On October 5, 2013, we photographed Morven and Steve’s English wedding in York, England. The ceremony was at the York Minster, and the reception was at Allerton Castle. Kathleen has known Morven’s family for almost 20 years, and when they invited us to visit and be a part of their wedding, we very quickly accepted their invitation!
Weddings at the York Minster are very rare. To get married in the York Minster, couples must receive a special license from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Morven’s family obtained this license because her father, Jim (who was recognized by Queen Elizabeth II for his contributions to the community and disabled people) and mother, Gill, are members of the Minster Community and the family had worshiped regularly at the Minster for many years.
The wedding day began at the bride’s family’s home in a small village called Hessay, about 5 miles west of York. The total village has a population less than 200 people. Rather than numbers on the houses, her family’s home is simply named “Copperfield.” Each house in the village has a name instead of a number.
Morven’s wedding gown was by Justin Alexander Signature, and it was absolutely gorgeous with an amazing back too we’ve never seen anything so lovely)! Hair was by Kate Taylor, a local hair stylist, and the bridesmaid’s hairpieces with cream feathers and broaches were hand made. The teal bridesmaids dresses complimented the beautiful cascading pink, ivory, and green bouquets by The Rainflorist in York. Photos of Morven with her bridesmaids were taken in her father’s orchard in the back yard of their home. The orchard is comprised of four apple tree bearing beautiful red apples!
Wedding Ceremony at the York Minster
Morven and Steve’s ceremony at the York Minster was a grand event. All the ladies wore traditional English hats (Kathleen wore one too!), and the wedding guests sat in the choir area. Morven’s mother’s navy blue hat was especially large, with white decoration on top! The York Minster was built in the 600s and is the seat of the Archbishop of York, the second-highest office of the Church of England.
After the wedding ceremony, Morven and Steve exited the York Minster and were greeted by hundreds of tourists and onlookers. We included a few photos of the crowd outside the minster. Guests were asking if they were famous, or royalty! We had to keep the crowd back from the couple for photos outside the York Minster.
Wedding Reception at Allerton Castle
Traveling from the minster to Allerton Castle, guests rode in vintage 1959 double-decker black and ivory buses. Allerton Castle is a 19th century gothic house with gardens and sheep grazing on the front lawn. And when we say lawn, it’s more like a huge farm! The Great Hall of Allerton Castle certainly lives up to its name, with a gorgeous grand staircase and an almost 80-foot ceiling. Dinner was served in the stunning blue and white ballroom, and portraits were taken in the lavish drawing room. Morven and Steve’s wedding cake was made by Morven’s aunt, Jean Calverley. We had never seen such a gorgeous affair, especially in a castle!
Toasts were much different than those we have experienced in Tennessee. Each speech was 20-30 minutes long, and the bride’s father’s speech was especially entertaining. At the end of his speech, he asked all the guests to blow up balloons, and then they all let the air out of the balloons and made funny noises while everyone was laughing!
Right before the speeches began, guests passed around a small glass container where everyone guessed the total length of all the speeches and dropped a pound in the jar for each entry. The total length was near an hour and a half for three speeches, and the priest won!
Later in the evening, the band called “HUGE” entertained everyone with live music, and the groomsmen enjoyed drinks and pool in the Billiard Room. They were certainly a HUGE band, playing lots of American dance songs, and a few from England that we had never heard! All the wedding guests dressed up in silly hats, wigs and outfits, and danced throughout the evening.
This was our highlight of 2013 — Morven and Steve’s wedding with our dearest friends in York, England. Joe and I are truly blessed every day with the opportunities we are presented with, the places we are taken, and the people who we share these moments with.