Becca and David’s planning style sounds like the dream, a relaxed approach and not including anything that didn’t feel like it was them. Their relaxed wild and countryside day took place on 24th August 2019 at Utopia at Broughton Hall and everything was about their family and friends, perfect.
They chose Christopher Thomas Photography to capture their day and we’re really grateful to be sharing his wonderful images with you today. Thank you for sharing Chris.
Our pair didn’t want anything too traditional and I’m absolutely loving the airy and modern vibe of their chosen venue. Just add in some stunning hanging florals and lots of personal homemade touches and you can see for yourself the brilliant result.
Becca: After 9 years together and pretty much deciding that marriage wasn’t for us, David waited until 10pm on Valentines evening when I was folding washing at the end of the bed, having already taken all my make up off and popped the top button on my jeans after stuffing our faces at Sexy Fish! It might not seem the most romantic proposal ever, but it felt incredibly intimate and sincere. It was the dream proposal I never knew I wanted. I later found out that David had been waiting to find a ring that he really loved and had only won mine at Bonham’s auction a week earlier after a few months of looking. The vintage diamond ring was worth waiting for!
Becca: Our main criterion was that the wedding felt relaxed and fun and that we enjoyed every second. I always knew I wanted the main design feature to be flowers and foliage but other that than we didn’t have too many set ideas. Although we have both left home and now live in London, our families are a huge part of our lives and we wanted to make sure whatever we chose suited them as much as our friends therefore we kept some of the more traditional elements that we knew our families would love.
The Planning Process
Becca: I work in project management and didn’t want our wedding to feel like another job so we made a rule right from the beginning that if anything became stressful, we just wouldn’t do that bit. We made a spreadsheet of tasks, assigned them all to a specific month and only focused on those things each month so that it didn’t feel too overwhelming.
We decided to get married in my home county of Yorkshire as I have an elderly Nanna who couldn’t travel to London so we had to forward plan lots of weekends when we could drive up north and get as much as possible done in one go.
Becca: As we still didn’t know if we really wanted to get married or just stay eternally engaged we decided to view some venues and see if any made us feel excited. We have a huge friendship group who we really wanted to celebrate with but also both wanted the day to feel intimate and weren’t thrilled at the idea of doing our speeches in front of a large crowd. We booked in to see a variety of different sized venues in the Yorkshire Dales but the first six venues showed us exactly what we didn’t want. Some talked to us in length about dramatic castle photoshoots which made us both cringe, others closed at 11pm which felt unfair to our evening guests travelling from London.
Just when we were going to give up we found Utopia at Broughton Hall; a new build glass house set in a wild, walled garden. Not only was it open until 1am but it was also available over a bank holiday weekend. We could comfortable seat 80 day guests for a sit down meal but then have up to 150 people for the evening party.
The icing on the cake was when we heard about Eden, one of the cottages on the estate which would provide amazing accommodation for me, David, our bridesmaids and our groomsmen but was also marketed as a ‘party house’ complete with hot tub and fire pit. We knew we could have a long weekend which would give us both the intimacy of the ceremony and the chaos of an after party!
There are also several other beautiful cottages on the estate with epic views of the Yorkshire dales which our family and friends fully booked out. The Dales provided a stunning backdrop, with grazing sheep everywhere, a beautiful peacock strutting about during our speeches and bunnies coming out onto the lawn as the sun set. There was even a wild swimming lake for a morning dip to shake off the hangovers before Sunday’s festivities began.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Becca: I booked myself in to lots of posh dress shops, knowing I couldn’t really afford the dresses but took my friends, drank lots of bubbles and had a great time! I learnt, as many brides say, that what I thought I would want didn’t really suit me. Once I knew what my style was I booked into a few sample sales.
At Angelica Bridal sample sale you are allowed to pick three dresses to try on but there was one that really stood out to me so I asked to just try that one. The style was completely different to what I wanted but the lace was exactly what I had been hunting for. The assistant believed the dress could be altered to my style so I bought the dress and took it to three fittings at Exclusive Tailoring. The team are extremely knowledgeable and transformed the dress by completely removing the back, changing the neckline and altering the train. It became the exact design I had in my head and still with the beautiful material I had wanted! I then found some gorgeous lace and leather Jenny Packham heels in the Selfridges sale and I was done!
