It’s easy to see why today’s couple Louise and Michael fell in love with their chosen wedding venue. With its beautiful grounds and the most magnificent of interiors, Bowcliffe Hall – a Sponsor venue of Brides Up North – offered a sumptuous and memorable backdrop to their special day, which the couple then complemented beautifully with a pale pink and dark teal colour scheme. True elegance.
As self-confessed foodies, Louise and Michael were also lured in by the fact that they could work with the venue’s chef to create their own bespoke menu, resulting in a refreshing alternative to the standard wedding fayre.
But the originality didn’t stop here. The couple enlisted help from friends and family to create other elements of their day from scratch – including their stunning three-tiered wedding cake and wonderful paper origami cranes that were given out as favours. We also love the subtle nods to Louise’s Scottish heritage, complete with a bagpiper and pretty blue thistles, of course. With so many treasured details to share, we’ll hand the blog over to Louise to tell us more.
With images by Bloom Weddings
louise says: We got engaged while we were visiting my brother and his family, who were living in Singapore, back in November 2015. As part of the trip, we’d planned to fly to Bali for a mini-break with the family, but a big volcano erupting meant our flights were cancelled. Plan A of proposing whilst we were away in Bali was scuppered. Michael needed a plan B. Instead, we ended up going to Thailand for a long weekend. We picked a gorgeous private villa with its own pool, packed our bags and we were off. Michael thought to himself this was where it was going to happen. On the second day, the family went off to explore. His time had come! I was reading on the sun loungers so he went and got the ring that he’d carried half way around the world and popped the question. After saying yes and the obligatory calls back home to share the news, we celebrated with cocktails and painful Thai massages!
We knew that we wanted a summer wedding, so opted for 3rd June 2017. We were pretty flexible with exact dates, so it all came down to the availability of the venues that we were looking at.
We’d been to so many weddings in the past few years, we wanted somewhere that a) we’d never been to as a guest and b) none of our guests will have been to before. We went into the search totally open minded – we looked at a few wedding hotels, a few barns, a couple of churches and even an old National Trust building as possible venues for the ceremony and reception.
But as soon as we saw Bowcliffe Hall, we instantly fell in love with the place; that was it, our decision was made! The beautiful gardens, the gorgeous newly renovated Ballroom, the quirky details dotted around the grounds and the Drivers’ Club truly wowed us. As self-confessed foodies, being able to design a bespoke menu was another massive tick in the box for us.
We didn’t have a theme as such, beyond the colour of the wedding stationery, flowers, bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen accessories. There were, however, a few nods to my Scottish roots, so we did have a bag piper and some blue thistles in the flowers.
Each of the rooms at Bowcliffe Hall has its own unique style, so we wanted that to stand out, and not have lots of ‘wedding clutter’ to distract from that, so our decorations were kept to a minimum. I guess we went for a simple and elegant feel to the whole day. We opted for a dark teal colour scheme, which was paired with pale pink on the stationery and Michael’s tie. We chose this colour combination as we hadn’t seen it before and thought it was fairly different but still elegant.
I looked for a dress for a fair few months, and must have been to every shop in Yorkshire! I ended up buying my dress from Pronovias in London. It was an empire-line mermaid wedding dress with a bateau neckline. It was a combination of a crepe, tulle and lace floral design with a glimpse of a suggestive sweetheart neckline at the front. I loved it from the moment I saw it, especially the detail at the back and the train.
Michael had a very particular style of suit in mind, so ended up having one made by Reiss personal tailoring in Leeds. It felt special having a suit consultation, picking the fabric, lining and buttons, measuring up, having a couple of fittings and then finally picking up the final suit.
My bridesmaids wore dark teal dresses from Coast accessorised with silver jewellery. Michael’s groomsmen, meanwhile, wore navy suits from Moss Bros, accessorised with teal knitted ties and white pocket squares.
I travelled to the venue early on the day with my bridesmaids to get ready and Michael travelled with his best men. We booked a plush silver Mercedes S Class from Galaxy Executive Travel to take us from Bowcliffe to Harrogate at the end of the night.
Our day was captured by Chris and Anii from Bloom Weddings. They had been photographers at a friend’s wedding a few years back, so when we looked back at the pictures, it was an easy choice for us. We got on really well with them, right from when we first met to discuss the wedding, during the engagement shoot we did at Bolton Abbey and then on the wedding day itself. They were fantastic on the day and very relaxed. We are so happy with the final photos – we can’t stop looking at them, especially the pictures they caught at sunset. Anii even went above and beyond the call of duty by helping me carry my bags from the car into the venue at 9am in the morning! We couldn’t recommend them highly enough. I still remember the excitement of seeing the first few pictures they posted on social media and how much we loved them.
