Rachel and Marek’s wedding on New Year’s Eve was truly the stuff that dreams are made of. With a brief to create an incredible NYE Black Tie Ball, there was something about the decor of all white flowers (flown in from South America) and hallways filled with storm lanterns and flickering tealights that gave Bowcliffe a magical feel. The Hall felt like it had been born to hold such lavish affairs. Top that off with Rachel’s dress – which looked like it had come straight from the movies – dancing until the early morning in The Wing, and a stunning fireworks display at the stroke of midnight, it was as close to perfection as we’ve seen.
All photos are © Joel Skingle Photography
Marek visited Bowcliffe for an event by Berry’s Jewellers in Leeds the September before we got engaged and it instantly impressed with the quality of everything it provided. Once we got engaged it was immediately on our shortlist! After meeting a few members of staff including the owner Jonathan, everyone’s enthusiasm and interest in us as a couple meant Bowcliffe was the place for us. Marek is a big car man and the theme of the Drivers Club just added to the appeal.
Marek and I immediately hit it off; I still wonder how we had never met living so close to one another for so long! Having had three happy years of travelling, food and enjoying each other’s company I’d mentioned my idea of a New Year’s Eve wedding before the engagement, it just seemed the perfect time for a Big Day! When we travelled to The Balmoral in Edinburgh for the NYE Ball in 2016 I had no idea Marek was going to propose, it took me completely by surprise and he really made me feel like a princess. I did nothing but cry for the next hour, and we had to leave the ball and call my parents! I now had a year to fulfil my dream of a NYE Wedding and it started by finding my dream venue and dress.
Bowcliffe was on the shortlist straight away, with Marek having visited before and commenting on its refinement. It was the first venue we visited and immediately set the standard. It didn’t take long for us to make our final decision! This allowed me to move onto the dress, I wanted one that accentuated my curves, had an open back with intricate lace detail. Demi and the team at the White Gallery in Ramsbottom found the one that was perfect for me, a haute couture dress by Riki Dalal. It not only met all my expectations but was also the perfect dress for a NYE Ball at Bowcliffe.
The big day at Bowcliffe made all my dreams come true. Marek and our families did everything in their power to make it perfect and Laura and the staff made it run like clockwork. It was a long day but enjoyable and created memories to last a lifetime.
Rachel and I met in a local pub one night; somewhere we both went regularly. It was actually within 10 minutes of each of our homes! Despite this, we had never met until that night where we instantly connected. Within the week we had been out together three or four times and we quickly became each other’s best friends! After a pretty turbulent year, for New Year’s Eve 2016 we went to Edinburgh for a Hogmanay Black Tie Ball at The Balmoral to see in 2017. I’d already bought the ring about a month before, knowing we were going to Edinburgh and knew it’d be the perfect antidote to 2016 and make the perfect start to the New Year. On the stroke of midnight, I proposed under the fireworks!
I’m a pretty relaxed person and leading up to the big day I think my laid-back approach frustrated Rachel. When the day finally arrived, it wasn’t really nerves, more of a ‘let’s do this’. The morning of the wedding was a really good laugh, from the last minute learning how to fold a pocket square using YouTube videos, to the journey from our house to Bowcliffe; it cemented friendships and created memories.
The bride, bride’s family and friends all stopped over at The Grand Hotel in York the night before where they had a family meal. Rachel arrived by private car on the wedding day with her parents; the associated family and friends arrived by coach from the hotel 90 minutes before the ceremony.
The groom arrived with the best man and ushers in a Bentley Mulsanne provided by JCT600 an hour before the ceremony began, in readiness to welcome in the other guests arriving.
We went into the decision-making process pretty open-minded about what we wanted, other than the date and style of the occasion: New Year’s Eve 2017 and Black Tie Ball. Having already visited Bowcliffe in the past, we knew what was available and this set a standard for others to match.
Nowhere we visited offered the quality and sophistication that Bowcliffe did. It was the only venue we visited twice! This sealed the deal. Other places felt like ‘just another wedding venue’ whereas Bowcliffe didn’t; to us, it felt special and that this was our day. At each venue, we tried to picture how the day would flow, how the décor would fit in with our required theme and how they would manage the day. Bowcliffe fit perfectly.
The idea was an elegant black tie event with an art-deco touch and Bowcliffe fit this bill. The flowers from Red Floral and other little touches like the mirror showing the day’s events in the foyer, the storm lanterns and the use of the lighting in the Ballroom and Blackburn wing were all that was needed to make it just right.
Rachel chose Red Floral for the flowers & decoration without any discussion after seeing and hearing of their work. A meeting with Matt from Red Floral confirmed everything we believed and we knew we could trust him implicitly. The main brief for the décor was elegant and the flowers had to be hydrangeas (one of Rachel’s favourite!).
After Matt visited Bowcliffe he agreed it was fantastic and confirmed that due to the sophistication and taste of Bowcliffe, not a lot was needed to meet the brief. The flowers arrived from South America three days before the wedding and Matt and his team did a wonderful job, incorporating the flowers with the décor of Bowcliffe and storm lanterns/tea lights.
