An elegant blue themed wedding at Hornington Manor in York

14 Jul 2021

Jemma McColm married Benjamin Dunnill during an intimate summer ceremony at Hornington Manor in front of 37 guests

Tell us about the proposal.

The proposal was a complete shock, and a night I’ll never forget. Ben and I had gone on holiday to Las Vegas for a week, and the second night we were there we went for a meal at a restaurant in front of the Bellagio fountains. It was the most beautiful setting, and the waiter sat us down at a table outside, front and centre of the fountains, I couldn’t believe our luck! 

Ben walked off to the toilet and at this point the fountains and the music started, I was so miffed he was missing it! All of a sudden, the waiter came back and placed a chocolate sculpture in front of me. I just had time to read the sign at the bottom of it that said “will you marry me?” before it collapsed! 

The waiter was mortified but I think it broke the tension pretty well, I was in complete shock and insistent he’d brought this over to the wrong table. I turned around and Ben was there on one knee. I instantly burst into tears and everyone around us was cheering. 

The rest of the night was such a blur, we celebrated with many drinks and a trip up the Vegas Eiffel Tower. There were a lot of happy tears but I was still in a state of shock as I had no idea Ben had been planning it for so long. He did really well and they are memories we will cherish forever.


How was your wedding affected by Covid-19?

We postponed our wedding once, it was meant to be on April 17, 2021. We wanted reassurance that we could have at least 30 people there, so we made the decision in January 2021 to postpone. There was a cap on numbers, and also guests had to wear masks for the ceremony.  

We also lost our original hairdresser with the new date and our photographer, so we had to book new suppliers. 

We would love to hold a bigger celebration around our one year anniversary, just to include everyone that we couldn’t have there.


What venue did you choose and why did you choose it? 

Hornington Manor was our venue. We both had this sudden feeling as soon as we left after viewing it - it was the one! Nestled in the middle of fields for privacy, a stunning manor house for us all to stay in, the barn was the perfect rustic setting we were searching for. It just felt so us, we couldn’t have imagined anything more perfect.


How did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress? 

As soon as I tried it on. It didn’t grab me instantly when looking at it on the hanger, but when I tried it on it felt perfect and I felt it matched me as a person. When I came out from behind the curtain to show my mum and she burst into tears, I knew it was the one. The designer was Enzoani. I probably tried on about 12 dresses in total. 

Does the dress match the one you originally thought you would choose? 

It’s a similar colour to the one I thought I would choose, but mine had a lot more of a train - which I loved - and also it had straps. Ever since I was a little girl I always envisioned a strapless dress but my actual dress was better than I could ever have imagined.


Who were the bridesmaids and what did they wear? 

My bridesmaids were my three closest friends, Chloe, Amy and Nicola, who I have all known individually for a very long time. They mean the world to me, so I wanted to make sure they all felt comfortable with their dresses. They all wore different styles in dusty blue from JJ’s House.

Where did you find your suits? 

They were all from Slater Menswear. Ben always had an idea of what he wanted so he didn’t struggle to find his suit.


Did you hire a wedding planner?

We didn’t have a wedding planner. We did it all ourselves with help from family and friends. I don’t think I’d change that decision if I could go back, I enjoyed every aspect of planning.

Tell us about your floral arrangements. 

All our bouquets, buttonholes, floral decorations were from The Floral Touch in Rotherham. We knew we wanted faux arrangements from the start, ones we could keep forever. These were all very neutral colours. The bouquets were all winter white silk peonies and roses with grey-green eucalyptus. The bridal bouquet stem was wrapped with cut off remnants of the wedding dress to give it that sparkle and to match the bride. The buttonholes and corsages consisted of the winter white roses, and the little flower girls had the same on the end of their flower wands. 


Tell us about the details of the day. 

Our favours doubled up as name place settings. They were everyone’s names carved out of wood from a little company called Here’s to Us. Everyone loved them and took them home. Our tables were all named after Las Vegas hotels as it holds a very special place in our hearts. 

