Real Weddings

An Elegant Christmas Wedding at West Park Hotel, Harrogate – Sophie & Luke

Sarah Symonds

When your wedding is moved to the 19th of December, you might as well succumb to the festivities, right?! That’s what our lovely couple Sophie and Luke thought when lockdown meant they had to postpone their big day, and it turned out to be better than ever!

Think lots of warm gold, winter white and Christmas sparkle, with the added bonus of not having to go all out with venue styling and decor because the beautiful West Park Hotel Christmas tree was already up! It might not have been the time of year they’d expected or would’ve chosen but both our bride and her groom felt lucky to be able to have their dream wedding, especially with some added festive trimmings.

Even with some last minute changes to the plan and a panicked email to a local florist for some fresh flowers to save the day, this wedding has come together wonderfully. You can’t fail to notice the sheer happiness on the faces of the newlyweds, and Sophie looks unbelievable in her dream gown, even though Wed2B wasn’t quite where she originally expected to find it! Sometimes the happy accidents are the best ones. Planning a wedding is a bit of a rollercoaster at the best of times so it’s lovely when things work out serendipitously in the end, and this story certainly has a happily ever after.

With photography by UNVEILED Network Member Bethany Clarke Weddings


Sophie says: We got engaged in August 2019 at our home. We had a child free night, so we were having a drink in the kitchen. Luke got down on one knee and proposed. It wasn’t a huge proposal, but it was very Luke. He said “Really? Are you sure?!” when I said yes, which made me laugh because he knew I was going to say yes.


Our wedding date was originally the 21st November 2020 as it’s the anniversary of our very first date but Covid and lockdown meant it had to be postponed. Both the ceremony and the reception venue offered us the 19th of December. We didn’t ever think of a Christmas wedding, but we are so glad it worked out that way! It felt really special.

We got married at the Harrogate Registry Office and then went to West Park Hotel for the reception. West Park is beautiful, and it’s opposite The Stray which was great for pictures. West Park couldn’t have been any more helpful, they arranged the room, so it was perfect for our small reception. They allowed us to go over there the night before to decorate the room exactly how we wanted it and the food for the wedding breakfast was incredible. After the wedding we stayed in their penthouse suite for two nights. The room was really stunning. We booked to go back a couple of weeks after the wedding for another stay for my birthday, but, again, Covid meant we had to postpone. But we will be back!


We went for gold and white décor because we thought it looked classy. We weren’t expecting a Christmas wedding but that’s what we got, so there was a huge Christmas tree in the corner of the room and loads of Christmas décor that was already up at West Park, which made it feel even more special.

As it was a Covid-friendly, small wedding I just had my nine year old daughter, Bella, as my bridesmaid. I dressed her in white to match me. Our boys, Tommy and Oliver, wore suits that matched Luke’s. They were blue with red and brown details; the colours were perfect for the time of year.


I purchased my dress from Wed2B. I originally had another dress in mind when I thought we would be having a bigger wedding but, when it became a small wedding, I decided I couldn’t justify the cost. But I was not disappointed, in the end I absolutely loved my dress! I would have chosen it whatever the size of the wedding. The girls at Wed2B were so helpful and arranged for me to try dresses that matched the style I was looking for – I wanted it to be tight fitting and backless. I also bought a belt and veil from Wed2B. I wish I could put it back on every day!


Luke’s suit and the boys’ matching suits are from Marc Darcy.


My daughter’s dress was from Roco Clothing.


My hair was by Hair By Ria. She is fantastic. Prior to the wedding, as I was not able to have a trial, she did the style I had asked for on a doll head and sent it to me so I could see what it would look like. She then came to The Yorkshire Hotel, where my daughter and I had stayed the night before, and she did both of us on the day. She did exactly what I asked for and then she stuck around and helped me with my dress. Because of Covid restrictions, it was just the two of us so that was so helpful and lovely of her. She also took a few pictures of me and my daughter before she left. I would definitely recommend Ria.


