Becky & Matt's Wonderful Godwick Hall & Great Barn Wedding
Tell us how you met and how long you’ve been together?
We met during our first year at the University of York. We were in the same halls so saw each other around, but first got together on the Viking Raid bar crawl during the Summer term. We have been together 9 ½ years and were together for just over 8 years when Matt finally popped the question.
How did he pop the question?
Matt proposed to me on Moraine Lake in Canada when we were on holiday during August 2016. We were a week into our trip and I hadn’t noticed that Matt had never let his rucksack (containing the ring) out of his sight during that week. The night before he proposed, he suggested that we went on a boat ride on the lake the next day and had pretended to look on the internet for a boat company and book one. Little did I know that he had booked one weeks before. The next morning I asked what time he had booked the boat for and he looked through his emails to check. He managed to hide his feelings of panic very well when he realised that he had accidentally booked the boat for Maligne Lake rather than Moraine Lake. Luckily, when he checked they also had boats available to hire at Moraine Lake. That morning we went to the beautiful Emerald Lake before arriving at the equally as stunning Moraine Lake after lunch. Matt’s plan was slightly hindered when he realised that the boats for hire were Canadian style canoes rather than the rowing boat that he had initially booked…not quite as easy for getting down on one knee! We got on the boat and rowed to the other side of the lake. Matt suggested that we pulled up at the side of the lake for a ‘cookie stop’ and proceeded to bring it to the front of the boat where I was sat. I was laughing and shouting “you’re going to capsize the boat” when I turned round to see that he was on one knee holding out an engagement ring. I of course said “yes” and held onto the ring very tightly to avoid it going anywhere near the water. Later that night, Matt had booked us into the Fairmont Hotel overlooking Lake Louise and we celebrated with a tasty meal and lots of bubbly.
Tell us about the wedding planning – how far in advance did you start?
We got engaged August 2016 and got married October 2017. I started making a scrapbook and searching venues almost as soon as we got back from our trip to Canada and we booked the venue October 2016.
Was there any part you particularly enjoyed?
I loved the whole planning process and really enjoyed looking for lots of ideas and inspiration on Pinterest. I really enjoyed getting creative and making decorations for the barn. This involved collecting lots of leaves to stick on string and decorating wooden pallets. The food tasting and wine tasting were obviously great fun too!
Did you get other people to help?
My sister and one of the bridesmaids knew that every time I invited them round for dinner it was really because I wanted them to use their artistic skills to create something for the wedding! I made sure I cooked them something tasty as payment! They had to write lots of name place settings and help decorate the table plan which Matt had constructed…a sign with lots of arrows pointing in different directions and the names of places that we have visited together and the names of all the guests. We love travelling so we wanted to make sure we had these elements in the wedding. One of our friends did a great job making our invitations for us and another friend sketched a tree onto a canvas so that all the guests could stamp their finger prints on the day. It was great to have these personal touches from our friends.
Did you have a theme? If so, how did you work it into the day?
As we were getting married and having the evening reception in a barn we went for a country style theme. The bridesmaids dresses were mint green so we had elements of mint green tied into the wedding such as ribbons around jam jars and green in the flowers. We also had pink in the flowers to tie in with the mint green. We had log slices as part of the centrepieces on each table and some fake logs clustered on the floor. We put lots of candles in jars and fairy lights everywhere! It turns out Matt is a fan of fairy lights!
Tell us about the dress?
I looked at lots of dressed online first and saved photos into an album on my phone. Once I found a few designers I liked the look of I looked for shops nearby who stocked those designers. I went to 3 dress shops in one day. In the first shop I tried on dresses of all shapes and sizes including a big princess dress, but decided I wouldn’t actually be able to get anywhere near my husband wearing one of those dresses. It turns out that all my favourite styles of dresses in the photos were the type that suited me best. I found two that I really liked in the last shop (although I was pretty sure even at this point which one I liked best). The ladies working in the shop were amazing and didn’t put any pressure on me to make a decision that day. It was really useful to take pictures so I could go away and have a think about it and look back at the pictures. I went back a month or so later and tried the two dresses on and knew straight away which one I wanted. I was so so happy with the dress and loved it so much. The illusion neckline and back of the dress were so pretty that I kept telling people to take pictures of the back rather than the front. The dress was so light and comfortable that I knew I would be able to dance the night away in it. I loved that the dress had a bit of sparkle and didn’t like any of the plainer ones once I’d tried this one on!
Any wedding planning tips?
Look on Facebook for more local, smaller suppliers. I found the florist and cake designer on Facebook and they did an amazing job at a reasonable price. Make a scrapbook to help you get an idea of themes etc. Go back to visit the venue a few times if you can so you can work out what kind of decoration you would like and the layout of the venue. Godwick Great Barn were fantastic at allowing us to do this and nothing seemed too much trouble.
Take us through your big day?
