Today I am thrilled to share the stunning intimate Yorkshire Wedding of Phil and Gill at the beautiful Robin Hoods Bay near Whitby.
Images were captured by Frankly Iris Photography.
Frankly Iris Photography is a North Yorkshire and Essex based photographer capturing natural timeless unposed family portraits, beautiful wedding photography and newborn lifestyle photography.
Groom Phil shares the couples love story and tells us about their gorgeous intimate Yorkshire wedding day…
How did you meet?
Gill & I actually probably met about 23 years ago when she separated from her 1st husband.
She lived in Yorkshire but managed all the UK Vidal Sassoon salons so travelled around the country a fair bit.
Sue, a friend of my then wife & I, also worked for them in the London Head Office.
We lived in Surrey at the time and had a New Years Eve party to which Sue was invited; she brought Gill along as she’d come down for the holidays.
Fast forward 2 years to 1999, Gill was still single, bringing up her daughter and my wife & I separated with our 2 children staying with me rather than my wife.
In August of that year, Sue had a party which Gill had again been invited down to and we sort of hit it off.
Neither of us were particularly looking for another relationship, but something must have clicked because here we are 21 years later!
We had a rather long distance relationship for a while because my job at the time was with Lloyds Bank in central London, so one of us would be hauling up and down the M1 each weekend.
Tell us about your engagement…
My Lloyds Bank career ended around 2009 when my job disappeared in one of the many restructures that the banks were undertaking at the time.
The children had all grown up and were following their own life paths, so once my job ended, there was nothing to keep me South, so moved up to be with Gill in Yorkshire.
Over the following months, we managed to do some travelling (remember that?!) and met up with my daughter Jade who had taken a year or so out after uni, so we met up with her in Bali and later on New Zealand.
During this period I had also been investigating work opportunities and decided to invest in a print franchise and open a store in Huddersfield.
The franchiser was American based and the training was at their Head Office in New York, so, come August 2011 we both went out for the training in New York (which happens to be one of Gill’s favourite cities).
We tagged some extra days on after the training to have a bit of holiday and explore around as I’d never been there before.
I had been planning to propose to Gill for a while, but wanted somewhere special to do it.
I had already bought a “Marry Me” ring (I wouldn’t have dared buy the proper engagement ring on my own!!) and I think it was on the penultimate day of our NY trip we were walking across Brooklyn Bridge and I thought this was a pretty special location.
So I dropped to my knee in the middle of Brooklyn Bridge, tried to avoid getting run down by the maniac cyclists using the cycling side of the bridge and proposed.
Happily after recovering from the shock, she accepted!
Tell us how you found the wedding planning process…
Clearly we weren’t in a great rush to get married given that the engagement was in 2011.
Fast forward to 2019 and we’d been saying in previous months that maybe we should get something organised.
Robin Hood’s Bay on the east coast of Yorkshire is one of favourite places and we often go over there in our motor home to stay; it’s nice to be by the sea, great walks, good pubs & food etc.
I think it was late June or early July last year we were visiting and we’d said previously that we wouldn’t mind getting married in Robin Hood’s Bay.
We’d said 2020 would be a good year to do it because we both had significant birthdays that year (my 65th, Gill’s 70th) so we could combine it all and just have a big old party.
We dropped into The Cove cafe for a coffee and to have a look because in previous visits we’d seen wedding receptions taking place there on the terrace overlooking the sea.
It just so happened that Richard the owner was there showing another couple around who were interested, so after Richard finished with them he showed us around.
What a pleasant surprise; what we hadn’t appreciated was that above the cafe was the old Seaman’s Chapel which still had all the tiered pews and was still a licensed venue for weddings. I
t didn’t take long for us to agree it was the perfect venue for us and we booked it in with Richard for 11 July 2020, the perfect date as it was Gill’s birthday!
The idea was that we would send out birthday celebration invitations initially and then follow up with “Oh and by the way…”.
Richard was super, really helpful, and so supportive of what we wanted to do. We didn’t want a huge formal white wedding (hardly appropriate at our age!).
We just wanted a nice relaxed event where everybody could chill out, no suits & ties etc and the intention was to ship in a fish & chip supper from the local chip shop.
Gill’s daughter Sybilla and my daughter Jade jumped at the chance to help us organise it so they helped out a lot, although I’m sure we managed to frustrate them with our lack of urgency about getting things organised.
