Real Weddings

Maggie Sottero for a Valentine’s Day Wedding at Middleton Lodge – Catherine & Simon

Sarah Symonds

Dusky pink and rosé Champagne celebrations as Catherine and Simon tie the knot on Valentine’s Day at the ever-perfect and understated Middleton Lodge.

Our couple have kept things simple to let the venue do what it does best and, though pared back, the styling remains on the right side of delicate and tasteful, accentuating and emphasising Middleton’s charms rather than drowning them out. The deep plummy purples included in the floral arrangements feel seasonal and on-trend, and whenever Where The Ribbon Ends are involved, you know the dessert table spread is going to be good!

We’re head over heels for the sheer ethereal beauty and simplicity of Catherine’s chiffon Maggie Sottero Maren gown, starkly contrasted against the Middleton Lodge walled garden in winter.

If simple, classy and elegant with a hint of rustic winter garden is your jam, then read on for some real swoon-worthy inspo.

With photography by Ruth Mitchell Photography


Catherine says: We got engaged on 12th May 2019. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon walk in the countryside at Lordstones Country Park. As part of the Cleveland Way walk, it has breathtaking views of the surrounding North Yorkshire Moors. Looking back, I could tell Simon was being quieter than usual and he didn’t want to bring our dog Ella along! We walked a fair distance including many uphill steps to find a quiet spot away from Cleveland Way trekkers and to admire the view. After a few minutes I said, “right, are we going back then?”, turning to walk away from Simon at the very moment he was down on one knee. He had to shout back after me and I came running back into his arms. It was an immediate “yes”!


The Fig House on the Middleton Lodge Estate was a wonderfully romantic setting for a Valentine’s Day wedding. The floor to ceiling windows across the walled garden add a warm lighting and fantastic ambience whatever the weather. The wedding venue was perfect for our guestlist, with the ceremony and reception taking place onsite.

The walled garden surrounding The Fig House looked glorious during our initial summer viewing, with all of the flowers in full bloom. However, we didn’t want to wait a whole year for the big day and had fingers crossed for a winter wedding date. Luckily Friday 14th February was still available – an anniversary date to remember! I also love sparkler photos and one of the perks of a winter wedding is being able to capture that sparkler exit image once the sun has set.


After booking the venue, I started to compile favourite images from wedding blogs and social media searches. Rather than a traditional Valentine’s wedding featuring deep red or hot pink colours, I opted for a romantic blend of dusky pink and deep purple tones. This flowed through to the flowers, bridesmaids’ dresses, wedding stationery and sweet treats.


The bridal gown was called Maren by Maggie Sottero. The skirt fabric was beautifully soft featherlight chiffon, which felt effortless to dance in. I tried on a range of styles and fabrics at Harrogate Wedding Lounge and this relaxed glamour look was just right. The illusion halter neckline wasn’t too revealing and is a great style for a pear-shaped body. I loved the Swarovski crystal adorned bodice for that extra sparkle.

The bridal gown was coordinated with chosen accessories. Detail from the embellished bodice was included in hair pins from The Bobby Pin and leaf-like crystal drop earrings from Lace and Favour. I picked some modern block heels from Rainbow Club with ivory shimmer heart detail – another nod to Valentine’s Day.

Not knowing what the February weather would hold, I purchased a Jenny Packham ivory Marabou feather shrug. This was a last-minute decision, arriving just a few days before the wedding. I was thrilled with the overall look, adding a touch of soft, feathery luxury to my wedding outfit.


The groom and groomsmen hired Cameron Ross tailcoat suits from Victoria Robson Bridal. The suits were in dark navy with herringbone pattern grey waistcoats. Simon chose a tie and pocket square to match the bridal gown, whilst the other groomsmen had an exact colour match for the bridesmaids dresses.


The three bridesmaids wore flowing Dessy dresses also from Victoria Robson. With so many colours to choose from in the Dessy collection I was able to pick ‘English Rose’ to tie in with the colour scheme. The muted pink-purple tone worked beautifully with the bridesmaid’s complexions during the winter season.


Kate Howard (KH Makeup Artistry) did the hair and makeup of the bridal party. Kate specialises in natural, radiant beauty. We had a trial around a month before the wedding to ensure the style was perfected. After selecting a relaxed tousled up-do from an Instagram search, I was thrilled when Kate got this spot on.

Getting ready with the bridesmaids was a major part of the wedding day, and Kate stayed with us from 8am until the start of the ceremony to care for any last-minute touch ups – she was fantastic.


I stayed in one of the Middleton Lodge dairy rooms with my mum the night before and enjoyed a seasonal tasting menu at the Forge restaurant. I would recommend getting ready at the venue itself as the team at Middleton made everything stress-free.