Myself, Matt, our families and the bridesmaids and ushers stayed at Godwick Hall the night before which was great as it meant that we could make a longer weekend of it. I stayed in the hall and Matt stayed in one of the shepherd’s huts in the grounds. Our wedding will always be known as the ‘windy wedding’ as storm Brian decided to pay a visit that week. Luckily, it was dry all day, but VERY windy! Matt and the ushers went to the barn to set up final bits in the barn (e.g. meet the florist and put the cake out) whilst us girls had a relaxing morning of being pampered. We all got ready in the bridal suite and had our hair and make-up done. Matt might argue that we were a little too relaxed as we were half an hour late for the ceremony! The bridesmaids and mum went to the venue on the back of a tractor (a little windy). Their faces were a picture! The tractor then came back to collect me and dad. Dad had the job or holding on to my veil the whole way to stop it flying off in the wind! The ceremony was lovely and I was so surprised how relaxed I was. We are often told we are the Colgate couple as we are both so smiley. I think the smiles were looking even cheesier than usual. We had some close friends doing some readings (one which we wrote) which was a lovely personal touch. After the ceremony we attempted the confetti throw outside…not so easy in the middle of storm Brian. I think the guests got covered in most of the confetti. The photos are brilliant though and some of our favourites from the day. After some time chatting to guests Matt and I got on the back of the tractor together and were driven up to the ruins near the barn. Mark, the poor photographer had to run along behind us trying to keep up. We had lots of photos with the ruins and with the barn in the background. The sun came out for a bit which made for some lovely photos. Once the sun went in I started to turn a lovely shade of blue so we hopped back on the tractor and re-joined the guests in the barn for the wedding breakfast. We had tapas and a trio of desserts. We loved how sociable the tapas style sharing dishes were and so did the guests. The speeches were brilliant and unfortunately for me I was subject to almost as many jokes as the groom was in the best man speech! Once the band arrived we cut the cake and did our first dance to the Lumineers Ho Hey. The band (Holly and the Heels) were amazing! They are an acoustic band and performed in the middle of the dance floor amongst the guests. They are a jukebox stlye band and therefore the guests could shout out song requests and they would just start playing and improvising as they went along. I think half the guests thought they were in Pitch Perfect joining in with the singing. They set up the mics for the second set and continued to play some great tunes. The dance floor was packed all night long. The GoPro videos that our friends filmed for us throughout the night are so funny to watch. Meanwhile the football table in the bar was very well used and some very competitive competitions took place. The make shift photobooth (a camera set on a timer on a tripod) was a great hit and most of the guests were wearing some sort of hat or fancy dress by the end of the night. A pizza van in the evening was very popular with all the guests. The night came to a finish at 1am. It was such a surreal whirlwind of a day which we would both love to do again!!!
Tell us about your favourite moments?
The speeches were amazing and we are so glad that we filmed them so that we can watch them over and over again. We loved dancing the night away with all of our guests. It was also great to have some time together on our tractor ride to have a moment to take everything in.
If you haven’t already, can you tell us a bit about the following:
Godwick Great Barn – a beautiful barn set on a working farm with the ruins of an old church on the grounds. The venue is a blank canvas and comes with tables and chairs, some kitchen equipment and you can hire their bar for the evening, but the rest is up to you to plan and organise which means you can really put your stamp on it.
A three tiered cake with fresh flowers on top. We had one Victoria sponge layer, one chocolate orange cake layer and one lemon cake layer. We over-estimated the size of our canoe cake topper so placed it in front of the cake instead to remind us of the proposal. It was made by a lady from Jazzy Cupcakes.
Our flowers were done by ‘Flowers by Jasmine’ who is an independent florist who we found on Facebook. She was very professional and designed some beautiful bouquets, table decorations and button holes in a range of pink and green shades.
Our food was made by Alex Chef. We had canapes with the drinks reception, tapas for the main meal and a trio of desserts. The food was delicious and we got to taste test it all at a tasting beforehand.
The band are a 4 piece acoustic band called Holly and the Heels. They performed with so much energy and really got everyone up and dancing. They played such a good selection of songs. Once the band had finished we plugged our own music into the PA system.
Mark Ewels was our photographer for the day. We met him during the planning stages to look through some of his work and to discuss what he wanted. He is so passionate about photography and this really comes across as soon as you speak to him. He has a really good website which really showcases his work and this is one of the things that drew us to his work in the first place. He was so great at keeping in contact over email and came to see the venue beforehand to have a look around. He stayed from first thing in the morning to the dancing in the evening and got such a good range of shots which really captured the day.
Hair and make-up
This was done by Sarah Swain. I had a hair and make-up trial before hand which was a great way of trying out different styles.
We hired the suits from Moss Bross and bought some grey bow ties from a website to go with the suits.
We bought lots of little shot bottles and my brother made a massive batch of espresso martini to put in the bottles. The groom is known for falling asleep after a few drinks so the coffee helped to prevent this…they were very strong so we’re not sure anyone slept that night!
Our friend made our invitations. We made our save the dates which included a little label with the wedding details which was tied onto a pencil with the words ‘pencil us in.’ Unfortunately, putting a pencil in an envelope makes it a large letter…we ended up spending a fortune on stamps!
We stayed there the night before so only needed the tractor for transport and this was included with the venue.
Any tips for the big day itself
Try and talk to your guests between courses at the wedding breakfast as this is a good way to try and get to talk to as many people as possible. Have an emergency kit with you with anything you might need for the day e.g. safety pins, plasters, flat shoes, deodorant, perfume, mints etc. Write a list of jobs and contact details for the ushers to keep track of throughout the day so that you don’t have to worry about any of that during the day.