Long before the 2020 pandemic enforced restrictions on numbers, Sophie and James decided that what they really wanted to celebrate their marriage was an intimate wedding day at a beautiful house in the Yorkshire Dales.
Their wedding, at Grassfield Hall in Pateley Bridge, included a humanist ceremony led by me, live music by Glen Roughead, catering by Babaganoush, styling by Lisa and the bride and groom's mums and 30 guests who'd had a huge impact on their lives and would continue to do so.
Music: XO by John Mayer and Dancing in the Moonlight by Jubel and NEIMY
Readings: Excerpt from Chaos of the Stars, On Your Wedding Day, and an adapted Jewish Blessing
Symbolic Acts: Wedding vows, exchange of rings, certificate signing
These gorgeous photos by Bright Sight Photography give a flavour of how beautiful and relaxed their ceremony was and then read Sophie's verdict on having a small wedding before you watch their video at the end! Thank you to Sophie, James and Cameron at Bright Side Photography for use of the images and video.
How did having an intimate wedding feel on the day?
We loved having an intimate ceremony, it was probably the highlight of the day! Just having the ability to tell our nearest and dearest our story, from how we met, to how we fell in love, the engagement and right up to present day. We had so many lovely comments about how intimate and loving the ceremony was, as well as how much it reflected the two of us.
Did having a smaller wedding allow you to raise the budget a little on the things that were important to you – like the venue, live musician, styling, catering – or did it allow you to stick to a sensible budget?
It allowed us to stick to a similar budget. We originally only had 35 people on the list, so dropping to the 30 didn't make too much of a difference.
Why did you choose a humanist wedding and how did your guests/parents react to the ceremony? (would it have been the same vibe with a civil ceremony?)
We didn't want a bog standard, run of the mill ceremony. Although the registrars are great, the ceremonies aren't personal to you as a couple. Everyone loved the ceremony and only a select few knew it wasn't actually legal.
If you were to do it all over again, would you do anything differently?
Absolutely not, it was perfect!
If you were to give anyone a piece of advice about having a small wedding, what would it be?
Enjoy it for what it is. The benefit of a smaller wedding is that you can actually speak to all your guests and spend a good amount of time with them! It also made taking photographs super streamlined!
Would you recommend a humanist wedding to couples planning their wedding?
Over and over and over again.
What did you do after the ceremony?
We had a quick sip of champagne before we did the confetti throwing shots. Then we were able to enjoy our fizz and canapes from our wonderful caterers Baba Ganoush. After official photographs we had our wedding breakfast followed by speeches. In the evening we had our cake cutting and first dance. We then had live music from Glen Roughead and just enjoyed some chilled out time with our family and friends. It really was the relaxed wedding we always wanted.
Photography and video: Bright Sight Photography
Sophie's dress - The Harrogate Wedding Lounge James' & the Groomsmans suits - Moss Bros Florist for the personal flowers - Frances & Rose Caterer - Baba Ganoush York Musician - Glen Roughead Mums dresses - Snooty Frox Bridesmaids dresses - Asos