It wasn’t a big enough wedding to justify hiring a car. My dad bought ribbons and made his car look nice and he picked me and Bella up.


Our photographer was Bethany Clarke Weddings. We would definitely recommend Bethany. She captured every moment perfectly, even when we didn’t realise she was. The pictures are incredible and are truly memories we will treasure forever. Bethany was lovely, and a pleasure to be around, she really listened to what we wanted and we wouldn’t hesitate to use her again in the future.


We used Matt Jones for the film, who was brilliant. We love our video so much it captures some really emotional bits but also some really funny parts too, like Josh and his groomsman, Jake, wrestling on the trampoline! We watch our video back quite a lot so I’d really recommend it if you can stretch your budget.


I got my bouquet from Ryan at Tilly’s Blooms in Knaresborough. I had originally bought artificial flowers, but I changed my mind at the last minute! I sent Tilly’s a message on Facebook asking if it was possible at such short notice and a picture of exactly what I wanted. Tilly’s blooms were so helpful, Ryan arrived at the hotel at 8.30am on the wedding morning with my beautiful bouquet. It was exactly what I asked for, absolutely stunning!

We didn’t use flowers for decor in the venue. My concern was that we would get postponed again and the flowers would be wasted. Instead we used a lot of candles. We bought all of our décor from eBay and did it all ourselves. All the candles made the room look really cosy and beautiful.


We got our favours from Etsy, they were little candles that had the wedding date on and a note attached thanking our guests. I put the candles into little boxes I found on eBay.


My very talented Auntie made us the cake for our wedding present. We had chocolate as Luke doesn’t like traditional fruit cake, it was delicious!


We had a lot of food! West Park gave us a menu a few months prior to the wedding for our guests to choose from. We had canapes to start, trio of duck for starter, followed by beef and then crème brulee for dessert. We then had cheese boards, and, in the evening, we had bacon sandwiches and chips! There were plenty of options and it was all delicious.

We also had cocktails on arrival, red and white wine on the tables and another cocktail for the speeches.


We didn’t have entertainment. It was difficult with the restrictions so we made a Spotify playlist of all our songs and that played throughout the meal. We couldn’t have dancing as we all needed to social distance, but Luke and I got to have our first dance to our song and our kids came up and danced with us, which was perfect.

Special touches

The night before the wedding, Luke and I gave each other a gift to open when we woke up the morning of the big day. I gave Luke a box that I filled with everything I thought he might need, such as aftershave, breath freshener, a cigar, a note, socks, a personalised groom mask and lots of other little bits he might have needed in the morning. He absolutely loved it and needed it so much that he bought it to the wedding and even had it sat with him at the table throughout the reception, in case he needed anything! It was so easy to put together but he really loved the thought I had put in.

Thanks to

All the suppliers I have mentioned went above and beyond and really made our day extra special. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend West Park Hotel in Harrogate as they really did look after us, the room was stunning, and they paid so much attention to detail. Nothing was too much effort and the communication prior to the wedding was fantastic. Megan emailed me regularly and always went through everything with me. They have kept in touch since the wedding and we will be back again as soon as the Covid restrictions relax.

Best bit

My favourite part of the day was the speeches. They were an emotional rollercoaster and a moment I will never forget. It was such an intimate wedding and during the speeches we laughed and we cried. It was really very special.


Of course we couldn’t have a honeymoon, but we stayed at West Park Hotel for two nights after the wedding. We stayed in the beautiful penthouse suite and went for a gorgeous meal at The Ivy in Harrogate.


My top tip for another couple would be to enjoy every moment as it goes very quick! And if anyone is thinking of a small intimate wedding, I would say it was a blessing in disguise. We were able to enjoy every moment with the people closest to us and it took away a lot of the stress.

2020 wasn’t an easy year but now we have something so special to remember it for. There is nothing a big wedding could have given us that our little wedding didn’t. It was the most magical day of our lives.

We also looked at the Brides Up North Instagram page – it helped us a lot with our inspiration so I’d recommend that too!

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