• Fiona Bielby

MARY & MATTHEW | A TRADITIONAL, AMPLEFORTH ABBEY WEDDING WITH KENYAN TWEAKS

Before they hooked up, Mary and Matthew had a lot of mutual friends through the Rugby club and they hadn't even realised. So after swiping right on Tinder, Mary sneaked out of her family home where she hopped in the car with Mathew and after a 14 hour first date, I guess you could say they must have got on pretty well. They’ve now been together for 6 years, therefore celebrating with their family and friends was one of the most important things to both of them and after all of the lockdowns their wedding was to be the first time everyone has been together in over two years, in many cases they hadn’t even seen people since before lockdown one.


Both Mary and Matthew would describe themselves as being quiet traditional people, they wanted the marriage to take place in a church. Because Mary studied at Ampleforth College during her teenaged years, Ampleforth Abbey became a building close to her heart, so it was an easy decision to make when it came to choosing where they would say their vows. The pair had a full traditional service, including Mass, which let everyone enjoy the grandeur and simplicity of the interior in the Abbey a little longer.


As the day went on I soon realised that they'd both put a lot of thought into the little details and finishing touches: The order of services had be thoughtful made by Mary herself, she’d use recycled elephant-poo paper for the cover, then Mary had lovingly cut out hearts from paper inlaid with flower seeds, which they’ve asked their guests to plant to remember their day by. She finished them with a feather from a guinea fowl, with this being a popular bird in Kenya (you'll realise why this is significant later on).



Order of service made by the bride.

Groom and Bestman stood outside Ampleforth Abbey

Landcover pulling up outside Ampleforth Abbey

Bride ans her Dad sat inside of the landrover before she gets out.

Bride being helped out of Landrover to Ampleforth Abbey by her cousin.


The bride is walking up towards Ampleforth Abbey with her Dad.

Waiting patiently her his bride in Ampleforth Abbey

The first look at the front of Ampleforth Abbey

Dad greeting his son-in-law to be at the front of the church.

Saying their vows in Ampleforth Abbey

The guests watching the couple say their vows.

Shot from the balcony in Ampleforth Abbey as the couple say thier vows.

The first kiss

The couple are being watched by the bestman and maid of honour as they exchange their rings.

Bridesmaid is bringing the wine and bread up to the alter.

Father Christopher blesses the wine and the bread.

Putting his hand on the grooms head he says a prayer for him.

The guests are lined up waiting to receive the bread and wine during the mass service.

Couple walking down the steps at Ampleforth Abbey

Th confetti showers the couple as the walk down the steps

The newly weds are smiling a holding hands as they walk through the confetti.

Mother-of-the-bride is getting ready to throw confetti over the  pair.

One of the groomsman is celebrating with a the couple.

The guests are watching the couple get in the landrover.

Guests are waving the couple off.

The couple are walking hand in hand, the bride is looking back at her dress trailing.

The bride and her bridesmaids.

The whole bridal party are linking arms and walking towards the camera.

Bride and groom with the Groomsmen.

The groomsmen are picking up the bride.

Groomsman are picking up the groom.

Bride is being held by the groomsmen.

The groom is being held by the groomsmen.

All the groomsmen are lined up with the Landrover.

After the service, everyone headed back to the family Farm in Sproxton, where Matthew and Mary had impressively decorated two incredible yurts. The first yurt you entered, AKA “Tusker’s Bar,” named after a Kenyan Beer and also Mary’s parents Labrador, was cleverly decorated with a Kenyan twist. They’d hung mini Massai Tribal necklaces above the bar and used tribal Massai cloths as table coverings.


Homemade welcome sign made for a wedding with the yurt in the background

Yurt entrance to Tusker's bar, the wedding setting.

Sign reading Tusker's Bar with little Massai Necklace hanging next to it

The floral decoration hanging over the illuminated letters which read LOVE

Inner fire pit within the yurt, the fire is lit.

Photo wall of the couples lives

A lady smiling as she's joining in with conversation.

All the guest mingling in the first yurt.

A guest taking to the bride whilst she's holding her bouquet


A loads smiling as she joins in the chat.

A lady wearing fur coat is holding a drink and smiling  at the camera.

A couple are laughing whilst chatting with the bride.

A photo of the skylight in the yurt with the guest below, enjoying themselves.

A beer glass is being passed back to the man behind the bar.

The groom with his dog, he's walking  along the tree lined driveway.

The dog has jumped up and is being fussed by the groom.

The view from the yurt, a couple are enjoying a moment of peace together.

As you entered the second yurt, the theme very cleverly changed from the Kenyan inspiration to a Yorkshire Countryside one; nevertheless, they’d still managed to subtly add hints of the Kenyan background to it, by naming the tables after all the different places that Mary had travelled during her early childhood, when they had lived out there.


