Yorkshire Dales wedding at Jervaulx Abbey

Yorkshire Dales wedding at Jervaulx Abbey Reading Time: 8 minutes

It’s always a super hard job trying to pick images for the magazine and inevitably there are many beautiful ones that get left behind, but  not any more!  Today, we are featuring the gorgeous wedding of Melissa and Steve Lawson who married at Middleham Church and held their reception at Jervaulx Abbey.  Captured beautifully by Nikki Ramsay.
Jervaulx Abbey
What made you choose your venue?
I was born and bred in Yorkshire (Northallerton) and have moved up to Northumberland to live with Steven on his farm. My Mum and her family were from Middleham and I spent a lot of time there as a child. I always envisaged that I would get married in that church as I knew it would mean a lot to my mum – since I made the move to live with Steven, he agreed we should get married in Yorkshire.  The church location dictated the reception venue a little, we looked at a number of places in the area but we are both outdoorsy and wanted a relaxed day so Jervaulx seemed the perfect place, we were both won over by the atmosphere and natural beauty.  We liked the idea of a marquee wedding so even though our budget was limited and therefore we were restricted to the number of day time guests we could cater for, it meant we could have a big party in the evening.
Jervaulx Abbey
What was the main theme for your wedding?
There wasn’t really a theme as such, we just wanted it to be natural and relaxed.  I looked through the wedding magazines and liked a lot of the vintage ideas and also the natural rustic and nature inspired examples, so we took all the bits we liked!  We had been to many weddings where there were formal speeches and I wasn’t sure I wanted to put my family and friends through having to do them, Steven, my dad and the best men said they wanted to say something so we thought we could make them more informal by doing them outside in the abbey – it kept everything more relaxed.
How did you entertain your guests?
The abbey lent itself beautifully as natural entertainment; we were lucky to have a nice summer’s day so we held the drinks reception and canapés in the Abbey so the guests could wander round and explore the Abbey until we arrived.
Did you get creative and DIY any of your own wedding?
We had a limited budget so I did as much as I could! I hand made all the wedding invites, table plan, place cards and table centre pieces (flowers home grown in my mum’s garden).  Steven’s mum Anne made us some lovely strawberry whiskey in little personalised bottles as favours and my cousin made my very tasty wedding cake. I also had a friend who supplied me with some flower pots from her garden to decorate the outside of the marquee!
Can you describe a memorable moment from the day?
My love of horses always meant I wanted a horse and carriage to take us from the church to the reception – nothing flash just a local guy who was really friendly and relaxed.  Everyone said you should take a moment in your wedding day to spend together and reflect on it, and the journey in the carriage allowed us to do that – it was lovely to enjoy some us time, champagne and breathe after the pre wedding work up!
I also loved my dad’s speech.  He was poorly on the run up to the wedding and I know how hard it was for him but he did the most wonderful job.
Can you describe your dress, and how did you find it?  
I did the cliché wedding dress shopping thing and my mum, sister and I set off to York and had a lovely day trying on dresses…only they didn’t like what I liked and I wasn’t convinced by what they thought suited me! Long story short, I gave up for a bit…..and then one Saturday afternoon, after I’d finished a competition with the horses, I had a shower and thought I’d pop into town and look in a shop where I’d seen a sale advertised.  I walked in and the assistant looked shocked that I was by myself, I must have tried 5 or 6 dresses on until she handed me one and said just try it.  I always envisaged myself in something fitted with a nice long train, I liked the idea of a corseted back, but this was so ‘fluffy’, miles to big (I couldn’t walk) and was buttoned up the back…. But I kind of liked it and it felt nice! She said why didn’t I take it to a tailor and just tweak it to what I wanted, so I did!  Even with the alterations it was half the price of some of the others I’d tried.  Many layers removed and a corseted back later, I had the dress I was happy with and it was totally unique.
Tell us about your bridesmaids dresses  and grooms outfits?
I didn’t have a colour scheme so I said to my sister Gemma and best friend Kathryn that they should pick a dress they liked – I didn’t mind the style or the colour as long as they were the same.  So they came back with a few choices that they had picked  and we chose the one that fitted and they liked best!
Unfortunately this wasn’t really a colour I could match (or wanted) the guys to wear, so as my favourite colour is purple I found a shade that complimented next to the bridesmaid dresses and got the cravats in that colour.
The suits we hired from a local lady in Northumberland who has a hire and fitting business on her farm, as most of Stevens friends are farmers this worked well as they could just call in when it was convenient for them.  Steven’s quite tall and slim so we opted for tails (but no hats!).
Suppliers:  Can you list key suppliers and any recommendations?

