Real Weddings

REAL WEDDING RECAP 2019: A romantic luxe wedding at Wharfedale Grange – Sarah & Luke

Sarah Symonds

It’s holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a short break, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely. Usual service will recommence on Monday 6th January 2020 (only one more sleep!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of some of our favourite Real Weddings from the latter half of 2019. 

Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your real wedding was one of our top picks.

We’re bringing you the lowdown on Sarah and Luke’s big day at one of Yorkshire’s newest and most stunning venues, Wharfedale Grange, near Harrogate.

We’re starting at the beautiful St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds, as is tradition in the bride’s family. Sarah’s following in a lot of her relatives’ footsteps here, making walking down the long cathedral aisle even more special. Then it’s over to the breath-taking Wharfedale Grange to celebrate with the newlyweds and their nearest and dearest! Which was quite the leap of faith considering they booked it while it was still a building site.

Well, it’s a gamble that most-certainly paid off as we think everything looked unbelievably pretty. Sarah and Luke have really gone all out, with classy black tie for the dashing groom and his men, and a romantic pearlescent pink colour scheme set off by the arrangements of classic roses and peonies. But they’ve also been careful not to go overboard, to really let the design of beautiful venue shine. This is modern, luxury barn chic at its very best.

With images by Joel Skingle


Sarah says

: Luke booked a relaxing weekend away in Windermere, telling me to just bring walking attire. On the way, he asked me to pull over for lunch, as there was a great spot at the top of a hill. At the top, with beautiful views of Orrest Head, over the lake and the surrounding hills, he told me to get in a photo, asking a passing tourist to take a photo of us both. Suddenly, Luke was on one knee and holding a Tiffany box in his hand!

After a few tears and phone calls to family, I suggested we go for a special dinner. Little did I know he’d booked the Gilpin Lakehouse hotel for the weekend! I was wined and dined, and we were treated like the only people to have ever been engaged. He booked us a table at the Michelin star restaurant and had even packed a separate suitcase without me knowing, containing outfit choices, shoe options and even false lashes!


The wedding date was the 22nd of June 2019, the day after the summer solstice, which it just felt right. We absolutely love the sunshine and always wanted to get married in the summer.

We got married at St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds. My mum, grandma and aunts have all been married there and it’s where was baptised. It’s just stunning and I secretly always wanted to walk down the long aisle.

We held our reception at Wharfedale Grange, Harewood, which we chose before it had been built! After viewing locations around Yorkshire, we visited Wharfedale and were greeted by Claire, the owner. After showing us the plans, mood boards and artist’s impressions, she took us around the site in hard hats and explained her vision. We absolutely fell in love with it – I was unable to contain my excitement. We wanted our wedding to be special and this venue would take it to the next level. Claire had thought of everything, from the beautiful chandeliers and crittall glass doors, to the finer details like a more spacious ladies toilet to make life easier for the bride and her entourage!


This one was quite easy for us! We really liked the idea of quite a modern, slick, party atmosphere. We always wanted black tie for the groomsmen. It’s chic, sexy and looks really timeless. We worked out our style by following the venue on Instagram and using the venue as a canvas. At Wharfedale you don’t need to add much to make your wedding the dream.

The decor at Wharfedale worked really well with the black tie, and pearlescent pink actually matched the glassware and pink details dotted around the venue! We felt that black and pink were a really cool colour combo and suited the style of wedding we wanted.


I tried seven dresses, in all different shapes and styles. But, when I tried on ‘the one’ I just knew this was it, I felt like a princess and the vision I had fell into place. I could picture myself walking down the aisle in it. The dress was a full-length duchess satin gown with a defined waistline, strapless sweetheart neckline and an elegant dipped back.

I added a stunning overskirt which matched the lace applique detail of my veil, and had a belt attached for more bling. To finish the look, I wore a heavy diamante tiara. Luke bought me a Tiffany pearl necklace, as a wedding gift! We also both bought each other a bottle of our favourite fragrances as well.


Luke wore a custom-tailored tuxedo from Michelsberg Tailoring. He had visited a number of suit makers and shops before finding Michelsberg. The attention to detail and service, coupled with a friendly attitude, puts you at ease from the very beginning. Luke’s dad was so impressed that he had one made too! Luke also wore patent leather Loakes, a Hugo Boss bow tie and braces from Turnbull & Asser. As a wedding gift I bought Luke some Deakin and Francis bumble bee cufflinks.

The groomsmen all hired black tuxedos from Moss Bros and wore red socks from Falke to match Luke’s.


My mum was clearing out a spare room and managed to accidentally throw a cardboard box containing all of the original bridesmaid dresses onto a bonfire at home! Then, when we tried to replace them, those dresses were no longer available!

However, we found a local designer who handmade our new bridesmaid dresses! This was amazing; the girls felt very special and the dresses were perfect!


Makeup artists Ashleigh Behan and Savannah Roqaa were unbelievable. From coming to the house for the trial with all the bridesmaids, to being a big part of the morning of the wedding, everything they did was flawless! Everyone felt a million dollars!


I travelled with my mum in an ivory and black Bentley MK1V supplied by the amazing Dovecoat Wedding Cars. Simon was a pleasure to work with during the whole process and even stopped off to get me a drink as I was early to the cathedral!


Joel Skingle was an absolute dream from day one. We’d looked at a number of different photographers and there was something about Joel’s work that we just loved. I met him at a wedding fair in Yorkshire and clicked with him from the start. We had an absolute riot with him, and his colleague Craig, and he made us feel so comfortable and happy. Whilst the quality of his work was obviously paramount, it was his attitude and personality we loved. I think having someone that you can really have a laugh with makes, not just your photos, but your day as a whole, that much more special. Our friends have now booked him for their wedding!


