In my experience, people have often already chosen things like venues, musicians and photographers before they make contact with me. But in case you’re still looking around, I can heartily recommend the following services based on my experiences of working with them. If you get on well with me, I think you’ll get on well with these folks too.
This is neither exhaustive nor objective, and it isn’t just a list of people I know; it’s simply some people whose working style (and, where appropriate, whose work) I’ve been impressed with. Just, you know, for what it’s worth.
Pinewood Holiday Park, Scarborough: One of the most unusual wedding venues I’ve seen! A campsite on a hill just outside Scarborough, featuring tipis, wagons, a wooden saloon bar and all sorts of other Wild West paraphernalia. Great for a weekend-long reception and with some beautiful (non-themed) spots to hold a ceremony: perfectly trimmed fields, woodland areas and, soon, a wedding gazebo. Most importantly, it’s run by two of the friendliest, most helpful people you’ll ever meet.
Grays Court, York: A small hotel in central York, but one of the grandest, oldest, most beautiful buildings you could visit, full of old wooden beams and big fireplaces. It’s directly behind York Minster and is over 900 years old, but only recently opened to the public so it’s a rare treat to spend time in there. The weddings staff are enormously helpful too.
Barmbyfield Barn, Barmby Moor: A set of big old converted farm buildings, just a few miles east of York, that have been turned into a fantastic and flexible venue. This is one of those rare places where you really can do what you want, from deciding on catering to decorating the venue yourself. It has a really rustic feel, some lovely grounds and a room for ceremonies that looks beautiful all lit by candles!
Guitarra (Paul Mason): A solo classical guitarist, based in Leeds but happy to travel around. He plays beautifully and has an enormous repertoire; I heard him do everything from Cavatina to Westlife and, of course, the Wedding March. And a lovely chap who takes a genuine interest in each and every wedding, despite having played at hundreds.
Emma Yates Butler: A classically-trained harpist who can produce a harp arrangement of almost anything you can imagine. It’s a beautiful treat to have live harp music in your wedding, and I’ve never heard better. Emma is also very good at changing plans, improvising and keeping going, no matter how late the bridal party might be!
John Hope: John is the master of truly artistic, beautiful shots—the kind you’d like to frame and put on your wall, without necessarily being the classic formal posed pictures (although he does those brilliantly too). He really takes a personal interest in the day, and always has a smile on his face… both of which are really important for someone you’re spending your wedding day with!
Adam Riley: Adam describes his style as documentary and that’s exactly right; while he’s excellent at classic posed wedding shots, his speciality is somehow managing to be everywhere at once, discreetly capturing natural moments that really tell the story of the day. He’s a one-man team and amazed me at his unobtrusiveness; we barely even noticed him during the ceremony and yet he recorded every bit perfectly.
Fossca Photography: Fossca are great at posed wedding shots, but also plenty of informal fun bits too. They have an amazing attention to detail and are very entertaining chaps to be around! I first met them when one of them got married and I conducted the wedding… but even with a man down (oddly, he was busy) they covered every detail, and with style.