Humanist Wedding at Yeldersley Hall with Lewis & Mike
Here’s a collection of my favourite photographs from a recent Wedding at Yeldersley Hall with Lewis & Mike. Planning their wedding during covid whilst living in Australia certainly had its challenges. They were faced with travel restrictions and subsequently had to postpone their big day from 2021 to 2022, then again to 2023. It felt a long time in the making but nothing was going to stop them this time!
Some of the highlights included an epic humanist ceremony by the amazing Louise at kickass gatherings with music by the talented Ben Haynes. They popped a bottle of bubbly and raised a glass during their ceremony to mark a new chapter in their lives. They had a lovely 3 course meal by the in house caterer Chris the chef. The evening saw a haka dance from a NZ guest and a busy dancefloor following a well rehearsed choreographed first dance. All topped off with a killer shot in the rain at the end of the night!
Information & advice from the newly-weds
How long have you been together/Any stories about how you met?:
We’ve been together 16 years and were engaged for four (thanks to COVID and Australia’s tight travel restrictions) I proposed to Mike on a walking and camping trip in the Snowy Mountains, near Australia’s highest peak. I’m into landscape photography so set up my camera and tripod with a self-timer and asked Mike to get into position so I could get a shot of both of us with the mountains in the background. My heart was pounding, partly because of the steep climb we’d just done, partly because I was nervous and partly because of the well padded bottle of champagne I’d been carrying around in my backpack for two days.
I ran over to him then dropped down on one knee and asked the big question. His first response was “what are you doing?!” but he soon said yes, to applause from a few bystanders and friends. We celebrated in a way that is a perfect representation of us – drinking champagne from collapsible plastic camping cups on the top of a mountain, and then spending the night in a tent having not showered for two days.
Reasons for choosing your venue?
Finding a venue was a bit like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The first place we looked at was way too grand and didn’t really represent who we are and what’s important to us, the next couple of places we looked at were just a bit drab and didn’t really have anything special about them. Then we saw Yeldersley Hall.
We really liked the ‘rustic farmhouse with a touch of Downton Abbey’ style, including the beautiful grounds and gardens that Yeldersley offered. There were some really nice features like the former stable, Rose Garden and Orangery that we knew we could use during the day. We were able to supply our own drinks until early evening (served by onsite staff) which helped keep it more affordable. It also had onsite self-catering accommodation that could host our families and some of our overseas guests for the whole weekend.
The gardens were a big selling point as we wanted an outdoor ceremony. Whilst the ceremony itself didn’t happen outdoors in the end (due to rain), we were still able to use the gardens throughout the weekend, as well as the features like the barn and courtyard.
The owner Andrew was also really approachable, down to earth and upfront about a couple of minor restrictions. This gave us confidence that we could organise the day we wanted. A Wedding at Yeldersley Hall it was!
We wanted simple styling (we’re two guys – big flowers and pinks were out!). We went for a modern twist on a timeless set up with whites and greens. My step-Mum Lin was able to lend her floristry skills and our stylist was able to work seamlessly with her to pull the flower arrangements and other details together. Our stylist utilised a blue velvet chaise longue and added disco balls and a ‘strike a pose’ neon light to make a fantastic photo booth area. We had a Polaroid camera for guests to take photos and stick into the guest book. We had a good laugh looking through the guestbook the next day.
Any special thoughts/memories from the day?
Too many to mention. Just seeing our family and closest friends (from all around the world) celebrating together was so special. The last time this happened was 14 years when we had a leaving gathering before we emigrated to Australia. There was lots of laughter and happy tears. Our celebrant Louise did an incredible job creating a truly personalised ceremony that really told our story, who we are and what marriage meant to us.
Standing outside the door immediately before the ceremony listening to Ben Haynes play Simply the Best (Shitt’s Creek version) was also really special. We got an impromptu haka from our Māori friend Waka, accompanied by Welsh backing singers / warriors (Mike’s Dad and Sister)
We couldn’t think of anything worse than an awkward slow dance, so we put a bit of effort into a choreographed dance to a medley. It culminated in Mike sliding through my legs, which would have seen me catapulted into the band’s equipment if we got it wrong. Fortunately we nailed it and the guests loved it. I’m also looking forward to our friend Ben getting a ribbing every time he has a glass of red wine in his hand (which is quite often), after he accidentally spilt wine down the back of my shirt ten seconds before the first dance started!
Any advice for couples planning a wedding?
Write down all the tasks you need to do, prioritise and set (flexible) dates. You don’t want to be stressed out in the last week before the wedding so planning is key. Decide who will do what (divide and conquer) and tick them off early. As Mike joked in his speech, I love a good spreadsheet.
Use a celebrant if you want a really personalised wedding. We’ve been together for 16 years, and marriage wasn’t always a possibility for us, so telling our backstory was really important to us. We also wanted the ceremony to be a mix of funny and serious and Louise definitely delivered on that. She had the guests vow to come visit us in Australia, to keep the dancefloor full later, and had the guests in bursts of laughter between a few tears in the emotional parts of the ceremony.
Also focus on the elements that are most important to you as a couple, but plan how you expect the day to run (timings, who’s doing what etc). Reconfirm these with everyone involved well ahead of the big day.
Music and photography were two important elements for us. Our original musician had to cancel six weeks before the wedding (he got a big break in the US), but he lined up Ben Haynes who learnt the songs that were important to us and he did a fantastic job. Be prepared for things to change, but trust that everything will come together on the big day.
If the photographs are important to the couple, I’d say look at local photographer’s websites and social media images and shortlist those with a style you like. Have a look at their online reviews / ratings, pricing and have a chat to them to see how they work and whether you get a good vibe from them. Then pick Matt! Mike and I had a bit of negotiation about how long we were prepared to spend away from guests to capture photos. In the end, it didn’t really matter as we didn’t notice the photographers half the time and when we went outdoors for photographs with just the two of us, we were ready to stretch our legs and get some fresh air anyway.
Most of all, enjoy the day.
Heres the photographs from Lewis & Mikes wedding at Yeldersley Hall.
(Viewing on a mobile? Crank your screen brightness up to full for the best viewing experience)