Real Weddings

Stella York for an Intimate Wedding at The Old Deanery – Emma & John

Sarah Symonds

When pretty spring florals and fine tattoo artistry combine to create the perfect mix of traditional and cool. We’re crushing hard on Emma and John’s relaxed and intimate wedding at The Old Deanery in Ripon.

UNVEILED Network florist Emma – of Emma Cox Floristry – made sure that her wedding was rich with seasonal spring blooms. We’re seeing heaps of gorgeous lilac, ranunculus, sweet peas, and forget-me-nots in beautiful, muted tones to fit with both the 17th Century venue and their love of antiques, and keep the styling simple.

We love the idea of just having a smaller celebration (especially in the current climate) and having everyone around one big table, like the best dinner party you’ve ever been at. Lots of creativity, cosy candlelight, friendly chatter and good times.

With photography by Crayden Wedding Photography


Emma says: John proposed to me in Bruges, on the 10th of December 2017. We had gone away with family and Bruges was absolutely covered in snow. We had been two years before, in August, and fell in love with the place. So, on a walk in the snow, we got to our favourite bridge. I was taking photographs from every angle and John called my name. I turned around and he was on one knee in the snow with a beautiful ring in his hand, asking if I’d be his wife. I thought it was a joke at first!


Our wedding date was the 27th of April 2019. It was always going to be either a spring or autumn wedding as they’re our favourite seasons. We decided on a spring wedding so we could have memories of trees full of blossom and I could use lilac from the tree in our garden.

We got married at The Old Deanery in Ripon. Although we live in South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire is beautiful and we would love to move there one day. We love beautiful old architecture and nature. For us The Old Deanery was the perfect combination. It was built in the 17th century and has stunning gardens. It’s also opposite the Cathedral which had the most amazing cherry blossom trees in the grounds.


Our theme was a combination of our passions; antiques and flowers. I used to source French antiques so we wanted to enhance the style of the venue using antique French urns for flower arrangements and handmade paper with gold wax seals for our invitations and menus.

We wanted muted spring colours to match the season, dusty pinks, lilacs and greens. The muted tones would work with the antique feel with our venue and styling.


I chose the laciest dress I could find. I absolutely love old French lace so knew I wanted lace and I’d originally wanted full sleeves and a high collar. But I tried on an off-the-shoulder dress with sleeves in one boutique and it just felt right, although it wasn’t lacy enough. Then I found ‘the one’ by Stella York. It was the perfect combination of vintage, lace and fit. I bought it from Celebrations in West Yorkshire.


My partner is 6ft 7 so finding his outfit was trickier than mine. He knew he wanted a black suit as he always wears black and he wanted to feel himself. He was also looking for a shirt with a high collar, with three buttons on the neck, to go with the vintage style. He loves brown tweed so found a beautiful brown tweed waistcoat to pair with a brown belt and shoes. He actually found everything online as that was much easier to find his sizes. He also found cufflinks with an E on one and a J on the other.


I only had my sister as Maid of Honour. We didn’t want to have the traditional bridal party as we really wanted a really relaxed feel to the day. Although we love old, vintage and antiques we’re not “traditional” at all. We really wanted everyone to wear what they wanted so didn’t want to have bridesmaids and groomsmen who would have to match a theme. With us only having 27 guests we thought everyone would feel more comfortable wearing whatever they felt their best in.


I had the amazing Amy George do my sister’s, mine and my dad’s partner’s makeup. Amy really is amazing at what she does and does natural make up so well. I felt amazing all day. And the equally amazing Emily Hawkes did our hair. I just wanted to look like me. Emily and I decided on a half up-do with a fishtail braid and I don’t think my hair has ever looked so good. She is a genius at natural waves and I could not have been happier the whole day.


I stayed at the venue the night before and actually drove my flower van there full of our flowers and props.


