Real Weddings

Heidi Hudson for a rustic wedding at Crayke Manor – Sam and Stuart

Alexis Forsyth

A Jacobean manor and barn near York is the sublime setting for today’s real wedding, showcasing a gorgeous outdoors ceremony with plenty of personal touches throughout.

Tying the knot back in May at Crayke Manor – Sam and Stuart craved a venue that would give them the freedom to make their day their own. And that’s certainly what they got!

Crafting many of the styling elements on their own after spending many a weekend hunting through fairs and antique markets for authentic props and reclaimed items, the couple combined candlesticks, festoon lights and special touches such as specially sewn napkins and their very own light up Wilsons sign with the most gorgeous blooms that were a whole year in the making! The bride even enlisted the help of her bridesmaids to forage for foliage on the morning of her nuptials to decorate hula-hoops! Now that’s squad goals if ever we saw them!

Other highlights we think you’ll adore as much as us include the bride’s elegant vintage Heidi Hudson gown and a tres sophisticated silver grey colour palette complimented by accents of brass.

With images by Jane Beadnell Photography


Sam says

:We got engaged in December 2017 on Christmas Eve. Having just come home from a weekend in the Cotswolds we were having a cosy night in with the fire lit, watching films. Stuart had hidden the ring on the Christmas tree and asked me to look at the new decoration. I was stunned! I loved how he had presented it in a little velvet ring box – it was so beautiful! Christmas will always remain an even more special time of the year for us both now.


We chose May 20th 2019 for our wedding day, not just because it’s a Bank Holiday but also because this marked nine years of us making it official. It’s also a lovely time of year – the flowers and all the leaves are blooming and we knew our venue would look amazing.

We got married at Crayke Manor in a small village called Easingwold near York. Stuart found the venue on Airbnb and we instantly knew we had to go explore. We always loved the Idea of having complete and utter freedom to create our day, our way.

Crayke Manor is a 16th century Jacobean Manor House with adjoining stables. Though it had its quirks, and many of them, we fell in love! Only a few weddings had actually happened there at that point so we really felt like we’d stumbled across a hidden gem!

Our plan was to have an outdoor ceremony on the lawns (weather permitting!) and then the reception in the barns afterwards.


Being from a creative background, I was so excited to plan the look and feel of our wedding. My office wall became a huge mood board, which I was constantly adding to. From the hand lettered fabric signs to hunting for beautiful props such as old brass candlesticks and Victorian stoneware, we loved spending our weekends at local salvage fairs and antique markets. So I guess you could day it had a rustic, relaxed vibe with a definite nod to times gone by!

Our colours were soft silver grey tones with accents of brass and reclaimed wood. I loved the idea of bringing the outside in. The barn’s exposed brick and galvanised metal really leant itself well to that look and feel.


I was keen to not spend a huge amount of money on my dress as this wasn’t high on our priority list. After trying on a number of dresses at traditional bridal shops, I quickly realised I wanted as little fuss as possible and I knew exactly what I liked so it was as simple as that!

I found my dress on Stillwhite and it’s by designer Heidi Hudson. I did work closely with an amazing seamstress who altered it, so it fitted perfectly. I added a bit of sparkle (at my mum’s request!) using a handmade sash from Magnificence Bridal on Etsy. I did want something a bit special on my feet, so opted for a Jimmy Choo!


Stuart wore a Hardy Amies navy jacket and chinos with a white shirt and a pale grey waistcoat which matched his pale blue bow tie from The Belfast Bowtie Company.

He wore classic tan brogues from Loake.

The groomsmen more navy trousers and white shirts, with pale grey waistcoats from Moss Bros. They also wore pale blue corduroy bow ties from an independent seller on Etsy called The Belfast Bowtie Company. These were given to the boys in the morning and made a lovely gift.


My six bridesmaids wore three different styles of ASOS bridal dresses – this worked really well as I has two in each style.


I am very fortunate that my sister is a hairdresser so she did my hair and the bridesmaids’ too. We all went for teased out, messy up do’s. I spent my evenings in the lead up to our big day handcrafting hair pins and combs using wire and beads and gave them as gifts on the morning of the wedding. I really enjoyed adding these personal touches, and the girls loved them too!


Jane Beadnell captured our day. We both felt so at ease with her from the very beginning. Her style is beautifully light and airy and she caught those gorgeous moments you just wish you could re-live over and over! She has a clear love for the detail in everything, she really caught how much fun both we were all having without anyone evening noticing! Jane is so down to earth and lovely, and I 100% would recommend her to other couples planning their big day.


We were really keen to have a videographer but our budget was tight! So we entrusted this with a lovely young student called Lauren who runs Luna Studios, who came recommended through a friend. We knew from our first meeting that she was going to produce something special, and wow she really did! We shed happy tears and the goose pimples took over as we watched it, just magic! I definitely would recommend giving younger talent and budding creatives a platform to show what they can do.


Elizabeth, a local grower in Harrogate called Flowers from the Garden provided seasonal cut flowers for us. We found her using hashtags on instagram. We visited her beautiful garden a year before to see what would be available the following year. This was one of my favourite parts of the planning, walking around her gorgeous garden in the sunshine as she picked flowers and chatted about possible combinations.

