Real Weddings

Justin Alexander for a Relaxed Rustic Wedding at The Priest’s House – Katie & Joe

Sarah Symonds

If leafy botanicals and heaps of tumbling foliage is your vibe, you’re going to love today’s real wedding!

We’re heading to Barden in the stunning Yorkshire Dales for the nuptials of Katie and Joe, and then onto the village hall in Cracoe to celebrate our happy couple and party the night away.

We just can’t get over how absolutely beautiful the lovely Katie looks in her stunning, beaded Justin Alexander gown. And the white against the navy of the groomsmen’s suits and her bridesmaids’ dresses creates a beautiful, classic contrast. Paired with simple, rustic style bouquets of white flowers with lots of green foliage, it’s a match made in heaven (or Yorkshire).

Keeping things relaxed and informal was the order of the day and our couple have certainly nailed it. With a mix of lawn games, beer pong and an open bar, it’s no wonder that the guests are laughing and having the time of their lives in nearly every photograph! And, with it being a Friday wedding, everyone can let their hair down safe in the knowledge that they have their weekends ahead of them to recover! So, without further ado, let’s speak to bride Katie.

With photography by Photography34


Katie says

: We took a three-week holiday in December 2016, travelling around Myanmar and Vietnam, and Joe carried the ring around with him for almost the full three weeks without me noticing! He had made plans to propose at certain points; a beautiful sunrise in Bagan, or in HaLong Bay Vietnam, but each time the crowds scared him off (he knew I would have hated a crowd of witnesses!) So, he waited until Christmas Day, in our hotel room, before we went to spend the day sunbathing at our rooftop pool in Ho Chi Minh City.


We got married on Friday 27th July 2018. We liked the idea of a Friday wedding so that our guests had a long weekend. From our own experience, there’s nothing worse than travelling home on a Sunday feeling a bit ropey, with the thought of Monday morning to contend with! With a couple of members of our wedding party being teachers, we went for a Friday during the summer holidays.

I’m originally from Northern Ireland, and we knew we’d have a large group of family and friends travelling over, so we wanted a destination where our Irish contingent could make a mini holiday out of it. We settled on the Yorkshire Dales. We got married at The Priest’s House in Barden, which is just absolutely stunning and run by a great couple who made us feel really welcome and at ease. We then moved on to Cracoe Village Hall for the reception. One of our biggest priorities for the day was that it was a real ‘celebration’, a true party with a super relaxed feel, without the usual formalities that normally come with a wedding. We realised after visiting a couple of wedding venues, that the best way to achieve our vision was to opt for a truly DIY wedding, so all we needed from our venue was a blank canvas with some outdoor space, and Cracoe Village Hall fit the bill.


For us, the most important theme was to create a really relaxed and informal day; to throw a big party to celebrate our relationship (we’d been together almost ten years). We didn’t want it to be like every other wedding; we’re generally very relaxed and laid-back people, so we wanted our day to reflect that. We went for a rustic theme for our décor, with white flowers and lots of green foliage

We didn’t really have a colour theme as such – the rustic décor created a neutral/natural colour scheme, with the green foliage bringing it to life.


I wore a beaded gown by Justin Alexander, which I bought from Scarlet Poppy in Pudsey, Leeds. I tried on a LOT of dresses and really didn’t feel comfortable in any of them. Due to the relaxed and informal vibe we wanted from the wedding, I also didn’t really want a traditional or formal wedding dress either. As soon as we went to Scarlet Poppy and saw the dress, two of my bridesmaids pointed at it at the same time, so I couldn’t not try it on! When I brought my mum and sister back to see it and my mum started to get emotional, I knew it was the right dress for me!


Joe wore a navy Ted Baker suit from Slaters In Leeds. He and the groomsmen also wore ties with little whales on them – my maiden name was Wales, so we really liked that little quirky addition for the men. The groomsmen wore navy suits from Moss Bros, which matched really well with Joe’s Ted Baker suit.


My bridesmaids wore long navy dresses with lace panels from ASOS. I was really impressed with the quality and fit of these dresses. The bridesmaids were super comfortable, and I think they looked amazing on the day. The navy dresses, alongside my white dress and the white flowers, were a combination which looked fantastic.


The very talented sister duo Bow & Blush hair and makeup. My bridesmaid, who I was bridesmaid for, used them at her wedding so I knew how great they were at what they did. When it came to booking for my own wedding, it was a no brainer. They were one of the first things I booked – I knew how fast they get booked up!