Tell us how COVID changed your plans..
So come February of this year, we hadn’t sent out the invitations but had let everybody know to keep that date clear and get accommodation booked which we had done as well.
Registrar’s were all booked in and Gill had arranged to get a bespoke wedding dress made. All was getting there, or so we thought…!
March 2020 arrives and everything is thrown in the air.
Lockdown, all events & weddings cancelled/postponed, cafes/restaurants etc shut, holiday bookings unable to progress etc.
After the initial shock of the announcements I think we were pretty sanguine about the whole thing because it was so out of our control.
But instead of postponing it and rescheduling it for next year, we just decided to leave all the bookings in place and see what happened.
Again, Richard at The Cove was brilliant and very supportive as were the owners of the holiday cottages we’d booked.
From March onwards we were pretty much isolating as were many others.
We weren’t too concerned for ourselves, but we did have Gill’s mother living with us; she was 95 in April and her health wasn’t great so we had to be mindful of where we went and who we mixed with.
In terms of the wedding, I monitored North Yorkshire Registrar’s website for any updates, but the message was always the same, all weddings cancelled, earliest likely date for any rearrangements September 2020 onwards.
During this period Gill also had some upsetting news about her older brother; he hadn’t been too well since the end of 2019 but the cause had not been diagnosed.
However, after various tests over a number of weeks (obviously things like tests had been impacted by Covid), they established that he had an inoperable tumour on his brain stem, so he is now undergoing treatment for that.
Prognosis is uncertain, but they are doing everything they can to try and improve things for him.
So, things became a little clearer towards the end of June when plans for the relaxing of lockdown were announced and the opportunity for small weddings to go ahead in July onwards was possible.
After a bit of discussion about the possible options, Gill and I decided that we wanted to go ahead with the wedding as scheduled, but it was going to have to be a somewhat smaller affair.
One of the primary drivers for this decision was that we really wanted Gill’s brother there and given his current situation, if we postponed the ceremony, we couldn’t be certain that he would be well enough to attend.
So a few phone calls and emails later, we were able to go ahead on the planned date.
Richard at The Cove (which obviously had been closed all this time) was again really supportive, the holiday accommodation we’d reserved all confirmed that we could stay, so all systems go.
We just had close family attend, so there were just 14 of us, plus the two registrars, Richard and his staff and the photographers.
The plan was to conduct the ceremony and then have an afternoon tea rather than fish & chips as originally planned.
Unfortunately, it still wasn’t the smoothest of build ups to the day.
Towards the end of June, Gill’s mum took a downturn and sadly passed away (not Covid related).
So on the Tuesday before our wedding, we had the funeral for her.
Also given lockdown, it had not been possible to have any intermediate fittings for the bespoke dress Gill had ordered, so on the Wednesday before our wedding when she went to collect the dress…she didn’t like it!
It basically needed quite a lot of amendments & adjustments which there wasn’t time for as we were leaving for Robin Hood’s Bay the following day.
Fortunately Gill did have a backup option for the dress which she’d bought previously, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.
But as you can imagine, a stressful few days leading up to Big Day!!
Tell us about your intimate Yorkshire Wedding…
Come the actual day, however, we couldn’t have asked for a better day.
The registrars were absolutely delightful and set a really friendly and relaxed tone for the ceremony.
Richard and his staff at The Cove couldn’t have been more attentive and put on a great spread in the afternoon.
Vickie & Dan just integrated into the whole event and ended up taking some brilliant photo’s. And the weather was pretty good as well!!
A special mention to our Toy Poodle Jack Sparrow who lived up to his name and managed to upstage us at every opportunity. He thoroughly enjoyed being the best man there!!
So although it wasn’t quite as originally envisaged, we ended up having a fantastic day, really enjoyed ourselves and were so happy that all the important people to us were there.
We have said that we might have a follow up event next year to invite all the people who weren’t able to be there, but obviously we can’t really be planning that at the moment.
Venue / Catering: (Richard & Team) – The Cove – Robin Hood’s Bay
Photography: Frankly Iris Photography (Vickie & Dan)
Celebrants: North Yorkshire County Council Registrars
Bridal Makeup: Brides daughter
Floristry: Ruffled Flowers – Guisborough
Wedding Planner: Brides daughter Sybilla and Grooms daughter Jade
Wedding Rings: Tiffany & Co
To Contact Frankly Iris Photography