Rachel had four bridesmaids and three flower girls; all dressed in Champagne coloured dresses from Goddiva to fit in with the theme. They all looked stunning!
Marek had four groomsmen and one pageboy, with the best man returning the favour from 2012! They were all dressed in matching tuxedos from Next.
The room looked stunning and Red Floral’s flowers and décor just made it that bit more special. The flower girls walked down the aisle first, spreading rose petals, followed by the bridesmaids. The rings were tied to a pillow held by the pageboy.
Then Rachel walked down the aisle with her father. In Rachel’s words “It’s all a blur. I just wanted to get to him [Marek]” It was an emotional occasion for all the right reasons: the atmosphere, the guests, the readings and the ceremony. A day nobody will forget.
THE FOOD AND DRINK
In short, Chef Andy Lawson did an absolutely fantastic job of the Wedding Breakfast! Everyone commended the quality. After creating a shortlist of chosen dishes from the selection he’d suggested, we attended a tasting one evening to decide on the final menu. The decision was harder than we thought! We settled on a starter of Yorkshire Pork Terrine with apple and rhubarb chutney and salt and vinegar crackling; main was Fillet of Dales Beef with root vegetable dauphinoise and oxtail bon-bon. All finished with our own choice trio of desserts! The father of the bride said it was the best beef ‘he ever did taste’!
The wine selection available to us from Bowcliffe was brilliant and presented us with another difficult choice. Certainly a wine lovers dream! In the end, we settled on a good trio of white, rose and red with NYE Timber (From West Sussex) as the bubbles for the toast.
In the evening Bowcliffe sourced a hog roast for us, the perfect party food.
Suzanne at The Frostery provided the cake and is a good friend of Matt at Red Floral who provided the flowers and decoration. Suzanne’s design and cake making skills were the best we saw and tasted, and we even saw her on the Extreme Cake Makers programme! The cake was art deco style to fit in with the theme but with a modern, asymmetric design with a pocket watch made of icing on the top. Flavours were red velvet, Vanilla with raspberry and champagne, lemon drizzle with limoncello and lime and coconut. Heaven for that sweet tooth.
Early in our relationship, we attended a summer BBQ where a Ska/Jazz/Blues band called Louis Louis Louis were playing. Their final song was a cover of The Jungle book in a Jazz style. The playful, light-hearted take on this stuck with Rachel and when it came to planning the big day It seemed natural to have them. They arrived for before the drinks reception and played live jazz in the Drivers Club into the afternoon.
As the evening progressed, they quickly transferred down to The Blackburn Wing where they played our first dance, which they had learned, for us: The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra.
As the party progressed, their music became more upbeat and got everyone on their feet.
Darren from The Hi-Life took over to take the party into the early hours and into the New Year, playing a mix of hits from the 60’s through to present day.
On the stroke of midnight, Laura at Bowcliffe had arranged fireworks for us and they were just awesome! The perfect way to end the day and start the New Year as Husband and Wife.
Bowcliffe provided everything we wanted and more. Laura and the team were superb on the day and put everything we’d discussed on the numerous visits before into practice. We can’t thank them enough.
To all our family and friends who helped make the day special, thank you to all you too.
Overall, it was the best day of our lives and it was at Bowcliffe Hall!
The last thing that anyone did was witness the dance-off between Rachel’s brother and Marek’s friend Josh. It looked planned but we can ensure anyone who saw that it wasn’t!
Joel Skingle from Richmond in North Yorkshire was our wedding photographer. Rachel saw Joel’s work on social media long before the engagement and always said that one day he would be our wedding photographer. Joel, being a family man, initially turned it down due to it being New Year’s Eve. Rachel’s persistence and charm eventually won him over!
Joel was excellent, his character really took charge of situations and he was so much more than a photographer. He helped keep everyone smiling throughout the day. His work demonstrates a modern theme that is refreshing from the norm and he captured as many natural shots as possible. He was impressed with the attention to detail of Bowcliffe and all the photo opportunities it provides!
He recommended his friend and colleague Mark Lenik as a videographer and they really bounced off each other, with Mark working tirelessly throughout the day and night. We’d really recommend both of them to capture the big day.
Photos: Joel Skingle
Video: Mark Lenik
Brides dress: Riki Dalal provided by The White Gallery in Ramsbottom
Wedding Lingerie: Bride Sew Beautiful, Ramsbottom
Perfume: Fucking Fabulous, Tom Ford, Sloane Street
Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss
Shoes: Bride: Jimmy Choo, Sloane Street, Groom: Magnanni, Harrods
Bridesmaids dresses: Goddiva
Flower Girls dresses: Custom made
Best Man/Ushers suits: Tuxedos from Next
Rings: Berrys, Albion Street, Leeds
Florist: Red Floral
Cake: The Frostery, Oldham
Band: Louis, Louis, Louis
DJ: The Hi-Life
Transport: JCT600 Bentley, Leeds
Wedding Stationary: East View Designs
Hair: Soul Bawtry
Make-up: Bethan Victoria Makeup Artist