Rachel and Marek’s Stunning NYE Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall

Rachel and Marek’s winter wedding held 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. 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

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

THE BEGINNING

Marek visited Bowcliffe for an event the September before we got engaged and it instantly impressed. Once we got engaged it was immediately on our shortlist! After meeting a few members of staff including 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.

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall

THE BRIDE

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! I had no idea Marek was going to propose 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!

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

Bowcliffe was the first venue we visited and immediately set the standard. It didn’t take long for us to make our final decision! I wanted a dress 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, an haute couture dress by Riki Dalal.

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.

THE GROOM

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

Rachel and I met in a local pub one night; somewhere we both went regularly. 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! For New Year’s Eve 2016 we went to Edinburgh for a Hogmanay Black Tie Ball at The Balmoral. I’d already bought the ring, and knew it’d be the perfect start to the New Year. On the stroke of midnight, I proposed under the fireworks!

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

I’m a pretty relaxed person and 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.

ARRIVAL

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

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 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.

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

THE VENUE

We went into the decision-making process pretty open-minded, other than the date and style of the occasion: New Year’s Eve 2017 and Black Tie Ball. Having visited Bowcliffe in the past, we knew what was available and this set a standard for others to match.

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

Nowhere we visited offered the quality and sophistication that Bowcliffe did. It was the only venue we visited twice! Other places felt like ‘just another wedding venue’ whereas Bowcliffe didn’t; to us, it felt special and that this was our day.

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

THE DÉCOR/THEME

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 and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

THE FLOWERS

Rachel chose Red Floral for the flowers & decoration. 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!).

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

Matt visited Bowcliffe and 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.

THE BRIDESMAIDS/GROOMSMEN

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!

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

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.

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

THE CEREMONY

The room looked stunning and 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.

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

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.”

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

Rachel and Marek’s Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

THE FOOD AND DRINK

Chef Andy Lawson did an absolutely fantastic job of the Wedding Breakfast! Everyone commended the quality. We attended a tasting evening to decide on the final menu. 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 was brilliant and certainly a wine lovers dream! In the end, we settled on a good trio of white, rose and red with Nyetimber (From West Sussex) as the bubbles for the toast.

In the evening Bowcliffe sourced a hog roast for us, the perfect party food.

THE CAKE

Suzanne at The Frostery provided the cake. Her design and cake making skills were the best we saw and tasted. 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.

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

THE ENTERTAINMENT

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

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. 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.

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

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.

FINAL THOUGHTS…

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!

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

THE END

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! 

THE PHOTOGRAPHY

Joel Skingle from Richmond in North Yorkshire was our wedding photographer. He was excellent. His work demonstrates a modern theme that is refreshing from the norm and he captured as many natural shots as possible. He recommended his friend 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.

Rachel and Marek's Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

Photos: Joel Skingle

VideoMark Lenik

Brides dress: Riki Dalal provided by The White Gallery in Ramsbottom

Wedding Lingerie: Bride Sew Beautiful, Ramsbottom

Perfume: Fu*king 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

Rachel and Marek’s Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall Image © Joel Skingle Photography

Florist: Red Floral

Cake: The Frostery, Oldham

Band: Louis, Louis, Louis

DJ: The Hi-Life 

Transport: JCT600 Bentley, Leeds

Wedding Stationery: East View Designs

Hair: Soul Bawtry

Make-up: Bethan Victoria Makeup Artist

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Stepping Through the Wardrobe into a Magical Narnia Themed 40th in The Blackburn Wing

Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing

“Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Black and white with a nod to Narnia, Louise’s 40th birthday brief was to deliver a party which was sophisticated in style, but with a playful nod to her favourite magical childhood books, all with the aim to surprise her guests (who had no idea of the theme until they arrived) with something completely unexpected; delivering a truly memorable party which would be impossible to forget.

Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing

Eighty of Louise’s closest friends and family members arrived at the spectacular Blackburn Wing – lit up to perfection and providing the most perfect setting for an evening that required more than a dash of the wonderful.

Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn WingLouise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing

Details from the evening included a vodka ice luge, a giant ‘Aslan’ lion, an ice queen throne and Narnia style street light, all from Event Prop Hire in Wetherby. Fake snow balls, window sticker snowflakes and a cardboard cut-out wardrobe all designed by Louise and printed by AB Print, based in Batley, made the Narnia theme really come to life.

Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing

When we asked Louise about the specific highlights of the birthday evening she replied:

“Everything! Seeing all my guests, young and old, having an amazing time – everything from the adults using the Vodka luge and trying on props for the photo booth to the children having fake-snowball fights and dancing all night – it was perfect! The bowl food was amazing and was the perfect catering choice for an evening party. The bar staff worked their magic all night making drinks to meet the needs of every guest at the party – and my goodness there were some weird and wonderful ones!”

Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing

Louise had some live entertainment on the night, in the form of singer, Elliott. What a voice! Later on in the evening, a DJ took over, picking up on the style of music from the playlist Louise provided.

Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing

Louise added:

The Blackburn Wing is truly stunning! The architecture and quirky character are what makes this venue exceptionally unique. It is like no other. It captures imaginations and is truly magical. The Bowcliffe event staff were fantastic from beginning to end! One member of staff in particular, Laura Shinkfield, was an absolute star from the outset – she totally got what I wanted to achieve and provided first class support to making my dream party come to life. A massive thank you to Thomas Johann Photography too for the photography on the evening” 

Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing Louise 40th Narnia Birthday Party in Blackburn Wing

If you would like to enquire about holding your next private or corporate event at Bowcliffe, simply email events@bowcliffehall.co.uk or call 01937 541111.

Michelle and Stephen’s Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall

Michelle and Stephen’s wedding at Bowcliffe Hall was exactly as a wedding should be. The Bride and Groom looked incredible, the venue was a knockout (!) and every moment was filled with a genuine feeling of happiness and love. The couple utilised every inch of the Estate, including a ceremony in the Bowcliffe Room, a blessing in the Chapel, drinks in the Drivers’ Club and the reception of dreams (with an incredibly cool live band) inside the Blackburn Wing.

Pure wedding magic.

THE BEGINNING

We live locally to Bowcliffe Hall and my (now husband!) Steve is also a member of the Drivers’ Club, so he knew the venue well. When I saw the Hall for the first time I knew instantly that it was going to be the place where we would get married.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

THE BRIDE

Steve and I met at work and have been together for four years. Steve proposed whilst on holiday in the Maldives and we were married exactly a year later. From the start, we were both focused on ensuring that the wedding would be intimate and tailored to the things we love the most.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

I went with my mum to select my wedding dress and I was more than delighted with the end result. It was by British Designer Nicola Anne from her vintage collection. I have never felt so amazing in a dress and I absolutely loved the lace detail and the fishtail.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

THE GROOM

I hadn’t really planned the proposal in advance; I just felt the time was right and that it would be good to have time alone whilst we were on holiday. The biggest challenge was keeping the ring hidden and safe until I actually proposed. I have to admit I was paranoid she’d find it or I’d lose it before I actually asked her! Luckily, I kept it safe and decided to ask her mid-way through our holiday, one morning after breakfast. I’d written the big question in the sand before we went to breakfast and thankfully it was still there when we headed to the beach!

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

For our wedding, we wanted somewhere different and unforgettable. I’d always thought Bowcliffe might fit the bill but never mentioned it to Michelle. When we first visited together it was fantastic. She loved it and that made the decision so easy – we didn’t even visit anywhere else. It was a perfect choice.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

I had always wanted a bespoke tailored suit so I treated myself to one for the special day. I tracked down a tailor I’d met at a dinner a few years earlier as I’d promised him that if I ever was going to have a suit tailored then I’d ask him. He did a fantastic job. I finished off the suit with a pair of Jeffery West Navy Brogues.

As for the day itself; it was an amazing mix of friends & family, sunshine & showers, food & drink, speeches & pictures, gin & tonic and chat & dance! And somewhere in between all that, we fitted in a wedding! We enjoyed and savoured every minute.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

ARRIVAL

Michelle: I arrived with both my mum and dad in a cream Beauford Cabriolet. I shall never forget being in the car with my parents and the laughs we had on the way. It was a special moment of feeling very excited about the day ahead, which we shall all treasure forever.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

The grounds are fantastic and really allowed our guests to relax and enjoy themselves. Starting with a drink in the in Drivers’ Club and some sunshine (before the rain) on the beautiful Terrace!

