Real Weddings

Rasha London & Jenny Packham for a Vintage Wedding at Howsham Hall – Henrietta & Thomas

Sarah Symonds

A navy and gold, vintage style wedding, an abundance of fresh flowers, a handsome groom and the stunning bride in the drawing room with the revolver..?

Today’s featured couple, Henrietta and Thomas, threw in a dash of intrigue and suspicion before the big event. Howsham Hall might be an idyllic destination for a romantic wedding celebration, but it’s also the perfect setting for a plot to unfold; a murder mystery party for 50 of the couple’s nearest and dearest the evening before they tied the knot! We couldn’t love that idea any more!

But that’s not all we’re obsessed with today. The styling of the actual wedding day is super pretty and we reckon it’ll be ideal inspo for you couples currently on your wedding planning journey. Keep your eyes peeled for the evidence – the seven-tiered cake, not-one-but-two unbelievably lovely bridal gowns, dashing military uniform, the family tartan and a LOT of Fireball Whiskey!

With photography by Rob Dodsworth Photography


We had planned a holiday to New York in January 2019, leaving on New Year’s day. We had been exploring for a couple of days and on the 3rd Tom asked if I wanted to go for a picnic in Central Park. Unbeknown to me, he had been for a run around the park that morning scouting for locations to pop the question! 

We went to the lake in the middle and walked all the way around to a little outcrop, opened a bottle of champagne and just enjoyed the atmosphere, the sun came out and we could hear a band playing ‘the way you look tonight’, when we made me stand up, he then knelt down in front of me and asked me to marry him. It was absolutely magical, and I of course said yes – when I eventually stopped crying! 


Our original wedding date was in May 2020. Due to COVID we changed it to May 2021 but had to cancel it yet again due to COVID, and moved it to March 5th 2022. We didn’t want to wait any longer for another May date!We got married at Howsham Hall near York, we chose the venue because we could have the whole place for the entire weekend, bedrooms included. It meant we could have all of our family stay there, including the bridal party and grooms party. The venue is so beautiful. We had a murder mystery party for 50 guests on the Friday night too!


We wanted a fairly vintage feel to the day, as we have always loved vintage styles and antiques and history in general. Plus it suits the venue really well. The colours we chose were navy and gold, because they have such a classic feel and go well together. 


I had two dresses; my ceremony and day dress was from a London-based designer called Rasha and my evening dress was Jenny Packham. I purchased them from The Harrogate Wedding Lounge. I chose them because they were both very different and both very vintage, the day dress was handmade and covered in pearls and lace, and the evening dress was satin silk and had more of a Marilyn Monroe vibe, which was perfect for dancing! 


Tom wore his military uniform for the ceremony, sword and all! Then got changed into his trews and tails after the ceremony, made from his family tartan. The groomsmen and dads wore top hats and tails, tailored to them made from an independent tailors called Room 10 in Farnham, Surrey


My bridesmaids all have very different styles so I said they could all choose their own dresses, in dark navy. They chose gowns from JJ’s House, with matching gold shoes and accessories sourced from all over! 


Charlotte Elizabeth Makeup Artist did everyone’s makeup. She’s Yorkshire based and came to the venue. She also did my hair.


Our photographer was called Rob Dodsworth. He’s absolutely fantastic and I would recommend him to everyone! He takes a lot of action shots and really captures authentic moments which is what we loved, he is also so lovely it was just like having another wedding guest! 


All of our flowers were from a small independent florist in Helmsley called Twig and Twine. My bouquet was seasonal, with blue and cream hues with lots of different textures. 

We used Twig and Twine for all of the table and venue flowers too. We wanted light hues with a few darker tones in deep red and greens. All sorts of flowers were used, as seasonal as possible, with greenery for texture variety. The main staircase had flowers all the way down it and looked like a wildflower meadow, it was stunning.

I really enjoyed reading all the Brides Up North real wedding sections, everyone’s weddings are so different so it gives you plenty of ideas for your own.


Our wedding favours were small bottles of Fireball Whisky for everyone to enjoy and we put table games in the middle of each table for people to play to break the ice and get to know each other. 

In each of the rooms we wrote postcards to the guests that were staying and gave them two bottles of Yorkshire beer and a large packet of Yorkshire crisps each. 


We chose a seven tier cake from Poppy Pickering in Ilkley. She was fantastic and the cake was beautiful. Three tiers were edible, with three false tiers and a further invisible tier to make the cake look like it floated. Sugar flowers garnished the cake all the way down in the wedding colours navy and gold.


The wines were supplied by Howsham Hall; one red, one white and a sparkling for the toasts. The food was also supplied by Howsham Hall, we had a cold salmon starter served in a cocktail glass as a starter, beef for the main course and an Eton Mess for dessert. This was all followed by coffee and chocolates. In the evening we served fish finger sarnies.


We had a vintage Jazz band called LA Jazz for the reception then a DJ for the evening. We also have a 1969 vintage camper van that we parked outside the front of the venue so people could take photos inside. PA Discos provided the DJ, large ‘Love’ lights on the dance floor and the lights outside the venue. 

Thanks to

Howsham Hall is a really special venue. Not only is it exclusively yours for the day/weekend but you also have a wedding coordinator. Ours was Craig Squelch from the day we booked right up to the big day then Craig and Tim on the day itself. Nothing is too much trouble and the venue is stunning! I would 100% recommend Howsham Hall to anyone! 

All of the suppliers were absolutely fantastic and if we got married again we would use the exact same ones.

I would also like to mention Steve Emmet who was our humanist celebrant. He made the ceremony so personal and unique to us. Such a wonderful man! Unfortunately this is not legally recognised in the UK as an ‘official’ wedding but we had a very small ceremony with our family before to make it legal too.

Best bit

The whole day was magical! It went so quickly, as everyone always says they do. Tom and I took 15 minutes to ourselves after the wedding breakfast to just sit and chill with each other, which was really lovely. Then the dancing! We had a great playlist and everyone was up enjoying themselves all night! 


We went to the Maldives for two weeks. We waited for two weeks after the wedding to go, which I would recommend doing. Not only do you spread out the celebrations but it took us a week at least to recover from the wedding celebrations themselves! We flew BA direct to MLE then got a smaller plane and speed boat to our island, it was all inclusive and exactly what we wanted. Pure luxury. 


Our advice would be to enjoy the day, and take your time to enjoy the little things! Dance as much as you can and make the day unique in your own way, remember the guests will always enjoy a wedding, so make it how you want it. They will all have fun anyway!

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