Bethanie & Gavin’s Carlton Towers Wedding

Written by Emma Hla
Good things come to those who wait…

…which is I’m sure something that couples affected by Covid restrictions have held on to the last year. Indeed, for Bethanie & Gavin, their September 2021 wedding date was much anticipated after 3 previous postponements.

A classic fairytale celebration at Carlton Towers with friends and precious family, was certainly worth the wait for this gorgeous pair.

Notes from the Bride

Bethanie says…

I’d always dreamt of a fairytale wedding and after popping out for an afternoon tea on my birthday we drove by a sign outside Carlton Towers, near Selby. We turned into the drive to see what was in the distance and as we drove up the winding, tree lined avenue, what appeared in front of us blew us away.

Carlton Towers, the home of the Lord and Lady Gerald Fitzalan-Howard, is a Grade I listed country house in the Victorian Gothic-revival style, when we saw it looming up in front of us our jaws dropped. The main doors at the top of the sweeping staircase were open and we decided to venture in. We were met by lovely staff who advised us that it was indeed available for wedding hire, in fact you could hire the whole house! Was it beyond our budget? Was it just a dream? Gavin said there and then “This is it… I don’t want to look at anywhere else!” He had made the decision for us and I was delighted.

The original date was set for May 4th 2020, but Covid pushed the date to September 18th 2020. Guests were tentatively advised about the new date but due to the ever-changing restrictions and low numbers allowed, we felt that it would be such a shame if all our family and friends couldn’t enjoy the lavish surroundings. Covid had won, for now, but as long as everyone was safe and well we didn’t care.

We were offered May 2021 but again Covid was still with us and so the decision to keep everyone safe was to move the date to September 2021. September came and amazingly, it seemed that it would go ahead.

Unfortunately though, Gavin’s Grandma had been diagnosed with a terminal illness in July 2020. Gavin and Grandma Doreen were incredibly close and she sadly passed away in March 2021. He was heartbroken, as we all were. She had played a huge part in some decisions for Gavin. She had been so excited about the wedding and we decided we would party in her honour. So September 24th 2021 it would be. The beautiful climbers growing up the side of Carlton Towers were gently turning red and showing autumnal hues and were so pretty.

My original photographer, venue decor company and florist were available which was amazing as I knew who I wanted to use and I didn’t want to change.

The decision for a florist was easy. It was my close friend Stephanie, who owns and creates beautiful floral arrangements at The Little Yellow House Shop.  She had listened patiently to my ideas and gave a lot of input into what would look best. There was a lot of house to fill and staircases to decorate and I knew Steph would blow us away… which she did.

The food played a major part in our planning, it would be a long day and we wanted our guests to enjoy and savour every mouthful. We had visited Carlton for a food tasting the previous year and chose canapés of fish and chips, olive tapenade and tomato bruschetta, and vegetable parcels with belly pork squares which were served outside on the terrace below whilst photographs were taken and garden games played. The starter was ham hock and pig cheek terrine followed by sirloin of beef, dauphinoise potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, parsnip, kale and a trio of desserts including crème brulee, rich chocolate brownie and strawberry white chocolate cheesecake. Our evening food was good old sausage with red onion, and halloumi with roasted tomato sandwiches served in a soft bread bun. All extremely enjoyable.

Just after the meal, just when we all felt full and the speeches had gone by, we were surprised by The Astonishing Singing Waiters. They started to sing when we least expected it and lifted the mood in the room, everyone was on their feet and singing and it was absolutely fantastic! My mum and I had said earlier in the morning that we knew everything about the day so this was a fabulous surprise and all arranged by my two sisters, Rachael and Lauren. Amazing.

From one couple to another…

Time flew by so take moments to stand back, enjoy and soak everything up. At the end of our day I didn’t want it to end and we were the last on the dance floor!

Use social media to get ideas but remember it’s your day and go with what you want, and keep within your budget as best you can. Share the load with your partner, ask for their ideas, you may not go with them, but they will feel included. Remember planning should be fun and not too stressful so if anyone offers to help – let them!

If your budget allows then stay the evening before the wedding at your venue, we felt less stressed staying and getting a feel for the place. It felt like home by the time we got married.


Venue Carlton Towers

Photography Calvin Taylor Lee Photography

Dress Elizabeth Kate Bridal

Mother of the Bride Caroline Chamberlain Couture Bridal Studio

Shoes ‘Romy’ Jimmy Choo

Suits Marc Darcy at Vault Menswear

Make Up Nicki Teal

Florist Little Yellow House Flower Shop

Venue Decor Samui Wedding Planners + Crash the Wedding

Entertainment Spectra Entertainments

Photobooth Over the Top Events

Ceremony Music Nadia Violin

Cake Nice Icing

Reception Entertainment The Astonishing Singing Waiters

Evening Entertainment ‘Something for the Weekend’ Jonny Ross Music Agency

More from the blog

Discover our Venues

Refine your wedding venue search by location, capacity, type, and style.

Visit Venue Finder

Be Inspired

Planning advice, real wedding edits, and venue showcases to inspire you.

View Blog

Suppliers We Love

From photographers to bridal fashion and styling, find the best wedding suppliers right here.

View Suppliers