowers Forever (flower preservation)
Kendal String Quartet
Nicky’s wedding photography blog is here http://www.nickychadwickphotographyblog.com/
See Helen and Rich’s wedding on Nicky’s 2011 wedding photography blog http://blog.nickychadwickphotography.co.uk/2011/06/helen-richs-wedding-waterton-park-hotel.html#more
Helen and Rich’s wedding highlights film is on YouTube – on the Mulhern Media channel.