Maria and James married on a sunny warm summers day last year. They chose to marry in the Lake District at Belmount Hall whilst in their hotel in New York following their engagement.
They hoped for a day which was relaxed and enjoyable for their guests with a countryside setting. They had the loveliest of marquees, with reams of bunting, wooden chairs and sweet bird inspired details.
Maria looked a vision in lace teamed with Jimmy Choos while James donned a dapper blue grey three piece suit. This wedding is oh so pretty and just wait until you see the perfect blooms.
Thanks so much to James + Lianne for sharing these beautiful photographs.
THE PROPOSAL | We were on holiday in New York for New Year. James had planned to propose, but Maria had no idea. James bought a vintage engagement ring from a jeweller in New York which was secretly delivered to our hotel! James planned to propose in Central Park, but it was raining – couldn’t convince Maria to take a walk in the driving rain, so it ended up happening back in the hotel room!
THE VISION | We didn’t really have a theme or vision for the day. Our main focus was to try and make it a relaxed and enjoyable day for all involved! We both love the Lake District and the setting of Belmount Hall lends itself to a really nice relaxed country-style wedding.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Belmount Hall was the first wedding venue we found – we came across it when having a little look online from our hotel room in New York! We knew straight away that it was the right place for us.
The planning was fairly painless. Belmount Hall has a wedding licence, so we knew we would be getting married and also having the meal and evening reception in the same venue – which made planning much easier!
Due to the number of guests, we needed a marquee in the grounds for the meal and speeches. The evening reception was held back in the hall. We looked at all the usual marquee suppliers, but ended up going with a “do it yourself” marquee which was provided by Rusland Horticultural Society. This involved us helping out putting the marquee up and taking it down, which was a great experience and really made us appreciate the hard work that goes into the day. We were also responsible for decorating the marquee, which gave us plenty of options! We hired loads of bunting and vintage crockery from Add Vintage to give the marquee a country wedding feel.
The tables were named after birds, and Maria drew sketches of various birds for the table decorations (as well as designing all of the wedding stationery, which also had an avian theme!).
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Maria went round a few different bridal boutiques, but ended up going with the first dress she tried on! It was from The Bridal Room in Hoylake, near to where James’ sister lives (Maria visited the shop on a whim when over visiting James’ family and really liked the people who worked there and loved the dress!). Maria only had one fitting – it was a perfect fit first time!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | James had a three piece suit made by James Michelsberg of Michelsberg Tailoring in the Victoria Quarter, Leeds. He wore a pale pink shirt and managed to grab a load of Paul Smith ties in the sales for him and his groomsmen to wear.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We spent a long time choosing the music for the day!
We’re both big fans of David Bowie and we chose a cover of ‘Life on Mars’ for Maria to walk down the aisle to. It’s an acoustic version, sung in Portuguese by Seu Jorge and features on the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
We agonised over what songs to play whilst we signed the register – in the end, all the guests used the break to have a chat and so you couldn’t really hear them anyway! We went with ‘I’ll Try Anything Once’ by The Strokes and ‘True Love Ways’ by Buddy Holly.
We both left the ceremony to “I Will” by The Beatles. Our first dance was a cover of ‘Baby I’m Yours’ by Arctic Monkeys.
We didn’t have any readings in mind and couldn’t really find any that we liked. Stumbled upon ‘The Owl and The Pussycat’ by Edward Lear which has a really nice sentiment and went with that one! This was read by Kate, one of Maria’s friends. We also asked James’ sister to do a reading, and she chose to read the lyrics to ‘Love Me Tender’.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Maria had four bridesmaids – her three closest school friends (Annette, Clare and Jo) and a friend from Leeds (Katy). They all looked stunning on the day in dresses from Coast.
THE FLOWERS | We wanted a country/wild flower feel to the flowers and went with The Flower Shop in Ambleside. The flowers on the tables were held in vintage teapots.
THE CAKE | Neither of us were too bothered about the wedding cake, but James’ mum loves to bake a fruit cake and she made a beautiful two-tier cake!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | James & Lianne from Leeds, who were brilliant! They made us feel at ease and had a really relaxed manner on the day. We’re both delighted with the photos that really capture the atmosphere of the day!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We also put some festoon lighting up in Belmount Hall – going over the rafters in the Ante Room where the evening reception was held.
THE HONEYMOON | We’ve usually gone for quite active walking holiday and fancied a change for our honeymoon! Neither of us have been on a paradise-type beach holiday. We loved the look of French Polynesia and decided to combine some time on two islands with a tour of the west coast of America.
We flew into San Francisco, had a few days there before heading to Yosemite National Park, where we went on some fantastic walks, including a nail-biting trip up to the top of Half Dome, which required a 5.30am alarm call – not ideal for a honeymoon! We then went on to Napa, Carmel, Santa Barbera and finally Los Angeles, before flying to Tahiti and heading off to Moorea and Bora Bora for a few days of relaxing on the beach and snorkelling!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | All of the usual things were fantastic – seeing each other for the first time! Having all the people you care about in one place to celebrate with you!
The ceremony itself was also really nice – the Registrars were both lovely and made the event feel really special.
We were also extremely lucky with the weather and had a glorious sunny afternoon – the drinks reception and canapés in the grounds of Belmount was a particular highlight, seeing all of our guests enjoying themselves!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t try and do too much yourself – Maria spent ages making all of the favours which were heart-shaped bird seed treats. They looked beautiful, but it took hours and nearly drove her to a nervous breakdown! In hindsight, we should have just bought something and saved the stress.
We also underestimated the sheer volume of all of the vintage crockery which we hired. We thought we could take this to the venue ourselves, but paid for a courier in the end, which was the right thing to do!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | Chris and Gillie at Belmount Hall
Photography | James + Lianne
Marquee | Rusland Show
Dress | The Bridal Room
Suit | Michelsberg Tailoring
Crockery and Bunting | Add Vintage
Thank you so very much Maria and James for sharing all about your wedding story with us XOXO Lou