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by Emma Hla

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When I saw this wedding, I fell head over heels for Vesna’s bridal fashion. From the non-trad Alice + Olivia wedding dress to the Valentino heels, I was completely and utterly smitten.

There’s something really rather special about an intimate wedding and a certain word crops up throughout this feature and that word is magical. This beautifully written personal account by Vesna is illustrated so well by Carly Bevan’s stunning images. There’s also a rather wonderful testimonial for Rhiannon and the Grays Court York team.

So, come and take your seat for the wedding of Mark & Vesna, you’ll want to make plenty of style notes folks…

Notes from the Bride



Our wedding date had to work with the whale watching season in Maui, where we had planned our honeymoon, Vesna also happens to be a Russian word for spring, and so a spring wedding seemed the natural choice.

We began wedding planning in earnest nine months before our wedding date. We had in mind a location with history, and after having visited three locations around York, Grays Court became the obvious choice for an intimate wedding; we love its thousand year old history, and the fact that Grays Court is a family business.

Neither of us attached labels to our future wedding, other than something intimate and lovely – however, magical is what it our day turned out to be, everything just fell into place.


Mark chose my engagement ring, antique Art Deco with twenty-one diamond settings, it was a complete surprise and I love wearing it. Our wedding rings were made for us by a ring maker that specializes in Celtic bands – this requires exceptional engraving skills. Our platinum rings are engraved with each other’s names, we researched a special font for each ring.

I aimed to keep the planning simple, and that included the dress. Even though I know a brilliant wedding dress designer, I couldn’t stand the thought of fittings and being fussed over – so I went to London for the day. I found my dress on the first explorative shopping trip, almost the moment I walked into the store, but to satisfy myself that I had seen everything, I really did shop the entire Harrods floor!


However, I came back to the first one I had seen, an Alice + Olivia halter-neck nude and black lace. I loved wearing it on the day, the lace is beautiful. I knew it was the right dress the moment I tried it on. I also splashed out on the Valentino kitten heels on the basis that it was my wedding day, what better reason..?

Mark’s son Ed agreed to be his Dad’s Best Man – their blue suits are ‘Made In England’, made-to-measure Alexandre, booked with Addison & Steele – they both looked truly dapper on the day.

Mark’s daughter Izzy agreed to be my Bridesmaid, Izzy was amazingly supportive on the day of our wedding, during some of the worst nerves I’ve experienced! Izzy and I went shopping in Leeds for her Bridesmaid’s dress – we went everywhere and tried lots of things on – it was a an unusual modern- cut dress at Reiss that caught Izzy’s eye – she looked incredible on the day.


We both wanted to feel as natural as possible, so we did our own hair and make-up, however, we did get some basic training with Jose, Charlotte Tilbury’s lead make-up artist, which was a really fun experience – followed by Carluccio’s pasta!

Carly Bevan was our first choice to capture our wedding, her passion for photography was obvious, we recognized immediately that Carly has immense talent for capturing the spirit of the moment, and what could be more precious on our wedding day..? Carly captured our story with immense compassion and beauty – and as if this wasn’t enough, she engaged all the teens at our wedding, an amazing lady.

I was very excited to have our flowers arranged by Gill at Field House Flowers, Gill grows all her own blooms, and this makes her quite literally a cut above the rest. Mary at Quite Contrary Cakes stepped in last minute to make our wonderfully naked wedding cake, and dressed it with Gill’s sensational flowers – I was overwhelmed by the extraordinary breakfast room that Rhiannon, Gill and Mary had created, there was magic in that room, I still get emotional when I think about it now.


Every single one of our guests commented on how wonderful the food was, and how brilliant Rhiannon and the team were on the day. We can’t say enough good things about Rhiannon and Grays Court, they gave us a wedding that we didn’t even know we wanted, it kind of felt like a miracle the way it all came together.

Of course it’s all about the moment we exchange vows, and there are no words to express adequately the emotions felt in that moment, it was so utterly personal – it wasn’t until that moment that I truly understood what all the fuss was about – and the fuss was completely worth it!

Words of wisdom:

Delight and relish every moment, no matter how trivial something may seem, even the planning, it’s all part of the experience.



Venue & Catering Grays Court York | Photography Carly Bevan Photography | Bride’s Dress Alice + Olivia at Harrods | Bride’s Accessories Valentino | Groom Alexandre, Made in England, Made-to-measure | Bridesmaid Reiss | Florist Gill at Field House Flowers | Cake Mary at Quite Contrary Cakes | Stationery Susan O’Hanlon

Just so divinely perfect right…? A gorgeous setting for an intimate ceremony and celebration, I simply adore the choices this couple made for their wedding.

Thank you so much to Mark & Vesna for sharing their beautiful day at Grays Court York, and of course Carly Bevan Photography for these magical images.

Lots of love…

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Emma Hla

Meet the author


Emma Hla

Emma is the founder & curator of these award-winning pages. Passionate about venues, interiors and a good Whiskey Sour. You'll also find Emma working as a Creative Director consulting for wedding venues around the UK.

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