Those of you that have followed Whimsical Wonderland Weddings for a while now, will know I am a huge Harry Potter fan. This wedding today totally stole my heart thanks to it’s genius Harry Potter touches and the incredible steam train station location.
WWW readers Katherine and James were hitched on the 22nd September 2018 at NYMR Pickering Train Station in North Yorkshire and held their reception at Pickering Memorial Hall. The setting was truly magical, with them holding their ceremony on the platform beneath the clock. Following the ceremony a steam train arrived to whisk them away on a special journey during which they held their speeches and afternoon tea, just so memorable.
Harry Potter was infused into their day with details such as liquid luck drinks, a Harry Potter sweet table and photobooth, plus Harry Potter book page decorations. How wonderful is that?! There is just so much to take in; from the stylish attire, to the dried florals and the sensational sunset portraits.
I really cannot thank Photography34 enough for sharing with us these incredible captures.
We had been very busy in the weeks leading up to it so James announced he was taking me out for the day to spend some time together and the location was a surprise. It was a really sunny day on 30th July, and we arrived at Middleham in the Yorkshire Dales where they train race horses (I love horses) for a walk with our dog Penny. We set off on a walk and James decided to bring along his Gilet (I later found out the ring was in the pocket in a bulky box)- I questioned this with it being so warm and James’ answer was ‘its forecast rain’ (not a cloud in the sky). I was oblivious and thought it was just one of James’ quirky things as usual so let it be. After a lovely walk we went to a nice pub for lunch, we sat outside and the wind was a bit chilly so I asked James if I could put on his Gilet, he looked horrified and said ‘NO’ without giving an explanation. We then proceeded to go for another walk, and all became clear as he got down on one knee and proposed. The ring was wonderful (Peridot my birth stone) and he had arranged for us to stay overnight in a lovely village called Snape (purely because of my love of Harry Potter).
Trains, Trains, Trains with a bit of Harry Potter. We are both a bit on the quirky side, James has a love of Trains and I have a love of Harry Potter. We both really loved the idea of having our dog Penny involved somehow in the day too as she’s a big part of our lives. We both knew early on that we wanted something a bit different and would like to do a lot of DIY if we could. With a bit of help from Pinterest and various online blogs, we started thinking of ideas.
The Planning Process
We had 2 years to plan the wedding, ideally, we wouldn’t have waited that long (it’s a very long time!) but we had several weddings of family and friends already booked in so it just wouldn’t have been possible. It did however give us lots of time to get ideas and we could take our time making things.
We asked a few close friends/family who had recently been married to get a realistic idea of what weddings cost. We set a budget of £14,000 and I think in the end we came in just under it. It was difficult to begin with to try and put a budget to items that you just have no idea how much they are going to cost. We set up a spreadsheet and kept an eye on the budget throughout, some things ended up costing a lot more than we planned but equally some things came in lower, so it evened itself out. It is so easy to get carried away and we could have easily spent thousands more if we hadn’t been careful. We tried to make a lot of stuff ourselves which also really helped keep to our budget. One big saving is that James is a graphic designer, so he made all our save the dates, invites, seating plan plus some other decorations including a coat of arms and a magazine.
Pickering Train Station, North Yorkshire Moors Railway. What a wonderful venue!
Pickering as a town is a wonderful little place that often gets overlooked. The station often featured on TV and film is such a picturesque train station. We got married at 12:30 on Platform 2 underneath the clock. All the guests were sat on the platform and the general public could also stand on the opposite platform to watch (everyone vacated the shop and café to watch). My bridesmaids and I made our way over the bridge to the platform which was quite an entrance I’m told! Our wedding singer Michael Mulholland learnt Icelandic and played Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros to play as I walked down the aisle.
Our dog Penny was the ring bearer and she was stood with James as I walked down the aisle. One of my bridesmaids brought her up when it was time to exchange rings.
After the ceremony we had drinks and snacks on the terrace and then the main event, the steam train pulled in! The train had a personalised head plate ‘The Lodge Wedding Belle 22/09/2018’ which we managed to keep secret from our guests, there was a collective gasp from our guests as they saw the train pull in to the station which was brilliant. We then boarded the train for afternoon tea. We travelled to Grosmont and back. We had savouries on the way out, and sweets on the way back. We had an hour stopover in Grosmont which gave us time to do the speeches and have some photos before heading back to Pickering.
