If you are planning a wedding at The Oakwood at Ryther, you’ll know that this brilliant new Yorkshire wedding venue is a wonderful mix of rustic charm and modern sleek styling with well thought out ceremony and reception spaces. The ceremony hall is filled with romantic twinkly lights and sits under huge whalebone arches and the The Old Grain Store offers a gorgeous blank canvas full of natural light for your reception. The Oakwood at Ryther also boasts spacious accommodations for you and your guests with a lovely large communal area. It was a real joy to photograph Charlotte and John’s wedding at The Oakwood at Ryther and to work in a new space and it was such a joy to look back at this lovely wedding.
How did you meet?
We met at work. John already worked at the office which I joined on a temporary basis in September 2013. We became friends pretty quickly and used to go for lunch together most days.
Tell me your proposal story:
We went to Cuba for John’s 40th birthday. We were in Havana on the actual day of John’s birthday and we went for a walk round Havana, had some lunch and drinks before going for a walk to the Central Park. John was convinced I knew he was going to propose but I actually had no idea. He asked me to close my eyes whilst sitting on a bench and then I realised and was totally excited. We went to a rooftop bar nearby to celebrate and had champagne.
Why did you choose The Oakwood at Ryther for your wedding day?
John had already visited the venue when it was just being built/created. He told me way before he proposed to me what a special place he thought it was going to be when it was finished and so it was the first place we thought of and the only place we went to look went to look around after we got engaged. We got engaged in January 2020 and had booked the venue by February, before they had even started properly marketing it, because we knew how quickly it would get booked up once it was finished and operational.
What was it you loved about your outfits and accessories that made you choose them?
My shoes were a wedding gift from John. They had a mother of pearl heel and can be worn not just on a wedding day but with other outfits and on holiday etc. I was so surprised when John got me them as I totally loved them but never imagined that I could have them. John loves Paul Smith and they had a perfect pocket square with a lock and key on it which just happened to be in exactly the right colour for our colour scheme!
Tell me about the vision you had for your wedding including your theme/colour scheme/styling/flowers:
I’m not very inventive and John and I are both pretty lazy and so we do tend to look at what we like in other weddings and copy it, I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t more of a creative and wonderful experience than that! We had an invite to another wedding which was blush and navy and I loved the combination and so we just took that and ran with it. One thing I loved was our tablecloths which were navy. Our caterers told us they had never seen anyone use a dark shade of tablecloth but that it really stood out as opposed to plain white and I’m glad we went for it. The rest of the styling was pretty relaxed and minimal and a lot of it was done by me. I made meters and meters of navy and blush bunting in all different pieces of material and I also did the flower arrangements for the tables from dried flowers which were ‘inspired’ by some dried flowers I had seen at my hair stylist’s salon when I went for my practice run there. We wanted to weave a bit of John’s Irish background into the day because we both adore Ireland and so that was the inspiration for the tables being named after places in Ireland which were significant to us and the map being used as the seating plan. We also did that ourselves and still have it in our living room home. My mum was in charge of the wedding cake and it was a surprise for me, I hadn’t seen it before the day. It was gorgeous and had signposts on of places in Ireland she knew I had visited. It also had dahlia flowers on as the only flower I had specifically requested for my bouquet. We also had Guinness as our toasting drink.
What was your first dance and why did you choose it?
Our first dance was ‘At Last’ by Etta James. John chose it basically because the words fit our story quite well. Throughout the time we have known each other, there have been times that we would never have imagined we would have ended up where we are now.
What were the most wonderful parts of the day for you?
I loved the morning and getting ready, that was a really nice part, it felt like everyone was happy and we were having such a nice laugh- except for when it got really close to the ceremony and I totally panicked. I also loved the confetti throwing when we came out of the ceremony. John says his most wonderful part was seeing me walk down the aisle (cute!), having all of our friends and family around us and the first dance.
Why did you choose Hannah Hall Photography as your photographer, and what was your experience of your photography on the day?
Hannah was recommended to us in an array of options of photographers from another photographer. We looked through the options (me and my mum) and Hannah was the obvious choice. The bright colours, candid moments and just basically gorgeous photography made her an easy choice for us, I’m just glad we were lucky that she was available.
What would be your best bit of advice to other couples planning their wedding?
Take it easy. It does become very stressful and if it’s not something you enjoy doing, parts of it can become a chore and therefore rushed. Just try to focus on what you want. Think about which elements are more important to you, like food/music/pictures etc and invest in those parts. You will not regret investing in those things after the day is over, although it might seem painful at the time.
Charlotte + John’s Oakwood at Ryther wedding happened with the help of the following suppliers…
Hair Unity Rhodes / Makeup Faces Make Up / Dress Zavanna Couture from Chloe Jayne Bridalwear