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

THE VENUE

We had a vision for a small intimate family wedding with around 50 guests at the ceremony and wedding breakfast, with an additional 20 joining us for the evening celebrations. The Hall is so unique with the various rooms that we decided to use the entire venue including The Blackburn Wing and after the ceremony, we went to have a wedding blessing alone with only our parents in the tiny Chapel. It was very special for us both. It was a moment of calm and reflection which gave us all time to truly appreciate our wedding and the day.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

Choosing Bowcliffe was an easy decision as it is so very unique. It was the only venue we visited and we were so pleased with our choice. We love the grounds and Hall completely, everything is immaculate and the attention to detail, as well as the quirky individual touches throughout the venue, are second to none. All our guests commented on how different and amazing it was. We decided to have our wedding breakfast in The Wing, and as the sun shone down on the beautiful Yorkshire countryside it felt heavenly.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

THE DÉCOR/THEME

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

In terms of a theme, it was cream with a touch of pink, very subtle and classic. The Bowcliffe team accommodated our every wish and the rooms looked amazing, utilising the lighting with hints of pink throughout.

THE FLOWERS

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

We had a mixture of cream and pink roses with a little greenery. Simple but classic.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

THE CEREMONY

The song I walked down the aisle to was Canon and Gigue in D Major by Johann Pachelbel.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

My dad walked me down the aisle and we were both so very happy. It meant the world to me to have my dad by my side as I walked towards Steve. I felt amazing and could feel the love and happiness filling the room around me as I saw the faces of my family and friends.

Michelle Steve Wedding at BowcliffeMichelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe Steve and Michelle Wedding

We were both so incredibly happy and it went in a blur. There’s a fantastic photo of us signing the register in our own new married world whilst our 2-year-old nephew is laid on his tummy playing with a car in the middle of the aisle in his own world, completely oblivious to everything else going on. Priceless.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

THE FOOD AND DRINK

The three-course meal was delicious and enjoyed by all. We were served efficiently and the wine chosen by Michael to complement our meal was fabulous. A delicious Fleurie and classic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, with a class or two of Tattinger for the toasts, helped it all go down perfectly.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

The cake was a traditional, delicious fruitcake from Bettys. However, our God Daughter’s Peppa Pig birthday cake (she was 2 a few days before and we all sang happy birthday to her) also appeared to be just as popular with our guests!

THE ENTERTAINMENT

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

We’d decided we’d have a live band. After hours of reviewing potential bands, we decided on Purple Velvet and were not disappointed. They did a fab job and ensured we had guests up dancing right the way through the evening.   Our first dance was to John Legend ‘All of Me’. It was very romantic and perhaps a little slow to dance to but it meant a lot to us and that was the important thing. After that, the tempo certainly picked up with everybody joining in.

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

It’s so difficult to pick out a favourite moment but I guess the speeches were very special and just the overall feeling of happiness with all our family and friends enjoying the celebration with us.

FINAL THOUGHTS…

Michael and his team looked after us amazingly well. From the outset, we were made to feel relaxed about the day as we knew it would be wonderful. Michael took the time to understand what we were individually looking for and we carefully planned out our day together. With the level of care and planning from start to finish, as well as the truly unique Bowcliffe Hall, we achieved a perfect wedding day that not only will Steve and I never forget, neither will our guests!

Michelle Steve Wedding at Bowcliffe

THE PHOTOGRAPHY

Our photographer Catherine from Eyecapture Photography was amazing from start to finish. Catherine wanted us to be relaxed throughout the day and capture all our special moments, which she most certainly did. We were delighted with the end results.

PHOTOGRAPHER – Catherine Kerr, Eyecapture Photography

OUTFITS – Abigail’s Brides / James Shipton (Tailor)

SHOES – Nine West / Jeffery West

RINGS – Berrys

FLORIST – Best Friends Mum, Barbara Leeming.

CAKE – Bettys

BAND/DJ – Purple Velvet

TRANSPORT – The Yorkshire Wedding Car Co