Paul and Naomi are amazing – they’re down to earth, creative and have made me smile so many times this morning as I planned their real wedding blog post for you. The images and details from their Yorkshire wedding are gorgeous – and the bride and groom are more than stunning – LOVE these two!
Naomi told me they didn’t read wedding magazines but found suppliers online through wedding blogs and searches, and in person at wedding fairs (where they found photographer Paul Maven). Their wedding involves bridesmaid-driven pimped-up Landrovers, gorgeous colours and incredible bouquets just bursting with colour… there’s also miles of mum-bunting (Mums of England – you’re the best!) and so many unique little touches to decorate the village hall.
You’ll love this.
Images are by Paul Maven Photography, who gets a superhero review from the bride and groom. I loved reading their review about Paul (which you’ll find in their interview below) – in the meantime you can check out his website and social media here:
The English Wedding Blog Interview
Paul and Naomi
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We met Paul at the Yorkshire Wedding Show in Harrogate and were very impressed with his style, credentials and manner. We had been around quite a few fairs by this point and done some online research and Paul answered all of our questions about insurance, equipment and approach and was great fun to talk to. We knew he would be able to make our plan for the photos work and provide a great record of our special day. Plus, he’s called Paul…can’t go wrong!
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Very much so! On the day he was great at managing our guests – especially some of the smaller, slightly unruly ones! – and kept things to time for the formal photographs. We would highly recommend having a pre-wedding shoot, it helped us to relax on the day and trust his instincts.
While on our pre-shoot we picked out our favourite spots at the Castle and out and about and on the day we could choose from these based on the weather (it was exceptionally windy!). His assistant (the wonderful Louisa) had her work cut out wielding the flash box against the gale-force winds but it made such a difference to the photos and makes the courtyard shots beautifully brooding and atmospheric. I quickly got cold in the wind and Paul was happy to adapt the plan so we had less time out an about in the countryside between the ceremony and the reception, even so we still got some lovely pictures!
The traditionally beautiful confetti moment turned into petal peppering madness which Paul captured brilliantly for us – it was certainly memorable! Paul chose to stay a little longer at the reception of his own accord to take some pictures of the details and to ‘finish off his story’ (his words). We got on so well with Paul both on the day and in the run up and found it easy to laugh, hug, kiss and smile without feeling pressured or under the spotlight.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We were so amazed how quickly he had turned produced such a polished set of photos! We were on our honeymoon in Jersey when they came out and it was so special to be able to look through them and remember our day. It was lovely for me to be able to see the Groom’s house preparations – a little insight into the bits I’d missed! – and to share in the beautiful moments that he had captured.
Skipton Castle and Cracoe Village Hall
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
A beautifully Yorkshire windy wedding!
Your wedding style or theme:
English garden party
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
A real combination – fairs, online, and in person mainly. I didn’t read many magazines but I did a lot of research online via blogs and search engines! Lots of the DIY ideas came from Pinterest!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Think about the assets and resources you have between yourselves and your family and friends and make sure that you make the most of them!
For example, instead of hiring a posh car we chose to ask my parents if we could use the family Landrover Defender! Hannah and I had grown up with Landrovers and love them a lot more than swanky cars so it seemed silly to splash out on a car I would know nothing about! Who was going to drive it was a bit of a conundrum at first but it in the end Hannah hitched up her bridesmaid dress and drove us to the ceremony and on to the reception! She’s a multi-talented lady! Mum and Dad shined it to within an inch of its life and decorated it with bunting and flower garlands – they even pimped up the hubcaps!
We didn’t have a pudding with the main course – instead we asked some of our guests to bring a cake or two! The resulting sweet treats table was varied and really special to us. We served the wedding cake with a self-sourced cheese board later on thus avoiding the cost of a second meal later in the evening. Be aware though – this was quite a lot of work to set out! It takes lots of dedication from your friends and family.