  • Photos by Nikki Ramsay (amazing photographer, very relaxed but professional and fits in like one of your guests!)
  • Wedding dress alterations done incredibly well by Louise Drummond from ‘Buttons Alterations’ in Appleton Wiske, Northallerton
  • Suits and friendly local service from ‘Suit-A-bility’, near Hexham, Northumberland
  • Flowers bouquets and button holes all done by ‘Hutton Flowers’ in Northallerton
  • Marquee by ‘C&J Rentals’, Brompton on Swale, Richmond
  • Jon Sibley (a friend and local band) did our music and was amazing
  • Galegate Heavy Horses for the horse and carriage
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What advice would you pass on to couples planning their wedding
Enjoy the run up and the crazy organising – it’s all part of it!
The day goes so fast so make sure you make the planning part of the experience.
Also make sure you do take those minutes in the middle of the excitement of your day to spend a moment together!

  • Talk us through the build up to the ceremony, what happened were you nervous?

I am in general the most laid back person (and also the latest to everything I go to) but I was so nervous – not about marrying Steven – in case I fell over walking down the aisle or what if I couldn’t speak?!
My mum, sister and best friend were amazing though and between them they got me organised and ready.  We stayed over and got ready in a holiday cottage (that used to belong to my grandma) in the market place in Middleham.  It was weird because I could see family and friends arriving. We put on some good music and opened a bottle of Prosecco and had a good girly morning.  My sister in law Rebecca did all of our makeup and my sisters friend did our hair, the carriage arrived (I think Steven nearly fainted from the shock of me being there on time!) and as I walked down the aisle with my dad (rather speedily as momentum was the only way I could walk in 4 inch heals and a big dress) everything just kind of happened from then on!
3 words to describe your wedding day

  • Relaxed
  • Fun
  • Best (day of my life with all my favourite people!) – I realise that’s cheating!
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  • How did you spend the morning and describe your favourite moment of the day?

My family and the best men stayed at Jervaulx Abbey Guest House, I spent the morning of the wedding checking the marquee and put signs up to direct guests to the reception with the boys.  Once we had completed our chores we all got ready and the best men (my 2 best friends), Usher (brother in law) and I headed to the pub near the church for a calming pint and some pre wedding photos.
My favourite moment of the day was seeing Melissa walking down the aisle and the horse and carriage journey to the reception.
How did you prepare for the speeches?
We kept the speeches relaxed but I was still so nervous! I had it all in my head and hadn’t written it down – probably should have done! I think I said thank you to everyone……
3 Words to describe your wedding day

  • Everything we wanted

 Image Credits:  Nikki R Photography
Location: Maldives
Length of Stay: 7 nights
Why did you choose this destination what kind of holiday were you aiming for?
We wanted something special that was different to what we would do normally.  We both lead busy active lives and the thought of a week of pure chilling in the sun seemed like heaven!
Did one of you organise this or was it a joint venture?
Joint venture
Favourite place on the honeymoon and would you go back?
We would definitely go back but would like to try another island
Did you do any excursions?
Nope just lots of sunbathing, snorkelling and drinking in the beach bar J
Places you visited that you would recommend?
Just the Maldives in general!
Images courtesy of Virgin Holidays


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