Gemma and Ben’s Wedding at Bowcliffe Hall

Gemma and Ben chose Bowcliffe Hall as the venue for their beautiful wedding on Saturday 3rd September 2016. From start to finish, the couple’s adoration of each other and the venue was more than apparent. They took over the entire Estate – making use of every inch of the beautiful grounds including the Private Member’s Drivers’ Club, the newly restored Ballroom and of course the spectacular Blackburn Wing. We wanted to find a little more about their choices on the day – including their show-stopping entrances, and any memories that really stood out…

The Bride – Gemma Illingworth, 31

I chose to spend the big day in my own version of a fairytale gown, a backless, lace fishtail style Martina Liana from Ava Rose Hamilton in Silsden. It was absolutely perfect. I treated myself to a pair of Jimmy Choo Luna shoes and a matching Jimmy Choo clutch. My hair and make was done by the talented Anna Stephenson.

The Ballroom eat Bowcliffe Hall

The Groom – Ben Buckley, 35

I wanted to wear something timeless and classic, so I went for black Diesel jeans, a white Hawes & Curtis shirt, pink paisley Hawes & Curtis tie and bespoke one off waistcoat by Brook Taverner. My shoes were Jeffery West Norton Boots and I owe my hair to the guys at The Grooming Rooms in Haworth.

The Venue

As soon as we visited Bowcliffe we knew it was the venue for us. In terms of variety and sheer quality there is nothing like it. The Blackburn Wing was without doubt the crowning glory for us and we knew we wanted to get married and hold the reception inside this magnificent treehouse.

Michael and the entire hospitality team couldn’t do enough for us, and when they say every wedding at Bowcliffe is bespoke, it really couldn’t be closer to the truth. We were given so many options as to where we could get married, hold the reception and take photographs – we had the entire estate to play with. We designed our own meal and added every little detail we wanted to in order to make the day entirely our own. For example, we added a woodland theme to the Wing by introducing logs with woodland flowers, moss, woodland animals and toadstools as table centrepieces.

One of the most amazing moments of the day had to be when we both arrived separately by Helicopter – it was just another brilliant aspect of the day.

The Detail

Our beautiful flowers were from The Hedgerow in Threshfield, Grassington and our bridesmaids looked gorgeous in midi blush ASOS dresses. We also had four adorable flower girls in ivory tutu dresses.

The Ceremony

We married in the Blackburn Wing and walked down the aisle to Roared Roots ‘Send Me on My Way’ – played and sung by our guitarist Mike Taylor. We opted for a simple ceremony without readings. The most memorable bit was Gemma’s dad giving her away – it was quite emotional.

The entertainment

Throughout the day we had our magnificent guitarist Mike who sang Gemma down the aisle. Mike also wrote a song for our first dance, something that was very personal to us and left a particularly poignant memory.

The Photography

It was really important to us to get informal shots of our wedding so we could capture the guests having fun – but our photographer Richard Marsden also got some great shots of the two of us which we’ll treasure forever – we loved the fact we got to have several different backdrops in each of Bowcliffe’s beautifully themed rooms.


We both arrived by helicopter and for evening guests a vintage bus was provided.

The rings

We adore our rings and it means even more that they were specially designed and made by Ian Henderson.

Wedding bowcliffe Hall Gemma Ben
Wedding bowcliffe Hall Gemma Ben

The food

The food! We had an abundance of it and it was nothing short of spectacular. Canapés of mini fish and chips, lobster mango and chilli, brie risotto balls and oxtail croustillant were followed by a three-course menu designed and provided by Bowcliffe’s award-winning executive chef John Topham. We had seafood moneybags followed by a main course of fillet steak with seasonal veg and finished off with a dessert of white chocolate and strawberry cheesecake. Unbelievable!

The evening was rounded off with a magical fireworks display.

We had such a perfect day, guests were blown away by the food and the venue and even the great Yorkshire weather didn’t put a dampener on the celebrations. There’s no doubt we’ll remember it forever.