Becca: I am very lucky that one of my best friends Scarlett is an incredibly talented make up artist for film. I felt completely at ease and in such safe hands on the morning and loved the natural, fresh look Scarlett created. I bought myself the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lip liner, Amazing Grace lipstick and Ibiza Nights gloss to finish the look. Jessie from Teddy and Belle created a gorgeous comb with silk flowers and foliage to finish my ‘messy but tidy’ up do.
Becca: Finding bridesmaid dresses for six very different women was hard! I asked for them all to be matching in either colour but other than that had no preferences. We eventually found a sage green dress on ASOS which had a couple of different necklines and the girls looked incredible on the day. I bought the girls matching Oliver Bonas bracelets and rings with tiny green stones to complete the look.
The Readings & Music
Becca: We had a church ceremony with a few hymns and readings from our closest family members. Then during the wedding breakfast we had four speeches from David, his best men, myself and my bridesmaid Sophia, who beautifully incorporated some of my Mum’s words too. I hadn’t thought I was going to do a speech myself but we went to a stunning wedding of our close friends Tasha and Julia the month before who both did speeches and realised how much we liked the idea. I’m really glad I did!
Finding a band for our evening entertainment was one of the sections that became quite stressful so we considered just having a DJ. I used to be an actress and had a lot of actors and singers coming to the wedding so we really didn’t want a karaoke style, dare I say it ‘wedding’ band. We listened to loads of videos online and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t cheesy but just when we had given up we found Out of Control. I’m so glad we booked them. They are talented musicians with great voices who bought the most amazing energy to the evening.
David: I don’t like shopping at the best of times so kept putting this off despite Becca making considerable progress with her secret dress missions. I knew the rough colour and style of suit I wanted in my head but the sheer choice online was quite daunting, with the rent vs buy decision also in the back of my mind.
I just needed to get out there and see what was available and thankfully was put in touch with the wonderful @steviestyle of @menstyled_ and chose one of his wedding packages. I’m so glad I did, as he took me into central London and knew exactly where to go and the questions to ask both myself and the providers. This simplified the process for me considerably, and ensured I wasn’t relentless wandering the streets looking confused!
Going to both the high end bespoke retailers and a few hire shops early in the day was really helpful to get an idea of their costs as well as the textures available in their fabric books, which enabled us to whittle down the range of colours and textures I was after.
It was quite late in the day when we swung by John Lewis and perused their selection, when one of their ‘kin’ range caught my eye. It was a subtle blue three piece that had the ideal texture to fit in with the natural theme we were going for. It also had the exact same in grey, which gave me the idea to fit the groomsmen in this, with blue waistcoats, and I would wear the grey waistcoat with a blue suit to contrast but also compliment their look. This was slightly complicated by the fact one of my best men lives in Australia but he sent me his measurements and once he was over we all had them professionally fitted with one of Steve’s local contacts and we were good to go!
We decided on tan/brown shoes and belts for the more natural look and mint green for the ties and pocket squares to add a bit of freshness to the look, whilst also complimenting the bridesmaids. Overall, it couldn’t have worked out better and we were really happy with the results.
Becca: Neither David nor I are very good at posing for the camera but we both love action shots and capturing a moment. We trawled loads of websites and couldn’t agree on anyone until we found Christopher Thomas. When we met him we knew immediately that he was our kind of photographer; relaxed, fun, all about the non-staged moments, passionate about photography, and even shooting on both digital and film.
He made us so relaxed on the day and nothing felt too formal. St John The Divine is a beautiful old church on the top of a hill in Menston which has a long staircase coming down. Chris gave us a little pep talk before the confetti shots and we couldn’t be happier with the final shots.
Our day ran over and we hadn’t performed our first dance when Chris was due to leave but he offered to stay and got some amazing shots of the party and my 87 year old Nanna dancing away to the band!
