Today’s couple, Natalie and Tom, tied the knot at the truly captivating Danby Castle, set on the edge of the North York Moors. Like something from a romantic novel, this magnificent setting has all the drama you could desire for your big day, and then some.
The wedding is brimming with rustic feels, perfectly in keeping with the venue, with confetti hand cut from real maps, atlas lollies for favours, hessian decorations and – as a nod to their venue’s wild and wonderful location – heather floral arrangements.
And for the bride looking to thank her bridal party with something a little bit different – we just love the gift bags Natalie created, with personalised totes for her bridesmaids and children – a lovely keepsake from their special day.
With images by Paul Hawkett Photography.
natalie says: We got engaged on the 14th April 2013, at Levisham Estate. Tom had planned for us to go for a picnic, but when we got there, it was so windy and cold, we ate the picnic in the car with Oliver, our son, who was three-and-a-half-months-old. We then went for a little walk and Tom took us to the top of the hill and got down on one knee – with Oliver fastened to him in his carrier. I, of course, said yes!
We got married on 24th June 2017. There was no particular reason behind the date, other than that we knew we wanted to get married at Danby Castle, in the spring when the heather was starting to come out. We knew from the very first time we saw the venue in the thick fog that we would get married there!
The staff were so helpful with the wedding planning and we still keep in touch to this day. We attended lots of wedding open days because we just simply couldn’t get enough of the place! We now miss it, but visit the area on a regular basis.
We didn’t really have a theme, we went for a rustic, vintage style but nothing was set in stone. Tom loves maps so I found some old maps and used a heart shaped cutter to make confetti for the tables. We also used hessian as part of the decoration, including the table runners, our Mr and Mrs banner for the top table and much more.
We had a dusky pink colour for the bridesmaid dresses and the ties, again we didn’t really plan a colour scheme, everything just fell into place. Looking through magazines, we had liked the idea of blush colours – so it was along the lines of that.
My dress was a mermaid fishtail, which I got from The Wedding Shop in Selby. It had lace all over with small sequin details. I then added a belt that finished off the dress beautifully, even the girls in the wedding shop were amazed! I fell in love with the dress as soon as I saw it; having tried many others, this was by far my favourite!
Once Upon a Dress in York altered my dress, as during the run up to the wedding I had lost quite a bit of weight and was panicking that my dress – originally a size 14 – didn’t fit anymore, and because of the style I thought it may not look right. They did a brilliant job and took it in to a size 8. It looked even better than it did before and fitted me absolutely perfectly!
Tom wore a gorgeous tweed suit, mixed with navy braces, a white shirt, dusky pink tie and a navy double-breasted waistcoat, which was all bought from Dandy Threads in Guisborough. His shoes were tan and navy – which I bought from an eBay shop.
The groomsmen also wore tweed trousers and waistcoats, with a white shirt and a dusky pink tie, also from Dandy threads, with shoes from Ebay too.
Our bridesmaids wore a dusky pink maxi dress with lace detail on the top, they were floor length and came from AX Paris. They wore their own shoes.
In terms of transport, Tom was driven to the venue by his usher, Charlie, along with his best man Harl, and they used Charlie’s car, which was an Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Me and my dad were transported by my bridesmaid Lydia’s husband, Will, travelling in a Range Rover.
Our photographer was Paul Hawkett, from Market Weighton. I would definitely recommend Paul, he was brilliant from start to finish. Paul had been recommended to me by a friend and had also been the photographer at my brother’s wedding. During our consultation, he had gone through the details with us, asking us how we wanted the pictures to look, what sort of album we would like etc. On the day itself, he was amazing, he got all the moments that we wished for and took us off into some of the moorland where we got some brilliant pictures!
My bridesmaids and I had matching flowers. There was a mix of white and pink roses, heather and other mixes, supplied by Mouse House in Pocklington.
In the ceremony room, we had heather on the end of each aisle. We had chosen heather due to the location and the fact that we love moorland. In the reception room, we had gyp on each table, which the venue had arranged for us.
Our favours were milk and white chocolate atlas lollies, which matched brilliantly with our map confetti.