We chose a mixture of anemone, soft pink and peach ranunculus, peonies, and lots of white esperis to name a few! We ordered some non-seasonal flowers too, as I really love David Austins and eucalyptus.

We had a huge help from a lovely florist named Flowers by Fiona to arrange our flowers. I really wanted to have some involvement in the arranging and helped Fiona with the table arrangements then left her to work her magic on the bouquets!

The day before the wedding the bridesmaids and me went and foraged for foliage and decorated some hula-hoops I’d purchased and painted prior. I wasn’t sure how my squad would feel about this as they are by no means green fingered, but they were happy to get stuck in and it was so fun, they were all so proud of their makes!

We had lots of rustic pots scattered around with succulents and I did a mad dash to our garden centre the day before to buy bamboo trees and dypsis to dot around the stables, bringing the outside in.

Wedding Venue Lighting supplied all the festoon lights, the dance floor and disco ball. Matt was so patient and happy to help create the right vibe!


We ordered a lot of our cakes from M&S including our main cake and trimmed with off cuts of eucalyptus and some of the left over flowers. It was very make shift but we actually got compliments on how good it looked. I designed a laser cut cake topper in the same font as our stationery, which looked so pretty!


We used The Outside Kitchen for our food who we met at the Brides Up North Wedfest at Stockeld Park. Daniel and his team were incredible and no request was ever met with anything other than positivity and excitement. I wouldn’t say we were the most decisive couple when it came to the food part but Daniel was more than happy to go with the flow and we only really firmed up our choices a few weeks before when we went for a tasting evening at his cosy tasting hub in Bradford.

We had a selection of canapés during the drinks reception followed later by sharing platters of grilled meats and different colourful salads and rice, hummus and home made breads. We loved the idea of relaxed social dining, much like how we would eat with friends at home. It worked really well and we got so many compliments on the food and the way it was presented.

In the evening we transformed our dessert table into a grazing table of typical Yorkshire fodder sourced from a local butcher in Harrogate, which went down a treat too!

Our bar was supplied by Yorkshire Bartender who kept all our guests happy with his gorgeous selection of cocktails. We chose to use 1/4 of his circular bar which worked so well in the corner of the stables. Stuart picked his favourite ale and larger, Leeds Pale and Moretti which was a nice touch to be able to choose a local ale. Yorkshire Bartenders’ glassware is second to none which seems like a minor detail but I was so happy that the Prosecco came in the most beautiful coupe style glasses and the cocktails in pretty cut glass tumblers. All their drinks looked and tasted stunning and the barmen were great company to have on our day.


Acoustic singer Katie Dean performed during our ceremony and drinks reception. I found Katie busking whist I was shopping in Leeds and I knew at that moment she had to come sing for us. I came down the aisle to Friday I’m in Love by The Cure which she sang so beautifully.

We then had six-piece band Func on the Rocks in the evening who kept everyone up dancing all night. Wow they like a party! When it came to music choices we had it covered, spending car trips and our nights in the kitchen cooking carefully picking our ultimate wedding playlist and they were a hit with our guests! Fortunately Func on the Rocks already knew a lot of them and they put on a great performance. They learned our favourite song by Raphael Saadiq called Just One Kiss which was our first dance – It was just as amazing as we imagined!

Special touches

Our weekends in the lead up to the wedding were spent hunting down props, making reclaimed wooden items such as ‘The Wilsons’ light up sign, sewing napkins from table cloths (that was a step too far!) and hand lettering fabric signs. I designed and illustrated all our stationery, which is what I do day to day, so I was in my element! We wanted to put our personality into every part of our day and I can honestly say I loved every minute. I would do it all again tomorrow!

Thanks to

I would definitely recommend Crayke Manor to other brides. I do believe this venue will become a little more heard of now due to its recent year of awesome weddings.

Having chosen not to use a wedding coordinator, it was a real team effort to pull off what was an absolutely brilliant day.

Our wedding was by no means a polished article – it was imperfectly perfect! And I feel we have proved that if you use your initiative and bring some creativity you do not need to spend the earth on making your dream day.

Best bit

There are so many special moments to pick from. I loved every bit of the lead up, all our friends being involved in the setting up and the pure joy of seeing all our nearest and dearest doing the conga around the barn was just the best!

It really felt like we had put on the celebration we’d always talked about having for our wedding. I remember looking at Stu and just feeling pure elation – we’d had the day we always wanted and we did it together with everyone we love and that was a brilliant feeling.


A couple of days after the wedding, after packing everything down (let me tell you what a bump that was!) we went back to one of our favourite places in Croatia, Rovinj. We stayed at The Grand Park Hotel which had only just opened and it was absolute bliss!


Our tips for other brides and grooms would be, just to really work out what is important to you both and do that. Don’t be led by anyone else, it’s your day and you don’t have follow the trends if you don’t want to.

Make your own magic, add those special touches that encompass you both – those are the things that spark joy and really give your day its personality. Enjoy every moment of your planning, don’t argue over the silly things or rush into decisions – wait a couple of days, I’m sure he’ll change his mind!

I was always looking on Brides up North’s Instagram and blog for inspiration for our wedding. If we hadn’t visited Wedfest we wouldn’t have met our amazing caterer; it’s such a great platform for the best of the best, up north!

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