If you are looking to emulate medieval traditions to give your ceremony and reception its own distinctive charm, Mandy and Mick’s wedding should provide plenty of ideas.
As avid fans of the TV series Game of Thrones, both Mandy and Mick really loved the idea of a medieval themed wedding, not least because it would be a memorable experience for their guests. Weddings in the Middle Ages focused on dancing, feasting and generally being merry so while it did require some extra thought and preparation it proved to be a day that their guests will never forget.
If you want to throw an authentic 16th century wedding, you need to focus on finding a good venue that lends itself to being period dressed. After visiting several different venues in Yorkshire, both Mandy and Mick knew as soon they approached Wood Hall at the end of a 1.5 mile winding drive, surrounded by acres of woodland and fields, it just felt right.
“We wanted a location that was peaceful, countrified and secluded with a touch of class and sophistication, and the Hall delivered with stunning gardens and a choice of elegant reception rooms. The Sales & Events Co-ordinator, Elizabeth Mainwaring, was very engaging and encouraging with our theme even to the extent of allowing a Harris hawk to deliver the rings. We also had a birds of prey display in the grounds after the ceremony and the guests were able to hold the birds."
“On the build up to the wedding Elizabeth was always available, answering any queries very quickly. On the day itself, she was there to greet us to go over things one last time, before she handed over to Kevin Webster, the Event Manager, who was tremendous. We cannot thank him enough. He ensured everything ran smoothly and efficiently – he even brought me a snack as I hadn't eaten anything due to nerves.”
If you are planning a renaissance wedding you need to look the part, and for Mandy and Mick that included their guests, too. “All our guests wore medieval outfits as well as the bridal party. Most weddings look exactly the same and to an extent everyone wears a costume, it is just ours were a little different. Although some people had reservations on the day everyone had a fabulous time,” explains Mandy.
Originally built as a country escape, with parts dating back to Georgian times, the mansion lent itself perfectly to the couples theme. With gold, green and cream the dominant colours, the woodland flowers and numerous props, all combined together to effortlessly transform the Vavasour Suite into exactly what they wanted.
The props, which included a dragon, life-size knights, coat of arms, pillory stocks, freestanding banners, swords and candelabras, from Event Prop Hire at Thorpe Arch, were really good quality – in fact, many of them are used for TV productions.
"I will never forget entering the room for the first time for the wedding ceremony and also the wedding breakfast, and seeing it set up just as I had dreamed of and with all the guests dressed in medieval outfits. It looked amazing!” confesses Mandy.
When it came to entertainment, our couple from Ossett in West Yorkshire opted for a string quartet to play during the ceremony, and for the reception a very lively UK-based Irish music group called The Wild Murphy's, which apparently kept the dance floor full all night long with the help of Dean the DJ from GoGoDisco.
Despite having guests with various dietary requirements, the food was apparently faultless and delicious. “The serving staff were so nonintrusive and it almost felt like the food was arriving by magic."
"We were extremely pleased with the friendliness, care and professionalism from the entire hotel staff actually – nothing was too much trouble for any of them and everything went so smoothly. The whole day was fabulous, an overwhelming success. We just wanted a wedding that everyone would remember and be fun, and it was just that.”
ENTERTAINMENT: String Quartet (Caroline Steer – arianastrin[email protected]); The Wild Murpheys ([email protected] / wildmurpheys.com); GoGoDisco (07538904094 / gogodisco.co.uk)
FALCONERY SERVICES: (York Bird of Prey – Claire Fawcett – 07772315757)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Paul Walker Photography (01484 723860 / paulwalkerphotography.co.uk)
PROPS: Event Prop Hire (01937 222777 / eventprophire.com)