Finding the perfect ‘destination’ venue in Richmond, just half an hour from home, meant Elysia and Callum could celebrate in perfect garden-party style surrounded by glorious estate architecture and sumptuous wildflowers
Photography: Charlotte Even
Elysia and Callum have a very clear idea of the kind of wedding they wanted – relaxed, informal and fun. The couple are childhood sweethearts, meeting at school at the age of 12. In the intervening years, they’ve travelled extensively and lived around the country, but they eventually returned to their roots in North Yorkshire to settle.
Initially they had thought about a destination wedding – they knew they wanted rustic, whimsical and with plenty of outside space. Then they discovered they had all this on their doorstep (just 30 minutes down the road) with Middleton Lodge Estate and the Fig House, a glorious Georgian property set in 200 acres of splendour close to Richmond. It also has a stunning wildflower garden which matched everything about their vision.
“We loved the laid-back, French-château feel – perfect for a glorious garden-party gathering,” says Elysia. “While we loved the idea of a destination wedding, we wanted to ensure all of our loved ones could make the trip. To be able to enjoy a proper Yorkshire wedding near home was just wonderful”.
With the date sent for early September, and the church ceremony booked in the quaint village of Middleton Tyas, they could start planning. The couple were very clear on their vision for the day. “We wanted a traditional white wedding, but with an informal garden party to follow,” says Elysia. Music was very important and they had chosen acoustic ukulele duo Rock My Reception as soundtrack of the daytime reception – the duo would be on hand to take requests and sing their way through the garden party.
With such a glorious floral setting, colours were already in abundance and didn’t need lots of human arranging. “It was all about making the most of the whimsical wildflowers in the Fig House walled garden, so we kept flowers simple with white roses and gorgeous greenery,” says Elysia.
“Bride and groom travelled in flower-bedecked Land Rovers – nothing says Yorkshire wedding like it”
The day dawned fair and warm, with a real ‘Indian summer’ quality to the sunshine and, after the beautiful church service, Elysia, Callum and their guests were transported in high style from church to venue. Guests were in a York Pullman vintage double-decker (serenaded from the top deck by the ukulele duo), while bride and groom and bridal party sipped champagne as they travelled in flower-bedecked Defender 110 Land Rovers (from Yorkshire Vehicle Hire). “Nothing says Yorkshire wedding like it!” says Elysia.
The bride wore the St Patrick Famosa gown – a classic figure-hugging mermaid style in champagne with removable long-sleeve bodice for day to dancefloor switch. She’d chosen this with the help of “lovely Rebecca” from Hummingbird Bridal Studio in Stocksbridge. The dress had also been tweaked for a perfect glove-like fit by a brilliant specialist. The groom and groomsmen were dressed in smart dark navy suits, which tied in nicely with the bridesmaids’ fabulous Gatsby-style beaded dresses.
The party flowed, with reception in the Fig House and walled garden before a move over to the Forge barn for more celebrating and dancing. Great care had gone into the styling of food and drink, with plenty of champagne in 1920s glassware, sommelier-selected wines for the feast tables and plenty of further fizz as day turned to night.
For the menu, the couple had chosen canapés to whet everyone’s appetite, followed by a three-course feast of terrine, braised beef and popcorn chocolate tart. There was also a pizza party in the Forge barn to help fuel the night on the dancefloor to Motown and funk classics. As a lovely post-party wind down, the couple had a paella party the following day in their back garden – a great way to round off the wedding in true destination style and reminisce about the day before.
Elysia and Callum say they enjoyed every stage of the planning – which was a stress less process. “If something feels right, just go with it,” says Elysia. “Middleton Lodge was the first venue we had a proper look around and I picked out my dress at the first shop I visited. There’s no need to overcomplicate things. The most important thing is that you enjoy your day and create many happy memories along the way.”
“The party flowed beautifully, with reception in the Fig House and walled garden before a move over to the Forge barn for dancing”
They also added in touches that made their day unique. “We even foraged for sloe berries in our local village a year or so before the big day to make homemade sloe gin as wedding favours for our guests.” As a professional editor, Elysia also designed clever ‘mini magazine’ order-of-service booklets, including welcome letter and article about the couple’s journey in numbers.
Elysia said she and Callum had a huge number of wedding ‘heroes’ who made their day special, from photographer Charlotte Even and videographer Jon Lunt – both of whom captured memories of their day brilliantly and were great to work with – to the excellent hair and make-up teams. Talented florist Felicity Cook transformed spaces to match their vision. There was, says Elysia, “a gorgeous green oasis”. To add to this verdant feel, Elysia, her mum and bridesmaids even went foraging the day before the wedding to create the pew ends for the church.
The couple made sure to spend some time together, just to watch the celebration unfolding. “It’s something brides have always told me to do and it really was something so special. During the drinks reception, Callum and I wandered off into the winding walled garden with a glass of champagne and took a seat on a bench at the bottom of the garden. It was so lovely to just take it all in, watching and spending some quiet time together as our friends and family were sipping, smiling and singing in the September sunshine.”
The final high point came the following morning – a treat with bridal party and close family staying at other suites and cottages around the estate and the party continuing to day two. “Callum and I excitedly awoke before everyone else and had a little stroll through the estate – recalling our best bits from the day before. We were still both on cloud 9!”
Elysia & Callum’s wedding sourcebook
Venue, food and drink: Middleton Lodge Estate; middletonlodge.co.uk
Photography: Charlotte Even at Eve Photography; evephotography.co.uk
Bride’s dress: St Patrick ‘Famosa’ at Hummingbird Bridal Studio;
Dress tailoring: Leann Marie Designs; leannmariedesign.co.uk
Bride’s make-up: Kate Pymm; katepymm.com
Wedding party hair: The Little Hair Parlour @thelittlehairparlour
Wedding flowers: Felicity Cook at Briar House Flowers; briarhouseflowers.co.uk
Wedding cake: Sara’s Kitchen; saraskitchen.co.uk
Videography: Jon Lunt at Top Table Films; toptablefilms.co.uk
Post wedding-day paella: M Brown Catering; @MBrownCatering
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