We chose not to buy ready-made favours for our guests, instead we made name place settings that had retro sweets and a poem that we’d written inside. When you have upwards of 100 guests even something at £3 or £4 a head quickly adds up!
Our friend Adam is a professional media guru and offered to do the photos for our reception and the bride’s preparations in the morning. We were totally upfront with Paul (our official photographer) about this and he was really flexible and open to working with Adam. Having Adam do the less formal aspects of the wedding was really lovely and it meant a lot that he was involved. Paul had the experience needed to do the ceremony and formal photographs and this also gave Adam a chance to relax and enjoy the ceremony! If you are going to ask a friend to do some of the photos make sure they know what is involved – it’s a lot of concentration on the day and then there’s all of the editing to do afterwards! I would always recommend getting a professional wedding photographer for the ceremony – they know how things work and when things happen and it also means that all of your guests can enjoy your special moment.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
We splashed out on the ceremony venue (Skipton Castle) and the evening band (The Beat Collective). Those two elements were totally worth it as they created a memorable and fun day. Forevermore we can say ‘we got married in a Castle’ – can’t beat that!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
It was definitely a labour of love! The invitations were beautifully handmade by our parents and I designed and printed the order of ceremonies, table settings, seat reservations, table plan and so on. I really enjoy ‘doodling’ and designed a corner motif that tied together lots of our favourite activities – a treble clef for me (I’m a musician), the staff of Asclepius for Paul (he’s a doctor), waves for kayaking (how we met), and a love knot and heart. We then printed it on ivory paper and backed things on orange card (one of the wedding colours)
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Absolutely! My sister (Hannah) was my maid of honour and she came up for an extended weekend of dress hunting. We made appointments at lots of shops and on the Friday we visited The Bridal Emporium in Leeds. My dress was in the window and I was immediately taken by it. I tried on a few other vintage dresses that were beautiful but not ‘me’ and then asked to try on the one in the window. It fitted beautifully and made me feel amazing! I didn’t let my heart rule too strongly though – we left it there (difficult decision!) and decided to keep our appointment somewhere else the next day. All through the Saturday appointment I wasn’t happy – I was trying on lovely dresses but they weren’t ‘that’ dress. Eventually the very patient and understanding shop assistant suggested that maybe my heart had been given elsewhere!! All this time my very proactive sister had been messaging Claire at the Bridal Emporium to say that we were coming back – she stayed open for us on the Saturday and we picked it up and took it home that evening!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Charlotte Balbier, The Bridal Emporium
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My jewellery was particularly special. Hannah (my sister) is a genius with jewellery making and she said that she’d make it for me. I didn’t actually see what she was making until the morning of the wedding! She had crafted an absolutely stunning pearl necklace, bracelet and earrings set which went beautifully with my dress and was completely unique!
I splashed out on the shoes! I tried out a pair of Rachel Simpson shoes at the National Wedding Show and was just blown away by how comfortable they were. I didn’t buy them there and then as I couldn’t quite talk myself into spending that much money on a whim. It quickly turned out it wasn’t a whim and after a visit to Elegant Steps in Liverpool I decided on a pair of ivory Mimi. They were instantly comfortable and utterly beautiful. My only advice is to wear heel stops and to KEEP THE HEELS STOPS ON – I took them off half way through the reception then proceeded to run around on the grass. Ivory shoes aren’t so pretty when they’re covered in mud! L
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
Paul and his ushers were dressed in Prince Edward tails from Greenwoods in Harrogate. They looked very dapper and it was good to be able to get a variety of length jackets – my Dad is quite short and Paul’s brother is quite tall! We had a bit of a difficulty choosing the colour for the rouche but eventually chose a deep purple that went with the Mistress of Ceremonies dress.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
The four bridesmaids and our Mistress of Ceremonies wore handmade dresses from Claire at The Bridal Emporium.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
The hair accessories were my handiwork – I bought combs and flowers from Hobby Craft and made a variety of sizes to go in mine and the bridesmaids’ hair. I may have a little thing about Disney so there was certainly a bit of Rapunzel going on in the hairstyling! Our hair was done on the day by Faye Snelgrove who was absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t take the pressure of doing my own hair and it was very relaxing to sit there and have it done for me. I also know that there would have been no way my curls would have lasted the day if I’d done them – the hair net and 8am start were totally worth it!