The bridal team were driven by a porter in a Land Rover from the dairy room to the bridal suite, about an hour before the ceremony. This ended up being a fun little tour of the Estate to avoid early guests arriving and spotting us too early.


I picked Ruth Mitchell as a photographer from a friend’s recommendation. We met Ruth the summer before the wedding and she instantly recognised Simon having been best man at our friend’s wedding two years prior. In advance of our wedding, I sent a short questionnaire back to Ruth outlining what shots we’d like taken, and nothing was too much trouble on the day. She arrived promptly and blended into the background during the final stages of getting ready. Despite the on-off light rain we managed to get lots of outdoor couple shots in the walled garden. We even got a fantastic ‘love’ letters sparkler shot in the evening.


I loved my trailing bouquet which was a mix of eucalyptus foliage, tulips, roses, hellebores and blue thistle. Hutton Flowers, Northallerton provided the stunning bridal party bouquets, buttonholes and corsages.

Hutton Flowers also created displays at the front of the ceremony room and lined tables in the Fig House, which was a mass of colour. We provided fairy lights to decorate beams and hand-lettered signage was hired from Pear Tree Lane. Amanda Michelle Design and Stationery provided menus and printed readings for the ceremony, using the same design from guest invitations.

To make the most of time with guests, we kept the focus of the day pared back to good food, drink and music and didn’t opt for lots of additional entertainment or props.


Mini bottles of Damson Vodka were produced by the mother of the groom. I wrote name tags on each one and they doubled as place-cards for guests. The bride and groom favours will be kept as a shot for our first wedding anniversary!


Where The Ribbon Ends produced a delicious three-tiered sponge cake covered in buttercream, edible foil effect, and decorated with garlands from Hutton Flowers. We chose ‘millionaires’ (chocolate and salted caramel), lemon and blueberry and everyone’s favourite, white chocolate and raspberry. Alongside the cake were trinket boxes filled with macaroons and ice cream shaped cake pops, these were beautifully decorated to match the colour scheme.


Food and drink were selected from a stunning Middleton Lodge menu, inspired by the Yorkshire Countryside and including Beef Sirloin – a must for us since Simon is a Beef Cattle Farmer. The dessert was to die for! A luxurious Chocolate Delice with popcorn ice cream.

For the evening guests we had a full hog roast with all the trimmings.


We met the musician Glen Roughead at a Brides Up North wedding fair held at Grantley Hall in September 2019. At the time we had already booked our evening entertainment and hadn’t considered a singer for the ceremony and reception drinks until we heard Glen. He’s fantastic, had a great repertoire and was praised by many of our guests during the reception.

Electric Idols played for our evening entertainment, offering high energy rock, pop, indie and a little bit of everything else. We didn’t want any of the usual cheesy stuff and it took awhile to find a band with decent vocals to keep everyone on the dancefloor.

After finding Brides Up North when searching for inspiration on social media, I then registered for a couple of wedding fairs. These were useful even after I had selected a few suppliers and I found entertainment I didn’t know I needed, such as Glen Roughead! I loved reading the real weddings features in UNVEILED magazine for some pearls of wisdom from other brides.

Thanks to

The events team at Middleton Lodge are extremely professional and were a brilliant support every step of the way. From a call shortly after booking to initialise timings for the day, to advising on seating plans and menu options, to brushing confetti from my veil ready for photos after the ceremony itself.

Best bit

There were so many highlights to my day, including getting ready with the bridal party. However, my favourite moments include those with my new husband, spending time in the tranquil walled garden for photos. I loved the first minute of our first dance song to Lonestar’s Amazed.


We travelled to Thailand on honeymoon a couple of days after the wedding. Thailand in February is one of the best weather-wise. We started our adventure in the Northern capital of Chiang Mai for some culture and visited Doi Inthanon National Park. After a few days we were ready for some relaxation and flew South to laid-back Koh Lanta. The highlight of the honeymoon was exploring this island on a moped and stopping off at secluded beauty spots as we fancied. It was a super cheap and fun way to explore.

The last destination of our Thailand adventure was the luxurious Slate Hotel Resort in Phuket, offering a wealth of onsite activities and exquisite dining next to pristine coral sands. We enjoyed a tour of Tree Tops Elephant Reserve and an early morning kayaking tour around Phang Nga bay, stopping at James Bond Island just after sunrise.


My advice would be to allow plenty of time for getting ready with the bridal party, we were amazed how quickly the time soon goes.

If you’re lucky enough to have a wedding coordinator like we did at Middleton Lodge, let them take care of any queries you may have. They’ll have heard it all before and have lots of advice. You shouldn’t need to worry about a thing the day before or on the day itself. Don’t try to fit too much into the day, we had a pretty relaxed schedule and think that if you have great food, drink and music the guests will surely be enjoying themselves.

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