Legally Bond - John and Zoe Williams (née Adams)
25 Jul 2011
Legally Bond - John and Zoe Williams (née Adams)
In the middle of romantic parkland in North Yorkshire, lawyers Zoe and John Williams plighted their troth
Originally from County Antrim in Northern Ireland, I settled in Leeds to study Law and have worked in Yorkshire ever since. I first met John through a work event in February 2005. We were both attending a rather dull lecture and, in order to pass the time, I offered the contents of a bag of jelly babies to those sitting close to me. When John introduced himself, it was his strong, resonant voice and cheeky smile that I first noticed. I remember being disappointed when he left early. I was thrilled, however, when John got in touch a few days later and asked me out. We clicked instantly.
Three and a half years on, we booked a five-day romantic break to Rome. By this time, John had selected a solitaire and had commissioned a ring to be made for me that was entirely unique. On a warm autumn evening, we enjoyed an alfresco dinner, washed down with a fine bottle of Champagne. Ever the romantic, John bought me some roses at the Trevi Fountain and, after throwing in a few coins, I turned around to find that John had dropped to one knee. At first I thought he’d slipped until, very emotionally, he asked me to do him the honour of becoming his wife. I was speechless – he had completely taken me by surprise. I bent down and kissed him immediately and said yes, before hearing a roar of applause and cheers from the crowds of smiling tourists.
When deciding on venues, what really endorsed the decision were the elegant and romantic settings that Bolton Abbey and Ripley Castle had to offer. Both would provide the perfect backdrop for the regal style of wedding with a contemporary feel that I wanted.
We chose to get married at noon on 15th May 2010. The professional approach and attention to the tiniest detail enabled me to have total confidence in the team at Ripley Castle to deliver precisely the kind of day that we were looking for. The whole experience of working with Jenny Carter, our dedicated wedding planner, was terrific.
John and I shared all the big decisions, and it was also important for me to ensure that my mum was involved in the planning. I have fond memories of us spending months together travelling around the UK searching for my dress. In the end, I fell head-over-heels in love with ‘Dominica’ from Ian Stuart’s Paramount Collection. For me, it looked stunning from every angle, and had the impact and elegance I wanted. For my teardrop-shaped bouquet, I chose roses and spray roses, clusters of dried lavender, lilac, lisianthus, frilly edged tulips, scented freesia, hyacinth and bells of Ireland.
I struggled to find a cake design that reflected the style of my dress and my choice of flowers. We eventually used the bespoke wedding cake service at Robineau Patisserie in Darlington; Jane and Frédéric Robineau designed a five-tier cake, each layer a different flavour. All of the individual handmade sugar paste flowers were incredible and matched my bouquet perfectly, whilst the flower and petal iced detailing complemented the lace of my dress.
We spent a day with our photographer, Steve Ramsden, on a pre-wedding shoot to maximise our chances of capturing some really great images. On the wedding day itself, all of this information proved to be absolutely priceless. During our pre-wedding research, neither John nor I encountered a photographer who was prepared to invest this much time and effort in our wedding.
At 5am on the morning of the wedding, I nervously peeked through the curtains and saw the most incredible deep blue sky. From the moment I got up I simply couldn’t stop smiling. I kept wondering how John was feeling; I couldn’t wait to see him. He had arranged for the most fantastic bunch of flowers to be delivered to the room, along with my ‘something new and blue’ – an absolutely stunning diamond and sapphire bracelet! My ‘something old’ and ‘something borrowed’ was a broach that belonged to my late maternal grandmother, which I arranged to be included within my bouquet to remember her on the day. I had also selected lilac in my flowers to remember my late paternal grandmother – her favourite flower.
First to arrive at 6am that morning were my bridesmaids, shortly followed by my hairdresser, and make-up artist. Once ready, we were chauffeured to Bolton Abbey by Melvyn Dignan and his team from Exclusive Wedding Cars in two gorgeous 1920 Beauford Tourers and a Beauford seven-seater limousine. All three cars were immaculately presented and looked sensational.
I will never forget walking down the aisle with my father and seeing John. We couldn’t stop smiling and staring at one another. The intimacy of those few seconds when you exchange your vows is truly overwhelming and it’s not such a bad thing to lose yourself in that moment.
We arrived at Ripley Castle to the strains of Congratulations played by the Yorkshire Dixieland Band. John and I then strolled to the lake for some photographs while our guests enjoyed the entertainment, Champagne, strawberries and shortbread.
Then it was on to the wedding breakfast. Our cake was sensational – Jane and Frédéric had created a masterpiece for us. We were simply blown away by the artistry, care and professionalism that were on show. It seemed such a shame to have to cut the second tier with Ripley Castle’s sword.
Although the whole wedding was incredible, when I try to distil the day, it’s the marriage service itself that I cherish above all else. At that moment, you can forget everything and just concentrate on each other.
We enjoyed an incredible honeymoon in South Africa and Mauritius.
Venue: Ripley Castle | 01423 770152, ripleycastle.co.uk
Photography: Steve Ramsden Photography | 01904 479063, steveramsdenstudio.co.uk
Cake: Robineau Patisserie | 01325 489129, robineau.co.uk
Car: Exclusive Wedding Cars | 01274 643845, exclusiveweddingcars.com