Choosing a wedding venue was no easy matter. We debated over booking a tiny wedding abroad, but when we realised having our families there was a priority and not all of them would be able to make it, we started looking closer to home. In fact, it ended up being a lot closer to home than we at first anticipated!
Newburgh Priory was originally an Augustinian priory that dates back to 1145. It fell prey to dissolution in 1538 but later became a family home, as it still exists today. Throughout the year, it’s hired out for select events and has open weekends occasionally to allow people to tour the building. Due to its age, the building is rambling with additions from various eras including Georgian and Victorian. You saw the ceremony room in my last wedding post here, but today I’ll talk more about the grounds and how we used the venue for the reception in addition to the ceremony.
We decided to keep our whole day in one place for the sake of ease, plus we were lucky to be able to have everything we wanted right there on our doorstep – Newburgh Priory is only a few miles from home for us which made life a WHOLE lot easier when we were trailing back and forth with various DIY decorations!
In addition to this, they were very flexible in terms of location of the marquee, drinks reception and even the ceremony. Plus, just look how pretty it is!
We decided to hold our drinks reception in the burned down Long Gallery. As soon as we saw this gorgeous ruined space, we knew we wanted to use it. I’ve seen some weddings where they held the ceremony in here, which is just gorgeous, but in the UK, you need to be under a roof to make it a legal ceremony.
Since we wanted everything done in one day, we chose indoors for the ceremony and had our caterers set up drinks and canapés in the ruins of the Long Gallery. Had the weather been inclement, we were prepared for drinks indoors, but luckily, we could take advantage of the stunning space thanks to the lovely sunny weather on the day.
One of the biggest draws of Newburgh Priory for us was the outside space and views over the North Yorkshire countryside we both grew up in. Above you can see the driveway up to the house that I approached with my bridesmaids in the VWs, and the landscaped lawn area leading down to the lake with views over the Kilburn White Horse. We can actually see this view from where we live – in fact, we could see it from our the lane in our old house! – so it makes it all the more personal to us. Plus it’s somewhere that’s so close, we’ve actually taken photos here before!
Newburgh Priory does require a marquee for the evening reception, but this can be set up either out the front by the lake (we decided against this for safety reasons – we had several children and potentially drunk adults!), within the ruins of the Long Gallery, or on the south lawned area out the back.
In addition to this, Newburgh Priory has a variety of different outdoor spaces ideal for portrait photo taking – you’ll see some more of these in an upcoming post (we’re nearly done, I swear!), including walled gardens, water gardens, woodland, and wild meadows.
If I thought choosing a venue was difficult, choosing a marquee was even harder! I’d gone into the whole wedding planning process saying that I would never have a marquee – I just didn’t like them for the style of wedding I envisaged for us.
That was until I came across sailcloth marquees. These are light and airy canvases that seem to have until recently been more popular in the US and have only just started gaining recognition here. We loved the combination of traditional elements like the wooden pole alongside modern twists – the sides that could be raised entirely, and the sailcloth canvas that had a luminous glow at night time. It incorporated exactly what we wanted – the feeling of being outside while also being under cover.
Marquees are prettyyy expensive though, it turns out. I enquired with a number of companies trying to work one into our budget, and Shades Canvas turned out to have an awesome package that worked for us with their Aurora Sailcloth marquee. We managed to work out a good package to include all the furniture and extras to be set up and hired from them too rather than finding these elsewhere.
In terms of the marquee interior layout, we’d originally planned to have long tables where everyone was all mixed together. In the end, this proved tricky to organise – not to mention more expensive as we couldn’t use all the available space wisely.
We had “vineyard” style dining tables with a mixture of benches and cross back chairs to accommodate our different guests. These had a rustic but finished look which meant they didn’t need tablecloths or big centrepieces (plus our big sharing platters – post to come soon!) covered this job too!
The details are what really made our wedding shine for us. We didn’t stick to any specific theme, but instead incorporated a selection of everything we loved. I guess you could say the overall theming was quirky English garden party, but we also had a good spread of Disney elements, a whole lot of colourful origami cranes (it was supposed to be 1000, but we ended up with a few extra!), some copper and lots of greenery.
From the get-go, everyone knew we’d have at least a few Disney elements to our wedding! As Disney addicts (yes, Ben too nowadays!) who took our honeymoon in Walt Disney World, we couldn’t not!
We actually kept these elements pretty low-key though, but here are a few close ups including the Mickey napkins, the table names (each was a classic Disney ride) and a few hidden Mickeys – the cake was a big one for this, but I threw a couple of Mickeys into the decor I created in the months leading up to the wedding. Speaking of which…
DIY ended up being a big part of our big day! While it may not be very time-saving, or all that even budget-saving admittedly, crafts are kind of my thing. I ended up designing our seating plan plus a few boards and banners we had dotted around. Above you can see the “I love you to infinity and beyond” sign that I designed and had created by Signomatic that sat behind the top table, the wooden easel with the welcome message, and a chalkboard painted with our wedding hashtag. Some of these took a lot of effort to figure out, but none so much as the coordination that went into…
The infamous origami cranes! Yes, we really did decorate our marquee with over 1000 of these! We were super lucky that Beth’s boyfriend figured out an easy(ish!) way to string them between the poles of the marquee (let’s just say that EVERY DIY wedding needs fishing line!). They were also scattered across the tables and bar amongst the greenery, and hung from our seating plan which was created out of an old IKEA rail spray painted copper.
The final element was the candy bar, created out of an old desk from Ben’s parents, a few sweetie jars from IKEA, another Signomatic sign and some striped candy bags stamped with our wedding “logo” from the English Stamp Company. We actually ended up with a surprising amount of these sweets left at the end of the night!
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