Andy and Gemma chose quality suppliers and vintage styling for their stunning wedding day at Nostell Priory.
With images by Chris Chambers Photography.
Andy says: We got engaged in The Lake District in December 2012. I had decided to pop the question and had bought an antique engagement ring. I’d gone and got permission from Gemma’s dad Steve prior to asking. I had told Gemma to pack a bag as I was going to take her away for a couple of nights but didn’t tell her where we were going. I had booked an amazing suite at The Cranleigh in Bowness on Windermere.
We set out on the morning and I kept Gemma guessing as we drove to the Lakes, it wasn’t until we got close that she guessed where we were going. The Cranleigh had been really popular on Facebook and Gemma had been saying how much she had wanted to stay there. We arrived at the Cranleigh and Gemma was over the moon.
I had booked us a nice table at Linthwaite House hotel, where we had a really tasty meal. The big plan was for me to propose after the meal, in the warm and comfy surroundings, with all the Christmas decorations and log fires in the lounge of the hotel. However it didn’t go to plan, I paid the bill and asked for Gemma to go find a comfy seat in the lounge while I did this. About 2 minutes prior to this I had asked the manager to call us a cab back to our hotel. Thinking I’d have at least 10 – 15 minutes until it arrived. The taxi however arrived in record time and was stood waiting for us before I’d even gone and sat back down with Gemma so I felt slightly under pressure.
I sat back down and realised that Gemma had chosen a sofa with a low table almost immediately in front of it, and through a mixture of nerves, pressure from the taxi driver and the low table I tried to wedge myself the best I could, in a feeble attempt to get on on one knee. Pulled the ring box from my jacket pocket, and proceeded to open it up, upside down. It’s a wonder she said yes… but she did. We then had a very cold Christmassy couple of days in the Lakes,
We had looked at a number of places to get married, including Cyprus, and initially we dismissed Nostell as we didn’t like the look of the place in the photographs, however we went and viewed it and fell in love with it.
We both work in the region and had been to the grounds and the Big House on a couple of occasions so we knew that it was an amazing location. After the viewing we fell in love with it, the venue was perfect and so grand, with high ceilings and beautiful private gardens. There was no doubt that we wanted to get married there.
The venue is stunning, it’s as simple as that. I think you would be hard pushed to enter the top Hall of such a magnificent building and not be blown away by it, and then for your guests to go over to the Riding school and have the run of such a big space, with a private walled garden, full of so many beautiful flowers.
The orangery is a perfect staging area for the guests to gather before they enter the main reception room with its high glass ceilings. The venue is perfect.
We chose Dine as they seemed to be the most thorough out there, which I suppose is what you want from a catering company. All of their literature was professional and stylish and when we viewed Nostell the staff showing us around were really professional but friendly. We loved that there were all sorts of options with clear pricing, but also loved how if we wanted to make changes we could.
We opted for relaxed, vintage styling. We didn’t want any vivid colours, we are both quite laid back characters and thought the colours should reflect it. Having said that we didn’t put any restrictions on what the maid of honour or the ring bearers wore. We didn’t give the florist any hard and fast colours to stick to but described the overall feel of what we wanted, and got an amazing result.
I wore a three piece grey suit, with tails, an ivory waistcoat, and a plum cravat. The suit was from Hanson Menswear in Wakefield, I initially had trouble making a decision on what I wanted but went for a try on at the shop and loved it. Myself, my two best men, my dad and Gemma’s dad all wore matching suits and scrubbed up quite well.
Gemma wore a Jenny Packham Aspen dress, which was a long elegant dress that looked as if it had been designed especially for her. She wore Tiffany jewellery, and Rachel Simpson – Mimosa shoes. Gemma bought the dress from the White Room in Sheffield. Gemma chose the dress as she loves lace, and it has a vintage lace feel and look to it. She has always wanted a Jenny Packham dress and had seen the style elsewhere but didn’t know if the style would suit her. She wasn’t interested in meringue type fluffy dresses, with humongous trails. She wanted something classy and elegant. When she went to try the dress on she knew it was the one for her, and went for it.
Our maid of honour wore a brown/ mink Jacque Vert maxi dress with lace detailing. This was bought from Debenhams. The bridesmaids wore a mink dress with a cream overlay from Monsoon.
The flowers were provided by BlossEm from Ackworth. We had seen some of her work at a wedding fair at Nostell and booked in to meet up with her. There was never anyone in contention other than BlossEm. She produced some beautiful flowers for us. We were conscious that the ceiling in the Riding School is huge, so wanted something to give a sense of height for the table decorations. Em produced the most amazing, high candelabras for each table with a number of different flowers, peonies and roses in various dusky pinks, creams and whites. The spray which was used on the registrars table doubled up as the top table spray. We also opted for lanterns running down the centre aisle as Gemma walked in to the top hall. There were also numerous posy vases with small arrangements for the top table.
