By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
Photos by Lauren May Photos
Where to begin? WWW readers Will and Heather’s Yew Tree Farm wedding in the Lake District was spectacular! Be sure to settle in and read their wedding report in full, because it’s so detailed and full of fantastic ideas as well as advice.
From the stunning outfits (hello embroidered wedding dress) to the bright blooms and eco-conscious wedding decorations, you’re going to be in love. They had the most delicious of menus, fun wedding games and a striking naked wedding cake creation. In fact, there are so many brilliant elements (including their song choices) I just can’t mention them all. What’s more WWW wedding supplier faves Shropshire Petals and Luna Bride were behind the pretty confetti and dress respectively.
Lauren May Photos, I can’t thank you enough for sharing with us these tremendous images of such a joyful celebration.
Will and Heather on WWW
When we were looking at wedding blogs and websites WWW immediately struck a chord. We wanted a wedding that was unique to us, relaxed and, most importantly, fun and we got all the right vibes from WWW.
Heather: For Christmas 2019 we had bought each other a couple’s spa day at Lodore Falls Hotel in Keswick. We booked for a Friday in February and decided to turn it into a weekend away. Our parents are in the north so we travelled up on the Wednesday night then headed over to Keswick, in the Lake District, on the Thursday morning.
I got the sense Will was keeping a bit of an eye on time and weather, but that could have just been because we wanted a hike that afternoon. When we reached Keswick we headed off round Derwentwater towards Catbells, a small mountain but a favourite for many reasons. On the walk there the weather was quite nice but as we started climbing the mountain it began to look a lot more grey and soon we could see a serious weather front coming in. This didn’t bode well for our plan to reach the summit.
But we had reached a bit of a viewing point and Will suddenly asked a passing hiker if she could take our picture, with the gorgeous view in the background. What I hadn’t realised is that he whispered to her that he was about to propose! We had a few pictures and then all of a sudden Will pulled away and got down on one knee. At almost that exact moment the hail storm began! I remember being really excited and hugging and kissing Will but neither of us can remember what we said to each other. I must have said yes though!
And after I did it started snowing – all quite dramatic and absolutely beautiful. My sister even painted a picture of it (based on one of the amazing photos the lovely hiker took).
What made it even more special was that Will proposed with my Granny’s ring. She passed away when I was very young and I didn’t even know my mum had the ring! It was beautiful and over 80 years old. Will intended to use it only as a stand-in but I fell in love with the design and the sentimental value. So in the end we had the diamonds re-set in recycled platinum by an amazing jeweller based in Keswick – Fultons. And used the gold as an accent on my wedding ring.
I loved the idea of using the diamonds from the original ring I was really keen that if I were to have a diamond engagement ring it would be as ethical as possible. Re-purposing existing diamonds fitted that bill! And I loved that we could use the gold on my recycled platinum wedding ring too.
Will: I knew I wanted to propose on our trip to Keswick in February, so started to make plans before Christmas. This meant asking Heather’s family members whether they had any objections, thankfully they didn’t! And looking for a suitable ring. I was really surprised when Heather’s mother told me she had her Granny’s (on her dad’s side) old engagement ring, and she would be thrilled if I were to use that for the proposal.
The ring was quite unique, featuring two diamonds in a twisted gold band, and it was likely to be 80 years old; a real family heirloom. I really liked the idea of proposing with this ring, then going together with Heather to commission a bespoke engagement ring from an independent jeweller in the Lake District.
I had decided I wanted to propose the day before our spa day, and I was really determined to do it at the top of Catbells, a mountain that meant a lot to Heather and her family, and one of our first Lake District hikes we had done together. So I made a point of saying we should try and go up Catbells the day we arrived for our holiday. Initially the weather was nice but as we approached the mountain it started to look more and more ominous and I was starting to worry we wouldn’t be able to make the summit.
