Tips for the perfect small Yorkshire wedding

Here at Grassfield Hall, we are firm believers that bigger doesn’t mean better. In fact, we happen to think that the best things are bespoke and bijoux – especially when it comes to wedding days.   

After all, the day of your marriage should be about the love you two share and celebrating that with the people who you absolutely love the most. We definitely don’t think you should be spending the day worried about whether all your guests will get on together or whether you have spent enough time going around everyone checking that they are okay.

As well as the obvious budget implications a smaller wedding solves, it also creates a much more relaxed and intimate setting. It means you can spend more time with your close friends and family, and enjoy a more personal and unforgettable experience overall.

If you think an intimate wedding sounds like the perfect choice for you and your partner, then here we offer some tips to make your day all the more special.

Choose your venue carefully

If a guest list featuring hundreds of people doesn’t interest you, then it’s likely you are going to be looking for a Yorkshire venue that specialises in smaller weddings. Big hotels in Harrogate, York or Leeds can be great for those who want to invite lots of guests but can often feel too spacious or soul-less for smaller groups. Also, if your guest list is small, often hotels will try to fit more than one wedding on the same day, and do you really want to share the limelight with another wedding party?

Luxury private venues in Yorkshire, like Grassfield Hall, specialise in holding only small, intimate weddings so we know exactly how to make the most of your guest list. Here, we seat a maximum of 32 guests for your wedding breakfast, with the possibility of a further 25 guests joining for your evening celebrations. You will have exclusive use of the hall and its beautiful grounds during your stay and be totally looked after by our small family team.

Take time over your guest list

When your invite-list is small, you need to be very selective and your guests will understand this. You are perfectly entitled to say no to plus ones if you haven’t yet met the person, and many modern couples don’t invite children so that they don’t have to provide entertainment for them (and also so that the kid’s parents can relax a little more on the day too!)

Every single person you invite to a wedding this size should be someone that is close to you and you can’t imagine marrying without them there. A good question to ask is ‘Would we want to go for an intimate dinner date with this person/couple next week? If the answer is no, then they just don’t make the cut.

Go with local, recommended suppliers

Your wedding suppliers can make a big impact on the smooth running of your day. And, if you’re not living in the area you are getting married in, or are not used to planning events, then it can be pretty overwhelming when it comes to choosing your A team for the day. 

You really can’t beat the assurance from another bride or groom that the supplier you are considering provided and excellent service at their wedding. Although everyone has varying views on quality and style – it will help to know that your supplier has experience and rates highly with others.

Caterers, florists, photographers, and entertainers all rely on reviews and recommendations for future bookings, so don’t be embarrassed to ask them for recent reviews, images, and videos, or to be put in touch with a couple of previous clients that you can get in touch with.

We recommend choosing local suppliers, not only to offset your wedding’s carbon footprint but also to get the most out of the beauty of the local area. North Yorkshire is home to amazing caterers who specialise in seasonal, Yorkshire produce, as well as florists who get their plants and blooms from local growers.

Focus on your favourite things

A big benefit to having a small wedding is that you will be spending less money on the number of guests coming and can therefore put more budget towards all the things that matter to you as a couple.

Together, write down a list of what your priority items are: it could be having Michelin star food, a special type of champagne that you love, beautiful floral displays in every corner of the venue, an open bar for the whole day, a live music act that you’ve heard before or going all out on your clothes and accessories for the day.

Try to focus on two to three priorities and then make those the stars of the show when it comes to designing the look of your reception.

Personalise it all

When you have only a few select guests invited, the nano-details matter, and personalising certain things can make everyone feel so much more special and appreciated.

Why not get creative with your place cards: you could write guests’ names on small potted orchids; personalise mini bottles of champagne; use crystal birthstones for everyone coming, or even ice their names onto pretty biscuits.

With your saved budget, you could hire a calligrapher or illustrator to handwrite each order of service, menu, and place setting with your guest’s name and maybe even a sketch of the guest – just imagine how beautiful they will look on the seats as your guest arrive. 

Take the stress out of it

We know that planning a wedding can be exhausting, no matter how big or small they are. With so many things to consider and remember, it’s nice to share the load with someone who you both trust and can rely on.

Our small, family team at Grassfield Hall wants to be the one to take the stress away from you. We work extremely closely with our couples so that we get to know them personally. Unlike many other venues, we will liaise with your suppliers directly in the run-up to the event, to ensure everything is planned to perfection, meaning that you can really enjoy the days leading up to your big day with the safe knowledge that everything is under control.

Every small wedding is so special and important for us too. And, we will do everything in our power to make things even more magical than you imagined.

