Real Weddings

Lilac & Lace for a Summer Garden Wedding at Middleton Lodge – Natasha & John

Julia Smith

Delivering sunshine and happy vibes in abundance today is the gorgeous real wedding of Natasha and John.

Putting their faith in a new venue development at North Yorkshire estate Middleton Lodge, certainly paid off for the couple when the end result of its Fig House and walled kitchen gardens turned out to be even more incredible than they imagined.

With the weather gods firmly on their side, Natasha and John were able to make full use of the gardens by exchanging their vows outdoors in the stunning August sunshine before enjoying their wedding breakfast and evening reception indoors, within the dreamy Fig House setting.

Filling their day with thoughtful touches and special contributions from their friends and family, resulted in both a personal and pretty big day with pops of soft lilac present throughout.

With images by Chris Milner Photography


Natasha says: We got engaged on Saturday 9th December 2017. John booked a relaxing top-secret weekend away at our favourite cottages at Loch Tay (with hot tub).

We got there late on Friday and relaxed. On Saturday we spent the day wondering around Pitlochry, had a delicious lunch and coffee at a café, went to the spa and generally explored around the area. Then we went back to the cottage as it was getting dark. John wanted to make it back before sunset as he loves taking photos.

So, we went for a stroll from the cottage down to the loch side. It was a lovely spot we had been to before. John got out his camera and just managed to get some photos before it got dark. I was helping him put away the tripod and next thing I know he’s down on one knee saying: “Natasha will you marry me?” which the obvious reply was “yes!” The ring was beautiful with tanzanite and diamond and there began a purple theme for the wedding.


We set the date for 31st August 2018, as we wanted to get married within the year and during the summer.

When we found our venue – the Fig House and kitchen gardens at Middleton Lodge, North Yorkshire – it was still being built but getting booked up already… luckily they still had some dates remaining.

We had both our ceremony and reception at the Fig House within the kitchen gardens. The sun was shining with clear blue skies for us and we were able to get married outside in the gardens, which are absolutely stunning.

We chose the venue as it was just perfect for us – slightly rustic, bright open spaces, delightful outdoors. No faffing with changing locations for our guests either.

When the build was complete, it was so much nicer than we ever thought it would be. At the point we booked, it was pretty much just mud outside and still being cemented inside! Middleton Lodge really had pulled out all the stops with the venue, we couldn’t have asked for more.


There wasn’t really a set style as such to the wedding – the venue was so beautiful that we didn’t really need to do too much to it.

Colour wise we went with lilac as it’s my favourite colour and also the colour of my engagement ring.


The dress is a bit of a story in itself… as I bought dress number two less than 48 hours before the wedding.

My first dress I bought back in May from Wed2B. It needed slight alterations so took it to alteration place number one and went back to collect it a week later. Alterations had been made but it just didn’t sit right. The seamstress didn’t have much to add or any suggestions, so I took it away. I then went to alteration location number two. This is where it all went wrong. I put it on and showed what I thought needed doing. When I went back to collect, they had altered it too much the other way – i.e. made it too small. After trying it on, a rash formed around my neck from where the dress rubbed and it cut into the backs of my arms. Oh, and to add… it was too short.

My sister (Frances) knew an alterations place close to home. So I took it there (the Monday before the wedding). His words were “there’s nothing I can do” then “leave it with me collect on Wednesday at 2pm”. I went back to collect expecting magic had happened but it hadn’t even been touched since leaving it there.

Our wedding was on the Friday and it was Wednesday afternoon. So, my sister and I drove to Leeds to pick up the same dress from Wed2B. We got there 20 minutes before the shop closed and it was ginormous. I turned to the shop assistant and asked for a dress size ten, adding: “My wedding is on Friday”.

I put the dress on, and it honestly fit like an absolute dream even with my shoes. My sister rang my mum and it was a yes. It was so much better than the first one (thank goodness!). The second dress was then bought five minutes before closing time.


John wore a checked suit from Slaters, and his shoes were the ‘fancy’ piece from Barker. Both our dads and the five groomsmen all wore the same suit as John.


My six bridesmaids wore lilac lace, halter-neck, maxi dresses from Little Mistress.


We all did our own makeup, though I’d had a trial at Bobbi Brown and had bought a few new bits. Our hair was done at Saks at Scotch Corner.


Chris Milner photographed our day, and we couldn’t have asked for better! He fitted in perfectly and guests even thought he was a family member.

He captured our day just perfectly. He was relaxed and people didn’t really notice he was taking photos, which is exactly what we wanted. We would more than 100% recommend him.


Jean Tock at Elise Flowers, North Yorkshire, created the bouquets, which were made up of Lisianthus, Scabious, Veronica, Astrantia, Rose and Thistle. My bouquet was darker purple while the bridesmaids’ were lighter.

For the tables my nana, Cynthia, and mum, Doni, helped to make up all the vases with shop bought flowers and some from nana’s garden. The water in the vases was made purple by food colouring.

I hand painted all the wedding Invitations, table names and name plates while both John and I painted the wedding signs. We also added photos into the archways in the garden for people to find and explore.

John designed the table setting himself, just like an engineer would. It was very detailed, even down to the cutlery settings.


John made his own chocolate brownies, including some gluten free ones. His dad, Richard, helped to wrap them all up and we had little stickers made as a thank you to our guests.


John’s brother and his (now) fiancé Emma made our wedding cake. It was white with a marbled purple effect icing and absolutely delicious. We had three different flavours: chocolate, lemon and elderflower, and carrot.


The catering was supplied by the venue. We chose duck egg and chorizo to start, slow roast beef cheek and sirloin for the main followed by vanilla panna cotta with blackberry and shortbread for the dessert. Except John has a thing for brownies, so he had chocolate brownie instead.

The wine on the table was provided the venue, and they also provided a selection of beers that we got to choose from some of our favourite local breweries.

We chose and supplied the prosecco ourselves following an evening of tasting at our local Majestic Wines.


We couldn’t pick a band and so decided on a DJ instead – The Ultimate Wedding DJ – this way we could add all our own favourite songs to the playlist.


We had a barn owl, called Bilbo, deliver our ring to us at the ceremony and he stayed around for longer for photos with guests. We wanted our guests to have an experience and the owl made the list after meeting him at a wedding fair. The company was called Barn Owl Ring Bearer.

My mum hand-made a beaded hairpiece to complete my attire (which was to actually match dress number one, though I still wore it). My dad meanwhile hand-made my white gold wedding ring.


We would highly recommend Middleton Lodge to other couples as it’s absolutely stunning! The garden is what makes the venue. The food was also outstanding. The team and our wedding planner, Anna, were also amazing and couldn’t do enough to help and ensure it all went to plan.


For me, it has to be walking down the aisle and getting to see John. I was so excited and so happy that the weather was so perfect.

John says that his favourite bit was when came into view at the far end of the aisle, as he couldn’t wait to see what I looked like after the dress fiasco in the days leading up to the wedding.


We went for a week’s break after the wedding to Montenegro, purely for R&R. We have planned an ‘adventure moon’ for our one-year anniversary to Peru and Brazil as we want to head into the Rainforest.


Don’t over complicate things. With the stress of the dress the week before, we lost a lot of time to do some of the things we were planning on doing. In hindsight they weren’t really needed at all (thankfully).

Also, delegate – friends helped a great deal. A special thanks to Jayne who made our buttonholes the day before.

this is a sponsored post

Contact Loved Up North for details of our sponsorship packages and feature opportunities.

Contact us to be featured on Loved Up North