Halfway up it became obvious that pushing to the top would be a bad idea, so, rather reluctantly, I decided to go for it on a nice level “lookout” spot about three quarters of the way up so we could then hurry back down before the impending weather arrived. I saw a lady and her daughter approaching so I told Heather I was going to ask her to take a photo for us before we headed back down. I quietly told the lady my intentions so she managed to capture the whole thing, which was really nice.
Just as I knelt down we were blasted with hail and snow! You really couldn’t have made it up, but it was the perfect representation of the Lake District.
We wanted a wedding that reflected our personalities and our favourite things in life. So we knew immediately we wanted a Lake District wedding because we are hikers, we love the outdoors and nature and the Lakes is one of our favourite places. Heather has been coming here since she was small and we have many happy memories here together.
We wanted a rustic vibe, not only to reflect the amazing Lake District landscape but because we didn’t want it to feel like it had been picked out of a brochure. We couldn’t have chosen a more perfect venue for this.
One thing that was really important to us from the beginning was being as environmentally conscious as possible, with lots of things handmade, repurposed or hired, and also supporting as many local and independent businesses as we could. Not saying we were perfect, some items and suppliers did come from further afield for instance, but this definitely influenced a lot of our decisions.
We are also massive foodies and knew that food and drink would be a defining characteristic of the day. It was pretty central! We wanted hearty, wholesome food that put a smile on people’s faces and ensured no one went hungry. And Heather was set on a keg of local ale from the start, which the bar at Yew Tree sourced from the local Coniston Brewery.
The most important thing for us was for all our closest friends and family to share the day with us and have lots of fun doing so. We succeeded in that mission!
We didn’t know much about Yew Tree Farm before we went to see it. We had originally intended to get married in the Keswick area but when the pandemic struck (soon after we got engaged) our viewings were cancelled and then there was an impact on availability. So we cast our net a little wider and when we saw Yew Tree it took our breath away.
Yew Tree is a working National Trust farm near Coniston that was once owned by Beatrix Potter (a connection Heather loved as a lifelong fan). The farm even starred in the film ‘Miss Potter’! It’s in a stunning location looking up at the fells and by a river and tarn. It also has a beautiful 17th century barn and historic farmhouse, which we stayed in after the wedding. As soon as we saw the barn we knew it was everything we wanted and more for our celebrations.
As Yew Tree is a ‘do it yourself’ venue we could really put our own stamp on it, though it had so much character on its own! We had so many plans and ideas and Amy, Yew Tree’s coordinator, was really accommodating. She was amazing! We got the package that included toilets and recycling and clear up, which gave us one less thing to worry about.
They also provided trestle tables and benches, though we did hire in some furniture, as well as some lighting, from the wonderful Eden Event Hire. Yew Tree also had a small marquee attached to the barn in case the drinks reception was rainy – thankfully we didn’t need it and their fire pit and chiminea was really popular with our guests!
Yew Tree was also able to provide a bar option with Bars4Yew. We went for the package where we were able to provide our own wedding breakfast and toast wine and our friend Cat owns an independent wine shop and we wanted her to supply it. But Amanda at Bars4Yew was great at sourcing all the other drinks we wanted for the drinks reception and the bar, including a large keg of Coniston Brewery ale, which made Heather very happy (as the real ale drinker).
We were able to access the barn to dress it (and to practice our first dance!) from the Wednesday, which really took the pressure off. And Jon the farmer, his wife Jo (an amazing artist), Patrick and others at the farm were incredibly helpful when there were a few dilemmas to solve. On the day itself, they coordinated everything perfectly, including taking us up to Tarn Hows for our couple shoot.
And the day after the wedding we had arranged to have heritage meats from the farm prepared especially by Jon for a large BBQ we were holding for our guests. The meat was incredible, we’d go as far as to say the Cumberland sausages and hogget steaks were life-changing! We have since ordered more.
We really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect, rustic wedding venue. It exceeded all of our hopes and dreams, there were even nesting swallows! And our guests loved it.
