WWW readers Laura and Stephen tied the knot on 16th October 2013 which was a year to the date of their first date. After planning their adventures and travels together they decided to have a map theme for their wedding.
There were lovely touches made from maps and even Stephen’s jacket was lined with map fabric. They had a cake bake off, a live band, afternoon tea and a hand fasting humanist ceremony. Amazing.
Thanks so much to Kari Bellamy for sharing her beautiful images with us today.
The Proposal… Stephen had been away working for a couple of weeks, he was absolutely shattered and falling asleep. He suggested that we go for a walk to try and wake himself up so we decided to go to one of our favourite places, Saltburn beach for a walk with the dog. It was bitterly cold and thick with snow but that hadn’t deterred the fishermen from being out in force at the end of the pier, we sat on a bench watching what was going on and looking out to sea. Stephen got down on one knee, he proposed with a beautiful Edwardian opal. My Nana had an opal engagement ring and from being a very young child I can remember being fascinated with the way in which it subtly changes colour in different light. I was overjoyed and squealed “YES”.
The Vision for the Day… Stephen and I attended the same school, but due to one of us being pretty cool and the other more alternative and a bit geeky our social circles rarely overlapped. As time went on we both began to make our own way in the world and it became apparent that we shared a lot more in common than they at first believed, including travelling, skiing/snowboarding and a love of similar films and music. For several years we chatted on and off but it took me swimming with sharks in South Africa to really ignite Stephen’s interest and his initial proposition that I helped to fill his empty passport with as many different stamps as possible before they both reached 30, to which I readily agreed and they eventually met up in a local pub on 16th October last year complete with a massive map of the world to plan some of the many adventures we would have together. It seemed fitting to have a map theme to the wedding. We knew from the start that we did not want anything ‘ordinary’ and we were both keen for our personality to shine through the day. We wanted a relaxed and fun day.
The Planning Process… We decided to get married on the 16th October 2013, a year to the day of our first date as known as ‘The map date’ therefore we only had 8 months to plan and organise everything. Thankfully for us, getting married on a Wednesday had its perks, it meant that the band, photographer etc had availability. The majority of our wedding was hand made, from the button holes , the flower girls flowers, the invitations to the table confetti this took an awful lot of time and effort but thankfully we had brilliant friends and family who helped out.
The Venue… Danby Castle, the most magical place in the middle of the North Yorkshire Moors. The views are absolutely stunning. I saw the castle on the internet while Stephen was away at work but I was so excited about it I took my mum and my nan for a sneak peak and fell in love with it. Caroyln, who runs the castle with her husband was super helpful and accommodating of our big ideas. I loved the venue so much that I provisionally booked the date before Stephen had even seen it!! Luckily he loved it just as much as I did. Danby Castle as an informal and relaxed feel which is exactly what we were looking for. We wanted our guests to enjoy themselves and have a good day and therefore did not want anything too formal. The food was amazing, we had a vintage tea party followed by hog roast buns, people are still talking about how good the food was!
The Dress + Accessories… I bought an original 1940’s veil from a little vintage shop in Edinburgh which we found in between pubs while visiting two of my bridesmaids. I borrowed my mums Tiffany’s pearl bracelet and Stephen bought me some vintage opal earrings as a wedding present. I wore a pair of Vivienne Westwood shoes that I have had for years, I took them to my dress fitting to give me an idea of heel height and loved them with my dress so ended up wearing them for the big day.
Finding the Dress… I went dress shopping with my mum, nan and mother in-law we initially went to Harrogate to try on a dress which I had admired on the internet, I’d ordered a sample dress in to the shop but it wasn’t meant to be, the dress hadn’t arrived in time. I wanted a vintage style dress which would be sophisticated and elegant, as soon as I tried my dress on I just knew it was ‘the one’, it was as if it was made especially for me! I bought it and celebrated with tapas and majitos.
Groom’s Attire… Stephen put together a tweed suit from ‘Gibson, London’ he liked that they did not all match and gave a more relaxed look. The suit jacket was lined with fabric covered in maps which fit perfectly in to our theme. We decided it best for the groomsmen to choose their own suit, something that they would feel comfortable wearing.
The Readings + Music… We had a humanist ceremony so the full thing was very meaningful and personal to Stephen and I. Karen King wrote the ceremony with Stephen and I, she met with us a few times and seemed to understand us and our ‘love story’. She found beautiful readings and really made our day magical. We also had hand fasting, The term Handfasting is taken from Old Norse “hand-festa” meaning “to strike a bargain by joining hands”, it signifies a couples coming together as “One”. My brother, Daniel and Stephen’s sister, Danielle bound our hands together after each vow. At the end of the ceremony we jumped over a broom. The broom symbolises a threshold that Stephen and Laura are about to cross – one that leads to a new beginning as husband and wife. They will jump the broom together; hand in hand to show they are two parts of a whole, working together towards a bright new future and all it holds. This jumping of the besom becomes a leap of faith that they take together, faith in each other to face what life has ahead for them, both good and bad. Marriage requires a “leap of faith” and by taking this leap, Stephen and Laura make a gesture of dedication, love and commitment to one another for life.
