Catherine & Sam Hackney’s Beautiful Late Summer Wedding at St Robert’s Church in Pannal and Wharfedale Grange
Well well, as we rapidly approach the end of the year, we always like to take a step back and soak in what it’s thrown at us. From weddings abroad, to amazing locations in the Lakes and stunning venues all over Yorkshire, there have been some highlights. But this venue, a brand new, purpose built luxury wedding venue really came out of nowhere. With it’s mix of rural location, recently renovated barn exterior and beautifully decorated interior, it had it all. Whether it’s for the reception or a full wedding, you won’t find a venue with more unique features. You can feel the love poured into the renovation. That place is Wharfedale Grange.
Situated between Leeds at Harrogate, just 15 minutes from Leeds City Centre, Wharfedale Grange is ideally located for anyone wanting a countryside feel with excellent privacy, yet it’s only a stones throw away from the vibrancy of a city centre and an upmarket town.
And with that we bring you the very first wedding we’ve covered at the venue, the wedding of Catherine & Sam Hackney.
Catherine & Sam lead very busy lives. Spreading their time between Harrogate & London, they never seem to stop. We can only begin to imagine how hard it was for them to organise such a beautiful wedding while they spent time away from each other and of course primarily living hundreds of miles away from their venue of choice. The mere fact it was achieved and they had so many of their family & friends there to help them celebrate is testament to them both.
During their planning stages we were quite involved as ideas for photos were thrown around and we got to see how they looked in front of a camera with a pre-wedding shoot. After one failed attempt at a local castle (they have a love for castles), where we were stopped and refused entry before we even managed to get into the grounds, we tried again. This time we were led by the couple and their location which in all honesty was perfect. Not only was it lush, overlooking their venue with amazing views, it also had a decaying castle ruin and wild deer running about. It really was worth the second attempt.
Anyway, the shoot went well, which was a perfect warm up to their big day. Catherine was very proactive in her ideas and what she wanted in the wedding photographs, sending photo styles back and forth with us, but she said all along that the shoot was really just to help make them comfortable in front of the camera. It was for that reason and the fact we got to see their chemistry that the shoot was a success.
Fast forward a few short weeks and we arrived at their wedding day….
The wedding itself fell right at the end of summer. We’d had an amazing summer in 2018 and even though we were at the wrong end of September, our luck held out and we had another beautiful day. In all honesty it caused its own problems due to the bright and very harsh low lying sun. But we’ll take that over cold, wind and rain any day of the week.
As this was a new venue for us, we’d done some homework. The venue itself was new so it was hard to source many ideas, so we arrived early and we took a while to become used to the place and all it’s features. Oh, there are lots of features….
Wharfedale Grange wedding photography was a new keyword, for us and the wedding photography market in general, so we had to find the lay of the land quickly. The place was that fresh you could almost smell the paint drying, but it was oh so beautiful.
After a good hour of wandering about looking at rooms, views, gardens, toilets (yes, if you ever go, make sure you visit the toilets; Prosecco tap anyone???), wall of lights, the barn and it’s features, we headed upstairs to a dedicated room where Catherine, mum and bridesmaids were happily getting ready. Music was playing, drinks being, erm, drunk and all in all it was quite a relaxing part of the day. The only signs of nerves from Catherine were when she was almost ready.
Before we left for the church where Sam was waiting with his band of merry men (well, three), Catherine handed out gifts for her beautiful bridesmaids and the emotion came flooding out. Tears, hugs, moments with her mum… It all happened in such a short space of time and we were glad to have been there to capture it.
We left Catherine to finish off her preps and took the short 2 mile journey to Pannal and St Robert’s Church where Sam was waiting. Except he wasn’t. In fact no-one was there… Not even the vicar. Luckily for us just a few minutes later Sam appeared with his best men and usher. The vicar not far behind. The church itself sat in a very picturesque little village just outside Harrogate and was an ideal place for such a lovely wedding.
Never before had we seen nerves on a groom like we did with Sam. Needing a few moments on his own to compose himself at times, it was really touching. Sam’s best men not really backing the poor guy up, instead finding it quite amusing, but as best men it’s all part of the banter during the day.
We rattled off a few photos of the guys before the vicar whisked Sam inside out of view. Guests were arriving in their droves and the church was buzzing. All that was left was for Catherine to arrive and make her grand entrance. It was all that and more.
When she reached the alter, Sam did extremely well to hold himself together. With the faintest of tears in his eyes, he glanced over to his bride to be and smiled a knowing smile. This was their day. Something they had planned for some time and seeing his beautiful bride at that moment was everything in one perfect capture.
The ceremony itself was lovely. Readings by both Catherine and Sam’s mum were really heart warming. Glances between Sam & Catherine all the way through the service were exactly what you’d expect. Sam himself saying he’s not really one for showing emotion really couldn’t help it. Weddings really are occasions where you just let it all go. Once you’re caught up in the day, there’s no stopping it.
Before long, newly weds Mr & Mrs Hackney were strolling back down the aisle, this time hand in hand. Nodding, smiling, laughing with their family and friends, they made their way into the grounds for the obligatory confetti photos and a few on their own outside the church.
It was back at Wharfedale Grange where the party started to heat up. The sun was still shining. The last of the summer warmth keeping guests outside. All drinking and chatting away on the terrace in front of the main building. Lovely canapes being served while they soaked up the atmosphere. What a stunning setting for the perfect English summer wedding.
Formal photos aside, this was as relaxed as they come. The only downside to this was Catherine and her fight with the sunshine. To say it caused her eyes some irritation was an understatement. But we ploughed on through and the alcohol was in full flow.
Talking of alcohol, it was difficult to take the happy couple away from it for long periods. Well that and their guests. It’s the hardest part of the day for a couple. Especially a couple who by their own admission don’t like having their photos taken. But they were fantastic. Considering how long it took going from location to location around the grounds, they were good sports. We understand it’s not easy. Every couple at some point feels like they’re missing out on their own wedding reception, so the photos have to be worth it and we hope we’ve done their day justice.
Moving rapidly forward through the day it was time for the wedding breakfast and the dreaded speeches. For us this is always the best part of the day. Maybe not for the groom and best men, but for us it always throws up some amazing reactions and off the cuff moments. It’s where we get to relax and let others talk in front of an audience. We always, ALWAYS, find guests pulling some hilarious faces. This was no different.
Once the wedding breakfast was over and the happy couple now well fuelled with both food and alcohol, we chanced our arm and asked if they wanted any more photos before the sun set. We were pleasantly surprised with a yes from both. That was when we found the room with the wall of lights. Wharfedale Grange’s eye catching ceremony room and backdrop. Out of all the features at the venue, that had to be the most visually stunning we’d come across. Just wow.
By this point Mr & Mrs Hackney wanted time to just chill out. No more photos. Just time spent with their guests to celebrate their day and night as things cranked up a notch with the introduction of a band. They set the scene for the night to come and as evening guests started to arrive, the venue became louder and louder. It was incredible.
In truth, we don’t think Catherine & Sam were looking forward to the first dance at all. But fair play to them, they got on with it and in front of probably 150 people, it was a nice way to really get the party going. Before their song had ended, guests had already joined them on the dancefloor and the place was jumping. You can’t beat busting shapes from wedding guests. It was one of the funniest parts of the day. Particularly from some of the ladies…
See for yourself how beautiful their day was, how great a summer we had and how amazing Wharfedale Grange really is…
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