As with the rest of our wedding day, we knew that we wanted a ceremony that really reflected ‘us’. We decided fairly early on to write our own vows and to surprise each other with them on the day itself. It worked out perfectly. We had some overlap that made us and our guests laugh, in particular when we each called each other our fellow ‘buffet destroyer’ (we really do love food). We had a lovely registrar from Cumbria County Council who really made us feel at ease, both before and during the ceremony.
We also decided to do something a little different in where we had our ceremony. We got married at the top of the stairs in the barn, with our guests slightly looking up at us and bridesmaids and best men and women at the top with us too. We loved this set up and it felt like a great use of the space. As a last minute addition we had Heather’s brother film the ceremony so we could show it to Will’s Granny, who sadly couldn’t make it in person (we only found this out a week or two before) and we are so happy we have this.
Heather knew fairly early on that she wanted a string quartet. Let’s just say Will took a little convincing! But we had no regrets at all in the end with the amazing ‘What The Pluck?’ The name was a great start, as was the fact they were from near Heather’s neck of the woods! But we were really won over by the breadth of their repertoire.
Being self-confessed film nerds, especially Will, there were lots of film soundtrack options and nothing was too much when we asked if they could play others. Will requested the Halo theme for when he was waiting at the top of the aisle (barn). I walked down the aisle to Aniron from Lord of the Rings and then, while signing the register, we had Jurassic Park and Braveheart themes, finally leaving to the main theme from Star Wars.
For the confetti run we had The Verve ‘Bittersweet Symphony’. It was all perfect. We had so many comments about the string quartet during our drinks reception, where they played an amazing mix of film themes, power ballads and other classic tunes. We only wish we could have had more time to stop and properly listen!
In the evening we had a band called Rockafella (AKA Phoenix) who we found on Function Central. We like rock music (and LOVE a power ballad) and were immediately drawn to their repertoire and the videos of their performances We were not disappointed. While we were able to specify some preferences, Rockafella did an AMAZING job at reading the room and there wasn’t an empty dancefloor all night! We (mainly Heather) barely managed to speak to guests gathered outside because every song was so great and we just had to dance to it. The band’s rendition of Tenacious D’s ‘Tribute’ was a particular favourite! We could not have asked for a better band and so many people asked where we found them. We had so, so much fun.
For between the band’s sets we had put together a playlist made up mostly of power ballads, with some other classics thrown in. That also went down really well. As did our first dance (more on that below).
Heather: I knew early on that my preference would be for a wedding dress with strong ethical, environmental credentials, ideally from an independent business. I also knew that I wanted something a bit different, mostly something that was a bit more colourful and eye-catching than many dresses I had seen.
I found one that I loved online (which was also backless – another preference) and booked a place in Yorkshire (where Will is from) to try it on. It didn’t suit me at all but I enjoyed having a girls day in Yorkshire trying on various styles of dress in 3 different boutiques. Lots of the dresses were lovely but I really struck gold when I found Luna Bride, based in Knaresborough.
I had done some research beforehand and knew that sustainable, ethical and organic materials were central to their ethos and that they were a leader in this area. When I went for my appointment I think I ended up trying on most of the dresses! They were all gorgeous but one in particular caught my eye. I paid my deposit after discussing how we might customise it but it soon became clear from my discussions with Keely at Luna Bride that I was really looking at a bespoke dress! I don’t think I was the easiest to work with as I kept having new ideas and changing my mind but I adored the end result.
My dress was made using gorgeous ivory lace, organic peace silk chiffon and spotted tulle. It had a low v neck and backless with scalloped lace on the back. The dress also had a spotted tulle overskirt that I wore during the day and removed in the evening. I loved the idea of a bit of an outfit change!
For the colourful elements I knew I wanted a red velvet ribbon round my waist to match my beloved red velvet Harriet Wilde shoes. But I also wanted embroidery that reflected different elements of my life and our life as a couple. I spent a loooong time on Etsy and found the most beautiful embroidery made by a lady in Kyiv. It was truly the most stunning that I found.