I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of The XX- Angles, it was such a beautiful song and we’d managed to see them play it at Glastonbury which was breath taking. My brother, Daniel read a reading “For Life In The New Millennium” which was lovely, I am really close to my brother and so was keen to have him involved in the ceremony as much as possible. We walked back up the aisle to “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy by The Tams, we both love the song as felt it was very fitting with our personalities.
Our first dance was probably the most emotional song, I was in tears before the singing even started! Stephen’s granddad Henry is such a lovable person, we both love being around him and listening to his stories as well as him singing to himself. Stephen has very fond memories from his childhood of his granddad singing Frank Sinatra songs so when we found a CD recording from 1998 of his Grandad singing ‘Strangers in the night’ by Frank Sinatra we knew instantly that this was the song we would have our first dance to. We decided that it would be a nice surprise if Henry did not know that it was actually him singing.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… We had four adult bridesmaids, my two cousins Jennifer & Helen, Stephen’s sister; Danielle and my maid of honour, best friend Nicky. We had two flower girls, our niece, Mille and cousin Evie.
The Flowers… I was put in touch with Debbie through a friend, I emailed her with a rough idea of what I wanted but I am clueless when it comes to flowers and the flowers which I had suggested weren’t even in season in October! Debbie met me in a coffee shop to discuss alternatives, she came with samples of different types of flowers and with a hole host of images which was fantastic as names of flowers would mean nothing to me!! Deborah is a very creative and talented lady who worked wonders for our wedding day, she even lent me a blue wedgewood cameo broach to put on to my bridal bouquet. Deborah kept in touch with me throughout the wedding planning progress and was immensely helpful, she even managed to get me excited about flowers!!
The Cake… We had a 4 tier cake, top tier was chocolate peppermint, then lemon drizzle, rose and the bottom tier was carrot cake. Everyone commented on the cake and how unusual it was to have such a mix of flavours. We also had a cake competition judged by the bride and groom. It was such hard work trying to judge as all the cakes looked and tasted incredible! So much thought and effort was put in to them all.
Your Photographer… We found a blog on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and absolutely loved the photographs, the photographer had been mentioned and that’s how we found the wonderful Kari. Kari is based in London but agreed to travelled up to Danby Castle, we kept in touch through email and skype chats. It was reassuring that Kari seemed to understand the feel we wanted for the wedding. We can not praise her enough for the photos that she took, it absolutely poured down for the majority of the day but yet she still managed to capture some breath taking images which we will treasure forever!
The Details + Decor… I wanted to make as much as possible myself so that everything was personal and had a lot of thought behind, we were lucky in that Danby Castle already has a lot of quirky touches. We had books on each table and asked guests to write advice, predictions and messages in each book, the plan is to read the book from table 1 on our first years anniversary, table 2 on our second years anniversary etc. We were keen to have both families together therefore we asked that guests chose a seat rather than a side during the ceremony and we tried to mix the families up during the wedding breakfast so that they got to know each other.
The Honeymoon… We went to Harrogate for a couple of nights after the wedding and also had a week in Berlin, my brother lives in Berlin so it was good to meet up with him. We’re planning a big honeymoon for the summer.
Memorable Moments… The whole day from start to finish was amazing and more than we could have hoped for. Stephen’s friend Dan sang a few acoustic songs which we loved. We’d seen the band, ‘The Chaps’ at Glastonbury festival in the summer and were delighted that they were able to play at the wedding, they got everyone up dancing and enjoying themselves.
Advice for Other Couples… Try to just enjoy the day, the little details that I had been worrying about didn’t even cross my mind on the day of the wedding and so it was basically pointless worrying about them. I loved planning and making everything as much as the day itself.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Inspiration: Whimsical Wonderland Weddings
Humanist service | Karen King
Flowers | Just Because Floral Design
Videographer | Green Biscuit
Venue | Danby Castle
Cake | Just Cake
Beetle/camper van hire | Love Dub Cars
Make up | Cordelia and Co
Band | The Chaps Band
Thanks so very much to Laura and Stephen for sharing their wedding with us today, I am over the moon WWW helped with the planning of their day :-) XOXO Lou
Tags: Afternoon Tea, Autumn Wedding Ideas, Danby Castle, Humanist Wedding, Kari Bellamy Photography, Multicolour Wedding Ideas, North Yorkshire Wedding, Rainy Wedding, Real Weddings, Travel Wedding Ideas, Tweed Groom, Wedding Cake Bake Off