The luxury Woodlands boutique hotel, nestled amid dramatically landscaped parkland and forest on the edge of Leeds city centre, was the ideal setting for this long-time couple’s elegantly intimate wedding.
Carly first met superbike rider Daniel in 2005 at a motorcycle fundraising event, but it wasn’t until 2009 that they reconnected romantically. “And we’ve been together ever since,” says the happy bride.
And on what must have been the most perfect Christmas morning ever for Carly, Dan popped the question with a special message hidden inside a bauble on the tree.
Low-key and thoughtful, like the pair themselves, the proposal set in motion their plans for a relaxed, fun-filled big day. Or rather, Carly’s plans, as she says her groom gave her free rein to choose the look and décor of the day. “And that’s why I married him!” she laughs.
After scoping out four other venues, the couple fell in love with the laidback yet stately splendour of Woodlands.
With endless ceremony and reception options, sensitively updated period interiors, ample accommodation, magnificent country vistas and impressive grounds, it ticked every box for Daniel and Carly – who were even appointed their very own wedding planner, Victoria.
Between her tireless dedication and the on-the-day team ensuring this once-in-a-lifetime occasion was the stuff of dreams, the pair say that they were made to feel like their special day was the only one the hotel hosted. What more could a bride and groom ask for?
While the structure of Carly and Daniel’s big day came together with relative ease, the same can’t be said for the bride’s wedding-dress shopping.
“I tried on more than 60 dresses and almost gave up,” Carly admits, “with only four or five months to go, I had very limited options, as usually you need to order a gown six months in advance.”
Luckily, her best friend secured her an appointment at Tickled Pink, where she met the one (well almost): a full-length Kelsey Rose number with a semi-sheer embroidered lace bodice and flowing tulle bias-cut skirt.
“I loved it, but wasn’t a fan of the sleeves. But the boutique manager suggested removing the sleeves and using the lace as extra detail on my veil, and the rest is history.”
We think you’ll agree, the end result – complete with a soft updo and faux-fur capelet to beat the early-spring chill – is a simply stunning bridal look.
For Daniel and Carly, the big bonus of having Woodlands as their big-day backdrop was that the exclusive-use hotel could host every element of their day, from ‘I do’ to wedding breakfast to last dance, meaning that their loved ones could focus on enjoying themselves and making lots of wonderful memories.
With a subtle-chic colour palette of muted pinks to complement the venue’s luxurious grey and cream décor, the ceremony took place in the intimate Mulsanne Suite, where guests were seated on Chiavari chairs draped with dusky rose-coloured sashes, on either side of an aisle lined with confetti petals.
After the vows, the reception got underway with a sophisticated sit-down meal in the beautiful marquee. Adorned with beautiful pink and white roses, towering candelabra centrepieces and twinkling chandeliers, the space was the picture of refined elegance.
But it was the after-dinner dancefloor and lit-up LOVE letters that got the party well and truly started, resulting in guests of all ages throwing energetic shapes to a killer playlist of disco hits and movie soundtrack gems – with the finale of Dirty Dancing’s (I’ve had) The Time of My Life almost leading to a You’ve Been Framed moment.
Having been impressed with her work for a family member’s business and her wedding package options, Carly chose to entrust local photographer Hannah Brooke with capturing all of the special moments.
“She was eager and friendly, and provided an engagement shoot, which helped us get any awkwardness out of the way ahead of time, and meant we have two lovely sets of photos!”
Shout out to hero of the day, Jodi – Carly’s maid of honour, and the one who could be counted upon to run around behind the scenes fixing things even the bride herself didn’t know needed fixing. Now that’s what we call a BFF.
Words from the Bride:
“Don’t worry about anyone else’s opinion: it’s your day, so do what you want. And savour every moment, because you’ll be living a memory that you’ll want to remember for the rest of your life.”Real Weddings section, or take a look at the glossy pages of our regional magazine now available for download from the Google Play and App Store.