A Cream and White, Rustic Yorkshire Abbey Wedding: Helen Corbett and Dr Robert Littlewood

29 Sep 2015

Once a great monastery, Byland Abbey in north Yorkshire, was the perfect setting for Manchester couple Helen Corbett and Robert Littlewood to celebrate their wedding ceremony and reception. Gothic ruins surrounded their pure cream and white rustic theme making it a unique day to remember

Photography by ARJ Photography


The couple tell Bride about taking their vows while merging an ancient setting with new-age romance.


Did you have a venue in mind?
About four years ago we stumbled on Byland Abbey when we went for a drive in the country. We instantly fell in love with the place and said what a fantastic setting it would be for a wedding (albeit, marriage was not on the cards at that time). When we got engaged two years later, we met Jane Nordli, the wedding coordinator for the abbey, and the rest is history.  



When did you know when youd found the dress?
I loved every dress I tried on but initially none of them had the wowfactor that everyone talked about. I thought I mustnt be a wowkind of person. That was until I found the dress. I tried it on, loved it, said wowa million times and didnt want to take it off I knew it was the one.




What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The colour scheme was cream and white, and the flowers were white hydrangeas and gypsophila. The theme was rustic and country. We wanted the wedding to be very personal so we made a number of decorations. Our parents were amazing and their help was invaluable. As the theme of our wedding was rustic, Gordon (Helens dad) made wooden name-place holders. We had the idea on a walk one day and then we set my dad the challenge of making 140 of them. Robs granddad (Stanley Littlewood) painted a tree for our guests to put their fingerprint on, as an alternative to a guest book. 


For our wedding breakfast we had a served gourmet barbecue. Between the main course and dessert we had pictures and some of our guests played garden games such as cricket and badminton. It was great fun exploring the abbey in our wedding attire.

Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail tell us about the details of the day.
The marquee and the abbey were filled with different-size lanterns. The table centres were birdcages. We also put pictures of us around the Abbey Inn and in the marquee we had pictures of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day. We made little signs around the abbey and used wooden stumps from a tree we had cut down as decoration. We also had garden games cricket, badminton, bowls and giant jenga. 


Our favours were personalised geocaches for each guest (Rob popped the question using a geocache). We also made a donation to Parkinsons UK and the British Legion in memory of two of our granddads who sadly couldnt be with us.  




How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
The sun started to shine and I was beaming from ear to ear. When I arrived at the abbey, James Bachelor (one of the ushers) told me I needed to I walk around the ruin which added to the excitement. As the abbey is lacking in walls the ushers had the difficult task of trying to conceal me from our guests with umbrellas as we walked around it my bridesmaids, my dad, the ushers and I couldnt stop laughing as we commenced our hiketo Rob. I was told that our constant laughing probably gave the game away that we had arrived. I wrote a card for Rob to read before I walked down the aisle which stated how I couldnt wait to become his wife and give him a kiss. 



What song did you choose for your first dance?
Best Day of My Life by American Authors which was sung by our live band. The band were really interactive with our guests and they got everybody on the dancefloor.


Tell us about your wedding cake.
A family friend made the wedding cake. I love the colour grey so our cake was grey. We also had a cake made out of cheese.



Where did you go on honeymoon?
South Africa. We visited Cape Town, Winelands, Safari (at Kruger and Sabi Sands) and finished by diving and relaxing in the Seychelles. It was truly amazing.



Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
We produced a time schedule for the day which was really helpful for the ushers and suppliers. It might sound clichébut just enjoy the day. It will go very quickly so enjoy every minute of it and try not to get stressed. Its your day and it will be better than you will imagine.  

For more real wedding inspiration, pre-order your copy of Yorkshire Bride now


Steal their Style:

Photography: ARJ Photography, Cheshire, www.arj-photo.co.uk
Venue:The Abbey Inn, Byland Abbey, www.jane-nordli.co.uk
Dress: Justine Alexandra, Cheshire Brides of Frodsham, www.cheshirebrides.co.uk
Make-Up: Perfection Mobile Beauty Therapy, www.perfectionbeautyyork.co.uk
Hair: Gillian Robson

Cake: Homemade
Catering: The Durham Ox, Crayke. www.thedurhamox.com
Bridesmaid Dresses: Oh My Love, www.ohmylovelondon.com
Flowers: Queens Flowers of York,
01653 628702
Marquee:Premiere Event Marquees, www.premiereventmarquees.co.uk
Videography: Silk Wedding Film, silkweddingfilms.co.uk
Entertainment: South West band, www.southwestband.co.uk; Guitar player, Jade Gallagher, gallagherjade@yahoo.co.uk

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