Our photographer was Mark Crayden and I can’t say enough about how perfect our pictures are. We love Mark’s style so much and I think it’s so important to choose a photographer based on their style. We felt the way he works with light and captures emotions was just perfect for our relaxed, non traditional wedding. I would recommend Mark to anyone who would listen. He’s one of the nicest people you could meet and our family loved him too. I think nearly every one of them was in tears at the photos and we all couldn’t believe how much we felt like we were back at the wedding when we viewed them. He documented the day perfectly and got shots I could only have dreamed of.


The flowers were by me! Being a florist and control freak when it comes to flowers, I couldn’t have had anyone else. I created a wild, natural aesthetic using some of my all time favourites; ranunculus, sweet peas, lilacs, butterfly ranunculus, hellebores and forget-me-nots.

I made a small flower arch, some little troughs for the aisle, antique French urns for around the venue and the sweetest handmade ceramic bowls with pin frog arrangements for the long table centrepieces. These went beautifully with the antique brass candlesticks I’d sourced in France. We had a mixture of dusty pink and olive green Ester and Erik candles to go with the flower centrepieces. My twin sister stayed with me the night before the wedding and helped me with nearly everything. I could not have done it without her. She kept me calm and helped me just focus on one arrangement at a time.

I’ve always been a fan of Brides Up North and actually use the hashtags in most posts for my business! The real weddings feature is one of the most inspiring features for me and I browsed spring weddings for inspiration, along with the stunning styled shoots for the dreamiest of ideas with incredible wedding suppliers.


Our favours were two pink gins and a seed packet of forget-me-nots. To go with the vintage theme, we made paper labels from antique French script paper from the 18th century. The bottles had little corks in and were finished with some hand dyed silk ribbons. We also made a stamp with ‘let love grow’ as the text for the little brown envelopes of forget-me-not seeds.


We had the lovely Linda Hoffmann make our cake. Linda is actually an old family friend but happens to be a brilliant cake maker. We had three tiers, decorated in muted creams and gold which matched perfectly with all the wedding menus and invitations, with the handmade paper colour and gold wax seal.


The food provided by the venue was delicious. We had a tasting day a few months before the wedding which was one of our favourite parts of wedding prep. It was Yorkshire themed with a choice to have Parkin for dessert. This reminded me of my great grandmother. Neither John or I drink so we had no clue whatsoever about the wines so we made a wild guess and hoped our guests enjoyed them!.


We had three of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. They’re John’s friends and had a band called I Kept The Wolves Away. It felt so perfect having a band as we love live music. Some of our best dates when we first got together were watching John’s friends at gigs. Our wedding was actually their last performance for a bit, as they’re taking a break from being bandmates to go back to just being mates for a while as their families grow. They performed some of our all time favourite songs and fully embraced my Beyoncé requests.

We also added a little temporary tattoo station. As John is a tattoo artist and I’m a florist we filled a table with floral temporary tattoos I found on Etsy.

Thanks to

We would definitely recommend The Old Deanery to other couples. The food was delicious, the staff were amazing and we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful backdrop for our day.

Best bit

There are so many favourite parts of our day. We both loved our actual ceremony. The registrar loved my flower arch so much that she suggested we face our guests as she stood to the side for a better view. We loved our meal as we were all on a long table, two families combined, with beautiful speeches that had us in tears of joy and then dancing with each other and our families in the evening with our other friends coming to celebrate.


We went to Mexico two days after our wedding. We stayed in Riviera Maya and had a beautiful suite with our own private pool on the terrace. We had so many trips around Mexico which we loved as we love the history and ancient traditions. We had spa days and ate so much guacamole! Mexico had some amazing wildlife and we loved seeing the monkeys and lizards wandering around the resort.


Our tips for other couples would be to have your day your way and not to worry about what you “should do” at a wedding. There will always be people who will tell you what you’re supposed to have or do at a wedding, but we just wanted a day to celebrate our love for each other, with only the people who we knew loved us and our relationship with some nice food and music. Find out what’s the most important parts of your day and concentrate on those. Don’t just do something because everyone tells you, you should.

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