I had hoped to order from UK based Etsy shops but I fell in love with the quality and style of this. So I put in my order. Then a few weeks later war broke out in Ukraine. I had assumed I would not receive the embroidery after that and was much more concerned that the lady and her family were safe. So I started ordering some of the other options I had found. But unbelievably she went above and beyond and sent the embroidery a few months later. It was truly gorgeous.
So I had a mix of that and the other embroidery I had bought in the interim sewn onto the dress. Deciding where to place is all was a lot of fun! Due to my love of nature I had birds, bees, dragonflies and all sorts of flowers, including red roses (for Lancashire, where I’m from) and white roses (for Yorkshire, where Will is from). The embroidery was sewn all over the dress by George, my amazing dressmaker at Luna. And I couldn’t have been happier, it made me cry. It also resulted in lots of lovely compliments on the day.
My gorgeous wedding shoes also turned out to be really comfortable but I bought some burgundy Converse to wear for the evening and wedding-ified them with daisy laces and some little tags with our initials and wedding date on. And while the weather turned out just as we wanted, I also bought a jacket for warmth. A beautiful embroidered denim jacket from Niamh Designs on Etsy (more info below).
Will: As a half-Scot there was no question that I was going to wear a kilt. I had worn one in Black Watch tartan to my sister’s wedding a few years previously and I absolutely loved it. They are more unique than a suit and I, personally, think they look smarter, particularly the full “Prince Charlie” outfit, with the waistcoat and jacket. I have a family tartan but decided against wearing it as it is bright red, and I wanted something darker and more subtle.
I was also keen to have my father (the Scot) and groomsmen in full Prince Charlie gear so wanted some tartans that would complement one another. I decided my father and I would wear Black Watch and I’d have my three groomsmen wear a dark grey/charcoal tartan. On researching companies to hire outfits from I quite quickly came across ‘MacGregor and MacDuff’, a small, Scotland-based highlandwear specialist that had exactly what I was looking for. Including their exclusive Silver Mist tartan, which was perfect for my groomsmen.
Better still, they operate several pop-up fitting services around the country, allowing me to go and get properly measured for my wedding outfit (in London) without either an exceptionally long trip to Scotland or the risk of dodgy self-taken measurements! From start to finish the service provided by MacGregor and MacDuff was exceptional. They posted all our outfits, each individually bagged and boxed to avoid any confusion, the week before the wedding to allow time to try them on and make sure everything was OK.
I bought each of my groomsmen a personalised sgian dubh (the little knife you wear in your sock) to accompany their outfits, which they were thrilled with. I finished my outfit off with an adornment that is very special to my family: a small Spitfire brooch that was made from a coin by my great-grandfather while he was deployed in Europe during WW2.
We were going for a rustic vibe but also wanted the decorations to showcase all the things we love as a couple. We also wanted to support independent and local as much as we could, as well as being as environmentally conscious as possible, including by having repurposed and hand-crafted items (again, we weren’t perfect but it was a key objective for the day).
We decided to have separate tables and give each one a theme of things we love. So we had Summit (for top table), Muddy Boots and Lakes and Fells to reflect our love of hiking and the Lakes. We had White Rose (Yorkshire), Red Rose (Lancashire) and Wonderful Winch(ester) to reflect our backgrounds and where we live. We also had Norse, Marvel, Middle Earth, Under the Sea, Birds and Bees, Foodie, a Galaxy Far Far Away, Thistle and Backpacks and Campervans. All our favourite things!
For the table themes, it was all hands on deck. Heather’s mum Christine crafted up a storm! She knitted a mini Viking longboat and a toadstool. She also made a red rose, white rose and thistle sign, an amazing felt whale shark and a cheese and so much more! She sourced some fantastic rustic hessian which we used as table runners.
Heather got into felting (a bluebird, a sheep, an octopus, a pumpkin) and did some other bits. Amy at Yew Tree let us use some slate from her construction yard and we used this for place settings and bigger pieces for table names. Will’s mum Kay wrote them all beautifully with chalk pen. Heather’s sister Emma also did a fantastic ‘Gates of Moria’ sketch for the Middle Earth table.