We had a three-tier cake; one layer was Baileys, one chocolate orange and one lemon. The cake was covered in a bark type icing, as we wanted it to be quite natural looking – this effect was created brilliantly by Vikki Geall, who makes cakes as a hobby for close family and friends.
Food-wise, we served canapés between our ceremony and reception, provided by Danby Castle. We then had a tea party for our wedding breakfast. We loved the idea of this, however as the wedding grew closer we were worried guests would be hungry after a few sandwiches. Danby Castle soon proved us wrong – we had bagels, pork pies, tortillas…the list is endless! And then we had cakes! Many of our guests commented on how filling the food was, and having the tea party stands refilled on various occasions – it’s safe to say that nobody went hungry!
In the evening, we had a fish and chip van, which was hired from a local supplier, through Danby Castle. Again, it was brilliant food and we loved the idea of having something different and easy for our evening guests.
For our entertainment, we had a band called Farewell Fairground from Hull. I had seen them playing in a pub whilst out with friends – they played all the music that me and Tom enjoyed, so I had to take him to see them. We booked them more or less straight away after that night!
As a special touch to the day, I made up gift bags for all of our bridesmaids, groomsmen and of course our pageboy Oliver and flowergirl Florence (who are also our son and daughter).
For the groomsmen, I had included an engraved pocket watch, some smellies, all matching socks, a cigar, personalised pint glasses and a small bottle of monkey’s shoulder. In Tom’s, I also included some ‘property of’ boxer shorts and a pack of mints “mint to be”. I had told Paul that I had included the socks and cigars and would love an image – the pictures were brilliant and the guys had fun whilst doing it!
In the girls’ bags, they had a hessian tote bag with a characteristic drawing of themselves on, with smellies, jewellery, personalised champagne flutes and bridesmaid PJs and robes. We also had a picture in our PJs and robes with our matching bags!
I had a superhero picture made for Oliver – which read thank you for being our pageboy – which he now keeps in his bedroom above his bed. And Florence had a certificate and medal for been flowergirl, she is only 11 months – so I wanted something that she could keep for when she is older, so that she knows she also played a big part in the day – even though she is too young to remember. The tote bags were made by Daisy Doll Designs, which I found on Facebook, who were easy to deal with and professional.
After our big day, I would recommend Danby Castle because it has that wow factor, not just the venue but the staff, the scenery and the atmosphere too; everything was absolutely perfect. The staff knew exactly what we wanted, and they did everything to fulfill our wishes for our special day.
The whole day to us was amazing. I would say that walking down the aisle towards Tom was a highlight, and the speeches too. I had really been looking forward to what Tom had to say, but even more so my dad, Geoff, who I didn’t see for 15 years! He amazed me. Tom’s favourite part was walking into the wedding breakfast with all our guests greeting us as husband and wife, and seeing the decorations for the first time.
For our honeymoon we visited Cuba and took the children with us for 11 nights. We had a few day excursions – we took a catamaran to a little island, which was a brilliant adventure, and on the island Tom took Oliver on a jeep safari where they got to see a few different animals.
We also went on a fishing/horse-riding trip, again Tom took Oliver off on the fishing trip – and they brought fish back with them which we cooked and ate for dinner!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be – take plenty of time to plan the wedding – enjoy it and don’t stress. I think I did quite well not to stress, and as I was on maternity leave during the planning – I did most of it myself. I did stress about the smaller details as the day got closer, but mostly it was about how our stuff would get from A to B and had I packed everything for myself and the children. Also, enjoy every single second of the day as it goes so fast! Make time for each other, greet your guests – you may not get to speak to each and every one for long, but greet them at least.
Finally, make sure you write a list of the photos you want to capture and give them to your bridesmaid/groomsmen, who can then liaise with your photographer and guests – so that you don’t have to worry about missing any.
During the planning, I used Brides Up North for ideas. I loved looking at the real weddings – they give you so much inspiration. I still enjoy looking at them now, it is lovely to see what different ideas people have. I would recommend the site to any friends that are planning a wedding.