Hornington Manor Wedding
Fun, relaxed, pretty and hot!
Grace and Tom
A very warm welcome to WWW readers Grace and Tom today and their Hornington Manor wedding held on Saturday 14th July 2018 in Yorkshire on a very balmy day! Their celebrations extended over the weekend with guests staying in the manor house, Grace and Tom married in a church ceremony, held their meal in the barn and partied in tipis and outdoors (look out for their romantic outdoor first dance)! In fact their day was filled with lovely moments; the confetti throw, the touching speeches, a special surprise band and sunset portraits. Oh my.
Didn’t Grace look stunning in her embroidered gown? While Tom and his groomsmen went for a smart casual look in bow ties, tweed and chinos, so dapper. I just adore all of the personalised decorations, the seasonal flowers and the very cool vintage car.
Richard Skins Photography captured the whole day and every little detail oh so perfectly, thank you Richard for sharing these sublime images with us all.
I grew up figure skating from a very young age and it is still something that I love. Tom knew that I had always wanted to skate on ‘real ice’ and proposed to me just after Christmas in the middle of the frozen ‘Lake Louise’ in the Rocky Mountains, Canada! Tom had designed the ring to incorporate the diamond from his Mum’s engagement ring, which she had gifted to us. I couldn’t have imagined anything more perfect.
We both quickly agreed that we wanted our day to be completely relaxed, yet lots of fun for both us and all of our guests. We both wanted to create a wild, outdoor, festival-feel that was as much about our friends and family as it was about us. We ended up keeping all of the details a surprise for our guests, including our parents, and worked hard to make it as personal to us and them as possible. We knew from speaking to married couples that the day goes fast, so we loved the idea of having a full weekend to celebrate.
Ceremony – All Saints’ Church. Reception – Hornington Manor, both Bolton Percy, York.
We were open to all different styles of wedding when we began our search for our perfect venue and as Tom is from Yorkshire and I am from the West Midlands, we had a vast area of the country as a possibility! We ended up visiting many places from castles and estates to open fields and woodland yurts to help us decide and through this, we managed to find out what we both really wanted (and didn’t want!) from our wedding.
When I first came across Hornington Manor online, I knew, and after seeing it for ourselves, we were decided. Hornington was a beautiful blank canvas that we could put our own stamp on. It had everything that we were looking for: exclusive use of a beautiful manor house with place for our closest family and friends to stay in luxury for the weekend, the prettiest church one mile down the road for our ceremony (with adjacent pub!), a rustic barn for our wedding breakfast, a pretty garden with views for miles to host our lawn games, first dance and an evening of partying in our Papakata tipi, and all located in a tiny, beautiful, Yorkshire village, easily accessible for our guests to travel to.
The people at both All Saints’ Church and Hornington Manor couldn’t have been more accommodating and it was great to have the freedom to add our own personal touches and use our own suppliers.
Your Outfits & Accessories
As with finding a venue, everything was an option when it came to choosing a dress. I found the endless styles and options of any adjustment under the sun overwhelming (‘don’t like sleeves? We can rip them off! Want this skirt on that top in a different colour? We can do it!’ etc.) Match this to me wanting to explore every wedding dress shop I came across and you end up trying on lots of dresses. I found ‘the one’ after trying on an ‘Ian Stuart’ dress. It wasn’t quite right but I loved the uniqueness of his dresses, so I looked through some of his previous collections and came across the one – ‘Summertime’ on instagram. I nervously tried it on at ‘The Bridal Collection’ in Harrogate and that was it! The next challenge was that the dress came with various colour options, though the sample dresses only came in white. I knew I wanted a touch of colour and something a bit different, so without seeing it in person and with only a tiny sample of material to go off, I paid 50% and ordered the dress in Taupe with multi-coloured embroidery! My friends thought I was mad but it was perfect in the end! I added an extra-long veil, the sparkliest Badgley Mischka shoes (ordered for cheaper off Amazon!) and my something blue diamond earrings that matched my Mum’s necklace.
This was something I left until last and quickly wished I hadn’t. I was very lucky though as I finally found the most amazing make up artist, Jade from ‘The Makeup Works’ who came to Hornington Manor on the morning of the wedding and did mine, my bridesmaids and my Mum’s make up. I met with her for a trial beforehand and was amazed at the results! She really understood my vision and as there were so many bridesmaids to fit in, she organised an extra pair of hands and a schedule so I didn’t have to think about anything, which was so great!