 

Considering a wedding in 2022 or beyond? Contact Lisa today to talk about your plans and arrange a date to come and view the hall.

How to create a stylish Christmas dinner table décor

With just over six weeks to go until the big day, chances are you will have already decided how you are going to spend it this year.

For those of you who are hosting friends and family at your home, we know it can be a pretty stressful time – deciding who to invite, what to cook, where to seat everyone and how you are going to decorate your space!

Here at Grassfield Hall, we are great lovers of beautiful table décor, and the festive season gives us the chance to be really fun and creative with our displays. Therefore, in order to make things a little easier for you, we have put together a little list of tips and ideas to help you make this year’s Christmas dinner table sparkle like never before…

Choose your colour palette

Deciding on your colour scheme is a good starting point. There are many ideas available to consider – whether you want to stick to a traditional colourway or choose something a little more contemporary.

You could give your dining table some Nordic charm using crisp shades of white and silver. In this theme, you can add homely highlights with ceramics and candles and bring it all together with the gleam of clear glass, silver cutlery and natural wood serving utensils.

If you are a fan of the traditional red and white, then you could use striped ribbon to tie decorations to guests’ chairs and dress the table with a red and white striped cloth. Red placemats with gingham check napkins give a nod to the festive trend, and team with white tableware with green and red decoration and cranberry-coloured glassware.

For something a little more modern, you could opt for a blue-base colour scheme this year. Mix in some rose gold metallics and soft velvet in midnight jewel tones for an effortless yet luxurious Christmas table setting to impress your guests. Inky indigo tableware also contrasts perfectly with warm copper, so you could choose this metal type for your cutlery set, candle bases and coasters to complete the look.

Welcome the outside in

Wintertime offers us a selection of beautiful, natural foliage that can help you to connect with nature as well as create a cosy and welcoming atmosphere at your dinner table.

Bring gathered greenery to your table made into simple arrangements such as string-clustered bundles of holly, mistletoe or sweetly scented winter herbs and foliage tied with garden twine. Alternatively, you could use small potted plants or succulents around the table, or thoughtfully placed sprigs on place settings to tie in further elements of nature at the table.

To further embrace the beauty of nature, you could opt for seasonal fruits to help add a touch of colour to place settings. Try pairing the soft green tones of your foliage with dark berries, burnt orange clementines or deep red cranberries arranged at the side of plates or glasses.

Create a centrepiece

If you want your Christmas table to have a real impact, then a centrepiece is always a good idea.

Begin with a table runner as a base, and then layer up your look by adding various levels to your table setting. For a more traditional centrepiece add holly, baubles, ribbons, pine cones and tea lights to your central garland. Or, for a more modern look, use fresh flowers, teamed with battery-powered tea lights inside clear glass baubles, and perhaps some sprinkles of metallic confetti.

Take your centrepiece to new festive heights with candles of varying sizes and lengths, and also perhaps glass jars of various sizes filled with tempting sweet treats such as candy canes, homemade gingerbread and macaroons.

Add personal touches

A little goes a long way when it comes to personalising your Christmas table.

So, this year why not make your own crackers? Not only will you save on budget and waste, but you can personalise your crackers to each individual guest – selecting them a gift that you know they will love or that will make them laugh! Simply place a treat inside a cardboard roll, wrap crepe paper or even fabric scraps around, then tie the ends with pretty ribbon. You could even write your own jokes inside, neatly jotted in a metallic pen.

Other personal touches could include hand-written name place cards, individual wine glass stem markers or balloons hung on the back of everyone’s chair with their initials on.

We hope you found this guide helpful and now feel more confident about creating your Christmas dining table decor. Remember, here at Grassfield Hall, we have a stunning dining room – The Hanley Room – which is available to hire for private dinners and events. We can also provide chefs, locally-sourced food and staff to look after you and your guests – ensuring you achieve the perfect dinner party atmosphere. Give us a call to check availability for your next dinner party date.

 

 

Wise words from a 2020 Grassfield Hall Bride

Its been a rollercoaster ride for couples planning their wedding this year. The ups and downs, and will it won’t it happen has been enough to test any relationship, but our beautiful bride Melissa from a wedding we hosted in September here at Grassfield Hall, sums up what is really important….All you need is love! https://www.theaisle.online/blog/really-an-intimate-wedding

A little bit more history

The Collins Family

In 1896 the Collins family took up residence at Grassfield House. The head of the household, Major Collins was a Royal surgeon, and met his wife, Olympie Amelie, whilst travelling to Mauritius with the Army. Their seven children were all adults by the time they moved to Grassfield, we are not entirely sure which children lived here in permanent residence, but we know that if they didn’t all live here they were here often, as their second daughter Amy was a keen photographer and took many photographs of her family with the Yorke family socializing together as they were known to be good friends.

