Intimate Yorkshire wedding with military touches

Tracy and Simon, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, North Yorkshire.

Simon and Tracy – The Proposal


Photography; Morgan and Diane Rushton


The Couple
Civil servant Tracy and Simon, an RAF pilot, met through work in Norway. Tracy left the RAF to settle down with Simon and they now live in north Yorkshire. 

Simon proposed to Tracy on a walking holiday in the Lake District. “We set off early one morning to climb Blencathra and, en-route, I kept finding brightly painted wooden letters. After about the third one, I realised that Simon was laying a trail,” says Tracy. “When we reached the top, Simon asked me to place the letters into a well-known question – I rearranged them into ‘will marry me’, then Simon got down on one knee, pulled a ‘u’ out of his pocket,” she added.

Simon and Tracy – The Venue


The Venue

The couple chose awe-inspiring Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, a National Trust property and World Heritage Site for their wedding venue. “We love the surrounding scenery and it has real atmosphere,” says Tracy.

They chose not to have a definite theme, and let the planning develop naturally. “We wanted an intimate, relaxed, fun day,” she adds.

Simon and Tracy – The Flowers


The Outfits

Tracy’s Champagne-coloured taffeta dress came from bridal store Dobinsons, in Darlington. “As soon as I tried it on and there was silence from my two trustworthy friends – I knew we had found the right dress,” says Tracey. Maid-of-honour, Dawn and bridesmaid Chelsea, Tracy’s goddaughter wore wine-coloured organza prom dresses by Debut at Debenhams.

Harriet, Simon’s goddaughter was also bridesmaid and wore a pretty ivory butterfly dress from BHS, while the bridegroom wore his RAF uniform.

Simon and Tracy – The Proposal


The civil marriage ceremony took place in The Great Chamber of the Jacobean mansion, Fountains Hall. “I was so nervous standing outside the door waiting to walk in with my Dad, but as soon as I saw Simon I felt fine,” says Tracy.

Afterwards, the guests enjoyed a drinks reception on the lawns of Fountains Hall and the couple had photos taken in amongst the magnificent 12th century Abbey ruins.

Simon and Tracy – The Venue (layout)


The Flowers

In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere of the wedding, the couple kept their flowers simple, but stylish – Lucy Hutton-Smith created all the floral arrangements for the day.

Tracy’s bouquet was a hand-tied compact posy of cream Avalanche and ivory Akito roses, ivory and burgundy orchids and foliage.

“The Great Chamber in Fountains Hall has two large cream silk flower arrangements so we didn’t add anything to the ceremony itself.

For the top table in the restaurant, we had three long arrangements to match the style of my bouquet and, in the centre of each guest table, we placed a single narrow lily vase with dark red gerbera and bear grass,” says Tracy.

Simon and Tracy – The Cake


The food

Guests sat down to a meal of tomato and basil soup, chicken breast supreme with blue Wensleydale cheese and lemon cheesecake with seasonal fruit compote.

The cake

The couple’s three-tier cake, made by Karen at Cake Works with layers of fruit, lemon cake and chocolate cake, was decorated with a hand-made topper of the couple plus their dog, Flossie, and horse, Bob.

Simon and Tracy – The Cake


“The evening’s entertainment was provided by Newcastle-based band Klack.

A friend who had heard them play recommended them to me. Their aim was to get everyone dancing and they definitely succeeded,” says Tracy.


“It is hard to pick out just one highlight from the whole day – was it walking in and seeing Simon standing there waiting for me? Walking out of the ceremony as Mrs. Johnston? Or walking into the wedding breakfast after being announced as Mr. and Mrs. Johnston? I don’t know! Sharing the day with close family and friends has got to be up there though,” adds Tracy.