How did you feel as you walked down the aisle? 

Extremely nervous - my legs were shaking, and I was trying so hard not to fall over! As soon as I saw Ben all that melted away and I just could not stop crying. It was the best feeling of happiness I’ve ever had in my whole life.

What was your most memorable moment? 

There’s so many, it’s hard to choose! We both agree it was that moment we saw each other, as I was walking down the aisle. I don’t think we’ve ever felt such emotion in an instant, such happiness. We really couldn’t believe this is real and it’s happening.


What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding? 

Definitely the impact of coronavirus. It’s hard enough planning a wedding in normal times, but with the constant threat of cancellation and lockdowns, it makes it twice as stressful. But we will say it made it even more special. It felt amazing, and almost an achievement to finally get married despite everything going on. Plus it was the first social event out of lockdown for a lot of our guests so everyone really let loose and enjoyed themselves. 

What was the most important investment for you? 

We think it’s the venue. Hornington Manor meant so much to us, and all of our guests could not get over how stunning it is. It really made us feel like we were living a fairy-tale the whole weekend, and I think that’s something everyone wants to get from their wedding.


What song did you choose for your first dance, and why? 

We chose Fantasy by Mariah Carey. We absolutely love the Rush Hour films and this song would always stick in our heads whenever we watch them. We just knew it had to be our first dance song, as cheesy as it is.

Did you have any evening entertainment? 

We had a DJ, Glow of Love, and he was absolutely fantastic. Dancing and singing was the best entertainment for everyone, just because none of us had done it in so long.


Tell us about your wedding cake. 

We wanted a simple, rustic wedding cake. Nothing over the top, but something that tasted amazing. I had had some sample cakes from Sponge Ltd before and I was so excited to learn they did wedding cakes. We went for a three tier cake; the bottom layer was chocolate orange, the second layer was lemon drizzle and the top tier was made up of four baby sponges - two being chocolate orange and two being lemon drizzle. It was decorated with faux gypsophila and a little bunting sign on top saying “just married”. Everyone that had some commented on how nice it was.

If you could go back and change anything, what would it be? 

I really don’t think we would change a thing. Everything was perfect, even the weather. Small silly things that went wrong, but it didn’t matter. Imperfections made it perfect. 


Did anything go wrong on the day? 

It wouldn’t be a wedding if something didn’t go wrong. We lost the table plan cards that showed people where they are sitting. They were meant to be pinned up on a fairy light board as you go into the reception barn. Luckily no one noticed and everyone found their seats from the name place setting on the tables.

Was there anything you wish you’d known before? 

We wish we’d known just how fast the day, or even weekend for us, goes.


Where did you go on honeymoon? 

We went down to Bath for four nights. We went the day after we came back from the wedding just so we could catch up on sleep and repack. We are planning on going on a big honeymoon abroad next year once covid settles down.

Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages? 

Just that the little things you are stressing about, really don’t matter. They will all melt away when it comes to the big day, and you’ll be enjoying yourself too much to care. Also, to absorb every moment of the planning stage, as it’s very much like Christmas. There’s lots of build up and then it’s all over before you know it, so enjoy every single second - it will be the best day of your life.


Steal Their Style 

Photography: Rosehip Wedding And Lifestyle Photographers  
Venue: Hornington Manor 
Dress: Perfect Daze Bridal 
Hair: BB Hair & Beauty 
Bridesmaids’ dresses: JJ’s House 
Groom’s Outfit: Slater Menswear 
Stationery: Dotty About Paper 
Cake: Sponge Ltd  
Flowers: The Floral Touch (UK) Ltd  
Venue dresser: Limelight Wedding Emporium  
Entertainment: Edward Duncan – DJ – Glow of Love  
Catering: F4D Events 

Click here for more real wedding inspiration! 

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