None of us wear much make-up so we chose to do it ourselves on the day. Hannah and I had been to a make-up counter to have a tutorial and to buy some supplies. It was a really special moment for me to do my sister’s make-up and there are some lovely photos of the bridesmaids doing each other’s.
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
Elizabeth Jackson and her friends did our flowers on the day. We found her through the website Flowers from the Farm and could not recommend her highly enough! We were really keen to have local products and this extended to the flowers. Elizabeth was actually instrumental in developing the wedding colour scheme – my favourite colour is teal so we used Eucalyptus leaves to tone and then some traditional ivory, bright orange as a highlight and beautiful purples to complement. Paul and I are pretty hopeless at gardening and Elizabeth was EXCEPTIONALLY patient with us and took our somewhat vague descriptions and total lack of flower knowledge and put together something completely exquisite. Our guests were very impressed on the day and the flowers look amazing in the photos – they really add a ‘pop’ of colour. The design and realisation of the flowers was entirely down to Elizabeth – I’ve no idea how she managed to pull exactly what we wanted from our heads when we weren’t even sure ourselves!
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
We kept the ceremony venue really simple as the Banqueting Hall at Skipton Castle has enough ‘presence’ all on its own. The aisle had some little copper jugs at the back and front and some jam jar arrangement hanging on the end of the benches. The big windows each had a beautiful structural oasis display in and there was a big non-traditional pedestal type arrangement at the front in a beautiful copper bowl.
We did quite a lot of decorating at the Village Hall – it’s a beautiful building in stunning landscape but we wanted to make sure it didn’t look like the school’s sports hall inside. The mums managed the incredible feat of making 150m of bunting (made from a donated white duvet cover and some remnant purple fabric) and also created the teal backdrop which covered the school PE equipment behind the top table. We strung the bunting alongside fairy lights which created a beautiful twinkling atmosphere after dark. The amazing flowers from the Castle were transferred to the Hall by Elizabeth and her team and the display just in front of the top table was completely stunning.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
As you may be able to tell by now a LOT of our wedding was homemade. As a family we have always enjoyed crafts and with family and friends as talented as ours it seemed a waste not to take advantage of the skills on offer! We were keen to save money but it was more about making the day uniquely ‘ours’. Everyone commented that they loved the little touches and could tell how much work we’d put into them – which made them feel special!
Aside from what we’ve mentioned already, we also got lots of photos printed with snapshots from our childhood and years together, some of which were placed on the table in homemade photo holders and the rest put up on the wall in the bar annexe mounted on some strips of cardboard (which I found in a skip!) and with appropriate captions. Our guests really enjoyed them on the day and we’ve now put them in an album to keep for posterity.
Instead of hiring a photo booth we went DIY again and rifled through our extensive university fancy dress boxes for props! Between us we made, painted and decorated a wooden ‘polaroid’ frame which guests could pose with and our friend Adam set up a tripod and remote-activated camera in a side room so that people could pose with their props. As the night wore on this grew increasingly entertaining and caused much hilarity! We now have some utterly priceless photos to go alongside the more formal ones from earlier in the day.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
My family are experienced fruit cake makers so it was always going to be a fruit cake! We made it a few months in advance (everyone had a stir for good luck) and then my sister fed it brandy for the intervening period. It was iced by a local cake shop (royal icing) and the three tiers reinforced with pillars ready for assembling. It was nerve-wracking putting it together at the Hall the night before but all went well, we tied a teal ribbon around each tier and Elizabeth provided some beautiful flowers to complete the decoration.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
I’m a musician so the music was both very important and also very difficult to decide on! I spent months agonising and it didn’t help that everyone kept saying ‘oh it must be really easy for you having played at so many weddings!’. Unfortunately all of that experience couldn’t change the fact that my string quartet were my bridesmaids (and therefore unavailable!) and that I had, by that point, ‘heard it all’ in terms of ceremony music.