On arrival back at Pickering we made our way over to Pickering Memorial Hall for our evening reception. Such a lovely historic building overlooking the beck! We decorated most of this DIY. We had a bar area (we had a Bring Your Own Beer policy and provided some ourselves), a Harry Potter photo booth area, a sweet cart (Harry Potter themed) a Donut stand followed by a Fish and Chip van- one of the highlights of the night according to our guests! The evening was a great success with everyone dancing until the end.
The Readings & Music
We had 2 readings. The first reading was A lovely love story by Edward Monkton read by our lovely friend Gemma. The second reading was read by our friend Jonny and was an extract from George R Martins Game of Thrones: “As you are the Moon of his life, he shall be your Sun and Stars. Your love shall be as ever present as those two celestial bodies… even though they are sometimes hidden from one another’s sight. Your love will be the guiding force that charts the course of your tomorrows, holds your world together in difficult times and will make life itself shine bolder and brighter than we human beings have a right to dream of.”
Music was performed at the ceremony by Michael Mulholland. I walked down the aisle to Hoppipolla by Sigur Ros, the signing of the registrar was Artic Monkeys- Baby I’m Yours, Tom Odell- Grow Old With Me and Jose Gonzalez- Heartbeats.
At the evening reception Michael did 2 sets of acoustic, foot stomping songs followed by a DJ set. Our first dance was Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Michael was absolutely fabulous, he was willing to learn any song we wanted, he took requests and we met up before and spoke about the sort of thing we wanted. He also does local sets at restaurants and pubs which we thought was a really good idea enabling us to go and see him sing, request some songs and have a chat in the build up to the wedding. We were also equally as impressed as we found out the week before our wedding, he had tonsillitis, but he still made it to the wedding and sounded fantastic. He really knew how to work the crowd.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Katherine – Pomfret Bridal Shop, Pontefract. The dress was perfect, the top was blush with diamantes and the bottom half white. They made several adjustments to the dress to make it just perfect. They changed the straps, so it was more off shoulder, they shortened the dress, so it was tea length. They also made me a flower out of the blush material to attach to the white waist belt along with matching flowers to add to my shoes. These just finished the look off perfectly! I also borrowed a veil from my bridesmaid Sarah who, unbeknown to us both at the time, picked the same dress from the same shop (Sarah got married a year before in September 17 and hers was all white and full length). It was a funny moment as I went with her for her final fitting and having just bought my dress, I picked it out to show her and then she came out in the same one!
The only change I made to my outfit was at the evening where I changed into some personalised converse- white and blush that had ‘MrsLodge’ embroided down the back.
James – James got his outfit from several retailers. The bow tie and waistcoat were bought from a small retailer in Wakefield called Hype, his shirt was from Moss Bros and trousers were bought from Next. As a pre-wedding present I bought him a railway pocket watch to wear along with some personalised socks that had our cats face on so that she wasn’t missing out on the day either!
Hair – Immaculate Hair and Beauty. Finding the right hairdresser turned out to be my biggest stress. I have quite thick heavy long hair and after going for a couple of trials and not liking the results I was starting to panic. I then came across Immaculate, Mum and Daughter duo who actually only live 5 minutes from me and they were wonderful. We trialled a few different ideas until I was happy and in the end I think my hair fitted the style of my dress perfectly. They also do beauty too so before the wedding my bridesmaids and I had some temporary false eyelashes applied which were great (especially as we didn’t have to worry about crying!).
Makeup – Vikki Adams – lives locally to Pickering and was so helpful in the lead up to the wedding, sending me recommended suppliers and was on hand for any questions I had. I don’t wear a lot of makeup so was quite nervous about it as in the past I’ve felt a bit doll-like after having my makeup done. Vikki was so reassuring and took me through the process step by step at the trial, so I had every confidence in her.
Nails – Beautybox Castleford – I have been going here over 10 years and they are just brilliant. I only have shellac but if I’m careful it stays on for over a month. I told them what my dress was like and they matched it perfectly. Also as a treat I took along my Mum and my 91 year old Grandma to have their nails done for the wedding. It is the first time in my Grandmas life that she had her nails painted and she absolutely loved it! She was showing them off for weeks afterwards.