I struggled a little bit more with hair. It was important to me to maintain the relaxed feel of the weekend and therefore not ask my bridal party to get up at 6am to begin getting ready (especially as we had had a welcome party the evening before!) I knew that as there were so many of us, we would need more than one hair stylist to fit us all in before the ceremony at 1pm. My hairdresser ensured me that she had many people on standby to accompany her on the day, however she let me down last minute and came on her own. She also said she wouldn’t have time to complete the style (plaits!) that we had planned for myself and the bridesmaids. I was happy with the end result but could have done without the extra hassle on the day!
The Readings & Music
We chose a piano version of the traditional song ‘Canon in D’ for me to walk down the aisle to, Tom’s cousin, Rachel did a lovely, personal reading for us that she had written and we ended the ceremony and left the church dancing with ‘All I Want is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar that we loved from the film, Juno. We felt it fitted the fun, whimsical vibe that we were going for and was a great start to the celebrations!
Following our wedding breakfast, we surprised our guests by moving the party through the house to the tipi in the garden. After some welcome martinis, we had our first dance on the lawn in the setting sun (our photographer, Richard’s idea!). We chose Paolo Nutini’s ‘No Other Way’ as our first dance song, before starting the dancing with Beyonce’s ‘Love on Top’. The amazing brass band, Hyde Park Brass, surprised everyone by suddenly appearing out of the house playing Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ which caught everyone off guard and got them up on the dancefloor!
As a surprise for me, Tom had organised a band. As an even bigger surprise to me and the rest of our guests, he was in said band. It turns out Tom had been secretly rehearsing for months alongside our talented friends James, Joe, Dan and John. He had chosen each song with me in mind and they were absolutely amazing! Our guests are still reminiscing about it.
Following the band, we hired a DJ and continued the party!
Joanna from ‘Twisted Willow’ (now re-named ‘The Rarified’) was the first person that Tom and I spoke with at our first wedding fayre. We were a bit overwhelmed and probably looked like two rabbits caught in headlights, so it was great to speak to Joanna who made us feel at ease not only about choosing a florist but about the entire wedding planning process. Much further down the line, we contacted Joanna, met her in her lovely workshop in Ripon and that was it! We chatted over a cup of tea and Pinterest boards and were kindly guided in to making decisions, something which Tom and I struggle with! We went with wild and pretty flowers with lots of greenery and my favourite flower, hydrangeas. The table arrangements included vintage plant pots and succulents to match. We were so happy with the results, though our wedding day was so hot that many of the flowers had wilted by lunch time!
We wanted to choose a suit that would fit with the informal, relaxed feel of the wedding day. We decided on tweed jackets and waistcoats (in a chilly March, not knowing our wedding day would be 28 degrees!) and white shirts throughout. We went for a ‘mix and match’ theme where each groomsman chose their own colour of trousers and bright wildflower bow tie. Our Dad’s outfits matched the groomsmen and our page boy, Louie wore a very stylish tweed outfit that topped them all! They were each gifted a personalised pocket watch from Tom as a perfect finishing touch.
I asked my sister, my sister-in-law and my seven closest friends to be my bridesmaids. Nine bridesmaids sounds extravagant but I left out much of the tradition for a more relaxed feel! I wanted the girls to be completely comfortable and feeling beautiful on the day and knew that one dress for all wasn’t going to cut it. I therefore left the outfit choosing up to them! I gave them a choice of colours that loosely matched the theme and tied it all together by giving each bridesmaid a bouquet, hair flowers and a matching bracelet. They all looked amazing and I loved having them all with me throughout the build-up (they organised two amazing hen-do’s!) and the day itself, particularly the morning of the wedding!
The Details & Décor
I loved our wedding stationery which was created by Anna at Fig + Fern Studio. At first I attempted to make all of our stationery myself but after trying my best and failing (gold foil is ridiculous), then seeing how amazing Anna’s work was, I left it all up to her. She created our invitations, table names, order of the day and thank you cards and incorporated beautiful touches that were personal to us. I was stunned by the finished products.
We made lots of colourful hearts to line the path up to the church which ended up looking lovely. We wanted to greet each of our guests as soon as possible, therefore we incorporated this as they exited the church. Once we had said hello, they grabbed a handful of confetti from our page boy, Louie and lined the path next to the hearts ready to throw it (mainly in our mouths).