Becca: The cake was one of the areas we thought about omitting but when I showed David an image of a simple ‘semi-naked’ cake with flowers, he agreed straight away that it was much more ‘us’ than a royal icing extravaganza! Patisserie Viennoise sent us some delicious samples and we settled on three layers; vanilla, lemon and coconut all filled with ganache or buttercream and covered in a slightly thicker than usual semi naked frosting. I’ve never seen a wedding cake be devoured so quickly! As with everything, Jessie did an amazing job selecting a few of the flowers from my bouquet to finish the look.
Becca: We decided against booking a videographer in the end but I gave my phone to my friend Vivienne for the whole weekend and she used the app Glimpse which takes 1 second videos and compiles them into an amazing montage. My cousin David also sent his drone into the sky to capture the amazing Yorkshire Dales around us.
The Details & Décor
Becca: The flowers really lead the design. We then used lanterns, jam jars, vases, tree trunks, vintage frames, moss and bark to create rustic centre pieces and to surround old pallet crates which we painted with our welcome sign and timings for the day.
Our good friend Ollie hand drew the bar David and first met in, our first flat together and our first home we bought and then designed our table numbers, table plan and menus around these images. He even drew an outline picture of David and I, which we gave instead of a menu to the children with colouring crayons.
Our favours were peach or pink coloured gin, whisky or vodka cocktails in cute milk bottles which doubled up as our place names. We tied name tags with sage hessian string around the neck of the bottles and our talented friend Vivienne used calligraphy to write the guests names on one side and a favourite quote from my late Grandad on the other.
Alongside the evening band we also hired a Selfie Mirror photo booth and put lots of wooden lawn games across the walled garden. It was such a hot, sunny day and it was great to see all the games being well used. We left a Polaroid camera, photo corners and pen alongside our guest book and the end result is fantastic.
Becca: The floral design was the most important element for me. I knew as soon as I spoke to Jessie from Teddy and Belle that she was the one for me. She seemed to genuinely care and got really excited when we were planning the design. I completed trusted that she understood my vision of ‘straight-from-the-garden’ and she didn’t fail to deliver. Our bouquets were gorgeous, the table centres rustic and wild and the floral chandelier hung over our top table complemented by rustic foliage and hanging individual flowers were beautiful. She created amazing displays with fairy lights and voile and provided extra moss to add to my cake and card tables to carry the theme throughout.
In the church we had large vases brimming with flowers on the window sills and then small jars of single stems hanging from the pews. After the ceremony we took these to the venue to add even more beauty to the outside seating.
Jessie also made a beautiful basket of petals for my flower girl and a gorgeous headband for her to wear.
Becca: Kay at Shellseekers helped us create a really relaxing two week break in Mauritius that felt like pure luxury. We stayed at The One and Only St Geran on the east of the island for the first week and The Oberoi on the west of the island for the second week. In the middle, we left our sun loungers for 3 days and flew to La Reunion for some more adventurous activities. It was absolutely perfect.
Becca: To bring a little touch of London to our Yorkshire wedding we hired a white London taxi to take us to the church and back. It was the perfect addition.
David and I host an annual rounders game each summer in London so this year we held it on the Sunday at the after party at Eden. It was a scorcher of a day, we had a huge BBQ and the hot tub quickly became a pool to cool down from the heat. Watching our family join in with our friends in the rounders games was really special.
As was sitting around the fire pit when the sun went down and sharing memories from the last two days.
Advice For Other Couples
Becca: Instagram is a great way to find suppliers who seem to care more. Rather than going for big companies with swanky websites, look for the smaller guys who really want your day to be a success. Chris our photographer and Jessie our florist were instrumental in making the day so fun and relaxed.
Make sure you ask your married friends what they have in their attics that you can borrow! Items like jam jars, fairy lights, frames and décor can be expensive and our friends were glad to see their items being reused.
Finally, I made a welcome basket for the bathrooms with absolutely anything I could think people might need at a wedding. I went completely over the top with lint rollers, safety pins, nail varnish, sun cream etc. and lots of people came to tell me how useful they had found it!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Christopher Thomas Photography
Proposal (kind of!)
St John The Divine, Menston
Jenny Packham, Selfridges
Make Up and Hair
Thank you so much for sharing your relaxed and beautiful day with us Becca and David, it really looked like a lot of fun! Rachel x