Finally, only 5 months later, we’ve reached the part of our wedding day that actually mattered: the ceremony itself! You know, the whole reason the day was happening!
First though, a quick note on my transportation to arrive at the ceremony venue, since this didn’t fit elsewhere! My bosses own these two amazing VW split screen campers that they’ve refurbished entirely themselves – Bob (my “something blue”) and Mollie. Fortunately my office is more like a family than a workplace a lot of the time, so Becky and Dave were only too happy to say yes when I tentatively asked about Bob and Mollie, and even drove us there themselves. I rode in Bob with my dad up front with Dave, me and my mum in the back. The bridesmaids all jumped in the other with Becky. Driving from my mum and dad’s house, along the roads I used to take to school everyday, through Helmsley and up to the venue was so wonderful. It was very strange noticing people stop and wave at us going past, all decked out in our wedding gear and realising they were doing that for me! It couldn’t have been a better way to travel there, and the VWs made excellent photo backdrops later in the day too.
If you’re interested in seeing more posts from our wedding day, check out the posts below:
Our wedding ceremony (and reception too, but that’s to come later) took place at Newburgh Priory. This is an ancient Augustinian priory that was originally founded in 1145, however after its dissolution in 1538, while many other local abbeys fell into disrepair and ruin (see my posts on Fountains Abbey here and Byland Abbey), Newburgh Priory became a family home. Today, it’s still a family home however the property is open to the public on select days throughout the year, and it is also hired out for events.
Over time, the house has been added to, meaning there are sections which date back to 1538 as well as more “modern” Georgian and Victorian areas. The main ceremony space is a light and airy Georgian room with huge bay windows overlooking the lawned gardens. Before the ceremony began, I was able to “hide” with my bridesmaids, flower girls and page boy in another Georgian room, before we headed into the main part for the big reveal. Strangely enough, I wasn’t at all nervous during this part! I was all dressed up and ready to head in and meet Ben at the “altar”, so my nerves were all gone – I was just ready to go!
Speaking of which, I’ll talk a bit about our choice of venue for the ceremony. We knew immediately that we wouldn’t have our ceremony in a church. While I grew up in a fairly religious setting at a Catholic school, Ben has never felt comfortable in churches. Considering that he’s quite shy and doesn’t like crowds anyway, I really didn’t think it would be fair to force him in front of a crowd in a church on a day that’s meant to be about both me and him (something a lot of people forget, thinking it’s all about the bride!). I didn’t have a really strong opinion on having a religious service, so we were happy to choose a secular one.
We decided on the location of Newburgh Priory for the ceremony as well as the venue for the evening without much thought. We ideally wanted the whole day in the same place as we’re really quite rurally situated – Newburgh Priory is only a few miles from home for us – and didn’t want our guests to struggle to get from one place to another. Fortunately the ceremony room suited all ours needs and wants entirely – I just wanted somewhere light and bright that wasn’t “stuffy” and didn’t have covered chairs – I have a thing about covered chairs! I’ll talk more in my next post about why we chose Newburgh Priory as our overall venue, but suffice to say for now that the ceremony room was perfect for our needs.
We had around 65 people present for our ceremony, which again, fit the room very well. Our guest list was limited to our closest friends and family where possible for a couple of reasons: to suit the room, and because these were the people invited to the meal afterwards – any more and it was getting super pricey! I thought before I got married that this sounded kind of…stingy, to judge who to invite based on price, but once you start looking at prices for wedding – yep, you’ll know what I mean! You can read some of my wedding budgeting tips here if you’re interested.
Entering the ceremony room on my dad’s arm with my bridesmaids in tow, seeing all the guests gathered to celebrate with us and smiling me, then seeing Ben at the front of the room is one of those memories I’m never going to forget. We had a slight moment of panic as I prepared to enter when the Bluetooth speaker disconnected so the music began to play through the phone instead, but the phone was rushed out (to me!) and we managed to quickly fix it before I entered. Luckily this didn’t shake me at all, but apparently it really threw Ben and Frankie!
For music, as I said, we used a Bluetooth speaker (we’re lucky that Ben works for an AV company so he could borrow a very good one!) and had Married Life from Disney’s Up for my entrance and There’s A Great, Big Beautiful Tomorrow from Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress as we exited. As you can see, while we didn’t have a “Disney wedding”, we had touches of Disney throughout! These songs were ones that didn’t scream Disney, but if you know, you know. During the signing of the registry, Ben’s sister’s friend Tash and her guitarist sung and played for us. We picked out three songs during this time, although I only managed to actually “listen” to one (because we were distracted signing!) so I wasn’t sure if all ended up needing to be played! These songs were I Choose You by Sara Bareilles, Bubbly by Colbie Callait and Big Yellow Taxi. Tash’s band also played during the reception, but more on this later!
Our ceremony was personalised beforehand as we added to the service using North Yorkshire’s online service to do so. We didn’t do any personalised vows, but we got to choose specific parts we wanted and didn’t want. Our readings were:
- Union by Robert Fulghum – read by my grandma.
- On Your Wedding Day – read by my bridesmaid, Charley (this was a slight change of plan as my friend Helen was due to read, but she ended up having her baby a lot earlier than planned and, while she made it to the day, it would have been too much to ask her to do it!)
- The Prophet by Kahil Gibran – read by Ben’s grandad’s cousin, Brian.
Charley also put an added twist into her reading where the bridesmaids all threw in a shout of “I DO!” at the relevant point in the reading, which made the ceremony so much more fun and relaxed, exactly what we wanted!
We had Ben’s cousin, William, to bring up the rings, and the registrar was wonderful with him, explaining what to do, getting him to check the rings fit properly (ahem, Ben’s may not have done) and helping him. Again, it added the relaxed feel of the ceremony, making sure it wasn’t all formal and stuffy.
And so that’s our ceremony! It was such a beautiful part of the day that we both enjoyed so much, even though, like I said, Ben hates that sort of thing and being in front of people. All the personalisations we made to make it feel more “us” really helped and I’m so glad it all went well – apart from that pesky speaker!