Leafy Couture were an absolute delight to work with from the moment we made the first phone call.  Luke was surprisingly keen to be involved in making the decision on flowers. I had a stunning trailing bouquet in white with touches of pink, Peonies, Sweet Peas, white Roses and seasonal foliage. It smelled divine and looked even better than I had hoped for.

As mentioned before, Wharfedale is the sort of venue that actually doesn’t need too much in the way of decorations, but Leafy Couture worked wonders. They provided a huge urn with beautiful floral arrangements and decorated the wedding breakfast room with a collection of vases containing a gorgeous selection of flowers. They even provided decorations for the big barbecue the following day at Luke’s dad’s house. Leafy Couture hung streamers from trees and created a beautiful wreath for the entrance.


We chose a double chocolate truffle ganache cake in three tiers: a marbled tier, a sequin tier and a drip effect top! Patisserie Viennoise provided the cake. We had visited their shop in Otley a number of times in the past and knew they would create exactly what we wanted. We still have friends talking about how it was the best tasting cake they have ever had, which makes us so happy as we wanted a cake everyone loved actually eating.


We used Friends for Dinner and WOW, this was an experience! We had two tastings – it really was that amazing! Katrina and the team were fantastic from day one, asking for our favourite restaurants and favourite things to eat and then working together with us to create the menu.

With their help, we were able to offer our guests a selection of canapes including Manchurian cauliflower, salt and pepper belly pork, grilled halloumi with pesto, honey and mustard sausages, filo prawns with sweet chilli dip.

For the wedding breakfast we served an antipasti starter followed by belly pork, scotch egg with scratching crumb, marinated pork fillet, sausage lollipop with pancetta, black pudding and savoury apple crumble, sage and onion roast potatoes, roasted roots, café au lait sauce. We then had an assiette of desserts which were a salted caramel chocolate brownie and lemon posset served with a chocolate soil and honeycomb ice cream.


We used Jonny Ross and had live sax and then a DJ, for after dinner, out in the garden terrace, overlooking the beautiful fields at Wharfedale. We thought it would give a really cool Ibiza, summer party vibe! We wanted everyone to get into the spirit and with guests travelling from overseas, we really wanted to show them that people in Yorkshire know how to party!

We then had a band called Something For The Weekend, also from Jonny Ross. We went through the various bands on Jonny’s website and there was something about these guys that just clicked. They sounded phenomenal and their song choices were just so us. The dancefloor was never empty, they were such entertainers!

Special touches

We provided an outdoor gin bar in the evening, while the saxophonist and DJ played. We chose each bottle of gin and the accompaniments with Claire at Wharfedale, and it went down a treat! We still have all the bottles and one in particular, the Hendricks Midsummer Solstice, seemed very apt considering the date we chose for our wedding.

Photobomb provided an amazing photo booth. It was an absolute delight to flick through the guestbook and cry with laughter at all the outfits and silly faces. Yet again another supplier I couldn’t recommend highly enough!

Thanks to

Wharfedale Grange! Having looked at many other venues in both Yorkshire and Cumbria, this is the one. From the stunning décor and location, to the impeccable service and help provided by Claire and her staff. We felt so special from the start and can’t think of a single thing we would do differently. Flawless.

Best bit

When everyone was called for dinner, Joel Skingle got us a drink from the bar and we just had fun taking photos and really taking in what was happening! It was very special, that brief moment together to take it all in. I would do anything to relive that moment.


We flew to Santorini four days after the wedding. It was so nice to have a couple of days to see friends and family, talk about the wedding and really soak it all in before we went away. Some of our friends went away straight after their weddings and felt like they were halfway through the honeymoon before it really sinks in and you can feel like it’s happened so quickly! Drag it out while you can!

We stayed at the beautiful Anastasis apartments in Imerovigli, the highest point on the island. The hotel was absolutely stunning, with an infinity pool overlooking the Caldera, and the staff were second to none, giving us surprises throughout our whole time there, offering restaurant and bar recommendations and even teaching us some Greek phrases! We will 100% go back. The Iiland itself was incredible, romantic and beautiful, and the food, people and wine made it the perfect honeymoon destination.


My top tip for other Brides Up North would be to enjoy the madness and remember the day is all about you two! Don’t get lost in worrying about how to please every single person because there will always be people that would do things differently. It’s about what you like and what you think is fun. Everyone else will be having the greatest time anyway!

I would also recommend starting the planning ASAP to make things less stressful the closer you get to the day. We managed to get everything done and dusted so that we could sit back a week or two before the day and just relax and get excited.

One last tip would be to call around all your suppliers a week or two before the day to check everything is on track. I did this (despite Luke saying I was worrying too much) to find that our wedding bus company had gone into administration. J&B Travel came to our rescue and made sure we had a lovely silver doubledecker there to deliver all of our guests to the venue in style.

In the build up to the big day, we used the Brides Up North site a lot for inspiration and ideas, whether it was colours, room décor or little tips and suggestions. It was great to get ideas and really helped me envisage how I wanted the day to look/feel. The examples and stories of real weddings were great for when I got nervous; the real couples really helped me relax and gave me tips on what helped them plan their big day. We found the BUN website really easy to use and a huge shout out to all the staff representing you at the wedding fairs, who’ve been nothing but helpful and friendly despite, I’m sure, a non-stop stream of excited brides and grooms asking the same questions and with the same worries! I may just keep coming to your events for the people and happy vibes (and cake tastings!).

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