Our photographer was Chris Chambers. Words cannot describe how much we loved having him shoot our wedding. He had been recommended by just about everybody we spoke to. We had seen his website and loved his style. We pretty much arranged the wedding around his availability, and we’re glad we did. All our guests commented on how easy he was to work with. The package we chose wasn’t cheap but he is worth every penny, and the proof is in the pictures. The package came with a pre shoot session where you meet up about a month prior to the date and he takes some pictures.
He’s created some really amazing images, one of which is a shot in front of Nostell, late at night in the pouring rain, with an umbrella over us. The picture involved him fully lying down in a huge puddle to get a reflection off of it. The end result is stunning. Again words can’t describe it. It was uploaded to Facebook and according to Chris had 25000 views in the first 24 hours.
The main help from Dine was in the clarity of the meal options. We did find that it all sounded delicious, and that posed a problem in making a final choice. We were guided by Matt and Amy about what usually works and their experience shone through. We ended up with a menu that we thought would tick the boxes for the majority of our guests. We chose a selection of appetisers for as the guests were entering the venue, with beer or pimms to drink, we had also opted for sparkling wine for the toasts, and wine on the tables for the meal.
Matt tweaked a couple of options from the evening traditional buffet and added a couple of nice bits from the American style buffet.
The cake was a three tier sponge cake with flowers along the side and top of it, the flowers were again along the lines of dusky pinks. Each tier was a different flavour. The top tier was lemon, the middle was strawberries and champagne, and the bottom layer was Madagascan vanilla, with strawberry jam and butter cream, The cake was handmade by a lady from Barnsley, called Joanna Rose cakes who has since opened up a shop in Denby Dale. She is a lovely woman, who is very talented at what she does, each flower is handcrafted by her. The best part of the cake choosing experience was going to her house and trying all of the gorgeous samples she makes for you.
We had arranged for a company from Manchester to come for two hours, to bridge the gap in between the formal part and the evening part. The company is called Icecream dub, they have an immaculate old VW campervan, which is converted into an ice cream van, we chose a number of flavours and personalised wafers, and people loved it.
We decided to go for a DJ for the evening session. We were more than happy for a bit of background music whilst we ate, a bit of Bublé went far. We made the decision early on that we wouldn’t want kids at the formal part of the wedding, as we thought their parents deserve a bit of time to let their hair down, which meant we didn’t need to even think about entertainment for the kids.
We would fully recommend Dine, we were well looked after both before the day and on our wedding day. I always knew that Matt was at the other end of an email or phone call, and we knew that every aspect of the planning and prep was taken care of.
On the day the service was impeccable, polished, and respectful. The food was delicious, the team did us proud.
At the end of the night one of the girls from the bar approached me and said she had been wanting to speak to me all evening and ended up saying something to me that was genuinely touching, I’m not an emotional man but what she said was so genuine.
It seemed that Matt and Amy were always about 15 feet away from us at any given time, without actually knowing they were there, when we were wandering around looking for photo opportunities Matt and Amy seemed to just pop up with an umbrella or an update as to what the next stage of the day was.
Matt in particular was brilliant in the early stages as there was a big question mark about whether we would even get a registrar for the date. Matt chased things up and it got sorted in the end.
There were so many amazing parts, my personal favourite was hearing everybody gasping as Gemma walked in the room at the top hall. I obviously had to keep looking towards the front of the room, and saw one of the registrars mouth the word “wow”. The same registrar then started crying at the sight of Gemma. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw this.
Another top memory was right at the end of the night when just about everybody had left, the DJ played our first dance song again “At Last”, we danced and It was the first real chance I had to spend alone with my wife. A beautiful moment I’ll never forget.
We made a late decision to go away, and booked a two week trip to Lux Grand Gaube in Mauritius. We both love the beach and relaxing so this fits perfectly with us. We didn’t do much other than lounge by the Indian Ocean, with a cocktail or 6. We did book an hours helicopter tour as a honeymoon treat, the tour went around the island, and showed exactly why so many people visit Mauritius every year, every part of it is beautiful.
My tip for other Brides and Grooms would be to plan ahead, and make sure youve got all of the things you want in there. Worry about the money side of things later as it’s not often you get to have all of your family and friends in one place at the same time.
Contact us to see how we can make your wedding day at Nostell Priory special.