We used books we owned or got books from charity shops to match the themes and put them on the relevant table as an extra point of interest. In addition, we tried to match empty bottles we were using for the floral centrepiece on each table with the themes. So we had, for example, a Winchester gin bottle on the Wonderful Winch table and a bottle of Middle Earth wine for the Middle Earth table!
We spent a long time on the Friday decorating the tables with all of these things and we were so happy with the result. But a key part of making them look so amazing was the flowers. Fellside Flower Company were fantastic. We chose them because they are Cumbria-based and focus on sustainable, British grown flowers with a commitment to caring for the natural environment. Emma from Fellside was so, so lovely and nothing was too much, even when Heather had a wobble here and there.
She provided us with beautiful buckets of flowers and we had friends and family flower arranging on the Friday, with a bottle and two jam jars of flowers on each table. The venue decoration really had all hands on deck! As with the rest of the wedding, we were going for a relaxed, informal, outdoorsy feel. We wanted wildflowers, vibrant colours and a subtle nod to flowers that reflected our heritage (red roses, white roses, gorgeous blue thistles).
The key colours we had in mind for the day were reds, blues, yellows and white, as well as lots of green, though there were plenty of others thrown in! Emma from Fellside did some incredible floral displays to go at the top of the steps where we got married. And I (Heather) was blown away by the absolutely stunning floral head garland and bridal bouquet. So many beautiful flowers and colours that fit perfectly with my outfit. Along with the buttonholes and bridesmaid posies it was everything we dreamt of and more. Just to bring more of nature in, we also decorated some bannisters with ferns from the farm.
In keeping with the aim to be as environmentally friendly as possible, we were keen to avoid buying new, where possible, for the decor. As well as all the crafted items, we repurposed old jam jars and bottles, as well as the local slate, and Amy provided us with an old pallet which Heather decorated with the schedule for the day. Heather’s stepdad made a board from old discarded wood and we strung twine across this for the seating plan, with Heather’s sister-in-law/best woman writing the table plans on pieces of card which we pegged to the twine. This also saved a lot of money!
We made a few other small wooden signs for the games field, the seating plan, the umbrellas and the card boxes. A friend brought old apple crates which we stacked and decorated in the marquee. We put blankets and umbrellas in it and used one for the cards.
We used old metal buckets for the confetti, which was beautiful biodegradable confetti from Shropshire Petals in burgundy, white, blue and yellow colours. We used an old champagne box from Heather’s parents for our ‘favours‘. We really wanted to do something different here so we did a kind of ‘Cumbria’s finest’ lucky dip for guests, guides to hiking in the Lakes, Derwent pencils and Kendal Mint cake. We also put Grasmere gingerbread on every table!
To make the day even more personal we created a ‘Heather and Will’ quiz for guests and pinned it to a hessian board with photos of our adventures, as well as having a wooden engraved guest book and cake servers.
The cake was a beautiful natural-style cake made by Will’s step mum Carolyn with 3 tiers, carrot cake, cherry and almond cake and raspberry and lemon cake. It was decorated with some of our flowers and looked and tasted stunning! For the cheese tower, a friend stepped in that morning to decorate it with colourful fruit.
The whole thing was brought together by the incredible lighting we hired from Eden Event Hire. Matt was so, so helpful and we adored the festoon lighting, as well as the chairs. And the wood was well used as the firepit and chiminea provided by Yew Tree were very popular with our guests.
We really put our heart and soul into the styling and decor and we think it paid off. A friend told us it was the most personal wedding he had been to and guests agreed we’d achieved that rustic vibe. Even the swallows flying around the barn helped!
Lauren McGuiness of Lauren May Photos was an absolute STAR and we could not have asked for a better photographer. Honestly, we love her. It all started a bit stressfully on our side as we had been badly let down by another photographer and didn’t have many months to find another one. Following a recommendation we contacted Lauren and had a video chat with her. We quickly knew that we had a lot in common and would really get on.