My parents flew over from Northern Ireland and therefore needed to hire a car. There was a mix up with my dad’s booking and he ended up being given a lovely Mercedes, so we used that as the wedding car on the day! What are the chances of that mix up turning out so well?!


We used Tony at Photography34. Joe and Tony actually used to work together so are old friends, but it wasn’t just the connection that made us choose Tony. We really loved his style of photography, and we thought it really suited the theme we were aiming for, so it was a no brainer. We are so pleased with how the photos turned out and we would highly recommend Tony to anyone looking for a photographer. He’s a pleasure to have around on the day!


Due to our rustic theme, I wanted some whimsical, earthy style flowers so we went for really simple white flowers with lots of green foliage. A friend of a friend did the flowers for us, Lily Knight Flowers. We got loads of compliments, she did a great job.

Lily Knight also provided the flowers for both venues. As this was a true DIY wedding, I started to feel a bit overwhelmed with my to-do list about nine months out – so we decided to get a supplier to decorate the reception venue for us. We went for Rachel Chippendale at Simply Vintage Events. She had all the props that I wanted, and she was a real character – the perfect woman for the job.


We didn’t give out favours but we did put on an open bar for the entire day, which I think went down very well!


We both LOVE lemon cake. Therefore, our choice was easy; we went for lemon and elderflower cake made by Joe’s mum who makes amazing cakes!


Again, we didn’t want a formal sit-down, three-course meal, so we went searching for a caterer who could supply a menu which reflected the style of our day. We used Nomad Catering by James Brown. We had mezze sharing boards for starters, Mediterranean barbecue with delicious salads for the main course, and an ice cream tuk tuk to serve pudding. We then had a pizza van in the evening. The food was all amazing, we had many compliments from our guests! We provided the wines ourselves. We went for Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon, Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc and gallons of prosecco!


The entertainment was a priority for us. We wanted our guests to have fun, and we had a good few kids we had to keep entertained! We had lawn games outside on the grass which went down very well as it was a beautiful day outside. We had Cornhole and giant Jenga, which Joe made himself, and also Beer Pong and table tennis. Another big part of our entertainment was the music, which we kept as a secret from all of our guests. We knew we wanted an element of live music, but again didn’t want a typical wedding band. We stumbled across New York Brass Band on social media, and after some YouTube research, I had to have them! Our unsuspecting guests were taken by surprise when the band ‘crashed’ the wedding, which was probably the highlight of the day. We danced outside with the band until about 11pm, with every single one of our guests getting on their feet.

We used Bride & Groove for a DJ after the band left. Again, he was a friend of friends and we already knew he was great so it was another easy choice for us.

Thanks to

I was delighted with our choice of venue and would highly recommend The Priest’s House to another bride and groom. It was a great venue and the couple who run it are just brilliant. Joe actually managed to split his head open about 15 minutes before I was due to arrive, and Debbie, the owner, looked after him, allowing him to use her shower and get cleaned up quickly before I arrived. Luckily, I was running late! Cracoe Village Hall was the perfect reception venue for what we needed – a blank canvas with great space both inside and outside, not to mention the beautiful backdrop of The Yorkshire Dales.

Best bit

We were the last to arrive at the reception venue as we had been off getting our photos taken. When we arrived, seeing all of our friends and family outside on the lawn enjoying the sun and already having a great time – eating canapes, drinking champagne and playing lawn games (and some had started on the beer pong already!) was such a lovely sight. One that will stay with us for a long time.


We went to Split in Croatia for five days as a minimoon. We wanted a long honeymoon so needed to go back to work to save up the holidays for our proper honeymoon. We chose Sri Lanka for our main honeymoon in December and travelled around the country for three weeks. We absolutely loved it. The main event was probably when Joe broke his neck surfing on Christmas Day, but let’s not get into that – yes, he’s accident prone, and yes, he’s made a full recovery!


My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to design the wedding that YOU want, and don’t do anything just because you feel you have to, or because traditions or other people’s expectations make you feel like you should do it a certain way. It’s your wedding, so don’t be afraid for it to be a true reflection of yourselves.

Also, during the planning, I used Brides Up North for inspiration! As we had a strong idea in mind of the type of wedding we wanted, I used the website and blogs to try and figure out how to turn ideas into a reality. The online directory was super useful as I needed to find a number of suppliers myself.

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