I had 3 bridesmaids. My two best friends Sarah and Helen and James’ sister Becca. I bought the dresses from Dolly & Dotty an online shop that sells swing style dresses. The dresses are such good quality, decent priced and good fitting. I bought the dresses in January and in February we found out that Helen was expecting a baby, meaning that she would be 8months pregnant at our wedding. Of course this meant that the dress purchased wouldn’t be suitable. I contacted Dolly and Dotty and they were so understandable and arranged to exchange the dress for a bigger size. To say the dress isn’t part of a maternity range it fitted perfectly and really complimented everyone’s figures.
James and his Best Man Alex had the same waistcoat and bow tie. Penny (dog) the ring bearer also had the same matching bow tie that we attached a clip to for the rings to hang.
Both dads and my brother (usher) had similar style waistcoat and bow tie (from the same shop) but in a blue colour. James’ Dad Philip matched his trousers to James and my Dad Stephen and Brother Haydn had the same colour trousers as each other and a pink shirt to match me. As a wedding day gift and memento of the day we bought them all a NYMR whiskey glass, which they all used to have some toasts on the morning of the wedding!
The Details & Décor
As James got his train (which I really loved too) it was agreed that I could have some hints of Harry Potter in the wedding.
The save the dates and the invites (designed and created by James) were in the style of train tickets. James also designed our own Family Crest made of everything we love which featured on the evening invites and on a large banner at the Memorial Hall.
James also designed a magazine on the train that had a map of the route of the train, a timeline of our relationship, pet corner, as well as a couple of quizzes to fill in. We gave everyone a NYMR pencil as a gift and a drinks voucher (again made my James).
Other decorations on the train included bunting and Harry Potter book page flowers in tin cans, which doubled up as table names/numbers (all named after different train names).
During the speeches I asked James if he could incorporate a Harry Potter link. I had bought lots of little bottles and filled them with honey whiskey with glitter (glitter berry J20s for the non-drinkers). For his toast we handed out the bottles and told everyone they were a magic potion called ‘felix felicis’ from Harry Potter which is also known as ‘liquid luck’ we then got everyone to shake the bottle and drink it before toasting to ‘luck and future happiness’.
Throughout the day we had a toastmaster called Peter Nendick aka Toasty Pete (as he calls himself) and his apprentice. Toasty Pete also volunteers at the railway regularly so we felt reassured that he would be on hand to help in anyway. He was wonderful and everyone absolutely loved him.
The evening venue was the most detailed. It was a blank canvas when we walked in so we had to work some magic. We hired WOW Weddings to put up some fairy lights, a drape and hanging lanterns which really set the room up. We had 3 long tables decorated with hessian, Harry Potter book page confetti, along with the cans and lanterns as mentioned earlier. The chairs were blue, so we tied hessian bows round them which made them fit the theme a bit more.
There were two cupboards in the room which we made in to the bar area and a Harry Potter photobooth. We made our own signs in Harry Potter style, the bar was ‘The 3 Broomsticks’ and the photobooth was ‘The cupboard under the stairs’. We bought our own lights, bunting and props and the end result was quite effective.
Carrying on the Harry Potter theme we also had a sweet trolley, which had chocolate frogs (Caramel Freddos), Golden Snitches (Ferrero Roche), Sorting Lollies (Traffic light lollies), Liquorice Wand, Snakes and every flavour jelly beans!
James designed yet more decorations for the room in the form of quotes from the Harry Potter books, signs for our ‘guest book (signing of Jenga pieces) and a memory tree. The memory tree had photos of our loved ones who are no longer with us with a quote from Harry Potter- those who we love never truly leave us. Also, as an extra decoration we decorated three hula hoops- one had fairy lights and the word ‘Always’ made from wire in the centre, the other two again had fairy lights along with photos of us both now and as children.
It felt like we did a lot and we was worried it either wouldn’t work when we put it all together or it would be lost on people, but everyone commented how brilliant it looked and how we had thought of everything which made it worthwhile.
We opted not to have a cake. Mainly due to logistics and time, we decided in the end to have a Donut Stand which was supplied by Sweetspaces – a local supplier in Barnsley. These really went down a treat!
Photography 34. Tony is so great to work with. He really made us and our guests feel at ease, he knew exactly what sort of photos would and wouldn’t work and just seemed to fit in the background of our wedding. Our photos are absolutely amazing, and we can’t get over how he captured some of the shots he did. One thing we really wanted to avoid was the traditional style wedding photos which includes lots of staged photos. Tony is a documentary style photographer who captures natural shots of the day to tell a story. We had a handful of ‘staged’ photos, but we were conscious to keep these to a minimum.