Our bridal party travelled to the church in a vintage bus and my Dad and I in a vintage Citroen 2CV. It was a little surprise for my Dad, who has worked for Citroen since before I was born. We asked Tom’s uncle to drive us, as well as driving Tom and I from the church where we waved everyone off as a newly married couple. It was a very funny part of our day!
Our table plan was a collage of photographs of memories spent with our guests and our favours were Tom’s mum’s infamous chocolate truffles! We added extra touches to each bedroom where our guests were staying, including a label for the door so they could all find each other throughout the house!
The food was an important part of the wedding that both Tom and I were passionate about! Choosing a venue that allowed us to decide on our own caterers was key, as we were excited to create our own menu. We chose ‘Hog and Apple’ who create the most amazing food, home-grown to Yorkshire. We wanted our menu to be relaxed and informal, therefore chose a ploughman’s sharing board for each table, where the food was suspended above the centre of the table in order to fit more on! Our main also had a sharing style where guests could add as many sides as they wished to their puff pastry pie! To finish, Hog and Apple combined both mine and Tom’s favourite dessert to create the dessert of dreams. We had a selection of gooey cheese toasties for our evening food, served from cinema-style usherette trays so our guests could eat and dance!
As Tom and I love to travel to new places, our wedding guest book was instead a selection of postcards. This turned out better than we had expected as the guests chose postcards from places that were personal to both them and us, or memories that we had shared together.
We chose a three tiered, ombre blue cake from the lovely Patisserie Viennoise in three different flavours: lemon, chocolate fudge and the classic Victoria sponge. We topped it with some personalised knitted characters from Etsy, featuring the two of us and our black labrador, Bertie! We also created a ‘Bake Off’ style table where the more talented bakers of our guests brought along a cake. We placed their photograph next to their cake and ate all six over the weekend!
We found the amazing Richard Skins through trawling the internet. It was one of the most important decisions for me so I wanted to really make sure we got it right. We definitely did! Richard was so personable and easy to be around and is so talented! I knew our photographs would be good but never expected to be so blown away by the impeccable quality or amount that we received! Richard’s documentary style photography perfectly suited our vision and really tells the story of our day.
We chose the wonderful Luke from ‘Luma Visual’ who created the most stunning video of our day that we could ever have imagined. It really brings the day to life for us when reminiscing and takes us right back to each and every moment. If you are unsure, our advice would always be to get a videographer!
Tom and I were lucky enough to do a round-the-world trip back when we finished university and it is still one of the best things we’ve ever done. I was keen to have a similar experience for our honeymoon so we managed to take some time off work and off we went. We travelled around various places in Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and the USA including Florida, New Orleans and Houston, Texas. The amazing Six Senses Resort in Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam was a highlight!
The whole weekend was better than we could ever have imagined and there are far too many memorable moments to choose from! Some of the many highlights for me were seeing Tom at the end of the aisle and watching him perform all of my favourite songs to our wild crowd of friends and family in the evening. I loved all three speeches from Tom, my Dad and Kirk, Tom’s best man (who even created a ‘this is your life’ theme that included a secret car-pool karaoke video starring our nearest and dearest, even Bertie the dog!) and just looking around and seeing our vision come true with everyone having a great time. A particularly special moment was at the very end of the night when my sister had set up a little spot in the grounds with fairy lights and candles for me. I took Tom over and gave him his wedding present of a telescope. I’d combined it with a personalised print from ‘The Night’s Sky’, which showed the constellation of our wedding night over Hornington Manor and a certificate of a star that I had named in honour of our day. We sat and looked at the stars for a moment, just the two of us, it was a lovely end to our wedding!
Advice for Other Couples
- Think about the momentum of the day for you and your guests and put yourself in your guests’ shoes. Allow time for rest if it is a long day, particularly after food, before building the atmosphere back up for the times you want to party! We were conscious of leaving too long between food and the evening party, so added little ways to keep the momentum up such as moving location, lawn games and our brass band.
- Assume it will rain and have a plan in place to ensure that the day will be just as good whatever the weather.
- If you are stuck on a decision due to budget, our advice would be just shut your eyes and go for it – you won’t regret it in years to come.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Richard Skins Photography
Ian Stuart at The Bridal Collection
Wedding Breakfast Food
Hog and Apple
Friday Evening Food
Wow wee, what a totally gorgeous day.
Grace and Tom thank you so much for sharing your really special wedding story with us xo Lou