This definitely proved to be the case on the couple’s shoot we organised with Lauren for early April. We were up in the Lakes and Lauren agreed to come through to Keswick, where we got engaged, and go to various locations by the lake and up at Surprise View and Ashness Bridge. Lauren really put us at ease and made us laugh (and quickly understood just how obsessed we are with cheese…). We had so much fun that day and adored the pictures. They were stunning.
We knew we were in really safe hands with Lauren, not only because of the amazing pictures but also with how organised she was. She sent out really useful information about things to think about for wedding photos and beyond and also a really great questionnaire where we could set out what group photos and other preferences we had. We also had another chat before the wedding. Nothing ever felt like it was too much for her!
This was definitely true on the day. She was a huge part of our wedding! Not only did it start brilliantly when we bonded over my (Heather’s) dress (we definitely have similar tastes) but she then organised everyone so well, including when things got a bit tense getting the dress and a complicated bracelet on! During the day it was honestly like hanging out with an old friend. We had a laugh and continued to bond over lots of shared interests (the Portal theme “Still Alive”, played by What the Pluck? being one of them) and she really got what we were going for with the wedding and the pictures.
She was also amazing at rallying people together, whether for Heather’s speech at the drinks reception or for group pictures. On the couples’ shoot at Tarn Hows (we were driven up in a Landie by Amy from Yew Tree) she really captured the landscape and got beautiful shots of us. And we adore the light on the ones she took by Coniston. As for when we got back to Yew Tree for the wedding breakfast and beyond, she continued to make everyone feel at ease.
We had THE BEST time on the dancefloor. By that point we were just dancing with a good mate and Lauren went above and beyond to capture everything we wanted. I (Heather) kept randomly using the word ‘fabbo’ and I think we all agreed it was the perfect word for the day. And it’s the perfect word for Lauren. Everyone loved her. We were so sad to say goodbye but hoping we can have a wild swimming date in the Lakes sometime soon!
As for the photos. Lauren sent a selection only the day after and they took our breath away. And her Instagram reel of the day was so amazing it made Heather cry! She really brought out the joy and the colours of the day. We now have all the pictures and they are truly everything we wanted and more. Thank you so so much Lauren, you’re the best!
After the ceremony we stayed in the beautiful old cottage at Yew Tree. It’s full of character and still has some of Beatrix Potter’s old furniture. We held a BBQ for our guests on the Sunday and sourced the meat from Heritage Meats, which is based at Yew Tree Farm. As we mentioned above, it was incredible! We used the opportunity to finish off leftover food from the grazing table, as well as the cheese tower and wedding cake. We do have a bit of a habit of over-catering (we are buffet destroyers after all) so sent people off with care packages to avoid wasting food as much as possible. After our guests had left we chilled out in the cottage’s hot tub with champagne, it was perfect!
On the Monday we started a mini-moon around the Lake District, with a few nights in a B&B in Keswick, a few nights in an incredible wooden cabin in Threlkeld (In The Vale) with breathtaking views of Blencathra and finishing with a few nights in Ambleside. We ate a lot of good food, had another spa day at Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa, did some long scenic runs and hikes and ate some more good food. We treated ourselves to an amazing meal at the Old Stamp House, which we booked well in advance. It’s a Michelin-starred restaurant in Ambleside with meat supplied by Jon at Yew Tree Farm. It also had pictures by Jo McGrath, Jon’s wife, on the walls (she specialises in amazing animal portraits and runs the Herwick Experience at the farm). The food was absolutely stunning, in particular the Herdwick hogget from Yew Tree and we can’t wait to go back.
For the full honeymoon (though appreciating our mini-moon wasn’t that mini!) we are heading to Costa Rica for 12 nights in January 2023. We have always wanted to go given its incredible wildlife, scenery and opportunities for adventure. We booked through Kuoni and will travel to various locations so we can see and do as much as possible, while hopefully also finding some time to relax!
It’s almost impossible to answer this question because we just have so many special, memorable moments from the day. It really was our perfect day! But we will try!
