Newburgh Priory Wedding
Family, teamwork, simple, bespoke, thoughtful.
Alfie and Kirsty
Alfie and Kirsty are joining us with their utterly beautiful Newburgh Priory wedding, which was held on the 31st August 2019 in North Yorkshire. I love so much about their wedding story, they were so thoughtful and considered throughout the wedding planning process. From Kirsty’s divine ethical wedding dress to the table making workshop they went to on their honeymoon (I’ve already shared the link with my husband G, I so want to go!).
Their day also had a serious amount of style; the outfits, the pampas grass cloud, the greenery flower arrangements and the calligraphy wedding stationery, were all so beautiful. Simple, bespoke and oh so special.
Neil Jackson Photographic I cannot thank you enough for sharing these sublime images with us.
We truly wanted the day to be about our families and closest friends celebrating with us, nothing flashy and a day that everyone could feel part of and involved in.
The Planning Process
We were engaged for two years which meant each part of the process could be carefully considered and we never felt time pressured into making a decision which made everything much less stressful. We chose to get married in North Yorkshire where I (Kirsty) grew up and a huge part of our decision making was ensuring that we were using local companies and being sustainable wherever possible. It was also very important to us to have our families input and the ceremony was certainly the focus of the majority of our planning, we loved the process of choosing readings and the music.
Alfie’s sister designed all the invitations with us and hand wrote the calligraphy, she did the most beautiful job and we spent the evening with her writing addresses and finishing each invitation with a gold wishbone followed by a takeaway and much needed wine!
We knew that for part of the reception we would have a ceilidh but none of Alfie’s friends or groomsmen had ever been to one, so a few months before the wedding we went to a ceilidh night hosted in a brewery so that everyone in the bridal party could meet before the wedding and experience some Scottish dancing – it was hysterical.
We had decided quite early on that we didn’t want a band after the ceilidh and so hired some speakers and asked our friends to send us three songs they would want to dance to, collated them into a Spotify playlist and then just pressed shuffle on the night, it was a brilliant mix of nostalgia and current favourites.
As soon as we secured Newburgh as our venue we hired all the rooms at the pub in the village, The Fauconberg. It’s a gorgeous very quaint country pub that does amazing food but only has seven rooms so we immediately booked them for our bridal party. We knew it would be fun to walk to the pub after the wedding and that the breakfast would revive us sufficiently for the post wedding marquee clear up. We also booked rooms in other local pubs that we knew so that Alfie’s family didn’t have the concern of finding somewhere close to the venue to stay, the area is pretty rural so doing this job early in the planning process saved a lot of stress and people questioning where to stay.
We had numerous trips up from London to meet suppliers, taste food, dress fittings and floristry meetings and each time we firmed up little details but this was often incredibly hard to organise due to our work schedules. Thankfully we had so many incredible suppliers who were extremely helpful and often rearranged things to accommodate our trips up.
Newburgh Priory is a very special place to us now, we knew as soon as we drove through the gates it was the venue. The atmosphere is so calm and it feels very private and in no way flashy or ostentatious but still extremely special. Paul who runs the events was brilliant, he could answer all of our questions and nothing seemed an issue, you really can use every part of the grounds and design your day as you wish. There are so many options for where you can be married and have your marquee so we really enjoyed deciding which part of the grounds we would use for each part of the day. The Long Gallery ruins are stunning and we knew we would want a clear marquee in there so that it felt like you were sitting in the ruins themselves and could look up at the stars in the evening. One huge perk that we didn’t necessarily register at the time was that you are able to use the loos inside the house so there’s no need for portable loos despite it being a predominantly outdoor wedding. Newburgh only have one wedding per weekend which meant we were never rushed during the set up or clearing away, you do really feel like it yours for the weekend.
Our marquee company also did our catering and they were exceptional. Simon is incredibly organised and efficient which made the process so much easier since we trying to organise things from London. They had the exact marquee we were looking for and it fitted perfectly in the ruins and also meant that the catering staff had a different entrance to the guests so things could run seamlessly. The entire day ran smoothly and this is largely down to their team, every single member of staff was a delight and completely professional. We had so many compliments on the food and our only regret from the wedding is that both Alfie and I somehow managed to miss the pizza and chips in the evening – apparently they were delicious!
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was a bespoke design I made with Keely who owns Luna Bride, a sustainable and ethical bridal brand based in Harrogate. I predominantly chose Luna Bride because of Keely, she is really dedicated to making the most ethical designs and she was immediately excited by the prospect of creating something new with me. It was really important to me to be able to dance as I knew from past experience how chaotic a ceilidh can be, I didn’t want to feel restricted at all but I also wanted a long train. We decided to create a dress with a stepped hem that would allow me to dance super easily during the evening but over the top have a skirt that would provide a less modern look for the ceremony. I found a picture of a spotty tulle on Pinterest that I was desperate to have for the overskirt and somehow Keely managed to source an organic version that was honestly the softest and lightest tulle I have ever seen, she goes completely above and beyond for your dress. The main dress itself was lined with peace silk which was extremely gentle on my skin and really breathable – quite key since I had long sleeves and was getting married in August. I wore royal blue heels right up until the end of the dancing where I gave in and swapped for my trusty converse. I wore bespoke diamond jewellery which I designed and that was it, pretty simple.
All the outfits were relatively simple so our hair and make up reflected that.
My sister recommended her local hairdresser Anna who came to the house and did myself, my Mum, sister and one bridesmaid. My maid of honour and one other bridesmaid did their own hair.
