Briony and Ben described their wedding to me as “fun, informal, rebellious(!)” and I have to say their day has been so refreshing to read about. They were hitched at East Riddlesden Hall in Yorkshire on the 9th November 2019 with a vision of a fuss free and unconventional wedding whereby they they decided not to adhere to any rules or traditions. How amazing is that? Well their day turned out so perfectly I have to say.
With their wedding being in the Autumn season they chose beautiful mustard, burgundy and green tones as their colour scheme, jewel colours that work so well together. It really added a richness to their simple barn wedding and together with pretty lighting and stunning florals, this really was a stylish day. I love all the outfits, the striking bouquets and the totally glam hair styles too.
Maddie Farris Photography, thank you ever so much for sharing with us these fantastic shots of a very fun and loving day.
We were keen to have a chilled and fun day without too much fuss. For us it was just about bringing together our friends and family and having a good time without any pressure on us or our guests or adhering to lots of societal rules about what a wedding ‘should’ be.
The Planning Process
The planning was fairly straightforward and took about a year. We booked the main things (photographer, venue, food etc.) early on then there was a huge chunk of time where nothing really happened, then did a few more bits towards the end. It helped that we had our wedding in November so the suppliers we wanted were all available. We kept it simple and focused on the things we cared about. We ignored all wedding magazines and stressful lists of wedding ‘must-haves’, just looking at a few online blogs for ideas when needed! We had a small number of suppliers and only a short list of things to plan which made the planning an enjoyable rather than stressful process.
Our venue was the wonderful East Riddlesden Hall, a National Trust venue in West Yorkshire, close to the Yorkshire Dales. We have connections to the area so this was perfect for us. The Airedale Barn at the venue was ideal as it was relaxed, cosy and we could personalise the day rather than having to buy in to a package deal. We had both our ceremony and reception there – it was great to have it all in one place. The East Riddlesden Hall team are wonderful – so friendly, organised and the day ran incredibly smoothly.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Briony: I bought a cheap vintage wedding dress from Etsy, the first and only dress I tried on. I wasn’t precious about the dress so although I wanted something I liked, the idea of spending a fortune on a brand new dress and trying on lots of dresses in shops surrounded by friends/family was just not for me. The dress was handmade from the 50s/60s, lace, sleeveless, full length with a high front and low back. I wore it with mustard ankle boots from Miss Selfridge as I wanted something a bit more informal and comfortable, and mustard is a great autumnal colour.
Ben: I wanted a fairly relaxed outfit – I didn’t want to feel like I was going to work, but equally I didn’t like an over-the-top waistcoats and cravats look. In the end I bought a tailored green tweed jacket and wore that with black jeans, a white shirt and green tie.
The Readings & Music
We both were really against the idea of having readings that were soppy or cheesy (of which there are many online!). We left the best women, bridesmaids and Ben’s dad to come up with their own ideas for readings and they did a great job of picking some alternative and meaningful readings which were in keeping with what we wanted. We had a poem by John Cooper Clarke and a few book extracts.
We had a lot of fun deciding on music for the wedding. Briony came down the aisle by herself to Incubus, we exited to Muse, then had a mix of music for the rest of the day. In the evening we had an amazing 7-piece band who played a mix of Motown, reggae, pop and rock. Everyone loved them and they were a lot of fun. We definitely didn’t want any Mumford & Sons-type music!
We had five bridesmaids, a mix of friends and family. Neither of us liked the idea of matching dresses as everyone has different body shapes and will look good in different designs and colours, so we left it very open and up to the bridesmaids to decide according to their own budgets and styles – suits, dresses, skirts etc. were all okay with us! We simply gave a rough colour palette to work to, and I think they all looked fantastic together – blues, greens and cream.
We had two best women instead of best men (another opportunity to rebel!) who looked great in tweed jacket and bow tie outfits. They are close friends of both of ours from school.
Briony: I did my own make-up as I still wanted to look like ‘me’ and it wasn’t something I was interested in getting done professionally, but I did want to get my hair done and I knew I wanted a vintage style. I chose the incredible Bethany Jane Davies at the Vintage Beauty Parlour who gave me Hollywood waves. She’s an absolute pro at styling and makes it look so effortless! She also styled the hair for my bridesmaids – a mix of vintage and more modern styles, all of which looked fantastic.
Our photographer, Maddie Farris, was absolutely fantastic. We wanted lots of informal and relaxed photographs and Maddie’s work fit the bill perfectly. She was so friendly and unobtrusive and managed to get so many amazing shots – a great mix of ones of us as well as our guests.
We had some incredible flowers from Sarah at Pink Ginger. We asked for a mix of foliage and flowers, nothing too structured or formal – lots of greens, deep reds, a few soft pinks and whites. We kept it simple with just a bouquet, buttonhole and small vases of flowers scattered across the tables.
The Details & Décor
We kept the décor fairly minimal as the venue is beautiful just by itself. We hired trestle tables rather than round tables as we wanted there to be much more of a communal vibe where everyone could talk to each other more. We didn’t have a top table. We hired some lights to put around the lake which looked beautiful in the evening. We made our own drinks menus, food menus and name cards, and we also scattered lots of old photos of us and our guests on the tables.
We decided not to have a cake because we thought nobody eats it anyway, and we wanted to put the money elsewhere! We went for a crepe station in the evening instead.
We had a quiet, short break for 4 days in the Lake District which was perfect.
We had a lot of memorable moments throughout the day. A family member’s baby had a perfectly timed shout at the point where the registrar asked if there were any reasons why we couldn’t be married! We also had a funny quiz run by the two best women and ended the night by dancing to a playlist we put together that was reminiscent of nights out with our friends.
We also made the whole day ‘camera free’ (we let the guests know in advance and also got the registrar to mention it) apart from the photographer, which took a lot of pressure off the day and meant guests talked to each other more. We were a bit worried about people’s reactions but everyone was fine with it and quite a few people said they thought it was a really good idea.
Advice For Other Couples
The only actual rules are that you should accept the legal ramifications of being married and there are a few specific things you have to do in the ceremony. Apart from that, there are no rules! Ignore all the ‘must-haves’, traditions, societal pressures and ridiculous skin care routines that you’re meant to do months in advance. Just include things that you want, whatever they may be.
We would also say that keeping it simple and relaxed made it much more fun for us. There wasn’t much stress or fuss, we just got to have a good time! In reality most people don’t notice or remember lots of the frills you can spend lots of time and money on.
The only other advice we’d give is to spend sensibly and within your means – whether that’s a lot or very little. Don’t compare yourself to what others can afford. We found it very helpful to have a spreadsheet with our costs on – first to plan rough costs to see what we could afford, then to keep track once we’d booked/bought things.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Maddie Farris Photography
East Riddlesden Hall
Oh so lovely.
Briony and Ben, thank you so very much for sharing your beautiful Autumn wedding with us xo Lou