Is there anything I love more than a woodland wedding? I was married to G in the woods and I don’t think there is a more magical setting for tying the knot (not bias at all am I?!), so when I clapped eyes on WWW readers Hannah and Ben’s woodland nuptials I was smitten. They were hitched on Friday 12th July 2019 at Hazlewood Castle in Yorkshire, with a woodland ceremony beneath a greenery covered pagoda, followed by a twinkling tipi reception.
They described their day as “happy, fun, full of laughter and our loved ones” which sounds as though an absolutely brilliant time was had by everyone and if their wedding report was to go by, there were quite a few emotional moments too. Aww. I must also touch on the weather as I know it can be a big worry for many couples wedding planning, the evening turned rainy at Hannah and Ben’s outdoor celebrations and it certainly didn’t dampen the party.
There are so many fantastic touches, there was incredibly stylish attire, a gorgeous semi naked cake, pretty lighting and wonderful florals to boot. I am so thankful to be sharing these beautiful images by Nicola Mackrill Photography and the glorious film by Wishing Wells Creative. What a delight.
After 5 years of being together, on 16th July 2018 whilst on holiday in Dalyan (Turkey) with his family Ben took me for a drink at a quiet bar overlooking the river. He got down on one knee, asked me to be his wife, and gave me the most perfect engagement ring I’ve ever seen. We laughed, I cried, and we partied with family and friends who were waiting in a bar down the road until 5.30am to celebrate!
All we knew was that we wanted an informal, down to earth wedding. We wanted a fun, happy, loving day filled with laughter and our closest friends and family. I wanted to marry Ben more than anything however, I hated the idea of having a wedding where we were the centre of attention, we just wanted our guests to have an amazing time! We wanted to find a venue where everyone could relax and have a day of partying!
The Planning Process
We had already been together 5 years when we got engaged and knew we did not want a long engagement. The planning process was more or less straight forward and our lovely families helped us with it too. Our families were so excited that they made the whole engagement and wedding planning so much more fun!
We did not know what we were looking for, we only knew that we wanted a relaxed and informal day. We only went to look at 3 venues and as soon as we saw the Woodland Venue at Hazlewood Castle we knew it was the perfect place for us! I fell in love with the fairy lights hung around the trees, the lit walkway down to the woods, the amazing tipi, and bar that wraps around a tree trunk! The venue was more than we could have hoped for and we were so excited for our friends and family to see it on the day. Even now, weeks after the wedding our guests are talking about how amazing the venue was and how different it was to any other wedding they had been to. The venue had the relaxed, informal, pretty, magical boho feel to it that we wanted. We had the ceremony in their beautiful woodland pagoda and the rest of the day took place in the tipi and surrounding woodland area.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Ben and I love the Peaky Blinders and I had absolutely no say in what suit he was going to wear, he knew exactly what he wanted! He chose a Peaky Blinders style suit from H&L Fashions (Howarth) with a matching pocket watch and flat cap. His groomsmen and our Dad’s also wore Peaky Blinders style suits. They looked amazing and even did the Peaky Blinders style slo-mo walk down the walkway captured by our amazing videographer.
The only part of the wedding I was dreading was going wedding dress shopping! When we got engaged I was at my heaviest weight and had put on 4 and a half stone. I did not want people looking at me in my wedding dress and my photo to be taken. However, after losing 2 stone I braved going wedding dress shopping with my Mum and Nanna. I had no clue what style dress I wanted and thought the whole process would be a nightmare. However, the first dress I tried on I fell in love with as did my Mum and Nanna. We bought it at Wed2B in Kirkstall Leeds and the staff were amazing, so helpful and friendly. We bought it there and then with a veil. After losing the rest of my 4 and a half stone before the wedding, I felt amazing on the big day!!
The Readings & Music
We did not have any readings. We walked down the aisle to Calum Scott and Leona Lewis’ version of You Are The Reason.
We had a party style playlist playing during the drinks reception.
We were introduced into the tipi for the wedding breakfast to Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.
In the evening we had a DJ and one of the best bands we have ever seen The Good Citizens from Bradford. I went to school with the drummer and he was a guest at the wedding. We were so excited when they agreed to play! They were incredible and had everyone up on their feet singing and dancing!
Our photographer Nicola Mackrill was the best as was her 2nd photographer! We did not want staged, posey photos. We wanted to be able to enjoy our day and not stand around taking photos and missing out on the day. Nicola was the perfect photographer for us as she does documentary style photos. She was a pleasure to have on the day and has delivered photos that have made us both laugh and cry! We did not notice her taking photos on the day which is exactly what she wanted and she has captured so many amazing moments! It is honestly impossible to choose what photos we want printing to put up in our house because there are so many we love! She also got all our photos back to us so quickly!
One of my bridesmaids sister Amy did my hair, my bridesmaids hair, and my mum’s hair. She works at H & Co Hairdressing in Guiseley but travelled all the way to Hazlewood Castle to do our hair. She was fabulous! She was calming on the day and helped me pick styles that suited everyone. We all had up do’s and she added Gypsophila in mine and the bridesmaids.
Jennifer Weston (Makeover by Jennifer Weston) did the make up for me, my mum, and all 4 bridesmaids. Jennifer is just amazing, she made sure she knew exactly what I wanted (even though I had no idea what I was talking about make up wise!). She understood that I do not usually wear lots of make up and she kept it natural but pretty which is exactly what I wanted. She was amazing throughout the whole process – make up trial, the morning of the wedding, and even stayed late to help my mum get me into my wedding dress! She even stayed calm when me and my 4 bridesmaids cried all the make up off repeatedly!