My mum and I had our make up done by a lady called Gemma who listened to what we wanted and is a really lovely presence on the day, she also has the biggest bag of lipsticks I’ve ever seen.
The Readings & Music
My brother wrote and read a reading for us and Alfie’s sister sang during the signing of the register. It was incredibly important to us to have all our siblings and family involved in the ceremony in one way or another.
Alfie’s mum Mariella designed the flowers with us with the exception of the hanging ‘cloud’ the bouquets and buttonholes which were done by our local florist Kym at Queens Flowers.
We didn’t really have a colour scheme as such, we just love white flowers and natural styling. We made all the table arrangements with Mariella which was so fun and got us super excited about seeing everything put together on the day.
We picked our favourite flowers such as dahlias and freesias and used thistles and grasses in between to make the table arrangements that went around bay and rosemary scented candles in vases. We had two huge vases filled with white flowers that Mariella arranged and she also dressed the marquee with hydrangeas that were slightly off white so looked perfect in the ruins. Our friends and family foraged trails of ivy for us and Mariella devised a way for it to be attached to thin chains to dress the sides of the marquee so it really did look like we were blending into the gallery walls. Possibly my favourite detail was the flower arch Mariella made for the entrance to the marquee, it was so dainty and elegant, tiny little jasmine buds and ferns at the bottom, it was beautiful.
Kym is the most brilliant florist and was completely up for doing something a bit different to suspend in the marquee. She made a huge cloud that looked so elegant with big plumes of pampas grass and tiny fairy lights that we had on when the sun went down.
The bouquets were very simple, just a posy of freesias for the bridesmaids and a mixture of all the wedding flowers in my bouquet. The buttonholes were very small and elegant, just a tiny thistle and a sprig of lavender for the groomsmen and a small white flower for Alfie.
Along with our family and friends we dried what must have been thousands of flower petals to make our own confetti and this felt so special on the day to be showered with petals grown in our family and friends’ gardens.
The Details & Décor
Other than flowers we didn’t really do too much else as the venue is so beautiful on its own. Alfie’s sister hand wrote all the table names, place settings and made the seating plan all in the style of the invitations.
One of Alfie’s friends keeps bees and he very kindly offered us some of his honey so we could give it as favours so we collected used mini jam pots, washed them out and removed the stickers (irritatingly time consuming) for him to fill. Mariella (Alfie’s mum) is a botanical artist and she has the most beautiful painting of a bee that we love, she got it printed on stickers so that we could place one on each honey pot.
Alfie wore a tailored suit from Oliver Brown and some bespoke shoes from George Cleaverly.
The groomsmen wore matching blue suits and ties with tiny bumblebees on.
All the bridesmaids wore bespoke outfits that we decided on together. My maid of honour created a dress with me as she has a stunning ethical brand called In_Grid. The other three bridesmaids had theirs made by my local tailor in Battersea, a brilliant man named Cedric who handmade all their outfits.
We love cheese so opted for a stack of Yorkshire cheeses that the caterers created and provided lots of delicious crackers and chutneys to go with it. We also had a small chocolate cake from Birdgate Chocolatiers which is a local chocolatier that has made special occasion cakes for my family for years. They made it gluten free which also meant more of our guests could enjoy it.
We found Neil via Google initially and really loved his documentary style but also his incredible wildlife shots! We had a chat with him on Skype and he was so laid back and not ‘weddingy’ that we knew he would be the right person for us on the day. Neither Alfie nor I are comfortable at all having our picture taken so we also knew that at certain times we would need Neil to pull us away for pictures alone yet also be slightly invisible so we wouldn’t be aware of the camera, he did this perfectly. Although we didn’t want overly posed shots we did want to ensure we had pictures with our families and Neil managed to capture us looking natural and being silly together in the most organic way. Despite having never shot at Newburgh Priory before Neil found places we hadn’t even noticed for us to have pictures together and he knew the timings of the light so well that he has given us some incredibly beautiful shots of the magnificent trees and lake we were so lucky to have at our venue. Neil gets a feel for your venue and for your guests so effectively, looking at the pictures now nearly a year on they still transport me immediately back to the feeling of those moments.
We made a dining room table! We spent three days in Devon with an amazing man called Alastair who runs Little Acorn Furniture. The workshop is on a gorgeous farm in the national park, there’s no phone signal and it’s totally idyllic. We made the whole table without any machines (despite having never made a single thing before) and the entire experience was magical start to finish. We stayed in a local Air BnB and it was the perfect place to relax after long days creating the table. We now have a table that we use every day and will keep forever that will always remind us of that super special time.
We made a piñata for the children and it was brilliant watching them bash it.
Advice For Other Couples
There are lots of things people will say you ‘need’ but have you ever changed into the wedding branded flip flops that were in a basket or have you just gone barefoot?
Put the bar as close to the dancefloor as possible, camps get divided otherwise.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Neil Jackson Photographic
Marquee & Catering
Poppy Caterers & Marquees Ltd
Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Hanging Cloud Installation, Bouquets & Buttonholes
Bridesmaids Bespoke Outfits
Cedric at Alter Ego
Maid of Honour (Katie who wore black shoes and had very long hair)
Bespoke by In_Grid
Local Pub Accommodation
Table Making Course
Little Acorn Furniture
Air BnB in Devon
Does it get any more special?
Alfie and Kirsty thank you so very much for sharing your enchanting Newburgh Priory wedding story with us xo Lou