Food is such a huge part of our lives and we would class all of the food on the day as memorable. Seeing the grazing table from Lakeland Grazing for the first time blew me away. We worked with Kevin to put together a menu that used local ingredients that really reflected us. We were aiming for a kind of ‘hiker’s picnic’ vibe, with Scotch eggs, Cumberland sausage rolls, mini beef-filled Yorkshire puddings, haggis croquettes, smoked chicken, cheese scones and other amazing veggie options. On the day it was better than we could have ever imagined and looked unbelievable!
All this alongside our spectacular cheese tower from Courtyard Dairy. It fit the rustic, wholesome and colourful vibe incredibly well. The same applied to our amazing wedding breakfast, with pie and mash courtesy of Piecaramba!, who are based where we live in Winchester but went above and beyond and travelled up to the Lakes for our big day. We knew early on we wanted unfussy, satisfying food to put a smile on people’s faces and we couldn’t have asked for more. The woodfired pizza in the evening, again from Lakeland Grazing, really topped it all off. No-one left our wedding hungry!
As for dessert, this was a real highlight of the day for our guests and for us. Cream Bee ice cream van really exceeded our expectations. Not only did the van look stunning (we got some great pictures in it) but they are so friendly and the ice cream was out of this world. We agonised over which flavours to choose, there were so many, but it was so worth it. That said, we don’t think there would have been a bad flavour! And the sun came out as they arrived. We’ll never forget how stunning everything looked at that point, really memorable. It was around that time we grabbed the opportunity to have some pictures in front of the surrounding fells. We love those pics.
The wedding transport was really memorable. I arrived in Will’s mum’s campervan, driven by our friend Ange, and they had decorated it beautifully. And getting in a Land Rover for the pics was great!
It goes without saying that seeing each other for the first time was memorable but the same goes for our vows. We were so glad we surprised each other on the day with them and loved the overlap (calling each other fellow ‘buffet destroyers’, as we mentioned above). Laughter and some tears. I think we hit just the right balance!
The speeches, from Heather’s Dad, her sister (one of the Best Women), Will and his Best Man were brilliant. There are pictures of us almost crying with laughter. Heather also took the chance to do a little speech at the drinks reception before officially cutting the cheese tower!
We decided quite late in the day to do some dance lessons to prepare a routine for our first dance. Heather contacted a local dance school called Winchester City Dance and we had a 1.5-hour session where Carmel put together an amazing routine for our chosen song, an acoustic version of You’re The Voice by John Farnham (another power ballad which means a lot to us). Despite Will’s nervousness we both loved it. In the days before the wedding we practised a lot, both in our holiday cottage and the barn. We didn’t tell anyone our song then surprised all the guests with it on the day. We really loved doing it and our guests were big fans too!
There are so many memorable moments from the dancefloor, including Heather’s grandad dancing the night away, everyone singing rock tunes at the top of their voices. But perhaps the best was Will re-enacting the Dirty Dancing lift with our friend Jim to ‘The Time of My Life’, helped by lots of our friends. The look on Jim’s face was the best and we all had such a laugh.
One of the best responses to music on the night was the band’s rendition of Tenacious D’s ‘Tribute’. Seeing all our friends and family really getting into it put a big smile on our faces. We loved that people got so into the music and dancing.
Our friends and family really made the day. One friend kept telling us ‘this is the best day ever’ and Heather’s grandma, after our first dance, asked when we were going to stop making her cry (with happiness of course!). It was the biggest and best party. We wish we could do it all again!
Most importantly, think about what type of wedding will really make you happy. We wanted to make the day as personal as possible, reflecting our values and everything we love. Yew Tree was a stunning blank canvas that allowed us to do that. If you want the same then go for it but we will say it is not the easiest (nor cheapest) option! There was a lot of work that went into the planning (including many hours on Etsy and Pinterest) and sometimes we questioned if it was worth it, but it absolutely was!