I love Pachelbel’s Canon, it’s perfect for a processional, and Salut d’Amour is a favourite for signings – but I had played these and other similar pieces so many times at other people’s weddings so didn’t feel they would be ‘special’ for us. Instead we asked a musician friend to do some arrangements – the processional was a string quartet arrangement of ‘I See the Light’ by Alan Menken and the signing was an arrangement of ‘The Luckiest’ by Ben Folds. Both of these pieces have lyrics that mean something to us and beautiful tunes.
The processional was everything that I imagined it to be and I had to work very hard not to cry as I walked down the aisle! I had our Flower Girl and each of the 3 bridesmaids and maid of honour go down the aisle separately so that the music had time to get going then came in at the key change! The recessional was a more traditional choice – the upbeat and jolly ‘Queen of Sheba’ by Handel which goes on long enough to allow time for all of your guests to leave!
We chose The Beat Collective for the evening band because they played a mix of modern songs and stuff from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. This meant that there was a better chance of getting the ‘oldies’ up and dancing – and also we love dancing to that stuff too! We chose to have the extra horn section which was an additional expense but well worth it – a full band is so much more exciting and atmospheric!
Our first dance was to a salsa version of ‘Hey Soul Sister’ by Train as we have been doing salsa dancing for a few years – we did some practice and had a bit of a routine so that we didn’t have to stand and sway awkwardly. We did a verse and chorus then had the guests come and join us – I danced with Dad and Paul grabbed his mum then I had to fish Paul’s dad out of the crowd and drag him onto the dance floor!
On the day tips and advice:
The last hour before you leave for the ceremony will go VERY quickly.
Make sure you spend time with each other.
If you choose to have a civil ceremony then you are likely to have the option of writing your own vows. If you get the chance you should definitely go for it! This was our favourite part of the day and the guests couldn’t stop talking about it. It was so special for us to be able to tell each other why we were getting married, and to tell all of our nearest and dearest what it was that we loved about each other. The vows were a surprise to all but my sister – who did a compatibility check (length, sentiment, appropriate jokes!) for us before we submitted them to the registry office.
Have a wet AND windy weather plan.
Make sure you spend time with your mum (if appropriate) – there are so many lovely ‘dad’ moments on a wedding day which are really important, but don’t neglect your mum!
Be flexible – don’t get ‘the perfect’ vision in your head otherwise you may be disappointed. Go with the flow and know you’ll have a great time whatever happens.
If you are confident speaking then discuss sharing the traditional ‘groom’ speech with your husband! I ummed and ahhed about this but ultimately our relationship is not one where I sit quietly and let Paul do all of the talking so it seemed wrong somehow to do that on the wedding day! Paul was very amenable to this and it was definitely a mutual decision – I did some of the thank yous and said nice things about Paul, he then did some more of the thank yous and said nice things about me!
Make a plan for the end of the night – if you are planning a grand depart then make sure the band know so that they can tell the guests to gather outside to see you off!
If you’re doing lots of DIY then enlist the help of family and friends and once you’ve delegated – LEAVE IT ALONE! You cannot control every little detail and you’ll make yourself sick and stressed if you try. Let your family and friends treat and surprise you and enjoy what they have done for you.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Getting to recognise our love in a way that gives the rest of the world a chance of knowing quite what we mean to each other.
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Skipton Castle (ceremony venue)
Cracoe Village Hall (reception venue)
White Rose Caterers
Aurora Strings (string quartet)
The Beat Collective (evening band)
Paul Maven (Photographs)
Flowers from the Garden (Elizabeth)