For their favours Matthew had picked sloes from the hedgerows in Sproxton and had made sloe gin with them, everyone had a mini bottle to enjoy during the reception. Adding homemade favours like this is a lovely idea, not only do they actually get consumed, they are brilliant for mixing in with your bubbles during the speeches. 😉 Sloe gin is well know for being made in Yorkshire, with us having numerous distilleries within the county, so a great idea to add to Yorkshire Countryside theme.

The wedding cake, a detail shot of the lace pipped pattern which matched the brides dress.

The lace pattern on their cake was cleverly inspired by the lace on Mary's dress, they shared the pattern with Rhian from the Walled Garden's in Helmsley. She did a wonderful job of the decor and Kymm from Queen of Flowers added the floral finishing touches, which totally set the Yorkshire Countryside brief off.


Bread rolls and Olives on the table.

The guests are sat around the table laughing

The bride is hugging one of the guests.

The Bestman is stood waiting to announce the couple in to the yurt.

The couple enter the yurt after being announced in, they are smiling.

The bartender is pouring a cocktail into martini glasses.

The couple chose two main cocktails to be served to their guests and The Harrogate Bartender ltd did a great job of delivering them: Mara Star martini (named after their dog) and a Ukraine Mule. The Ukraine Mule was in honour of their family friends over there, they felt it was important to remember everyone from Ukraine as many were supposed to be celebrating with them at their wedding; sadly, they were unable to due to the current situation.


The groom enjoying chatting with his friends.

The bride and groom are listening to the Father of the brides speech.

One of the guest is hold and glass on wine whilst listening to the speeches.

The father the bride is doing his speech.

One of the bridesmaids and the groomsmen are looking towards someone and laughing.

The guests are listening to the speeches, they look mindful.

Shot across the yurt, towards to father of the bride who is delivering his speech.

The guests are laughing and listening to the speech.

Mother of the bride is listening to her husband delivering the speech.

The guests clink glasses to do a cheers.

The groom is up delivering her speech.

The guest are looking moved by the speech.

One of the guests is listening contently.

Outside they had thoughtfully filled wellies with flowers, to represent the Yorkshire part of their lives and the agricultural past, which both of their families’ have in the background. It would seem that there was nothing they did throughout the decor, without meaning to them in someway or another.

A pair of wellies filled with flowers

Because they both love a good party, getting the DJ and entertainment right was really important to them. Come on, the Rugby lads are renowned for their heavy drinking, wild partying and love of a good time aren't they! The couple choose Jonny Ross music to help them get their guests on the dance floor at their wedding and from the minute the music started, everyone was up and dancing. The added addition of a Sax player really helped with this too, although Mary did joke it could also have been them cocktails that got everyone boogying.


The guests are watching the couple as the have there first dance, he is spinning her away from himself.

During the first dance the he pulls her in to cuddle and they are both smiling towards their guests.

The party has started and all the guests are having fun, the couple in the main of the image are about to spin.

The bride is so pleased to see her friend she embraces her in a hug.

One of the guests is dancing with the mother of the bride, she has a uncertain look on her face a she looks towards someone else.

A lady in a taupe dress is standing on the dance floor.

The dance floor is in full swing, the bride is dancing with her friends.

The bride has hooked her dress up so she can dance fully and everyone else is dancing around her.

A man is doing a friendly gesture with his hand towards the camera, he's smiling.

The bride is holding her wedding dress up as she dancing with her Mum.

The bride is stood with her friends, they are all smiling at the camera.

A lady is walking through smiling whilst holding two martinis that's she's just got from the bar.

Tips and Advice from Mary and Matthew...


Firstly, don't try and plan wedding during a pandemic 🤦🏻‍♀️😂 On a more serious note though, they said to make sure you do exactly want is important to you as a couple and try not to worry about pleasing other people. Also, in terms of suppliers, they said that word of mouth speaks for a lot and if you can ask others for recommendations it worth doing.


A shout out to suppliers here: Hair: The Cutting Shed | MUA: Indrira at The Shepherd's Purse for the Bridesmaids and Lucy Swan from At Home Beauty | Flowers: Queen of Flowers | Dress: Victoria Robson Bridal | Jewellery: Roseanna Wood | Cake: Rhian at Celebrate Country Cake Designs | Catering: Poppy Catering | Bar: The Harrogate Bartender LTD | Seating and table plan: Ellen Wilson | Decorations: Emily Slingsby | Wedding Rings: Bradley's York | DJ & Sax player: Jonny Ross Music | Videographer: Wheel and Spoke | Photography: Anoif Photography


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