To our surprise two days before our wedding day we found out that channel 5 were filming a documentary on NYMR and wanted to film our wedding. We decided to announce this to our family and friends on the evening before our wedding which added to the excitement! We believe we will be featured on the programme but only probably for a minute or 2 and we’re not sure when that will be yet.
We made our own flowers for decoration on the train out of old harry potter book pages. We decorated some tin cans to display them in. Everyone seemed quite impressed with these – a lot of people took them home as a souvenir! For the evening we bought some fake heather and green ferns along with some thistles that we collected from areas where we live, again we had these in decorated cans, jars, and lanterns.
My bridal bouquet was from Great British Florist, it was a dried bouquet which I wanted due to us travelling to the venue plus I then could also keep them afterwards. My bridesmaids had a heart shaped wicker wand with dried flowers to match their dresses. James also had a personalised buttonhole with a pheasant feather. Great British Florist were wonderful to work with, I sent pictures as inspiration and they were happy to amend any products to fit our vision.
We had a mini-moon straight after the wedding. We stayed in Pickering for a few days before travelling to a little place near Oban, Scotland- it unfortunately rained every day, but it was a good excuse to relax and relive the day over and over. We then stayed in Seahouses on the way home for a couple nights. We asked for a contribution towards our honeymoon as wedding gifts, we have now booked to go to Australia in September this year (for our first anniversary) which we are very excited about.
Katherine – Walking down the aisle with my Dad to see everyone I love stood there and then to have James and Penny waiting for me, it filled me with so much love and joy. The train arriving and everyone being so excited. The speeches were awesome and so funny. Driving up to the moors for some photos after the train, just me and James, and me falling over in the heather. Dancing all night, the last song everyone grouped round us singing, and it just made it the perfect end to the day.
James – The steam train pulling in, seeing Katherine walk over the bridge after waiting for what felt like a lifetime for her to appear, walking around the Moors and getting beeped at by passing cars, the best man’s speech, standing on the footplate of the steam train and receiving some lucky coal!
Advice For Other Couples
Get a spreadsheet going and plan a budget. Some things may end up being more/less but try and keep it in check. It is so easy to get carried away.
Remember it’s just one day! If things go wrong it’s not the end of the world, it’s getting married to your best friend that’s important. We found surrounding ourselves with good people that we trust really helped us to relax and enjoy the day.
Don’t feel pressure to do things the ‘traditional’ way.
Don’t feel pressure to invite people you feel you have to, or to please others. Remember its your day, do what makes you happy.
If you’re doing things DIY ask friends/family if they want to help, it makes it more fun and everyone enjoys feeling included.
Try and be organised, especially if making things- it may seem like you have loads of time, but it comes around so quickly!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
NYMR – when we first booked our wedding at the railway, they had only previously done 2 weddings. We feel like we have been on a journey with them as they have developed and adapted to hosting weddings. Tim Fisher and Val Holmes were our co-ordinators and they are simply amazing. They really went out of the way to make our day perfect and reassure us throughout- a lot of things could have gone wrong relying on trains! Also, the volunteers at the railway, including Val, really make the experience that bit more magical. They are so passionate and just want to make sure everyone is happy and enjoying themselves- they are really a credit to the railway. It’s so easy to forget that they are doing it for the love of it, and we feel this really helped create a truly special day.
Deans Jewellers – after trying on several wedding bands to go with Katherine’s engagement ring we were struggling to find any that looked quite right. We then explored the bespoke route; at the same time James was unsure whether he even wanted a ring as he doesn’t wear any form of jewellery (including watches). We found Deans Jewellers in Ossett Wakefield and straight away knew this was the place for us. Amy made us feel relaxed and was so knowledgeable about wedding rings. They sent Katherine’s engagement ring off and had a CAD image made of it, from there we could design any ring we wanted and were able see how it looked against the engagement ring. Once that was sorted, we tackled James. We found that the unusual option of a rose gold ring really suited him, to make it a bit more unique we then had a ‘hammered’ effect applied to it which really looks great.
Beauty Box Facebook – Natalie Wilson (The Beauty Box)
Michael Mulholland Acoustic
Katherine and James, thank you both ever so much for sharing with us your epic wedding day xo Lou