If you can, support local and/or independent; we highly recommend it. We had amazing service from all of our suppliers, from food to flowers and to various small companies on Etsy. We found that if there’s something you want, it pays to just ask and people are generally really accommodating. If you have contacts use them. We have a friend who runs a wine shop who supplied the most amazing wedding breakfast wine and we were already dedicated customers of Piecaramba. Heather’s mum knew various local places to get amazing craft materials too. And Amy at Yew Tree let us repurpose lots of construction materials, which was key to our décor.
Be willing to compromise. Heather looked at hiring wedding transport but it just wasn’t sensible for the budget, but also, if there is something you are really dreaming of but just aren’t sure, go for it. Budget-allowing of course, though we weren’t the best at sticking to ours.
On that, there were times when we wondered whether we should spend money on certain things. I (Heather) was not the best at being sensible. But I did try to think about whether I would use things more than once. I fell in love with my shoes early on, I adore red velvet, and while they weren’t the cheapest I loved them so much I knew I would wear again, which I have. The same goes for the red Converse I bought for the evening and the denim jacket I had made through the lovely Niamh Designs on Etsy. While it was relevant to me, our relationship (it said ‘To the Moon and Back’) and the wedding day (with the date in Roman numerals) it is something I can, and do, wear time and time again.
If your friends and family offer to help, take them up on it! We couldn’t have decorated the venue without them and they took a lot of stress away from us the day before the wedding.
Hire and borrow where you can. One thing that really perplexed us was napkins. We wanted to be eco-friendly and didn’t want to buy paper ones or spend a fortune on material ones. Piecaramba came to the rescue and we ended up hiring some lovely green and olive ones. This wasn’t the cheapest option but it was perfect! We also borrowed games from friends, as well as some decorations and a Polaroid camera for the guest book.
The band you choose can really be the icing on top of the cake so do lots of research but don’t just think about what your guests want, it’s your day! We loved all of our suppliers and would definitely advise you to check them out. Lauren was the most amazing photographer so don’t hesitate to contact her!
Most importantly, just have fun. We thought we would be worrying about things on the day but it’s too late by then. Just go with the flow and have the best time! Don’t sweat the little things. And make the time to take a step back and take it all in. We wish we had done that more on the day!
Wow wee! What an amazing day.
Will and Heather, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your stunning Yew Tree Farm wedding story with us.
→ This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase – at no additional cost to yourself.
Credit where credit is due
Photographer Lauren May Photos
Venue Yew Tree Farm
Florist Fellside Flower Company
Confetti Shropshire Petals
Sweet Cake Will’s Stepmum Carolyn
Cheese Cake Courtyard Dairy
Dress Luna Bride
Shoes Harriet Wilde
Customised Denim Jacket Niamh Designs
Wedding Dress Embroidery EmbroideryMoks
Will & Groomsmen Outfits MacGregor and MacDuff
Bridesmaid Dresses Mantaikotai
String Quartet What the Pluck?
Evening Band Rockafella AKA Phoenix
Electronic Save The Dates LoveMyWeddingInvites
Recycled Paper Wedding Invitations Vistaprint
Hairdresser Caron Prickett
Make-up Made Up by Jaye
Chairs Lighting & Firewood Eden Event Hire
Grazing Table & Pizza Lakeland Grazing
Wedding Breakfast Piecaramba!
Ice Cream Cream Bee
Post-Wedding BBQ Heritage Meats
Drinks Bars4Yew at Yew Tree Farm
Table Wine Toscanaccio
Heather’s Engagement & Wedding Ring Fulton’s Lakes Jewellery Works
Will’s Wedding Ring Flinn & Steel
Heather’s Necklace & Earrings Daisy London
Will's Personalised Cufflinks EvaGiftedHands
Mini Moon In The Vale
Want In On My Happy Wedding Letter?
Join over a thousand engaged couples (and counting) who have snagged my fun no-nonsense regular wedding advice and inspo straight to their inbox. Plus you'll get planning checklists & spreadsheets for absolutely nada.