Sara & William Image by Toast of Leeds Photography
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I Thee Wed – Sara and William


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Real Weddings

I Thee Wed – Sara and William

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Sara and William had a Narnia-themed, autumn wedding at Hodsock Priory. It’s full of beautiful, vintage details and oozes glamour at every fun-filled moment. Huge thanks to Toast of Leeds Photography for sharing their images with us and the lovely bride Sara for talking us through all the planning…

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Where did you get married and what was it about the venue that sealed the deal? 

When we began planning our wedding we knew we wanted a grand party in a secluded mansion in the middle of sprawling countryside. When we drove along the winding driveway up to Hodsock Priory on the South Yorkshire border we fell in love with it before we’d even been inside. The historic gatehouse makes for the grandest of entrances and the Tudor chimneys are beautiful. The deal was sealed when we explored the interior – Hodsock has a timeless quirky charm that is enhanced by its vast collection of antique paintings and vintage trinkets.

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Although Narnia was the overarching theme of our wedding, we styled the house in a 1940s fashion, by adding 1940s memorabilia from old suitcases to cut glass ornaments and my Grandma’s 1940s books to silver trays filled with Turkish delight.

I grew up enthralled by the magic of CS Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles, so when we decided that we wanted an Autumn/winter wedding it was the obvious theme. Having a theme allows you to have fun with every aspect of your wedding, from the invites to the table games and the Photo Booth – who doesn’t love dressing up as a beaver. Also, I grew up listening to my Grandma’s tales of the war, she was evacuated from London to the country, much like the Narnia stories. This gave our theme a certain magical quality.

Describe your dress and how you came about finding ‘the one’? 

I had my dress made by a Vivianne, a dress designer based at Sophie Louise Bridal Boutique in Boston Spa near Harrogate. We based the design on a backless 1940s silk red carpet gown. I felt like a movie star!

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Talk us through the suppliers you used for your wedding from stationery to cake, flowers to cars – was there anything quirky or creative which will inspire future brides

I hired the magnificent Stems Design to provide the flowers for the wedding. We worked closely to turn Hodsock’s Pavilion into a Narnia woodland wonderland. For the tables Lynne dressed large silver candelabras in moss, birch, ivy, tillandsia moss and trailing amaranthus. Each one sparkled with real snow, which was also scattered on the fir trees we used to frame the room. The focal point of the room was an antique wardrobe filled with my Grandma’s fur coats and fox furs. Next to it stood a writing bureau with our four-tiered wedding cake resting on top of a wooden stump.

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When I saw my bouquet for the first time I cried – it was absolutely stunning. Lynne had created the most unique bouquet bursting with wild flowers.

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As soon as we’d booked the venue we booked the amazing Toast of Leeds as our photographer – we loved her quirky style and sense of fun. She managed to capture all the little moments that flashed us by and created a story of the day that we’ll always looks back on and admire.

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We hired Matthew Modget from Matthew Modget films to document our day. He specialises in vintage wedding videography using a Super 8mm camera. When we shared our wedding video, guests commented that they didn’t realise he was there!

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Being particular about the style I wanted (Old Hollywood glamour) I was very particular about my hair and make-up. I hired Kristina Gasperas to create my look, she specialises in vintage make up. Her colleague Kasia Fortuna finished my look with a 1940s wave and styled my bridesmaids in their preferred vintage style.

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We hired Glorious Catering to cater for the day. We considered creating a Narnia themed menu, but decided against it opting for locally-sourced good quality food instead. That said we did serve Narnia-themed canapés – foie gras lollipops, chilli and hot chocolate shots, smoked quail with quails eggs and aioli, home-cured venison and pickled strawberries, and wild mushroom and ragout cups. Our choice main menu full of delicious lamb and beef dishes was a hit with the guests who commented that it was the best wedding food they’d ever had.

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Hiring New York Brass Band, a New Orleans inspired brass band from York, was one of our best decisions. Our guests went crazy for them! Their mix of rumbling tuba, relentless drums and wailing horns to songs like Daft Punk and Aha got everyone dancing.  We took the party in to the gardens at midnight and danced beneath the stars.

We hired lighting experts to enhance our theme. Matt from Wedding Venue Lighting hung fairy lights from the top of all the windows and around the fir trees, we also used up-lighters with a hint of purple to add some colour – they looked fantastic.

My advice to future brides would be to…

toast of leeds wedding photography

Let go of your dress, it will get dirty, so there is no point in worrying about it. Have fun and enjoy one of the best days of your life!

Hire a band – weddings are long and drunken affairs. Hiring a band relieved the stress of worrying about everyone having a good time in the evening.

Thank you to Toast of Leeds for sharing these gorgeous images with us.

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