Daniel Armitage of Shoot Me Now Films captured our wedding on film. His work was exactly what we were looking for, something a little different to your typical wedding videographer. His approach is to create wedding films that are naturally captured but with a cinematic look and feel, so we were really excited when we booked him and had our first Skype chat. You’d never have known he was there on the day, but the three-minute trailer he’s created for us captures so much of what our day was all about – we can’t wait to see the full 30-minute version now!
The bridesmaids and I carried hand-tied loosely rounded bouquets which included a mix of cream avalanche roses, earl grey roses, quicksand (pale pink) roses, cream lisianthus, thistles, blue viburnum berries and eucalyptus. Michael had a buttonhole made up of a cream avalanche rose with a thistle and some blue viburnum berries and eucalyptus. Sally at Serendipity Floral Designs was absolutely great. She is so friendly and very bubbly and the flowers were beautiful and just what we wanted.
We then used a selection of flowers provided by Sally at Serendipity Floral Designs to make our table decorations, which were jars tied with dark teal and pink ribbon and sealed with an L&M sticker from our wedding stationery.
We also made the groomsmen’s buttonholes, all with a little help from the mothers-of-the-bride and groom!
We asked a local designer called Emma Fisher to do all of our stationery. We shared lots of ideas, colour palettes and styles with her on Pinterest, and we ended up with really elegant and classy invites, place names, table name cards and table plan, all in keeping with the theme of the day.
My sister-in law-painstakingly made 90 origami cranes from some lovely bright origami paper as favours, which were individually perched on each place name.
My mum and sister made and iced the cake for us. We went for a three-tiered cake, which was made up of vanilla sponge with buttercream filling, chocolate sponge with milk chocolate ganache and lemon sponge with lemon buttercream.
The food and drink was a massive part of our day, so we worked with Andy Lawson, the executive chef at Bowcliffe Hall to create a menu to die for. The best thing about it was that we could design a bespoke menu around our tastes, which was important to us, as opposed to picking from a set menu of three or four things. We went for quail and corn, suckling pig and Eton Mess with a Bowcliffe twist. We were genuinely blown away by the tasting we did in April, and it was just as good on the big day in June.
Entertainment-wise, we booked a party band called Black and Gold for the evening do, who we came across when searching online. They looked ideal and the video clips and testimonials encouraged us to book them. On the night, they were excellent, great fun, had really good vocals, played loads of crowd pleasers and kept the dance floor packed all night! What more can you ask for?
We had bagpiper Cameron Edgar playing for the arrival of our guests and also during the drinks reception. He also played as I walked down the aisle and then as we both entered the reception.
Following our wedding, we would 100% recommend our venue to other couples. Michael Gledhill and the whole team at Bowcliffe Hall made the day a resounding success for us. All of our guests (and us!) were so impressed by the venue, the food, the drink and the friendliness and attentiveness of the staff. He made sure that the day ran like clockwork and was completely stress free for us. I only wish we could do it all over again!
It’s very hard to pick one part of the day as our favourite because we loved it all. However, seeing each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle is a moment we will never forget. Also, seeing all of your family and friends enjoying all the details we planned throughout the day was pretty special.
We didn’t spare any expense on the honeymoon. We started off in Hong Kong and had three days and nights exploring as many of the city’s rooftop bars as possible. We gave it a good shot! Our next stop was Ubud in Bali for three days, which was the first time we’d been able to really unwind and relax after the hectic run up to the wedding and the wedding weekend itself. We then did seven nights in Seminyak in Bali, where we ate some wonderful food and enjoyed amazing sunset after sunset. Our last stop was Kuala Lumpur for a final bit of big city action before flying home.
I would give two top tips for other Brides Up North. Firstly, enjoy every minute of the planning as well as the big day. Don’t over think things. Set your budget but when you see something you really like, go for it. I think you can spend so much time scrutinising everything and it can take over your life. Secondly, don’t leave yourself too much to do in the last week before the wedding. The build-up was such good fun and we loved spending that time with our family and friends before the big day.
We also used Brides Up North in the lead up to our wedding to help with the planning – I followed the Instagram account (and still do!). We also read the wedding blogs on the site as it is a great way to get ideas – and who doesn’t love to hear about other people’s wedding stories?! We also used the supplier online directory as a sense check.