Frank the eldest of the seven children was a headmaster at a school in Dulwich. William and James were both in the army  along with Earnest Collins who would become Major E R Collins, commander of East Lancashire Regimental Depot, and later returned to Pateley Bridge to become mayor! James a solicitor in Kensington was married to Dolly, and you can see them pictured together in many of the photographs. Henry, the youngest child born in 1877,  was also a solicitor in Surrey until, like his brothers,  he joined the army in 1914.  Louisa Amelie was the first daughter and sadly died in 1916 after they moved from Grassfield. Amy,  the 2nd daughter was not found in many photographs as she was behind the lens. Her photographs are proudly displayed all around Pateley Bridge and here at Grassfield Hall. I think she would be extremely impressed to know that people valued her work over 100 years later.

Like the Hutchinson family, we felt that the Collin’s were a huge part of the history here at Grassfield, and so have their photographs proudly displayed and have even named several rooms after them.

After the Collins family moved out, the Yorke’s sold Grassfield Hall in 1925 when the Bewerley Estate was broken down for death duties. We are lucky to have found and purchased the sale brochure from when the of the Bewerley Estates were sold.

The history of Grassfield Hall

The Hutchinson Family

Grassfield house as it was known in 1810, was built by entrepreneur Teasdale Hanley Hutchinson, who, while the house was being constructed, lived across the river at Harefield Hall. The Hutchinson family leased and managed local lead mines in the area, and previously  had been involved with lead mining in Alston, where one of their mines was said to be called ‘’The Grassfield Mine’. Teesdale started construction of the house in 1801 and built it to stand proud on the edge of Pateley Bridge with spectacular scenery surrounding it.

Teasdale lived in the house with his wife Elizabeth, and their first son Hanley was born at Grassfield House in 1811. Teesdale and Elizabeth lived in the house until they passed away. Elizabeth died in 1837 at the age of 61, and Teasdale lived until the age of 77.  After this in 1845 the house  passed to their firstborn son Hanley. The 1851 census tells us that living at the house at this time was lead merchant Hanley Hutchinson, his wife Charlotte, their two sons Teasdale aged two and Charles age 2 months,  plus four servants

In 1883 after his wife had passed away, Hanley moved out of the house to Whitfield Lodge in Ripon, as he said the house was too big and lonely for him! He spent the remaining few years of his life in Ripon. It is at this time that the Grassfield Estate was sold to John Yorke of the Bewerley Estate.

In 1888 John Hawkridge Metcalfe and his wife Adeline move in as tenants.

1895 the first Pateley Bridge Agricultural Show was held on the Grassfield Estate. After this first year it was moved to its current location on what was the Bewerley Estate, now the Pateley Bridge Show ground.

Grassfield Hall in the 1900’s

From Chapel to Military base to Country Hotel, Grassfield Hall has had many lives!

In 1928 Father Hammond moved into Grassfield House. Previous, he used to pass through the town on his push bike as he cycled to Scar every Sunday after taking the train from Harrogate to say Mass for the Dale’s people. While his church, The Lady Immaculate was being built, he needed a base in the area, so he moved in and converted a room as a place to worship in Grassfield House, and he lived in a room upstairs. The new church was completed in 1934.

From 1939 until 1945 during the war, the Grassfield estate was used by the Military. The 69th Field Artillery was based at Grassfield  to protect the reservoir and used the house for document storage.

In 1971 after being split into apartments, Fred and Gladys Bailey lived in the house with Gladys’s  sister and husband, and it is here that you can see them at the front door as they celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary.

 

Grassfield House was turned into a business in 1975 when it was bought by the Machellan family, who ran it successfully as a Bed and Breakfast. Then after ill health, they sold the house and business to the Garforth family in 1988, who changed its use to a hotel Country House Hotel. It was the hub of the local community for many years. However, after a run of bad luck it finally closed its doors in 2001.

 

The house after being unoccupied for a while then being a little run down, passed to two different owners with plans to renovate it. However, the plans were never to succeed, and the house was repossessed by the bank in 2009. Year after year the house fell into further disrepair.

After standing empty for nine years the Hall had suffered with wet and dry rot, it needed part of the roof replacing and needed to be underpinned. All the original features had now been stripped out by looters, staircases gone and some of the upstairs floorboards were no longer in place. Most of the windows and doors were missing and boarded up. Squatters had taken up residence, and the house was now just an empty shell. The once landscaped gardens had become completely overgrown and the Hall could no longer be seen from the roadside. The derelict building no longer stood proud as it once had. That is where our story begins!