Ben’s grooming process includes getting showered and dressed!
Our cake was made by Heidi at The Bakery Barn (in Thornton, Bradford). Heidi and her husband were brilliant the whole way through, from letting us have a cake tasting evening to delivering the cake on the day. We had a 3 tier semi-naked wedding cake. Each tier was a different flavour and we had white chocolate ganache, salted caramel, and my favourite the gin and raspberry cake. I wish we could get married again just for the cake!
I had 4 bridesmaids – Billie, Melissa, Jo, and my maid of honour was Stef. Their dresses were from ASOS and they wore 2 different designs from the same range. They were the best bridesmaids anyone could have. Stef planned my hen do and she stayed with me and my mum at Hazlewood Castle the night before the wedding. They all looked absolutely stunning and looked after me all day before joining me dancing around the woods at night!
I am clueless when it comes to flowers except for knowing I love peonies and Gypsophila. Our florist Emma from The Petal Studio was an absolute dream. She made perfect Gypsophila buttonholes for the men and the most beautiful bouquets of white peonies and gypsophila for me and my bridesmaids. She gave us Gypsophila for our hair too. 2 days before the wedding I realised that I had messed up and only ordered 3 bridesmaid bouquets instead of 4 (no idea how I managed that!), I emailed her in a panic thinking it would be too late for anything to be done but she was lovely about it and sorted it straight out for me. In fact, she was the one who first set me off crying on the wedding day, as soon as I saw the beautiful bouquets which were so much better than I could have hoped for I burst into tears!
Our filmmaker is Nicola Wells from Wishing Wells Creative. We booked her at short notice and she was amazing! She was so lovely on the day, I totally forgot she was filming and felt like she was a guest! So far we have received our promo video and it is absolutely beautiful, we have watched it about 1000 times. She is currently working on the rest of our videos and we can’t wait to see them!
The Details & Décor
Cristel at Shindig was our event stylist and she made the woodland area even more romantic and boho-chic! She added more fairy lights to the trees, decorated the woodland pagoda with flowers, lit our aisle with lanterns, and made our tables look so gorgeous. She totally understood what I wanted and made the venue even more special!
We put out a wicker basket full of flip flops for the girls for when they had enough of wearing heels! Everyone was wearing them by the end of the night, even the best man borrowed some for breakfast the next morning!
We had Off Piste’s ice cream gondola serving ice cream for all our guests.
We dotted baskets of marshmallows and skewers next to the fire pits for guests to toast marshmallows.
The groomsmens Peaky Blinders suits were from H&L Fashions in Howarth. The groomsmen have been friends for years. Ben had Carlton as his Best Man (possibly the best man anyone has ever had!), and his groomsmen were Brett, Luke, and Liam. The ultimate wolf pack!
We wanted to go somewhere special that we have never been to before and we chose Mexico! We picked a 5* all inclusive adults only resort in Playa Del Carmen. It was the best holiday we have ever had and probably ever will have! We got married on the Friday and flew to Mexico on the Sunday morning. We did so many trips that were the trips of a lifetime and loved every single second!!
My first memorable moment was walking out of the bedroom in my dress to see my bridesmaids and Dad who had never seen the dress before. My Dad is a grumpy Yorkshire man who I have never ever seen cry in my life. He burst into tears as did my bridesmaids and it was so unexpected and emotional my poor make up artist had to step in again to sort our faces out!
Before walking down the aisle my Dad was amazing but I was very very anxious and was so nervous about the vows and seeing everyone. Our lovely groomsmen were all lined by the trees to greet us. The second I saw Ben stood at the end of the aisle and he smiled at me, all my nerves and anxiety disappeared and I have never felt so calm and happy in all my life! My auntie was crying happy tears so loud, it set us off laughing and that was it, we laughed for the rest of the day.
Walking around the woods at our drinks reception and we were both so overwhelmed at how lucky we were to have THE most amazing friends and family who were so genuinely happy and excited for us and to be a part of our special day.
The speeches! Every single speech resulted in belly laughing and tears! My Dad’s speech was beautiful if it could be heard over my Auntie’s continuous happy sobbing. Ben loves being the centre of attention and is amazing at giving speeches so his speech was nothing short of perfect and he did us proud. The Best Man’s speech had people’s jaws dropping with shocking stories about Ben and had everyone in fits of laughter. And then to my surprise, my maid of honor stood up and made a surprise speech which included her downing a glass of prosecco halfway through. I had joked with her 2 days before the wedding that I had hoped she had her speech ready and to get me back she wrote the most amazing speech in 48 hours and delivered it in her usual Barnsley style!!!
Having an outdoor wedding we were worried about the weather. The weather was gorgeous all day and out of the blue at night the heavens opened and it lashed it down! For a few minutes I had a panic that the night would be ruined, instead our friends and family joined us dancing round the woods with umbrellas! I looked like an absolute drowned rat and my dress was ruined and yet it was the best party I have ever been to!! Everyone was up singing and dancing and bouncing around having the best time.
Advice For Other Couples
Don’t let the nerves win, and enjoy every single second. It was the best day of our lives.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Nicola Mackrill Photography
Wishing Wells Creative
H & L Fashions
The Petal Studio
The Bakery Barn
So so special.
Hannah and Ben, thank you ever so much for sharing your magical wedding with us today xo Lou